Friday, February 17, 2017

Virginia: Charlottesville Vice Mayor facing petitions for recall trial over tweets; dispute over signatures needed

Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy is facing petitions for a recall trial over some controversial tweets he made between 2009 and 2014 that led him to leave a teaching position and resign from the Virginia Board of Education.

Jason Kessler, the leading petitioner is a blogger who is accused of being a white supremacist (he has a Pepe the Frog symbol on his site, though he denies the racist charge) and targeting Bellamy because he is the only African-American on the city council (in the story, he calls Bellamy a "race pimp.")  One of the speakers against Bellamy,GOP gubernatorial candidate and Prince William County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Corey Stewart a focused on Bellamy's vote to remove a statute of Robert E. Lee from Lee Park as "politically correct madness."

There does seem to be a dispute on the number of signatures needed to get to the judge. Virginia law requires signatures totally 10% of the total number of votes cast in the last election for the office. The debate is over whether the signature total is for the total number of votes cast in the 2015 City Council election (which was 15,798 -- meaning 1580 signatures needed) or just those that Bellamy received (which was 4688 -- meaning 469). Kessler claims that it should be the lower number.

We've discussed Virginia's peculiar recall trial law in the past. It doesn't seem likely that this charge would meet the narrow criteria that judges use to allow a recall trial to go forward. Note the Loudoun County Supervisor attempt.

No comments:

Post a Comment