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Posts published in “Archives: Barks

Like a tweet, but from the Dog

Cawthorn calls Democrats “bastards”

Rep. Madison Cawthorn told a Newsmax interviewer last week that “We have got to get Democrats out of power … we’ve got to take the majority away from these bastards.” Cawthorn, who told fellow House Republicans soon after taking office that his priority would be to seek publicity rather than to craft legislation, then posted a link to a Breitbart story about his interview to the Madison Cawthorn Chat channel on the social media platform Telegram. The Madison Cawthorn channel is popular with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, antisemites, QAnon adherents, Big Lie proponents, and other self-described “patriots.”  

Cawthorn also agreed with the Newsmax interviewer that he believes Democrats are promoting a surge of refugees at the southern border in order to get cheap labor and register people to vote Democratic. “You know I absolutely think that’s exactly what it is,” Cawthorn said. “I think that the cartels want to make the money. I think the Democrats want to profit off the power. So I genuinely believe that this border crisis is something that they are actually promoting.” — T.F.

Soaring construction costs hammer affordable housing

One of the city’s more interesting experiments on affordable housing is dead.  

Paul D’Angelo, the Director of Community Development for Asheville, told the city’s Housing and Community Development Committee meeting this week that far higher constructions costs have nixed the project. Construction costs have risen more than 15% in the last year, and as a result the developer cannot go forward with the units as previously priced.

The proposal in West Asheville would have provided one of the few opportunities for the city to address home ownership for lower income residents. It would have built 11 single family homes at $275,000, and 12 condos, six of them one-bedrooms at $199,00 and six two-bedrooms at $239,000.

A $1.1 million loan that was approved for the developer from the City’s Housing Trust Fund will now be returned to the fund. — Barbara Durr

HCA-Mission monitor invites public comments

Gibbins Advisors, the independent monitor approved by Attorney General Josh Stein to make sure HCA Healthcare adheres to the conditions he placed on its 2019 purchase of Asheville-based Mission Health System, says it wants to hear from Asheville Watchdog readers.

“The Independent Monitor for Mission Health System encourages comments from the community,” a spokesman wrote to The Watchdog. “The Independent Monitor catalogs all commentary to assist it in its monitoring work. Commentary is also passed along to HCA to be addressed. Respondents can choose to submit information anonymously or include their contact information so that HCA may follow up directly. The contact form is available at https://www.independentmonitormhs.com/contact or you can email the Independent Monitor at independentmonitor@gibbinsadvisors.com.”

Readers are also invited to follow the activity of the Independent Monitor on LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/independent-monitor-for-mission-health-system/ — Peter H. Lewis

Cawthorn raises nearly $1M for re-election campaign

Scores of American corporations vowed after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to withhold political contributions from the 147 House and Senate Republicans, including western North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who voted against certifying Electoral College results from states won by Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. For the most part they have kept their checkbooks closed, according to a Watchdog review of the latest Federal Elections Commission reports.

As a candidate, Cawthorn received donations of $1,000 to $5,000 each from the political action committees of more than a dozen major U.S. corporations, led by Home Depot, SunTrust Banks, and United Parcel Service (UPS). Others included Aflac, Altria Group, AT&T, Cigna, Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Kirby Corporation, Lowe’s, Reynolds American, and Universal Technical Institute.

But in the three months following his actions to overturn the election, none of those corporate PACS has sent him money, the FEC data show. Cawthorn for NC, the congressman’s re-election committee, reported $943,837 in contributions during the first quarter of 2021, all but about $100,000 from individual donors. The rest came mainly from the Take Back the House 2022 Republican political action committee, the records show. — Peter H. Lewis

Update to “Cawthorn’s First 2 Months in Office”

Subtitled “Under Attack, He Moves (Far) Right,” our story noted that Rep. Madison Cawthorn had not introduced any original legislation after 60 days in office.

Since our story appeared on March 5, Rep. Cawthorn has introduced nine original pieces of legislation. The first was a resolution “Commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the fall of Kronstadt [Russia], which took place on March 18, 1921.” It attracted no co-sponsors. Another of the first-term Republican congressman’s bills would permanently abolish Daylight Savings Time.

Rep. Cawthorn also introduced what he called the “Donument Act” to honor former President Donald Trump by establishing a “Southern Border Wall National Monument.” The bill, which has no co-sponsors, would give federal protection to the 400 miles of border wall built during Trump’s term along the 1,933-mile-long border with Mexico, endowing it with the same protected status as the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, and Mount Rushmore.

“We’re going to turn the border wall into a national monument so Biden can’t touch it!”, Rep. Cawthorn wrote to his followers on Telegram. — Peter H. Lewis

Mission-HCA Healthcare Public Meeting April 7th

Gibbins Advisors, the independent monitor hired to oversee HCA’s compliance with terms of the Mission Health System sale, will hold an informational online meeting open to everyone in Western North Carolina served by Mission Health. The webinar will be Wednesday, April 7th at 5:30 p.m. (Eastern).

This will be the first public meeting with the independent monitor since last year’s seven pre-pandemic community meetings. In the webinar, the independent monitor will provide an update on its work, and take questions from the public.  

Anyone interested in participating can register at this link.  

The presentation will be recorded and posted for viewing after the event on the Independent Monitor’s website. — Peter Lewis

Contract Negotiations Begin For Mission Nurses

The National Nurses Union, which in September 2020 won recognition at Mission Hospital for 1,800 Registered Nurses, is in the throes of negotiating its first contract at Mission with HCA. It took four months before negotiations actually started in January, and the NNU isn’t putting a timeline on finishing. While patient and staff safety are prime concerns as the pandemic continues, the NNU says that the nurses want HCA to make real changes at the hospital and to address “a wide range of issues”, including staffing, which many nurses say has been cut to the bone. The NNU has successfully negotiated contracts with 19 other HCA hospitals around the country, though Mission is the first for-profit hospital in North Carolina that the NNU has unionized. — Barbara Durr