Opinion: Recall law is too weak
Published 5:50 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
Last week’s decision to dismiss the petition against Mr. Michael Vines was disappointing but not unexpected. The ruling reinforced that Virginia’s recall statute is exceptionally weak and leaves little recourse when public officers fail us.
Mr. Vines is still the same person who disparaged his constituents as “transplants,” a remark that even school board chairwoman, Mrs. Denise Tynes, said was “discriminatory.” He is the same person who invited a non-county resident political activist to speak on his behalf and smear Mr. John Collick, then immediately afterward, denied a county resident the opportunity to speak after she had been invited to the podium by Mr. Collick.
The same Mr. Vines claims he is employed and making over $100,000 a year but declines to list this on legal documents. That circumstance has led to an investigation into felony forgery of a public record. The same Mr. Vines inferred at a recent school board meeting that pornography has been in schools for decades, citing that Mark Twain was a homosexual and that a children’s book contained the phrase “Sally likes Dick.” Unfortunately, Judge Carl Eason felt the law would not allow him to intercede, so we are left with this type of embarrassing nonsense, at least until November.
Please remember that Mrs. Tynes and Mrs. Renee Dial are solely responsible for forcing Mr. Vines onto the people of the 4th District. They placed him there not because they thought he would represent the 4th District’s views but rather because he aligned with their deeply unpopular political agenda.
Hopefully, the school board will vote publicly to hold Mr. Vines accountable. It’s not without precedent; Mrs. Tynes participated in a similar vote in 2013 when Mr. Herb De Groft displayed behavior his constituents felt warranted removal.
Lastly, Mr. Vines complained of a “tainted view that’s been presented to the public.” I wrote the petition under the penalty of perjury and defended its contents under oath when deposed by Mr. Vines’ attorney. Over 200 members of the 4th District signed the petition under the penalty of perjury and remain disgusted by his actions.
Mr. Vines, on the other hand, has not answered a single question under oath, nor offered a single instance of remorse.