John Skvarla’s Happy Teeth

DENR Secretary John Skvarla grimaced his way through a February 19th press briefing on the Dan River coal ash spill. Only as he walked smartly away from a clamoring press corps, which was chagrined at the briefing’s premature cessation, did he crack a smile, followed by a smirking Tom Reeder, his Water Quality Man Friday. They had promised a press conference that would last as long as there were questions to be asked, but Michael Biesecker of the Associated Press had apparently asked one too many.
A disconsolate Skvarla famously urged his besieged staff to “smile, be happy, have fun and enjoy the process – because if we can’t do that we’re all doing the wrong thing”. He even urged them by email to include it as a measurable goal in their Employee Performance Plans. By any public measure Skvarla is failing miserably in this category, though to be fair he and other political appointees may sit around privately laughing at the sorry state of North Carolina’s eroding environmental protections.

Skvarla’s oral fixation manifested itself early as he visited DENR’s disparate divisions and offices to get to know his new underlings. He surprised some managers in conversation with his personal affectation for tooth brushing after lunch, which he claimed put a whole new shine and invigorating outlook on the rest of the working day. It might have been dismissed as personal quirk except that later in the year at a DENR leadership training session, after regaling managers with his life story, personal leadership credo and management mantras, he had staff distribute toothbrushes emblazoned with the DENR logo along with toothpaste for the purpose of invigorating the latter half of every work day.
The inner cynic thinks this was dreamed up, Mad Men style, over mid-day martinis, but it’s entirely plausible that regular preventive maintenance can lead to a better and more productive work environment. Perhaps we could all learn from Skvarla’s happy teeth. Perhaps this could apply equally to the natural environment. How hard could it be? Because, if we can’t have a better natural environment “we’re all doing the wrong thing”.

Is Tillis Betting the Farm?

NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, has reportedly loaned $250,000 of personal money to his US Senate campaign committee. His Cornelius home is currently on the market for sale at an asking price of $825,000, according to Carolina Multiple Listing Services as listed on His wife Susan, a real estate broker, is the listing agent at Allen Tate Realtors in Charlotte.

Real estate records indicate that a mortgage debt in the amount of $417,000 was satisfied in June. Earlier this year in February a different loan in the amount of $200,000 was secured by the property. It would appear that Thom Tillis intends to throw everything he has at the US Senate race.

Update: Tillis is selling his “domicile” but it’s not his only Mecklenburg property. He has a more valuable house on Lake Norman, and condo in Davidson. He’ll be one home less but won’t be homeless.

Snobbish and Fake Wannabes

skull and bones
“I despise fake people, and even more, I despise fake snobbish people.” – Bryan “Richard” “WASP 101″ Holloway.

“There’s another old saying Senator. Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” – Fletcher, in Outlaw Josie Wales.

When the news first broke that Rep Bryan Holloway was outed as “Richard” the author of the WASP 101 preppy fashion blog I didn’t have much of a problem with it. I thought it displayed a streak of humanity notably absent from some of his Republican colleagues. I told a Democratic House member that he should embrace it. What annoyed me was his denial. That denial prompted me to find further evidence of what was already obvious. His subsequent evasion in the face of overwhelming evidence has been a burr under my saddle, but one that I largely ignored in the face of the more serious and outrageous actions of the Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly, helped along by Holloway’s votes.

In recent weeks I’ve had an inordinate number of conversations with people about Holloway and his assistant Isabel Villa-Garcia, many not by choice, and most off the record. Continue reading

Bryan Holloway, Oops

Someone’s been a busy bee or, should I say, busy WASP. Traces of Bryan “WASP 101″ Holloway, preppy fashion blogger and NC State Representative, have been disappearing from the internet since the big reveal by Ivy Style on May 30th. (For those new to the legislative fashion game, WASP is an acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. WASP style is also known as “preppy” or suggestive of clothing styles associated with upper-class northeastern private university-preparatory schools and Ivy League colleges).

Not only has the original “WASP 101″ blog been shut down but related sites have been removed or abridged and archived copies have been systematically removed. Continue reading

Step Into My Office

From Meeting up with Richard – by Kipp
  Continue reading

Hello Governor


Update: I realize these photos need a little explaining.   Continue reading

Warm Weather Tweed


Warm Weather Tweed – by Richard.

We’ll be here all week.


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