“WONDERING IF AUNT JEMIMA WILL CHANGE TO UNCLE TOM’S?”
Loudoun County Treasurer Roger Zurn last Wednesday quickly posted then deleted the social media post quoted above, responding to the news that the Quaker Oats Company will revamp its image on Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mixes. Zurn apologized, calling it “an error in judgment.”
Local groups roundly criticized the remark; the Loudoun NAACP chapter said, “We advise Mr. Zurn and other elected officials that not everything needs a hot take or clever comment from them . . . . listening to communities directly impacted by systemic racism, who we would remind them are also their constituents, would serve them better. We look forward to Mr. Zurn joining our [NAACP] meeting in July.”
The chair of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee added, “This is not the first time Mr. Zurn has posted racially discriminatory comments on Facebook. On March 27, Mr. Zurn posted ‘China has released the names of the first two people to contract Coronavirus. Sum Ting Wong, Ho Lee Fuk.” WTF we say. It is more than unbecoming or bad taste for elected official charged with the best interest of all constituents in mind. The posted comments are both trite and humorless. Except, perhaps, of course, in the poster’s circles. The memes used equally offend persons of color and of Oriental descent, erasing any vestige of respect and integrity claimed by an elected office holder.
If Treasurer Zurn admits an error in judgment about social comments, can the taxpayers of Loudoun have confidence in his financial acumen? Or are Republicans feeling this suicidal these days?
PRINCE WILLIAM-MANASSAS JAIL BOARD TO END AGREEMENT WITH ICE
The program was championed by former Board of County Supervisors chairman Corey A. Stewart, positing the Virginia community as a national symbol of hard-line immigration enforcement. While some argued for keeping the agreement in place, the county police chief stated, “I’m not seeing any hard data where the . . . program has been shown to be the direct cause of any measurable crime reduction.” The agreement will expire June 30.
The Board meeting was not without acrimony, reflecting the political sea change promoting a more blue county in the once-rural and overwhelmingly white jurisdiction; now, Latinos, African Americans, and Asians make up a majority of its 470,000 residents.
According to Stephen Farnsworth, political science professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, “Clearly, the era of Corey Stewart in Prince William County is over, and it’s over with a vengeance.”
ALEXANDRIA IMPOSES NEW GUN RESTRICTIONS; OTHER LOCALITIES CONSIDERING ACTION
On June 20, the Alexandria City Council passed a law that beginning July 1, bans guns on city property and streets where special events are being held, making it the first Virginia jurisdiction to take advantage of laws passed in this year’s General Assembly session tightening gun restrictions and allowing localities to do so on their own. A forerunner of action by others? Several pieces of legislation from Richmond were signed into law by the governor, including SB 35 and HB 421, which allow localities to regulate firearms in public buildings, parks, recreation centers, and during permitted events.
In addition, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has directed its staff to begin preparation for measures to anticipate how gun legislation passed this year will or could affect the county.
And the mayor of Hampton recently said that the city is considering a crack down on the “open carrying” of firearms at its libraries and parks, as well as at festivals that require city permits.
Though guns in Virginia are overwhelmingly carried concealed, those who “open carry” typically wear their handguns holstered on their hips — or in the case of a rifle, slung over their shoulder or on their backs. Officials appreciate that open carry alarms other residents. There is a clear difference in quality from openly carrying the American flag and an American AR-15.