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Posts published in “Gov’t”

In Woodfin, the Balance of Power Is Shifting

New commissioners promise transparency, modernization

Last November’s election in Woodfin, Asheville’s sleepy northern neighbor, came at a time of major transformation. The town’s population has more than doubled since 2000 — it is now home to 8,000 people — and Woodfin is attracting keen interest from developers. 

The proposed Bluffs at Riverbend, a large mixed-use development on pristine forest west of the French Broad River, rallied residents. Voters turned out in record numbers, tossing out three incumbents who had governed the town for a decade or more.

Their three replacements, Jim McAllister, Eric Edgerton, and Hazel Thornton, were backed by the Sierra Club and promised to protect the town’s green spaces and steep slopes with responsible, environmentally sensitive development. Two others with similar positions, Judy Butler and Betsy Ervin, were appointed to fill vacancies, giving the Town Commission a solid majority and shifting power from longtime Woodfin residents to a group of mostly retired professionals who are relatively recent arrivals in town. 

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Cawthorn’s Uncivil War

Congressman’s invasion into new district is triggering an intra-party reckoning

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, and Rep. Mark Walker at an American Renewal Project event in October. In return for Trump's blessing, Walker will not oppose Cawthorn ally Ted Budd for U.S. Senate.

When Madison Cawthorn revealed his plan to abandon western North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District to seek reelection in a neighboring — and seemingly friendlier — district, he exuded confidence, even cockiness, about the outcome.

“We are taking ground for constitutional conservatism,” he wrote on Twitter, describing his move into the adjacent 13th District as if leading a righteous crusade into infidel territory. Otherwise, the 26-year-old Republican added, “I’m afraid that another establishment, go-along-to-get-along Republican would prevail there. I will not let that happen.” 

Initially his bravado in jumping the district line — a legal, though rare move — seemed politically sound and his victory assured. As a rising media star on the GOP’s far-right fringe and armed with the endorsement of ex-President Trump, Cawthorn had raised $2.3 million toward reelection by the end of September, with more pouring in. 

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Can Asheville become more than beer and bears?

Some believe fortunes will be made by investors in 'Climate City'

Asheville is the center of the climate data universe. Climate.gov graphic modified by Asheville Watchdog

The answer to every quantifiable question about climate and weather here on Earth and throughout the solar system lies in the more than 40 petabytes of data stored in the Asheville computer system.

Reparations, Six Months Later: So Far, Empty Promises

Asheville’s Dwindling Black Population Remains Skeptical

Valley Street, ca. 1949. Photo by Juanita Wilson

Six months ago, as part of a reckoning on racial injustice, the City of Asheville and Buncombe County both passed resolutions to consider reparations to the Black community as a way to begin making amends for slavery and generations of systemic discrimination. The votes were hailed as “historic” by The Asheville Citizen Times, and ABC News asked, “Is Asheville a national model?”

Since then, local officials concede, little has been done. Some in the Black community see zero progress.

“From my understanding, they’ve done nothing,” said Rob Thomas, community liaison for the Racial Justice Coalition. 

Despite the fanfare they received at the time, the reparations resolutions are in limbo, still as lacking in specific remedies as they are in financial commitment or engagement with the Black community. The Asheville resolution called for the creation of a Community Reparations Commission to begin drafting recommendations.

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Cawthorn Falsely Says Democrats Paid Capitol Rioters

Calls Intensify for Congressman to Resign

Madison Cawthorn speaks to protesters Jan. 6

In the middle of the siege of the Capitol on Jan. 6, while a mob of insurrectionists still roamed the halls and ransacked offices, leaving five dead and dozens injured, Madison Cawthorn called a friendly conservative radio host and blamed the violence on left-wing agitators sent by “the Democratic machine” to make President Trump look bad. 

“I believe that this was agitators strategically placed inside of this group — you can call them antifa, you can call them people paid by the Democratic machine — but to make the Trump campaign, the Trump movement, look bad. And to make this look like it was a violent outrage, when really the battle was being fought by people like myself and other great patriots who are standing up against the establishment and standing up against this tyranny that we see in our country.”

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Attack by Madison Cawthorn’s schoolmates goes viral

Online letter alleges misbehavior, sexual misconduct as student

A scathing public letter signed by more than 150 of Madison Cawthorn’s former schoolmates at Patrick Henry College alleges that the Republican candidate engaged in “sexually predatory behavior,” vandalism and lying as a student and is unfit for congress or as a representative of the conservative Christian school.

The letter, in the form of an online petition, was posted over the weekend by alumni who said they knew Cawthorn during the 2016-2017 academic year. He dropped out before the end of his second semester and didn’t return.  

Within hours of the letter’s release October 17, the number of Patrick Henry College alumni signers exploded, from 10 to 150 by midweek.  Many of the signers also recounted on social media their personal experiences with Cawthorn during that period, including several who alleged that they were victims of his sexual misconduct or had learned of it from other alleged victims at the time.

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Cawthorn video hits Davis’ record as Guantanamo prosecutor

But attack alleging Asheville Democrat “defended terrorists” lacks facts

In the western North Carolina congressional campaign already notable for its bare-knuckled ferocity, GOP candidate Madison Cawthorn’s latest attack video against Democrat Morris (Moe) Davis stands out: TERRORIST DEFENDER, the video proclaims in bold text and shock-inducing graphics. 

“Moe Davis’ record shows he’s no patriot,” reads the text. 

His actions against America make him unfit to serve,” it continues.

 Then this: “Moe Davis has sided with foreign enemies over our own country numerous times.”

Cawthorn’s accusations brand Davis a traitor, the worst accusation that could be leveled at any veteran military officer. Davis, 62, is a retired Air Force colonel and decorated military lawyer whose 25 years of service culminated as the chief prosecutor of alleged al-Qaeda combatants imprisoned at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo, Cuba. 

The 25-year-old Republican candidate making the accusation,

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Tweet Storm: Candidate Attacks with Expletives, Vulgarity

Davis blames anger over Trump, Republican extremism

Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic images and expletives, reflecting the verbatim language used by the candidate.

Moe Davis has urged Democrats to stomp on the necks of certain Republicans, called Donald Trump the “dumbest f*cking president in history” and described GOP senators currying favor with the president in vulgar, graphic terms. 

Just before Christmas, he tweeted that Trump had turned evangelicals into “a klan of un-Christlike hypocrites who betray everything Jesus stood for.” Earlier, he wrote, “you can’t be for @realDonaldTrump and for Jesus.”

The retired Air Force colonel and Democrat running for the 11th district congressional seat is a prolific social media poster. His Twitter account, @ColMorrisDavis, has more than 161,000 followers and nearly 92,000 tweets, many of them strongly defending democratic principles and positions.

But they also include expletive-laced,

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Debate Fact-Checker: Zingers, Jabs and Lies

Congressional candidates’ claims rated for truthfulness

Madison Cawthorn and Moe Davis exchanged accusations, some of them false, at a pair of debates this month.

In their first public face-off, the candidates vying for the increasingly competitive 11th district congressional seat, Republican Madison Cawthorn and Democrat Moe Davis, touted their differences on just about all issues and hurled accusations, with each calling the other “fast and loose” with the facts. Who was telling the truth? AVL Watchdog fact-checked some of the claims made at the Sept. 4-5 debates at Western Carolina University and rated them as true, false or misleading.

TOPIC: Welfare

THE CLAIM: In the first debate (at 1:17:08), Davis accused Cawthorn of wanting “to end welfare to balance the budget because it encourages single women, particularly minority women to have more babies so they get bigger checks.”

FACT-CHECK: We find this claim to be TRUE.

At a May 21 meeting at the Cherokee County Republican Party,

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From Military Prosecutor to Congressional Candidate

Democrat “Moe” Davis: a non-conformist who challenged authority

Updated

For Air Force Colonel Morris Davis, a career military lawyer, the assignment he won in 2005 could solidify his opportunity to become a general. The North Carolina native – and now the Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district — was named chief prosecutor of the alleged al Qaeda terrorists imprisoned at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo, Cuba where they were subject to military justice. 

Davis embraced the challenge, likening his assignment to the prosecutors who brought Nazi war criminals to trial at Nuremberg after World War II. The tall, physically imposing officer quickly earned a reputation as an aggressive, by-the-book prosecutor inclined in frequent press conferences to trash-talk opposing lawyers and to mock the prisoners, most of whom had been captured in the months after the 9/11 attacks on Afghanistan’s battlefields or in CIA operations.

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