Letters to The Editor – July 11th, 2018

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

B’water story riled reader

Editor, Smithfield Times
Danger on the Blackwater?
Are you kidding and is this responsible reporting? Really, suicides. Did anyone think about this before they published it? Let’s face it, the member of the “local hunt clubs” who said that just want to keep it exclusive for themselves. A person that is committed to suicide doesn’t need the Blackwater land to do that. After all, people committed suicide every day and in very public and private places. A person suffering from mental illness is just that suffering.

As for poisonous snakes, I have them in my backyard and insects, they are everywhere. I don’t have a stand either way on the use of the public property, I am concerned with the fact that the Smithfield Times opened an article with such a remark.
Perhaps you should think about what you publish before you publish.
Pamela Thornton

Thanks for the editorial

Editor, Smithfield Times
Thank you printing the beautiful editorial column for July 4. I found it just about perfect. It is perfectly clear and simple, doesn’t point fingers or cast blame, but lays it all on the line. And I say this, not because I agree, but because it is a wonderful editorial. Congratulations, and keep ‘em coming.
Jim Bell

Disappointed in editorial

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Editor, Smithfield Times
I am very disappointed in the biopic view of today’s “Forum” expressing dismay in the direction our country is going. Many of us are relieved that we have reversed the direction that President Obama was leading us toward of a nation without borders, confiscation of our labors to support illegals, and bribing other countries to accept sweetheart deals that only hurt our citizens and businesses.

We have five major news networks telling us what this administration is doing wrong only to shift focus almost weekly when their current manufactured crisis will not hold up to scrutiny. We don’t need anymore. Please dive deeper to glean the statistically good news that most networks choose to ignore. 
Bob Spencer

A return to dignity

Editor, Smithfield Times
On the Fourth of July, the two daily papers I receive published the Declaration of Independence as their editorial. How many read it?
Two Fourth of July spectaculars I watched each sang “God Bless America,” How many echoed this in later moments?
The same spectaculars recognized our veterans and urged all audiences to do the same. How many did?
It seems that there are a growing number of instances wherein individuals either simply trying to go about their normal lives or citing positive things about this country are being drowned out by bullying mobs who are encouraged to resist, by any means including physical force, those trying to express themselves.
We are becoming a nation of “mob rules.” Look at recent events wherein this is the case. And look at individuals, including members of Congress, who are giving strong vocal support to these negative efforts. It is too bad that the positives expressed in the above mentioned events seem to fade as quickly as the last skyrocket fired into the air. Isn’t it time to return some manner of respect, propriety and dignity to our everyday relations in this country?
Ed Mortimer

Why the July election?

Editor, Smithfield Times
Let’s look at how they wanted to originally establish a “special election” in April, then it was set for July instead of November. Is this a case of certain individuals within our local government who wanted Pope for Sheriff for their own personal gain? Could it be a form of racism? Look how Don Robertson and Rudolph Jefferson were treated when it came time for them to step into a higher position.
Now let’s look at what this “special election” is costing the citizens of Isle of Wight County. Approximately $20,000 that will be passed on to the taxpayers. Why not make the ones who wanted this “special election” foot the bill? In my opinion, the only reason they wanted this election now instead of November is because if they allowed Sheriff Clarke to maintain his present position until November, everyone would see what an excellent job he is doing. He’s more qualified, has held a higher rank and they didn’t want that to be seen. They also figured if they held a special election the voter turnout would be much lower, which would give Pope a better advantage of winning the election.
There is also another concern regarding Pope being elected as Sheriff. Would there be a conflict of interest, which might cause the taxpayers more money when you have your father-in-law (Stan Clark) as a judge, brother-in-law (Patrick Clark) Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for IOW? Sheriff Clarke has no such conflicts.
I urge you to come out on July 24 and vote for James Clarke in this “special un-called for election.” He has more qualifications, best temperament and has truly served our town, county and country for many years with honor.
Buzz Bailey

Concerts appreciated

Editor, Smithfield Times
“Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,” wrote William Congreve.
Hats off to John Edwards for thirty-two years of Sumer Concerts at The Times Gazebo. I am most appreciative of his work to build our community through many genres of music.
The Gospel Night 2018 was held to honor the memory of my Brother Charles T. Ford. John continues to enrich lives by offering space to musicians and composers in a family atmosphere. The Friday night concerts are a refreshing, relaxing getaway from the many troubling concerns we have. It takes the hard work of planning, scheduling, logistics and weather concerns. He makes it look easy, which it is not by any means.
I thank him for these wonderful opportunities to enjoy music and each other.
Martha Ford Evans Jackson

Help reduce plastic use

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Smithfield Times and Daily Press have recently detailed the problems we face with our waste, especially plastic. I cringe when reading about whales and dolphins and other inhabitants of the sea dying from ingesting plastic. China, which accepted 45 percent of the world’s plastic waste I the last 26 years, has decided to stop accepting plastic. No other country has the infrastructure to fill that gap. The United States, the world’s largest exporter of scrap to China, needs to make a change or face being buried under its own waste.
As Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man,” as he stepped onto the lunar surface. I am suggesting one small step for man as we shop at grocery stores or elsewhere where plastic bags are offered to contain purchases. That small step is simply to bring your own bag (cloth, reusable) with you or, when appropriate, simply tell the clerk you do not need a bag.
Willamena Thomas

Pope supporter

Editor, Smithfield Times
I would like to write in support of one of the finest men in our county. I was an ems volunteer for many years and I first met James Pope when he was a young deputy. Even as a young man, he had the maturity and calmness that impressed me when I would see him on many different calls where he would be working, many calls dealing with life or death situations. Throughout the years I got to know him and his family and realized how lucky Isle of Wight was to have such a valuable and caring person with the Sheriffs department.
I have seen him show up at senior citizen functions, school functions, church functions, sports functions, as well as personally seen him on police calls or heard him handle serious police incidents on the radio. At every function I have seen him or heard him throughout the years, he has been professional, respectful and extremely knowledgeable. His heart has ALWAYS been been in his job and this county. 
He is smart, works tirelessly for the residents, loves his family and I can say he is genuinely a good man, not to mention that he loves dogs. James Pope has the energy and knowledge to handle the job.
Mary Ann Mullen

Proud of James Clarke

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am a lifelong resident and a retired educator of Isle of Wight County. I have known Sheriff James R. Clarke Jr. since he was a teen. James has always proven to be a fine and outstanding young man. I have witnessed how he respects and values the lives of the people of his church and the community. He is a person of maturity, who has shown that he can interact with all people, regardless of race, ethnicity or backgrounds.
James works in various capacities in the church. There he serves as an Associate Minister, Bible School Teacher, Youth Advisor, Vacation Bible School Director, and former Treasurer. Sheriff Clarke also works diligently and faithfully in the community he serves. Knowing your community makes a big difference in the way you render to them. This is James Clarke; he can communicate with the people and take pride in doing so.
It is obvious that Sheriff Clarke has done several things to improve and prepare himself for the position. I have seen him further his education in several areas, and this is so important in learning to deal with people. I have witnessed him go through several training programs in law enforcement, sometimes having to leave his family for weeks to do so. He justifiably takes pride in this training.
This indicates to me that he is greatly concerned about making sure he is prepared to serve the people around him in the best possible way. I am proud to know that Sheriff James R. Clarke Jr. is in charge of making sure the citizens of Isle of Wight County are properly looked after and protected.
Deloise Gwaltney

Pope is a leader

Editor, Smithfield Times
I have been in the law enforcement arena for more than 30 years and have had the opportunity to meet and work with, and for, many great people. One thing that has stood out to me about some more than others was their leadership abilities and qualities. 
As I reflect upon the upcoming special Sheriff’s election in Isle of Wight, one candidate in particular stands out. The ability to be a leader and have the respect of your subordinates without question who will follow your direction regardless of their beliefs is the definition of a great leader. I find sheriff’s candidate James Pope to be such a person and possess those qualities.   James Pope is a man of integrity and honesty who will be a straight shooter with the citizens of Isle of Wight. He is a family man with family values, as well as a man of faith and spirituality that he uses a guide. 
James Pope inspires others with his commitment and passion for the job at hand, the people of Isle of Wight, and the communities at large. Pope possesses the quality of being an excellent communicator with the ability to eloquently relay his views and standpoints on issues important to him and the citizens of Isle of Wight. This talent is an asset when it comes to interacting with the Board of Supervisors on important issues.   James Pope delegates task assignments which empowers, improves, and develops a better quality person through  accountability and completion which is a definite benefit to all concerned. This is one of many outstanding qualities that demonstrates Pope’s decision-making creativity and innovative thinking.  James Pope is truly a hidden asset that many citizens don’t realize. I believe that if we don’t elect James Pope on July 24 we will be doing Isle of Wight a grave injustice for now and the future.  Community plus education plus interaction equals James Pope.  Antonnio Wilson
Retired Deputy

Pope for sheriff

Editor, Smithfield Times
James Pope has been 100 percent engaged and active in the community years prior this special election. He has the best interest of the citizens of Isle of Wight County, and is a man with the highest of integrity who truly has a long term vision for the sheriff’s office and the citizens of our great county.
James Pope has one of the deepest and clearest understandings of what law enforcement in this modern decade needs. He has always been a quality example of what it means to live by the oath that he swore to. 
I’m proud to know him and I’m proud to offer my personal endorsement of him for Sheriff. Vote for Pope July 24.
Tim Nunez

Sees no conflict

Editor, Smithfield Times
Two well-qualified candidates are running for the Office of Sheriff of Isle of Wight County with a special election scheduled for July 24. Both James Clarke and James Pope have many years of law enforcement experience and both individuals are men of integrity.
This letter will address an issue that arose at a recent candidate’s forum concerning James Pope’s connection with the Isle of Wight Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office due to the fact that Mr. Pope’s brother-in-law works as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. The concern was raised whether any conflict of interest would exist between the Sheriff’s Office and the Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office should Mr. Pope be elected Sheriff. The Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Sheriff are constitutional officers that are independently elected by the citizens of Isle of Wight County.
The Sheriff’s Office does not work for the Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office or vice versa. While personnel of the Sheriff’s Office and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will inevitably work together on cases, each office is a separate entity that is ultimately accountable only to the voters of Isle of Wight County. Should the Commonwealth Attorneys Office determine that a conflict of interest exists that prevents the office from prosecuting a case, a Court Order would be sought from the Isle of Wight Circuit Court so a Special Prosecutor could be appointed.
As someone who has practiced criminal law in the Fifth Judicial Circuit for almost 30 years, I believe that no conflict of interest would exist between the Isle of Wight County Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office and the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office should James Pope be elected Sheriff. The citizens should cast their vote for Sheriff based solely upon merit as opposed to the perception of a a conflict of interest issue which simply does not exist.
Barrett R. Richardson

Thanks to supporters

Editor, Smithfield Times
Thank you to the Smithfield Kiwanis Golf Committee-Eric Leaman, Jerry Healey, Elaine Hines, Ed Mortimer and Amy Novak; Our Cooking Team, lead by Mac Cofer, and all of the golfers and the following sponsors for their support!
Thank you to our Title Sponsor Comfort Systems, USA Colonial Webb, Putting Contest Sponsor Greg Chevrier, Beverage Cart Sponsors Dick Fox & Ed Mortimer, Hole Sponsors Army Navy, Smithfield Station, Cofer Auto, State Farm’s Sherry Vincent, Sheriff James Clarke, Lt. James Pope, Denbigh Kiwanis, Dr. Jim Thornton, Craig Stallings & Assoc., Farmers Bank, Jones & Jones, Draper Aden, John Graham, State Farm-Steve Bowler, Towne Bank, Cheshire Cat Coaching & Consulting, Walls Insurance, WM. S. Wirt Construction, Harbor Electrical Services, Walter Grubbs, Smithfield Rotary, Hill’s Enhancements, Woodrow Crook, P.C., VA Displays, Smithfield Inn, S&B Tent Rentals & Berkshire Hathaway.
I would also like to thank some Friend Sponsors, QDaddy’s BBQ, Linda R. Lytton LPC LMFT, Hallwood Enterprises, Smithfield Auto & Truck, Cockeyed Rooster and Pagan River Wine Merchants. All proceeds are for the kids of Isle of Wight through grants & sponsorships.
Thanks again for a successful Tournament.
Meredith Marchant
Smithfield Kiwanis
Golf Tournament Chair

Pope supporter

Editor, Smithfield Times
It is with pleasure that I write to endorse James Pope for Sheriff of Isle of Wight County. I have known Mr. Pope for many of the 14 years that he has served in the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office. During this time, I have seen him evolve from “the new kid on the block” to a seasoned law enforcement officer. He has traveled up through the ranks from Deputy Sheriff to Sergeant to Lieutenant, has served in the courts, process and patrol divisions and is well respected by his peers.
Seeing him at numerous charitable and community events in our county over the years has made it evident to me that he is in tune with our local needs and will support these worthwhile endeavors.
His experience, his knowledge of the position, his steadfast commitment to serving and protecting his constituents, and his compassion and caring for the citizens of our county make James Pope the right person to lead the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Department for the next four years and beyond.
I urge voters to go to the polls on July 24 and cast their vote for James Pope for Sheriff.
Martha Russ