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N.C. Democratic chair taking heat for residents' discolored water

Posted July 15, 2010

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— Far from Raleigh and state politics is Eden Glen Mobile Home Park in Buncombe County. Residents complain their water often comes out with a rusty tint.

The water dispute bubbled beyond the mobile homes primarily because the owner of the park is David Young, a former Buncombe County commissioner and the current chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

He has drawn criticism from the families who live in the mobile home park.

“It makes me mad because they won't do nothing,” said resident Dewayne Purvis. His wife, Renee, said she cleans, cooks and showers with the water but said there is one thing she won’t use it for.

“We do not drink this water whatsoever,” she said. “We're like low class, middle class people and it’s like (Young) don't care.”

Western North Carolina media, columnists and bloggers have also taken Young to task.

Young argues that he does care. He declined an on-camera interview, but by phone and e-mail his family contends they've been working on a water solution since last year.

Asheville Property Management, the management company which runs Eden Glen, sought permits to install a filtration system. For years, residents weren't charged extra for their water. Then, months ago, water bills started going out.

Water in Glen Eden mobile home park in Weaverville Dem chief says he's working on tenants' water problem

The problem is the filtration system still wasn't approved, so they were asked to pay extra for orange water. Young admits that was a mistake, and the billing was suspended.

“If you take a bath you have to let it run for maybe five minutes. Then it will come out clear like that,” said Dewayne Purvis.

State records show past monitoring problems with the water, but no serious safety issues from recent years. Regulators say the discoloration is caused by high iron content, which may not look so good, but isn't considered a health hazard.

Young says the filtration system should be approved and fully operational soon. Until then, the Democratic leader and landlord takes the heat.

“I don't care whose fault it is. They just need to clean it up,” said Renee Purvis.

The North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement about Young's mobile home park, saying that it's "a business matter that is being properly addressed by Asheville Property Management and the Youngs. While some will attempt to politicize this situation for their narrow personal gain, our Party will maintain its focus on fighting for the working families of North Carolina."

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  • Vietnam Vet Jul 16, 2010

    As a current landlord, I say if you're paying rent and paying for the water you have the right to expect clean water. The management company has the immediate responsibility but the property owner has the ultimate responsibility. Political party affiliations have absolutely no bearing in this discussion!!

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 16, 2010

    Charge the residents for water. Not charging for utilities just encourages people to be wasteful. Why should they care how much they use?...just leave the water running...the lights and A/C on.

    If he has a good lease, like I do with my renters, he can change terms like this as conditions change.

    And, if these people own the trailers, they can install their own whole-house filters. The unit costs $50 and 1 micron filters (or a carbon block) are $3.

  • gotsomesense Jul 16, 2010

    I guess the point here is that (blackdog), regardless the origin of the colored water, if they are renting from him he should replace the pipes if they are the problem. Rusty water may not be a health hazard, but it is a wardrobe hazard. Who wants rusty colored white clothes?

  • areyou.serious Jul 16, 2010

    fix it! fix it!

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jul 16, 2010

    Looks like he's good at spending other people's money, but when it comes to HIS money....he's more than cheap!

  • Love it or leave it Jul 16, 2010

    "This is another case of republican attacks, rather than offering realistic solutions to very real problems."

    blackdog, please explain how rusty water is somehow the republicans fault? If you were paying for water, wouldn’t you want clean water as well?

  • asdfg Jul 16, 2010

    Unbroken... It speaks of the character of Mr. Young. Do you want him representing you if he does not even make sure the property he owns is up to par. If he does not care about the people who rent property from him why would he care about anyone else.

  • Unbroken Jul 16, 2010

    "FINALLY. This story was first reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times back in May. Look esp. for the editorial by John Boyle - very telling.

    Why didn't WRAL & the N&O report on this? It's not a regional thing - Young is obviously chair of the NC Dem Party."

    No actually, it is a "regional" thing. Why again should I be up in arms that the water in a mobile home park 200 miles from here is coming out of the faucet rusty in color?

  • blackdog Jul 15, 2010

    Many mobile homes have galvanized pipe installed in the frame of the structure, with "stubs" coming up and attached to the shut off valves. From the valve up, copper and brass is utilized. But, galvanized pipe, will rust all by itself. Clean water will become rusty once it enters the home supply. This is another case of republican attacks, rather than offering realistic solutions to very real problems. ie: Politics as usual...

  • blueskyenc Jul 15, 2010

    FINALLY. This story was first reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times back in May. Look esp. for the editorial by John Boyle - very telling.

    Why didn't WRAL & the N&O report on this? It's not a regional thing - Young is obviously chair of the NC Dem Party.