Bluefield West Virginia passed a ban on dogs deemed to be pit bulls recently. The passage of this law was a travesty to the community. There was no public comment allowed on the date of the first vote and on the date of passage officials allowed comment after the vote.
Residents were not allowed to be heard then but there is an opportunity for them to be heard now.
The board is up for re-election. A news article delves into the candidates, the incumbents and their positions on the ban. The whole article from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph can be viewed here so residents can get a better idea of where the candidates stand on other issues.
A brief over view of positions:
Incumbents: All of the current board members voted for the ban. Board members Whalen, Brammer and Sternloff were interviewed by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. All three stand by the decision to institute the ban.
Opposition: All non-incumbents running for office oppose the ban. Some are against breed discriminatory laws completely, some want to go back to the 2008 law which imposed restrictions on dogs deemed to be pit bulls.
District break down based on positions: Those in favor of the ban are in italics
District one: Incumbent Mary Brammer is being opposed by Rev. Garry D. Moore Sr. and Barbara Thompson Smith. Rev. Moore’s son has a targeted dog, so the issue is a personal one for him. While he is not completely against a breed discriminatory law he is against the ban. Barbara Smith stated she was against breed discrimination completely.
District two: Incumbent Linda Whalen is being challenged by Steven P. Coleman and Ellen Peters Light. Coleman is against the ban but it is unclear if he would be for a complete repeal. He references the 2008 law which placed restrictions on the dogs. Ellen Light has not made any specific statement against the ban but alludes to opposition.
District three: Michael Gibson is running unopposed. As a lawyer, he recognizes the legal problems with it and opposes the ban but not the previous law.
2 at large seats: Incumbent Pete Sternloff, Thomas Cole, Charles McGonagle, Willie C. Hunt and Richard Lee Dillon. Cole and McGonagle are against the ban but support the 2008 restrictions. Hunt was not available to be interviewed. Dillon expressed strong opposition to the ban saying he would immediately vote to overturn it.