Schilling's story borders on libel

Rob Schilling's article [August 25 essay: "Game over: Whites 2, blacks 0 in Democrats' firehouse primary"] is not only factually inaccurate, but it verges on libelous. The Democratic Party has had extensive discussions about how to involve underrepresented groups in City governance. I know, because as co-chair of the Tonsler district I have been at those meetings.

Here are some facts: Members of underrepresented groups were actively encouraged to run for City Council. Candidates were given equal access to Dem resources. All presented their platforms and answered questions at an advertised public meeting sponsored by Charlottesville Tomorrow in partnership with the Daily Progress. The firehouse primary was held at a central location, the date was highly advertised, and voting hours were extended to maximize participation. Dems were walking the streets in all neighborhoods to encourage voter participation. The ballots were counted using a statistically proven method to ensure a majority vote.

We are to believe that Dems should select a "successor to the 'black crown' on City Council" regardless of a democratic procedure, and that there can only be "one sitting black Democrat at a time" presumably regardless of who wins an election. It also seems that male black candidates are not "willing to capitulate," so only black females need apply (an insult to black women).

To state that a black candidate should win based on "one-of-a-few votes on (nearly) every ballot" circumvents the democratic process. Moreover, to state that [incumbent clerk Paul] "Garrett's ouster will heap gasoline onto an already raging fire" conveniently overlooks the fact that a minority woman won that nomination.

To call this a "racially engineered" election says much about Mr. Schilling's sense of entitlement and the back-room tactics he advocates. Perhaps he should instead focus on getting more members of underrepresented groups to participate in the political process.

Patricia Eldredge