Jeff Messer Show on 880FM
October 6, 2015
Upon hearing that the NC Court of Appeals ruled against Asheville:
MESSER: There are a lot of words I can think of that I want to say to Raleigh right now and most of them the FCC object to.
SUMMERS: Today’s my birthday, too, Jeff. Happy birthday to me.
MESSER: They wanted to make sure you remembered this very specifically, I think, because you’ve been a thorn in their sides.
SUMMERS: [whispers] [laughs]
MESSER: You can say that word, that’s fine.
SUMMERS: The City is...according to Mayor Manheimer...and she called me at home and told me this specifically so I wouldn’t start...I think...presumably, so we wouldn’t start jumping up and down saying, “You have to appeal. You have to appeal” She immediately said...I mean, she was pissed. I mean, she was definitely pissed...“We’re definitely going to appeal this and apply for a stay of the ruling.” So, this will go on for another couple of years, in all likelihood, unless there is more legislative shenanigans to shorten the appeals time or move it to the front of the line. That’s the sort of the thing they tried to do in the last session...Well, we’re also...I think...I know that people really misjudged how badly certain parties want this.
MESSER: Well, if the courts are stacked at the higher end of the court system in the state, maybe [prevailing] is not such a no-brainer.
SUMMERS: In the 2012 elections the Republicans took over the State Supreme Court. I was at the event where Esther Manheimer, who was then just a council member, was shaking her head saying, “Oh, this is very bad news.” [laugh].
MESSER: They can get power. They can pass illegal laws that they then can be sued over, which takes a number of years. So they get away with these illegal laws for x-number of years, and during those years, while the case is being built, if they win the next election, they can change the courts, they can shift this, they can put somebody on the court of appeals who, by the time you get there, it takes longer to get the court case through then it takes to get through an election cycle, in some instances, and, boom, they own it. And, yeah, Esther was right to sit there and go, "Oh, this is bad."
MESSER: Maybe that should be a talking point early in the election process as to why people should get off their asses and go out and vote, because this is where it leads.
SUMMERS: And I will also point out to the people who are currently going and voting for the primary for city council candidates, this is now got to be front and center, and my recommendation is to vote for candidates who have made it very clear what their attitude toward the state is on issues like control of Asheville’s water.
MESSER: Is this fight...has it just gotten harder because of this, do you think? I mean, the water fight. Now we have the Supreme Court...is that...in your view, it that a good thing or a bad thing, that we now have to take it to the State Supreme Court?
SUMMERS: Yeah, well, it’s definitely a bad thing. [laughs] We were all hoping and expecting that the Court of Appeals would support it.
MESSER: The Supreme Court in this state is much more stacked. Overtly.
SUMMERS: Yeah, as we said earlier. I don’t know if I’d call it stacked. It’s just that Republican judges are in control.
MESSER: They’re part of the agenda-driven system...A lot of pressure going to come to bear, though, I would imagine, as it heads in that direction. Is there anything beyond that?
SUMMERS: I’ve heard talk of a federal lawsuit. In fact, read the decision...the Court of Appeals actually refers to...sort of swats down the notion of 14th Amendment protections for the City. So, they’re actually, sort of, anticipating that the City might file a federal lawsuit. But I don’t have any information as to whether they’re considering that.
Appeals court declines to reconsider city water ruling
Mark Barrett | Asheville Citizen-Times | November 11, 2015