PAC emerges… and endorses Lunsford
Local citizens recently formed a political action committee dedicated to the rights of crime victims, and less than two weeks before the November 6 election, have made an endorsement in the Albemarle commonwealth's attorney race.
Crime Victims United of Virginia members include downtown businesswoman Joan Fenton (right), who served as chair of the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review and was a City Council candidate in 2002; former Albemarle police officer Karl Mansoor (left), who sued the county in 2000, claiming his free speech rights had been violated when he was ordered to stop criticizing the county; Tim Heaphy, a former federal prosecutor; Roger Mathias, a retired Albemarle cop; and Liz Seccuro, victim of a 1984 rape in a UVA fraternity that became known nationally as the "12-step rape" when her assailant, William Beebe, sent her an apology in 2005.
In endorsing Democrat Denise Lunsford for Albemarle's top prosecutor, Mansoor called the commonwealth's attorney "the most critical" election for crime victims.
Fenton says Crime Victims is bipartisan, and she cites a "culture of fear" in this community. "When I've asked for money, a number of people want to, but don't want to be named," she says.
"I sense a similar culture of fear in the police department," says Mansoor. He says he's talked to former colleagues who say they're dissatisfied with Camblos, but tell him, "I still have to work with the guy."
"I have the endorsement of the Albemarle County Law Enforcement Association, which my opponent asked for," says Camblos. "I have the endorsement of 100 police officers who work with victims daily. I have the endorsement of 1,000 voters in Albemarle County."
Camblos calls the PAC's move "basically an endorsement by five people." He notes that one lives in Connecticut, one lives in the city and is very "liberal," one has had problems with the county police for years, and another has been at every Denise Lunsford public appearance. "So," he asks, "do I think it's nonpartisan?"
The group announced its formation in an October 10 press release and asked the two commonwealth's attorney candidates to respond to a questionnaire by October 25.
"I wasn't going to do anything because I didn't think they were a legal group," says Camblos. He says the group wasn't registered with the State Board of Elections October 23, but he found out they were October 24. The Virginia Public Access Project lists the group as registered October 9.
Camblos also questions why the Albemarle commonwealth's attorney race was the only one the PAC focused on, noting that there are two other prosecutor races in the 16th Circuit, of which Albemarle is a part.
Fenton says the group plans to look at other races in the future– and to use the CVUV website to track the performance of whoever is elected.