PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Community leaders rallied around embattled Portsmouth MayorJames Holley Wednesday, who is facing the second recall election ofhis career.
Last month, a judge certified more than 9,000 signatures fromcitizens asking him to step down. The mayor's supporters are urgingvoters to say 'no' to recalling him on July 13.
"July 13th, just vote no," said Mark Whitaker, a member of thePortsmouth School Board. He led a gathering Wednesday of themayor's supporters at New Bethel Baptist Church.
And Holley was there too.
As the crowd listened, Whitaker called into question the motiveof one of the leaders of the recall effort against MayorHolley--Portsmouth resident Robert Marcus, who owns Bob's Gun shopin Norfolk.
"Mayor Holley's stance on gun control threatens the revenue offirearm dealers like Bob's Gun Shop," said Whitaker.
Marcus said gun sales have nothing to do with the push to removeHolley from office.
"I was approached by two city council members and two localbusinessmen who saw the recall campaign was floundering," hesaid.
Whitaker and others have also pointed to race as a motivatingfactor behind the recall effort.
"Do not allow yourselves to be bamboozled," Whitaker said. "Donot allow yourselves to be hoodwinked. Do not allow yourselves tobe misguided. They are not concerned about this community."
Marcus maintains the color of the mayor's skin has nothing to dowith it.
"It's not black and white," he said. "It's aboutcompetence."
"Bless his heart, the man is 83 years old and he's not as sharpas he used to be, and this is no disrespect to the mayor butsometimes it's time to move on."
In the end, it will be the voters who have the final say.
The Mayor was previously recalled from office in 1987 after hewas implicated, but never convicted, in a hate mail campaign.
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