Letters to the editor – January 18th, 2017

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Disrespectful, disgraceful

Editor, Smithfield Times

How disrespectful and disgraceful that the Board of Supervisors have decided at this moment to “break with tradition” and deny Supervisor Rudolph Jefferson the title of Chairman. Instead the cabal of four decided to reinstate King Rex Alphin in that position for the third year in a row because the “job really isn’t that important, just mostly that of signing documents and running meetings.” Not to mention, representing the county for photo ops and so forth.

Supervisors, your act not only rejected a very valuable citizen of his earned position, but showed the Hardy District voters that their voices don’t count: their representative isn’t right for the job. Perhaps because he isn’t from a moneyed, landowning class? Of course, you agree it isn’t because of race. 

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Isle of Wight citizens have put up with lots of poor decisions: millions of dollars for worthless property, personnel who can’t read and follow contracts, under and overbuilding for administration and so forth. But this one really earned a front page story. You have a great role model and choose to ignore him.

Supervisor Jefferson and his family are valued members of our district and county. In countless ways they are always making positive contributions and have been for over the 20 years we have known them. Rudolph Jefferson has served in various positions in the Rushmere Fire Department, is active in his church and on voting day at our precinct, besides mentoring youth and providing jobs. We were delighted when he was elected a supervisor. Now, after serving for four years, he is denied a “traditional” role without reason, other than the cry of “it’s not racism.” No, it never is, since another Supervisor flatly stated: “No one person on the board is greater than the other.”

Jim and Margo VanDiver

Unfair treatment

Editor, Smithfield Times

I just watched the last Board of Supervisors meeting online where they chose their chairman and vice-chairman for 2017. I was appalled at what I just watched. Citizens please take the time and go to Isle of Wight County’s website, at the bottom click on Board of Supervisors, on the right click the “On Demand Meeting Video Archive” and check out the Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman, January 5, 2017.

The four of you (Alphin, McCarty, Grice and Acree) should be ashamed. How can you sit there and say that your decision is not a reflection on the person himself and that all of you are equal doing the same job but choosing someone who “can run a meeting well” and the chairman is just a “facilitator and a signatory?” How do you know whether or not Mr. Jefferson could or could not “run a meeting well?” No one knows until they try, but he wasn’t given the opportunity and I am sure he can sign his name on behalf of the board as well as the rest of you.

He was publicly humiliated and strategically bypassed, which doesn’t sound equal to me. If it were the right thing to do, then why did each of you feel it necessary to provide an explanation? Because you knew it was wrong.

It’s obvious this was a calculated decision made prior to the meeting. Rotation was in affect last year but not this year when it’s Mr. Jefferson’s turn and could go back to rotation next year if so desired. Translation: Wait and see who is sitting on the board next year as to whether it applies or not.

Mr. Jefferson, thank you for all you do and the many years of volunteer service you have given to this county. These so-called grown men acted and came across as bullies. If all of you feel you are equal, then Mr. Jefferson deserved his turn in the chair. I think a public apology is in order.

Selinda Green

A serious mistake

Editor, The Smithfield Times

Our Board of Supervisors made a serious error in not following the usual “rotation” for chairmanship.

By denying Mr. Jefferson (and his constituency) his normal turn as board chair, our governing body has sent a powerful signal, intended or not, to our minority community. They have said, although the federal government says we must have a “minority-majority district” that, because of our “Jim Crow” past, we will make sure this is not reflected at the top.

As with many Commonwealth municipalities, Isle of Wight County is still under the close scrutiny of the Justice Department in compliance with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We have also considered applying for an “exemption” as we near the 2020 decennial census. But casually denying the Board Chair to its only minority member now will most assuredly prove to Washington that we are still afflicted with traditional racial bias.

The only real winner here is Mr. Jefferson himself who, in the spirit of cooperating with his peers, voted to make unanimous the out-of-turn re-appointment of Mr. Aphin. It turns out that Rudolph Jefferson may be the only true Virginia gentleman among them.

Our Supervisors should reverse this decision at their very next meeting and vote to give Mr. Jefferson his turn as Chair. If they don’t, the consequences for us will resound for decades.

Albert Burckard

Unfair actions

Letter to the Editor

I think the recent actions of the current Board of Supervisors for our county was shocking and unfair. They denied Rudolph Jefferson the chairmanship on the board. I served on the Board alongside Mr. Jefferson for two years and found him to be fair in his decisions and certainly well qualified to be chairman. Also, last year they removed Don Robertson as Acting Isle of Wight County Administrator, another highly qualified person who should have held that position, and I am confident would have served our country well.

Both these men were denied the opportunity to serve their county in an equal opportunity fashion. Mr. McCarty and the Times have had no problems in the past calling people racists. Look at what just happened! Where is the outrage regarding this decision to publicly deny Mr. Jefferson the right to hold the Chairman’s position on our board? Give me a break; this is once again the “Gang of Three!” I am not nor will I ever run for public office again, but I am proud to say that I am friends with everyone I know or have met.

Byron “Buzz” Bailey

Another great event

Editor, Smithfield Times

Smithfield VA Events has pulled off another outstanding Saturday in down Smithfield, proving once again that Smithfield is the place to be. Just a week before the Bob Fest, there were nine to 10 inches of snow on the ground, and decisions had to be made as to how to proceed. Gina Ippolito and her crew of volunteers hitched up their britches, put on their boots and went to work. People from all over showed up and ad a wonderful time. Thanks to all the many organizations that came together to pull off another sold out festival. Thanks also to the fire department, rescue squad and police department. Their presence was greatly appreciated.

Also, thanks to the Optimist Club for organizing the 8K run that very morning. What an outstanding job.

The re-bids will be in soon for our boat ramps at Clontz Park and also for the concession stand at the Joseph W. Luter Sports Complex. Thanks so much to the merchants on Main Street for having to endure the work of replacing the water lines under the street. Their understanding and patience is well appreciated.

The restoration work on Phase one at Windsor Castle Park is under way. Phase one includes the restoration of the outbuildings and barns, restoration of the outside of the caretaker’s house, the removing of two wings of the manor house, the drying out of the manor house and asbestos abatement of the manor house, the caretaker’s house and the office building.

Thanks so much for everyone’s support.

T. Carter Williams
Smithfield mayor