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Isle of Wight NAACP leader calls for supervisor’s resignation

Published 12:24pm Saturday, May 18, 2013

BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Playback58@gmail.com

What do you think of IW supervisor Buzz Bailey's comments during a recent budget work session?

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ISLE OF WIGHT—Dottie Harris of Smithfield is not laughing.

As president of the Isle of Wight County Chapter of the NAACP, she called for Isle of Wight Supervisor Byron “Buzz” Bailey’s resignation during the public comment section of the supervisors’ regular Thursday meeting. He was not present then owing to a pre-scheduled absence. Her demand comes in the wake of a remark Bailey made during a budget work session on Monday.

“I guess we could be like Washington and print some money here in Isle of Wight County,” he said. “Save the Confederate money; the South will rise again.”

In response there was much laughter from many people in the room. Reportedly, though, School Superintendent Katrise Perera left after hearing the comment. A message was left with her secretary on Friday seeking confirmation.

At the time Bailey made his remark, the board was hearing requests from department heads for more money in the proposed fiscal year 2013-14 budget, which is $96.7 million. Earlier, for example, a Sheriff’s Department representative asked for an extra $145,000 to its proposed $3.8 million budget.

“I want to fund everybody, but you’ve only got so much money,” Bailey said.

His remark about printing money was not the only issue Harris has with him. She told the board she got a copy of a letter that Bailey sent to school board member Herb DeGroft of the Hardy District.

Harris dictated the letter over the phone to The Tidewater News on Friday morning. The newspaper also obtained a copy to confirm what was written. To begin with, Bailey wrote:

“First of all the comment about confederate money was a joke. It was meant to emphasize that IOW County was as short of money as the confederacy. If I offended Mrs. Perera or Mrs. [Denise] Tynes, I apologize. It was not my intention….I am sorry my comment was taken out of context. Wasn’t meant to be a comment to offend anyone.”

That was not enough for Harris, who said Bailey’s remark at the meeting was also “deeply hurtful to us,” specifically referring to African-Americans of Isle of Wight County. She questioned the sincerity of that written apology, adding she also wants him to make one publicly.

Harris told the newspaper it was “not a joking matter. He should have more tact in things that he says.”

She also said to the newspaper that several people handed her a copy of the letter, but declined to name them.

In addition to speaking on Bailey’s comment and letter, Harris presented board members with copies of forwarded emailed jokes. Most of them are about President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, and could be considered offensive. Some of these items date back to October and November 2012, others to March of this year. Bailey’s personal email address appears to be one source that has relayed the items to the personal e-mails of other board members and county staff.

In a copy of the emails that was given to the newspaper after the meeting, the cover page had the following:

From: help_iow@yahoo.com

Subject: The South Shall Rise Again…

Date: 05/16/2013 02:55 PM

To: neal6@myway.com

Attachments: IOW County jokes.pdf(1.8 MB)

http://wtkr.com/2013/05/13/iow-elected-official-save-the-confederate-money-the-south-will-rise-again/

“Is this funny to you? Note the sender and recipients. Please send this to anyone that you can think of. They have to expose this garbage!!! Thank you!”

Answering from out of the county in regard to Harris’ demand, DeGroft said Bailey sent him the apology letter via email, which was copied to all to other school board members. But doesn’t know how it went beyond them to come into Harris’s hands.

“People interpret things in their own fashion,” DeGroft said about the remark. “I think it’s regrettable about the ‘South rising again,’ that’s what really affected this.”

He said he was unaware of the specific printed items that were handed out at the meeting.

Calls were made to Bailey’s home and office numbers on Friday on this resignation demand and the printed jokes.

Harris told the newspaper she originally got the copy of the emails from Smithfield District Denise Tynes of the school board, adding that Tynes said she received it in the mail with no return address.

If Bailey does not resign, Harris said to the board, she would seek a recall election. She told the newspaper she’s contacted state and national chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People about the matter.

  • Liberty With Responsibility

    We are doing exactly what our Founding Fathers said to do—jealously guard our Liberties for future generations. That means we stand guard, on alert against the abuses of power and be vigilant for examples such as this IRS disgrace. Tea Party personnel did NOT learn of this from the media. Even local chapters were already aware of this abuse, well before any media reports surfaced, having to “suck it up” for two years in a media blackout! Those who want to lay back and let everthing roll downhill are reaping benefits of those who defend this country from deterioration, and it seems people like you are winning in seeing our Liberty collapse, so congratulations to you and yours.

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    • toofunny

      Again, I didn’t hear an answer :-) That speaks volumes, thanks.

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  • toofunny

    Liberty with Responsibility – “Pathetic response. Have you not heard of the recent IRS conspiracy to target and handicap conservative groups like the Tea Party and other Patriotic groups for two years running? Pay attention to your country for once!”

    Actually, I did hear something about that. Guess where? The media!!!! Why are all conservatives such conspiracy nuts?

    Also, you didn’t answer my question.

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  • Masknup

    THe NAACP is a joke. Whenever black people are constantly calling themselves the so called dreaded “N” word, you never hear a peep out of them. Whenever a person of ANY other race is called a “racial slur” you never hear them speak out. That is quite frankly why I dont even pay anything they say to mind. They are the epitome to screaming “FIRE” in a crowded theatre knowing dang well there is no fire. Just another shakedown organization to get something for nothing.

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  • FromHere

    Go to the Letters to the Editor and read Mr. Bailey’s letter. That should put an end to this. Shame he had to write it.

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  • FromHere

    Was there any resolution to the budget problem at this meeting? Or did Harris understand that’s what the meeting was about?

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  • FromHere

    I agree, DryRain. If the comment had been a joke about white people, you never would have heard a word about it. When do we get a national organization to take offense to every comment made about other races? But, then again, I’m white and I don’t need one. I don’t care what people call me. I know who I am. I also know I wasn’t in the Civil War, I was never a slave, I’ve never owned one, so, therefore, I don’t have any problem with what people say. I do agree slavery was wrong, but somehow, all these years later, I just can’t undo it. All I can do is move on.

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  • DryRain

    So why didn’t the NAACP say something about Councilman MacLemore when he started going off on white people. Does the NAACP operate on double standards as they have accused whites of doing. I could go on and on about what is wrong with this picture but we all know racism when we see it, whether it is a white saying it or a black saying it. I sure wish I could tell what I have heard members of black organizations have said behind closed doors. Maybe I will one day, after all it seems to be fair game for the NAACP.

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  • skooch

    I am guessing that all you folks claiming his E-Mails are racist have seen the content of them? If so where did you get them and for that matter how did the NAACP get them?Does anyone know?

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    • toofunny

      So you don’t believe the multiple media reports on this? Why is it that conservatives see conspiracies everywhere?

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      • Liberty With Responsibility

        Pathetic response. Have you not heard of the recent IRS conspiracy to target and handicap conservative groups like the Tea Party and other Patriotic groups for two years running? Pay attention to your country for once!

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  • Liberty With Responsibility

    We are assuming these emails are racist, just because the media says they are! I don’t trust them to decide what is racist language or not. Period. I want to see these so called racist emails for myself to judge, not liberal leftist voting media elites with an axe to grind. Don’t accept everything they tell you. Dig?

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  • happycamper

    This is the most ridiculous commentary I’ve seen in a long while. There was NOTHING racist about the comment made by Mr. Bailey. I’m sorry he felt the need to apologize. The meeting was about MONEY! His joke was about MONEY.

    I’m sorry Mrs. Harris, but YOU’RE the one who is out of line here. We must all learn to get beyond the rhetoric that is forced upon us by folks who just want to stir the pot. The comment made was not crude. It was not tactless. It was a joke about the fact that old Confederate money having more value that the dollars printed in Washington.

    Political correctness is going to be the downfall of our society.

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    • toofunny

      You obviously don’t understand that people are not upset about his comment at the meeting. People are upset about the racist e-mails he thought were funny enough to distribute.

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      • movingrightalong

        I thought the School Superintendent walked out of the meeting after the comment??

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    • Liberty With Responsibility

      “Political correctness is going to be the downfall of our society.”

      It already is. Just look around us.

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  • Makalani

    RE: “Save the Confederate money; the South will rise again.”

    As an IOW Supervisor — Mr. Bailey should be cerebral enough to conduct himself in a manner befitting a public servant/representative of ALL of his constituents. The above “crude joke” does not meet this standard. Citizens don’t expect ethnic slurs – expletives – other inappropriate language or “crude jokes” from their representatives during public meetings and in their public utterances. Mrs. Harris’ and Mrs. Perera’s anger was/is certainly justified.

    As a presumably educated – intelligent person – Mr. Bailey could have said “funny $$ – counterfeit $$ or Monopoly $$” to make his point. Apparently — the Civil War and Confederate $$ was in the forefront of his consciousness — 148 years after the fact!

    My grandfather was wont to say: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!”

    Many White people are quick to advise Black people to “get over it” — slavery/Jim Crow/separate but equal!

    When are many White people – apparently like Mr. Bailey – going to “get over it” — losing the Civil War? Shouldn’t they lead by example?

    Resign? NO! From the comments herein – that would not be fair to the majority of his constituents who apparently support him and agree with his insensitivity!

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  • FromHere

    toofunny, I may be many things, but a racist I am not. I just don’t have time to take offense to every little thing that people say. I have a life to live and what people call me, say to me is basically irrelevant because I treat everybody as best as I can and try to do what’s right. I am unable to change history, but have intelligence enough to understand that it was not all good but it’s called history for a reason. It’s in the past. If I took offense to everything somebody said “off the cuff”, I’d waste half my life pouting. Life is much better if you work as hard to be happy as you do to be a troublemaker.

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    • toofunny

      No one has said you are a racist. I am saying that if Buzz Bailey views his little e-mails as funny enough to pass along to lots of other people, there is some seed of racist thought there. Those e-mails are tacky and distasteful because their humor lies in racial stereotyping. That is not the type of person I want representing me. Fortunately, we live in a democracy and if others feel the same way as I do, they will vote him out of office next time. If they don’t, then he will be reelected. Unless Mr. Bailey broke a specific law, then it is up to him whether or not he thinks he should resign.

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  • bigbarrett

    This is much to do about “NOTHING”,the CLOWN from WAVY T V needs to stick to chasing cars going to fast through subdivisions.Insted he would rather stoke the RACE fire that makes people say WO IS ME,I’m being picked on,let it go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • toofunny

    Again, I am SHOCKED by the ignorant comments in this story. Tidewater News, are these the people you want reading your paper? As someone who actually lives in Mr. Bailey’s district, I don’t want someone with his views on race that he finds “amusing” enough to share with others representing me. Sorry.

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    • FromHere

      Well, at least Harris has one fan. And Bailey said nothing that is shocking. A total overreaction of the whole comment he made and for an absolutely ridiculous reason.

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      • toofunny

        Racists rarely view the comments they or others make as offensive.

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  • SUBDOC03

    I agree with many. I am sick and tired of the race card being tossed around whenever it seems convenient for the black race. You talk about being UNEDUCATED. Blacks were slaves under the U.S. flag first. Blacks owned blacks and sold them to whites. So, get the stories straight! Why are you so mad at us. You all keep holding onto this uneducated anger. Take that anger and do something useful with it. Get rid of the violent rap music, the guns associated with drugs, pull the pants up, stop referring to each using the “N-word,”, etc. It is the black race who will not let go and move on. I’ve worked my ass off since I was a child, lived on the streets, ran away from home when I was twelve, etc. I had the choice of crying, “Pity am I -OR- do something positive in my life. I chose the latter. — To have someone resign because of a comment which you interpret as racist is ignorant. You should resign for inciting hate within the county, which is a form of bullying. By the way, when is the last time when you have driven your car in a white neighborhood and compared it to a black neighborhood. You tell me which one has made the choice of taking advantage of what life has to offer. Also, why don’t you do a search for blacks who served during the confederacy and contact them. They are so proud of their contributions during the confederacy and I am VERY proud of them. Yes, I am white, a caucasian, a cracker or whatever else you want to call me. Do I see color? Absolutely! But it is the behavior behind the color that I judge; Not the color! You. Mrs. Harris, are so off-track and way over your head here. Do I want you to resign? No, just learn from your ignorance and the lessons you learn from this forum of comments. If you noticed, you’re not looking to positive here.

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  • FromHere

    OH, and somebody commented they were surprised the TN hadn’t removed the comments. Well, if somebody had offended someone of any other race, it wouldn’t have been removed, so why should this one?

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  • FromHere

    I commented first and I’m glad to see everybody else thinks what happened is as stupid as I do.

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  • momto2Js

    Should have been the joke, not they.

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  • momto2Js

    Yes they joke was tactless, but people need to stop looking for racism everywhere. And how did she get hold of personal emails? What I send out on my personal email is nobody else’s business and if you get offended by reading something not addressed to you, then so be it. People need to mind their own business. Blacks make jokes about whites (crackers) all the time, but it’s not considered racist. That street runs both ways!

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  • skooch

    Resign over a joke about the South rising again? Come on!This is just the NAACP trying to stay relevant. They have outlived their usefulness and look for any excuse to bring up racism.

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  • teeconnelly

    Anything to go around the actual issues. People make remarks that are not right, ok, that’s life, move on. But if most people took as much interest in the actual school budget and how much was spent on things Isle of Wight could not afford, like new company cars, as much as stupid words that were said, the school system may be in a better place. Buck it up woman, you are professtionals, move on. Also, I’m sure if the Superintendent is already being considered for a new job in Florida, she applied before this comment was ever made!! I think she was a little over her head. Check out the Corporate world, if you don’t have the money in your budget, you can’t spend it then cry for more money. Let’s make sure we have funds to pay teachers first!!!! before the Superintent gets a new car to drive around in. As far as jokes about Obama, I can’t remember a President they didn’t make jokes about or come out and call stupid, but somehow if jokes are made about the Obamas, it’s consider racist.

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  • artisstan

    A historical reminder for those who still have not learned what happened the last time the South “rose”: Meade,Chamberlain, Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. Rise, South! Rise!

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  • itsalwayssomething

    kick Charlie Daniels out of country music while you’re at it, because “The South’s gonna do it again”.

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  • babybel

    If Mrs. Harris is upset with Mr. Baily, so be it. She also needs to be mad at Herb DeGroft who sent the original email to Baily. She doen’t need to be a hypocrit. All of this is a distraction from the real problems that are present with the BOS and the IOWC School Board. It will take years to recover from the damage this board and Perera have created. Perera was not prepared to be a superintendent and that has nothing to do with her gender or race. She needs to go. By the way, go on line and see her application. Very embellished. She probably plagarized that too! So no more poor Ms. Perera. She is using this incident to further her career.

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  • laacfa7

    Maybe the offended need to get a library card and learn the “true” history of the South they live in and get offended by!
    Here are a few facts
    The civil war was Never over slavery!
    If you live in the South learn it’s Heritage Not Hate!
    All history is important but Never I have heard a mention of Confederate History & Heritage month which is April.
    There is also not one month given to any other “race” to learn about any of the other nationalities that make up our country. I believe that’s called segregation when one month is all that’s given to any history and yet there is also no history given of the Native Americans !
    Let’s face it… people will be offended if he want to be or just looking for some attention.
    Well you have my attention
    And my intention is to celebrate my history and heritage I suggest everyone learn the facts and stop living in the past by learning mutual respect for each other and for those that died defending their homes families and way of life!

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    • laacfa7

      please excuse typos
      thank you

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    • chilimac72

      The Civil War was fought over slavery. Stop denying the fact. Oh wait, no it was for state’s rights… to have slaves. There was no other issue that Congress was fighting over that caused the secession. I live in the south, I frequently study the events that led to the war, I believe in state over federal rights and I believe you are wrong. Now the belief that we must move on from the poor decisions of our forefathers is a true statement. The average Southerner fighting in the war was not fighting for slavery, but secession was because of slavery and therefore the cause of the war. To continue to deny the truth keeps this nation from being able to move on.

      To recognize any race, heritage, ethnic group… once a year during “their month” is to minimize the role that group had in the development of this nation. There is no need to focus “only during their month” so why then should we minimize Confederate History to one month?

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    • cscj27980

      Since you’re so well read, why don’t you know that May is Asian-Pacific Heritage month, September 15-October 15 Hispanic Heritage month, and November is Native American Heritage month?

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  • toofunny

    I am so surprised at the TN for allowing all of these racist remaks to remain posted in response to this article.

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  • Sedley Sam

    The NAACP has nothing to do with the CSA or its money. The CSA never went around harming “colored” people. Maybe Dottie and the NAACP have the CSA confused with the KKK?

    Get over it!!!! “colored” people have every opportunity and avenue to “advance” themselves already and it’s noone elses fault but his/her own if he/she doesn’t!!

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  • stirit

    Good God, get over it! I am so tired of hearing the Blacks whine about someone being a racist. If anything it is getting to be the other way around. Thanks to the White people Blacks are in charge of running just about every Agency in IOW.

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  • Typhoon

    Poor Dottie she was offended boo hoo, Come on grow up. She is the kind of person that sets around waiting for someone to say or write something and then she can jump in and cause a disturbance. Oh yes those confederate dollars are worthless.

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  • FromHere

    And THIS is part of why racism will never go away. People are just waiting at the starting line for the gun to go off so they can take offense and run with it. I don’t know why people don’t understand that just taking something at face value and not making a big deal over it (1) causes a lot less trouble (2) prevents a lot of unnecessary anger (3) and just makes for happier people. I have never ever once in my entire lifetime been offended over a comment that could even remotely be construed as a racial comment towards me. I simple don’t care. I know who I am, I don’t have time for the trouble it takes to be mad and offended and I know I’ll end up with the worst end of it because of the effort it takes to be mad all the time. People need to grow up, move on and get a life. Oh, and by the way, in case there’s anybody out there that hasn’t realized this . . . the Civil War was over in 1865. Sadly, we don’t get a “do-over” so we just need to “get over”.

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