Buncombe County Commissioner Carol Peterson denies secret meetings

Evades question on alternatives,

health consequences, lack of public input;

Calls the Woodfin power plant "a good decision"

{Carol agreed to the interview as part of my "Women in Power" series for BlueNC's Women on Wednesdays. The videos were uploaded Saturday. On Sunday, she called to ask me to "pull" the ones referring to the Progress Energy Woodfin plant. I offered to correct any inaccuracies either in print or by video. She has not responded.}

In her courthouse office last Tuesday, Buncombe County Commission Vice Chair Carol Peterson insisted she and fellow commissioners did not meet secretly with Progress Energy before unanimously approving a $72 million diesel-fired power plant.

Click on the video below the fold to hear her comments.

Chair Nathan Ramsey has admitted that he, in addition to Commissioners Stanley and Peterson, met with Progress Energy for two years. Ramsey and Peterson have previously stated that the meetings were legal because they was not a quorum present. Two environmental groups have written Attorney General Roy Cooper to request he investigate the secret negotiations. Since the contract calls for the county to lease 72 riverfront acres for a dollar a year, the meetings may not have been legal under state sunshine laws, which mandate open meetings when negotiating land deals under market value.

"The land is worthless," Carol said. She said the power company will no longer be able to buy power from out-of-state after 2009. The plant is planned for peak use only. Click on the video below to hear her explain why she calls the sweetheart contract approval "a good decision."

Alternative energy and community groups were given a month to research the vast array of alternatives. There were no public meetings specifically established for citizen input and no system set up to accept alternative bids.

At the commission's regular January 16 meeting, citizens could sign up at 4 p.m. and wait hours until the meeting's end to have 3 minutes to comment. At that meeting Chair Nathan Ramsey cut off comment after 30 minutes. He then allowed a Progress Energy spokesman to speak against the published rules. Not only had the Progress Energy representative not registered in advance (nor was he on the agenda), he was allowed to go beyond the three-minute time limit strictly enforced on residents. At this meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the proposed contract.

There has been no evidence presented or obtained through public disclosure requests to suggest that any alternatives to this plant were researched or considered.

During the ten to fifteen minutes I questioned Carol about the Progress Energy plant, she avoided questions about the health consequences as well as how the county will monitor and/or evaluate Progress Energy's decisions to turn on the plant for peak use. Carol said that that the plant would never be fired up in this video clip, if only conservation measures outlined on the Buncombe County Commissioner's website were employed.

Below are assorted clips from the hour-long interview:

Carol's talks about her experiences with open public meetings to discuss contentious zoning issues.

In this video she talked about the duties of a committee member for the Democratic National Committee.

Carol Peterson's political philosophy: "What's best for the most."

"Challenges of leadership"

Carol Peterson's political background.


Ho-lee shee-ot.

No wonder she wants the deep-six these interviews. What a bunch of slippy-slidey double talk!

Fantastic job, Drama Queen. You totally rock in the news department.

Seems to me like a mass resignation is in order.

Drama Queen, angling for a Pulitzer?

Thanks, DQ, for seeking out Commissioner Peterson in an effort to hear her point of view on the Woodfin Diesel Power Plant. It was an act of political kindness that became an act of political courage once you realized that the woman was either hopelessly daft or relentlessly dishonest.

Mrs. Peterson sinks her own boat without any help. She's a real mess.

Suggesting that no secret meetings took place after Chairman Ramsey said the opposite to Mountain Xpress reporters is the height of arrogance.

Peterson's inability to name any alternatives illustrated the fact that she lives in an aristocratic bubble that excludes progressive thought.

The other two Democrats on the Commission, David Young and David Gantt, ought to be distancing themselves from her as quickly as possible.

I'll have a lot more to say about this at Scrutiny Hooligans over the next few days. Thanks again for doing the interview and for having the integrity to put it out in the open.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us


thats gonna start a damn big fire.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"



... oh, man. This is like one of those credit card "Need to get away?" commercials. dOH!!

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Let me get this right...

She says we need this power right now in one clip. In another clip she says we wouldn't need it at all if everyone would simply conserve.

Say huh? Paging Mrs. Peterson...Mrs. Peterson...you've stopped making any sense...

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

Thank you, folks

It's all very sad. The best outcome I can see is that the commission vote to revisit the decision. Then they can spend the time they should have in the first place to hold open meetings, take open bids from alternative (and not-so-alternative) energy companies, listen to all the amazing individual talent in region, and together the entire community can figure out the best, the cleanest and the most economical solution for everyone.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Oh My Goodness

Oh My....I simply can't find the words.....or words that are fit for print. :)

Way to go. Keep it up. Good job including your questions this time. She can't say you took her words out of context.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Oh, no!

Is the Alberto Gonzales defense becoming the excuse du jour? ...the staff did it and I signed off on it???

Good reporting, DQ!


This is great piece and interview. Wonder what made her change her mind? Today's "journalist" could learn a thing or two from you!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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