Councilmember Bothwell blasts McGrady and Bleiweis

Here’s the press release from the campaign of incumbent Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell:

Asheville, NC— Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell issued a strong reprimand to Rep. Chuck McGrady (D-Henderson) and Asheville Regional Airport Executive Director Lew Bleiweis for providing misinformation to the Subcommittee on Deannexation/Annexation in the NC House on Thursday, May 23. At issue was House Bill 568 which would de-annex the airport property, an action which follows the de-annexation of the WNC Agricultural Center property during the previous legislative session.

“Rep. McGrady informed his colleagues that the City of Asheville provides no services to the Airport, a statement which is patently false,” Bothwell said. “And when I inquired as to the source of that falsehood, McGrady told me it came from Bleiweis.”

Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette offered a correction in a statement later the same day. “[For] Property within our City limits we do have a statutory obligation to provide structural fire protection. We provide this for the airport as well as EMS first responder, Rescue, and Hazardous Materials response services. If the airport was de-annexed, we would not have this obligation. These services would be provided by a fire department under a contract with Buncombe County.”

Bothwell further stated, “Providing misinformation to members of the General Assembly who will vote on a very serious matter is wrong. And despite Chief Burnette’s correction, I see no evidence that the truth will be provided to that subcommittee or those representatives, since the hearing has been concluded. As Mark Twain observed, ‘A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.’ And lies seem to be business as usual for our Republican representatives in Raleigh.”

The import of this change in fire and safety protection is potentially very significant, since the City of Asheville enjoys a better ISO rating than Buncombe County, meaning that fire insurance rates are lower in the City. “This represents one more effort by the GOP in Raleigh to shift costs to small businesses while benefiting their political allies,” Bothwell said.

Incumbent Cecil Bothwell is running for re-election for another four-year term on the Asheville City Council. Bothwell is an investigative reporter, builder, organic gardener and public servant.
For more information about Cecil Bothwell’s campaign, visit

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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