IW supervisor makes apologies, intends to stay in office

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

To the Editor,

I just wanted to write a letter of explanation and apologize to every person who was offended by my reference to: “Save your Confederate money, the South will rise again” and a couple of emails forwarded (not originated) by me.

All these email jokes were hurtful in retrospect and I am sorry. At 73 years old, I have to admit that I am “computer illiterate” and the emails went to people I didn’t intend to. I am not a politician and never want to be so sometimes I speak before I think. However, I am a champion for the low- to moderate-income citizen, the elderly who are living on fixed incomes, the people on social security, the folks who because of sequestration have lost 20 percent of their incomes and anyone else in the county who is struggling to make ends meet.

I would like to address Mrs. [Dottie] Harris and commend her for her work with the NAACP. I extend my personal apology to her. Mrs. Harris, we are on the same side. I was brought up Catholic along with five sisters, and as I’m sure you know we never had segregated churches or schools. My family was the first (that I know of) Catholic family to move here.

When the KKK was burning crosses they were also killing Catholic priests and bishops as well. I have been and will continue to be one of the best friends the African-American community has ever had. I have built more houses for low- to moderate-income citizens than anyone in IOW. In the 1950s my father hired the first African- American car salesman in the Tidewater area. He was Mr. Willie James Hill and a prominent member of the NAACP at the time. In the early 1970s, I hired the first African-American realtor in IOW, Mr. James Moton.

As far as Ms. [Katrise] Perera is concerned, I am delighted that an African-American female has the job. All I ask is that she does it well. This whole episode was a distraction to take the pressure off of her overspending, her budget last and asking for more money this year. If the citizens want to see a well-run county and school board, pull up Gloucester County.com. They have 500 more students and 20 percent less spending!

The Daily Press had Ms. [JoAnn] Hall’s comments about my forwarded emails. Let me clarify something. Ms. Hall stated that she and Mr. [Mark] Popovich discussed their concerns in the fall. I ask you, why hasn’t she or Mr. Popovich ever contacted me about their concern? They were concerned since the fall? To date, she has not contacted me even thought she states in The Daily Press: “The Board of Supervisors does not condone this. That’s what we need to figure out.” My response is: When do we figure it out if you don’t contact me?

An Episcopalian minister once told me that going to the church does not make one a Christian just as walking into a garage does not make one a car. Receiving and sending controversial emails does not make one a racist. It’s all about what you DO with your life, and I entered politics to do some good for as many people as I can. I think I have done a good job by holding down taxes and expenses and will continue my efforts for all concerned for the rest of my term.

Byron “Buzz” Bailey
Carrollton, Va.