WCQS has been sitting down with area lawmakers in the weeks since the legislature wrapped up its long session. Today, WCQS talked with Democratic Rep. Susan Fisher of Buncombe County:
WCQS: Sort of switching gears away from the budget for just a moment…um…that Asheville water ruling that just came down…
WCQS: …what did you think about that?
FISHER: I was extremely disappointed. I will tell you that I was there in the court room for the hearing before the state appeals court and I thought that our folks did a superb job. I am not an attorney, I don’t play one on TV, but from what I could observe, our representation was clear and cogent and really stated the case very well, um, but you have to, again, look at the panel of judges that we had there listening to that case, a Republican panel, and certainly not favorable toward cities as, um, that ruling sort of says. Judge Manning had ruled in our favor, this court did not. And the fact that it was unanimous is a disappointing factor, too, because often you cannot get the Supreme Court to take these cases if they’ve been ruled unanimously at a lower level. But we, I hold out hope that they will they will be able to take it further because we made a really good case, I thought.
WCQS: Why is that, do you think? Was it, um, I know one of the issues was compensation..
WCQS: …which Asheville was not given any compensation.
FISHER: That’s right.
WCQS: Do you think that’s one of the key issues.
FISHER: It is one of the key issues. I think that, um, the City of Asheville has invested a great deal of money and policy effort toward protecting a watershed that is very important to this area and especially in a time where water is kind of beginning to be more and more at a premium. The city invested a lot, they’re going to see very little return on that investment if this ruling stands.
Fisher implies that the ruling is suspect because the Appeals Court panel consisted of Republicans. She has nothing to say about the panel of 2 Democrats and 1 Republican that ruled against them in 2008. Court of Appeals of North Carolina. CITY OF ASHEVILLE, a municipal corporation, Plaintiff, v. Wake County STATE of North Carolina, and County of Buncombe, et al., Defendants. No. COA07-516. Decided: August 19, 2008. MARTIN, Chief Judge. Judges STEELMAN and STEPHENS concur:
Fisher says “the City of Asheville has invested a great deal of money [in the water system].”Accurate but false. Actually, they merely managed loans on behalf of the ratepayers called Revenue Bonds. System ratepayers are on the hook for repayment. Water customers are the obligors. No city taxpayer money was invested. Asheville’s Revenue Bonds:
- Water system question: https://soundcloud.com/tim-peck-994374558/susanfisher
- Full audio: http://wcqs.org/post/legislative-wrap-rep-susan-fisher