Note: Exclusive to The Schilling Show, following is an open letter to Charlottesville voters from independent candidate for Clerk of Court, Pam Melampy:
Dear Charlottesville Voters~
Due to the media response following the Democratic Primary I felt the need to write to you the voters of Charlottesville to explain a few things that may be unclear about me and my “integrity”.
For 22 years I have served as a Deputy Clerk in both the General District and Circuit Courts. The term for the Charlottesville Circuit Court is up and available in the November 2011 General Election.
After first speaking with Jim Nix (co-chairman of the Democratic Party) and a couple of local attorneys regarding whether or not Paul Garret would be running again, and my interest in this position, I was given a thumbs up to go ahead and consider to run. After careful consideration and the verbal backing of some attorneys I met with Jim Nix and signed the Democratic Candidacy form and submitted my check for $250.00 to the Democratic Party. I had never ever been involved in any political race but because of the great response that I was receiving from the people that I had discussed my intentions with I felt good about becoming involved in the political scene! What an eye opener that has turned out to be!
Once I had signed the Declaration form for the Democratic Party and submitted my $250.00 check I never heard anything else from the Democratic Committee members or the few local attorneys that I had felt supported me in the beginning. I did however speak with Llzelle Dugger to let her know of my intentions when she informed me that she had decided that she was going to run as well. She told me that she would be announcing within the next month but still had some more “signatures” to get first. I hung up the phone wondering what she needed signatures for? That is when I decided that maybe I should be gathering signatures as well; so that is when I started also to obtain signatures.
I want to first let everyone know that I am in no way a professional politician. I was only competing for a position for a job that I had been doing most of my adult career. I am a native of Charlottesville; born in the now “old” Martha Jefferson Hospital and living in the Charlottesville area my entire life; having graduated from Charlottesville High School.
Yes, I do work under my sister, Debbie Shipp, Clerk of the Albemarle Circuit Court. What the citizens are failing to be told is that I also worked along with her for 14 years as we were both Deputy Clerks.
No, I don’t have a law degree. What I do have is something far better for the position for which I intend on running for, which is EXPERIENCE.
I have worked for over 22 years in the clerk’s office in every department that there is so I do have the knowledge and the experience to know what goes on in this office and the procedures involved in the day to day functions.
After submitting my Declaration for the Democratic Party nomination form and my $250.00 check I then found out that Mr. Garrett was also going to run and my supporters that I once felt that I had were now backing another candidate that had decided a month from my announcement to run as well.
I was now basically on my own; involved in a race in which I was completely new to, but I have always been one to give everything that I do 100% and fight until the end! If the Democratic committee would have been honest with me from the beginning and would have told me that they were considering another individual to support as their choice candidate then I would have clearly stepped aside and run as an Independent and would have saved my $250.00 toward my campaign fund.
I would see this thing through with or without the supporters that I once thought that I had. If I had one thing going for me it was my experience. I do know the duties inside and out of the clerk’s office as that has been my life.
With the help of a few family members I proceeded to attempt to run a campaign. I had no idea that I would be fighting an uphill battle with a Democratic Party that was controlled by a few prominent members of the city. I guess you can say that I learned all this the hard way but in a way that I will never ever forget.
As far as forums, there was only one forum held for the Clerk of Court.
With a position that pays $112,000.00 a year don’t the citizens of Charlottesville have the right to decide which candidates truly have the knowledge of the duties and responsibilities that the Clerk of Court has? The one forum that we did have conveniently was held the Saturday after an article appeared in The Daily Progress regarding the past audits of both the Charlottesville Circuit Court and the Albemarle Circuit Court which the mediator addressed first putting Mr. Garrett and myself in a negative environment from the beginning.
I raised the least amount of donations of the 3 candidates that were running for Clerk of Court. I did not have supporters who were shelling out $2,500.00 checks to me. I would never even think of asking for this amount of money for a local Clerk of Court race. What I did have was a prominent named attorney here in town writing blogs online in the area papers and TV stations and on Face book, questioning my financial reports and their accuracy. Yes, you can check it out for yourself.
Ron Wiley, a/k/a “RangeRon” made several negative statements and blogs pertaining to my knowledge and truthfulness. Later I found out that he was also a member of the notorious Democratic Committee who helped out with the “Unassembled Caucus” and helped to count the votes that night. In my opinion a committee member should not publicly support or publicly try to discredit another Democratic candidate prior to the Unassembled Caucus.
I find this to be very unethical especially for an attorney in our local community and a member of the Democratic Committee. And they question “my” integrity?!
The Democratic “Unassembled Caucus” was held on Saturday, August 20th and I did not win the Democratic Nomination. It never surprised me at all as my deck of playing cards had been stacked against me before the first hand was ever dealt out. I felt as if the Democratic Committee members had only used me as a pawn in a chess game to gently and quietly slide Paul Garrett out of a position that he had held for over 30 years. I feel as if the Democratic Committee used me to obtain my signature on their declaration form so that they could corner the market as to who their possible opponents would be in the upcoming November election. I felt as if they already had their candidate of choice waiting in the wings to uproot Mr. Garrett.
My feeling of defeat was a huge and emotional low blow. I can only imagine the hurt and deceit that Mr. Garrett must have felt.
Now I have decided to run as an Independent Candidate for the upcoming November Election. I have read the articles concerning my credibility since I had previously signed the Democratic Declaration saying that I would support the Democratic Nominee in the next election.
Yes, I did sign the Declaration.
Yes, I know exactly what it said.
Yes, I am still running as an Independent Candidate.
Why am I still running you may ask?
I am running now because of my EXPERIENCE. The experience that I have in the Clerk’s office and the experience that I just went through with the “prominent” inner circle from the Democratic Committee members who try to control the one right that we should all have – the right to VOTE for who we want to VOTE for! I felt as if I never had the support from the Democratic Committee once I had pledged to run on their ticket. Why should I feel any disloyalty to them now that I have chosen to run as an Independent?
Over the course of my campaign trail I can honestly say that I have met many, many wonderful DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS and INDEPENDENTS and have come out with one conclusion- “We ALL bleed red”.
Hopefully I will get by to see some you during my remaining weeks of my campaign, but if not, I just wanted everyone to know my side of the story and the truth about what has made me decide to run as an Independent in the upcoming November Election
I do have the future of your Clerk’s office at my best and sincere interest. I am trustworthy and dependable and extremely knowledgeable about your Clerk’s office.
I was naive the first time around but now I am a more “seasoned” and wiser player of the game.
Thanks for taking your time to hear me out~
Independent Candidate for Charlottesville Circuit Court Clerk