High Files Complaint with SBE

Charlottesville School Board candidate Vance High has filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections over comments made about his candidacy by Charlottesville Electoral Board member Joan Schatzman in a recent Daily Progress article, John Yellig writes in today’s Progress. From the article in question, which covered Saturday’s school board candidate forum:

Some audience members, who had not known much about the board members previously, left with strong impressions.

“I came here to be informed, to educate myself,” said Joan Schatzman, a Charlottesville resident. “I’m drawn toward Leah,” she said, “but I’m repelled by Vance.”

Electoral Board members are appointed based on their partisan affiliation, and there is no speech restriction that accompanies the appointment to the board. The SBE intends to take no action, as there is nothing for them to do. High says that he’s “not trying to void anybody’s First Amendment rights,” but that he thinks it’s unethical for a board member to talk about candidates.

I’m reminded of a candidate for local office several years ago who I blogged about after she was quoted by the Progress making a shockingly uninformed remark at a candidate forum. A year or so ago she discovered the blog entry, and she proceeded to send me vaguely threatening e-mail, demanding that I remove the offending Progress quote. Because I’m not a member of the media, she explained, I have no right to say anything about her or any other candidate for office. I refused, of course, and added her to my bozo filter in my e-mail client; she could be e-mailing me still, for all I know. (She’s taken to calling radio stations on which I’ve been a guest to complain about me being unethical, as evidenced by my heinous offense.)

It sucks being a candidate, because it means that total strangers may, for the duration of your candidacy, say horrible and critical things about you. It’s not much fun, but it comes with the territory, with everybody from Joe Blogger to Electoral Board members weighing in. C’est la vie.

9 Responses to “High Files Complaint with SBE”

  • Vance should not have filed the complaint because it makes him look thin-skinned and thus unprepared for public office and, more important, it drew further attention to a comment that he should have just ignored.

  • It sucks being a candidate, because it means that total strangers may, for the duration of your candidacy, say horrible and critical things about you.

    While I advocate free speech, in practice I think it would be wonderful if we could have a moratorium on criticizing personalities in favor of criticizing policy. The latter has much more substance.

  • From what I understand Vance was the whiner at the forum- something about no podium.
    The fact is Ms Schatzman broke no rule or law, so he needs to let it go.
    And I would vote for her any day. She is head and shoulders above the turkeys we have been electing for the last several elections.
    Run, Joani, run!

  • Joan carried a shotgun on election day to vote. Her picture was in the paper. I think she was trying, as an electoral board member, to show it’s legal to carry firearms to vote. Can regular folks vote while under arms? With such a stunt, how can you take Joan seriously?

    High’s complaint is the accepted method to petition government to make a change. While I may have complained to friends or in a blog or letter to the editor, that doesn’t ensure the subject of the complaint is aware of the grievance with opportunity for redress. In the rare case that the complaint is addressed, the response usually only clairifies the policy.

    Seems there are at least 2 ways to get someone’s attention– display a firearm or write a complaint. Which is the more peaceful way to resolve a conflict?

  • Joan carried a shotgun on election day to vote.

    That is awesome.

  • Joan Schatzman also advocates carrying a concealed weapon and suggested people carry a shank in a rally she attended in NYC. How do people like her get appointed? I applaud vance for running and making an issue about something that has drawn attention to himself and a similar incidence in Fairfax County. He did not get to articulate his positions in the forum. Wasn’t it ask a question and move on… format. That hardly gives any of the candidates an opportunity to say much. From what I’ve read, he wants to address the 35% dropout rate for blacks in the City Schools. I saw him at the recent Poverty Forums sponsored by the Quality Control Council. Where was Joan? With the recently formed Violent Task Force for the City Schools, how can anyone even remotely support Schatzman except for removal from the electoral board and admission to Charlton Heston’s fan club.

  • Stephen, I see that you’ve called for her to be removed from the electoral board but, like Vance High, you haven’t explained on what basis. I feel like I’m missing something. What SBE regulation has she violated?

  • I’m not sure I understand how this is a legitimate reason for calling for someone’s removal –

    Joan Schatzman also advocates carrying a concealed weapon

    Carrying a concealed weapon, when licensed, is a perfectly legal activity, no?

    I don’t understand the correlation between the Violence Task Force and her comments. Please explain.

  • If you had read the story about the NY March you would know that Joan did not advocate carrying a shank-someone else mentioned it.
    I have known Ms Schatzman for many years and she is a good person. And that gratuitous swipe at that great American, Charlton Heston! I too am a NRA member.
    Does it every occur to some of you people that just because there’s a rule saying “No Firearms allowed” somewhere that that would stop someone who meant to shoot up the place? The only ones affected by it are those who obey the rules and would never misuse firearms in the first place.
    Time was when kids could bring guns to school for a hunting trip afterward, locked in a car trunk or stored in the principal’s office. Now its severe penalties for anything a school official wants to call a “weapon”- a nail file maybe? Time was when most boys carried a little pocketknife everywhere and no one saw a problem.
    We have marginalized firearms and hunting , made them seem deviant,anti-social behavior, not PC. Kids grow up associating firearms only with criminals, street gangs, and violent TV shows and games.
    Somwhere I saw a comment that there are no guns in the world of “Leave it to Beaver”. The first season is now out on DVD. Ward Cleaver hunted, a normal part of life. In one episode the Beaver showed great interest in a friend’s father’s gun collection. No one thought he was a disturbed child in need of intervention.
    Clearly what we are doing is not working. Has all this “zero tolerance” stuff made us a safer, more peaceful society? Hell NO!

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