Last night something wild happened at the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors meeting. People are going to be talking about it now for the next few weeks and instead of trying to tell you how to think about it, I think you should just watch what happened and judge for yourself.
What the controversy is about is that towards the end of the meeting one of the members of the supervisors presented a resolution to censure Supervisor Vic Ingram in an obviously pre-planned move, as Ingram was taken aback by it and so was Supervisor Farmer, who ended up voting against it.
The resolution denounced Ingram for making “racist” comments about Supervisor Miller, of the Bannister District, who is facing stiff competition for re-election from Jesse Barksdale, who was a former member and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors himself and now wants his seat back. Apparently, during a June meeting, Ingram was displeased with something that Miller did and sent someone a text message calling him “Ray Charles” and “blind Tom.” He was wearing sunglasses at that meeting for a medical condition and at times he uses a walking cane.
Whether that deserves a public censure and to be the topic of a board meeting is for you to judge. Ben Farmer, who voted no, said he is glad to be leaving the board and expressed disappointment at how it conducts itself.
There have been open tensions among the board members in the lead up to the election. A few months ago, Supervisor Scearce openly endorsed Miller on Facebook and then Ingram endorsed Jesse Barksdale within hours, perhaps minutes. In recent weeks one block of Supervisors, who operate on the board under the leadership of Warren, has written editorials endorsing various candidates for election and re-election together. I don’t ever recall that ever happening before in the county nor in the city of Danville.
Recently, Ingram wrote an editorial in the Chatham Star-Tribune listing the candidates he thought people should vote for, including Jesse Barksdale, Darrell Dalton, and Tim Chesher, while expressing opposition to county administrator David Smitherman. It is easy to theorize that the censure resolution was in part a punishment for this act and also a way to try to help Miller in his race, because they are censoring him now, one week after his editorial, while his text messages calling Miller names were made back in June.
Whatever the case, all of the controversy took place around the 54 minute mark of this video, so you can watch and judge for yourself. Come up with your own opinion.
This is a breaking story. The Chatham Star-Tribune did an article on this Tuesday night and in it said that it will be updated Wednesday at 10:30 AM. Hopefully it will have more information and comments from the various supervisors.
Update: here are the text messages, released by the Pittsylvania County government: