Nobody’s fault but mine [X2]
Trying to save my soul tonight
It’s nobody’s fault but mine
Devil he told me to roll [X2]
How to roll the log tonight
Nobody’s fault but mine
Brother he showed me the gong
Brother he showed me the ding dong ding dong
How to kick that gong to light
Oh, it’s nobody’s fault but mine
Got a monkey on my back [X2]
Going to change my ways tonight
Nobody’s fault but mine
I will get down rolling tonight
— Led Zeppelin
You may not have heard but there are a lot of folks in North Mecklenburg County a wee bit upset with the proposed tolls and subcontracted management for their stretch of I-77.
Some local officials lost their jobs or came close to losing their jobs over the tholl road agreement. And the blame game has begun:
Pushing the battle over Interstate 77 into the governor’s race, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration claims that Attorney General – and Democratic rival – Roy Cooper tacitly supported a controversial contract to build new toll lanes.
The claims came after the Observer reported that much of the anger over the I-77 toll project has been directed toward McCrory, who has declined requests to cancel the contract.
A Cooper campaign spokesman said the contract “would not have been signed in the first place” if Cooper was governor. That drew a sharp response from Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson.
“(The contract) was developed through meetings in which representatives from the Attorney General’s office were actively involved,” he said in a statement to the Observer. “They had the opportunity to raise objections or ask questions at any time since those conversations began in 2012.”
Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper, said his office “did not negotiate or sign the agreement.”
“Attorneys with our office who reviewed the contract did so to determine if it’s legal, not whether it’s good policy,” she said.
That’s, um, rich. Here’s our take on where the blame for all this lies:
- Thom-frickin’-Thillis. Our junior US senator, while he was speaker of the state House, used an iron fist to ram the toll road legislation through the chamber. He refused to even consider the arguments of local opponents. He bent over backward to kill a proposed anti-toll plank for the state GOP platform. He went out across the state promoting tolls, and even dispatched henchmen like Skip Stam to do the same.
- Local legislators. Senator Jeff Tarte and Rep. Charles Jeter – both staunch McCrory and Thillis allies — were marching in lockstep with Thillis early-on in the toll debate. When local grassroots activists began to turn up the political heat, Charlie and Jeff began to sing a different tune. They’ve both talked a good game to local activists, but the records show they were right there, ready-and-willing accomplices to Thom Thillis’s tholl road scheme.
- Pat McCrory. The governor threw up all kinds of roadblocks for the local activists. He started off just dismissing them. Then, he moved to putting the issue squarely in the ballpark of the legislature. Then, bizarrely, he decided the fate of the whole tholl road project would lie squarely in the hands of the Charlotte City Council. Gov. Pat has also told area residents that their local governments will be hit with huge penalty fees if the contract for the tolling gets canceled.
Roy Cooper is guilty of a lot of stuff. You could easily nail him for campaigning for governor 24-7-365 on the state’s dime for the last four years. You could easily nail him for basically ignoring the duties of his office for the last four years. But he is a minor, minor figure when it comes to this toll road mess.
This all boils down to a good-ol’-boy, smoke-filled backroom deal that went horribly wrong for the people behind said deal. There has been so much lying and so much arrogance by the powers-that-be. Very little representation of the people’s wishes.
Former state Rep. Robert Brawley (R-Iredell), who was run out of office by Thillis and the gang for resisting the tholl roads and other assorted schemes, is gaining some traction in the governor’s race. He’s promised to cancel the toll deal once he’s elected. He’s also been quite critical of the governor’s team aiding CSX with a heavy-handed eminent domain deal in Johnston County.