PARKERSBURG - A group of voters discussed the possibility of holding a recall vote for the mayor and city council if the proposed user fee is passed tonight.
Also, two candidates for governor addressed voter concerns, including home rule and the issue of user fees.
Around 40 people came to the Judge Black Annex Monday night to get information on the procedure to conduct a recall election of the mayor and city council members who vote in favor tonight of the $2.50-a-week user fee. The Parkersburg Tea Party handed out information regarding the Parkersburg city code on a recall as well as information on the issue of home rule, which has been brought up locally.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Former West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland addresses members of the Parkersburg Tea Party Monday on the subject of home rule.
Tea Party officials played a recording on YouTube of Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell, listed on the agenda as "Worst Mayor Movie," at a recent city council meeting talking about the amount of issues put on local government to handle and fund without help from the state as well as how local governments are the first to be blamed for problems and other concerns.
The mayor also talked about the possibility of cutting services and personnel if funding is not available.
Sandy Staats, president of the Parkersburg Tea Party, said if the user fee passes, the Tea Party will hold a press conference Wednesday to announce its intention to organize a recall election.
At The Meeting
About 40 people came to the Judge Black Annex Monday night to attend a meeting of the Parkersburg Tea Party and get information on the procedure to conduct a recall election of the mayor and city council members who vote in favor tonight of the $2.50-a-week user fee.
Conservative gubernatorial candidates Betty Ireland and Mark Sorsala spoke to those gathered about their aims in running for governor.
Parkersburg Tea Party officials criticized the notion that groups, such as the tea party, prompted the shooting of a U.S. congresswoman and the murder of people in Arizona over the weekend.
''I really hope it doesn't pass,'' she said.
Staats encouraged everyone to attend the city council meeting with the Tea Party making T-shirts they will have members wear during the meeting signifying their displeasure with the user fee.
City officials have said the fee is needed to maintain needed services.
''When a city is in financial straits, I think it is time to cut back just like you do in a home,'' Staats said. ''You cut back on other things.''
Staats has said a recall mobilization would be organized by city council districts with petitions circulated calling for the recall of the mayor and any city council member who voted in favor of the user fee. She had also talked about getting people registered to vote while going out looking for petition support. There are still issues she is working on in how to organize a recall vote, she said.
Two conservative candidates who plan to run for governor spoke to those in attendance.
Betty Ireland, former secretary of state, spoke about the need to bring the U.S. Constitution back to the people, how bailouts have hurt the American economy and the increasing unwanted federal control over aspects of people's lives. She also talked about living in Charleston and having to deal with a user fee.
''This is the third year and it started at a dollar a week,'' she said. ''That $1 turned to $2 and there is talk of changing it to $3. I don't know where it is going to end.''
Ireland told people to make sure there is a ceiling on it locally and any change needs to be implemented by a vote of the people. She also advises the people to make sure their leaders spell out exactly how that money will be used.
Mark Sorsala, the Putnam County prosecutor, spoke about being unhappy with the direction the state and the country were heading in and about lawmakers passing laws that are unconstitutional just to see if they can get away with it.
''That really bothered me,'' he said. ''You shouldn't run government that way.
''There are many people in government who have lost sight of what the people expect of them.''
It was not addressed during the meeting, but when asked by The Parkersburg News and Sentinel about the issue of whether rhetoric from the national tea party movements might have prompted a gunman in Arizona to kill people and injure a U.S. congresswoman, Staats said the Parkersburg Tea Party was very saddened by the shooting and continues to pray for those affected.
''We are a very peaceful group,'' she said. ''We have never been violent and have never encouraged any kind of violence and never will as long as I am the director of this tea party.''
Staats criticized those in the media and elected officials who politicized something that was not about politics, she said; it was about a crazed and mentally ill individual who harmed people for his own reasons, she said.
''How can they politicize something like the deaths of six good people, including a 9-year-old girl,'' she asked. ''We are concerned citizens that are trying to make our country better and right now we are starting with Parkersburg.''