Springtime in the mountains! Red buds in bloom, forsythia and dogwoods flowering, palm trees leaping out — Mother Nature in and around Asheville is rejoicing in renewal. Downtown Asheville is alive with people of all stripes enjoying the warm afternoon, the outdoor market the wonderful Malaprops Bookstore, a plethora of independent shops, each other and life in general . Had a tasty early dinner and good conversation at the Early Girl Eatery, a downtown mainstay noted for its friendliness and locally organic food. I’m here to speak in the beautiful sanctuary of the First Congregation Church, a benefit/book event for North Carolina Common Cause. This group teamed up with others a few years ago to start getting corrupt corporate money out of their state political process. In 2003, they created the Voter-Owned Elections campaign to provide a public financing alternative for their state’s judicial races, and in 2004 and 2006 the “clean money” candidates won 9 of the 11 judgeships up for grabs. Now, the coalition is extending the public financing alternatives to other other statewide offices and working to make it available in municipal elections. DeMarco and I highlighted their success in our book, and it’s a pleasure it’s to be with such agitators.