Portsmouth, Va. – Tensions are high in the City of Portsmouth.
A petition to recall Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright has gained momentum.
“We’re at 90 percent of the way and we’re just going to redouble our efforts,” says Robert Marcus, a petition organizer and owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk.
Marcus says they collected 2,184 signatures at precincts across Portsmouth on Tuesday.
With an additional 300 to 400 signatures, Marcus says they will take the petitions to Circuit Court.
From there, he says he hopes a judge will instruct the City Registrar to verify the signatures and determine that a recall is in order. Marcus says Mayor Wright would have five days to resign or face a recall vote by the citizens.
“We are a city in crisis,” he says. “If the electorate continues to return people of this nature to city council we are going to keep having what we have.”
Meanwhile, Portsmouth City Council is in a battle of its own.
Councilman Bill Moody says a second council member, Danny Meeks, is facing a $1,500 fine for speaking about a topic discussed in closed session, which is against city rules as of September 2015.
Moody paid that same fine back in December for posting on Facebook about the city’s Confederate monument.
“Unless it has to do with a personnel issue or the contract that the city is involved in, other than those couple of things, I think government should be transparent,” he says. “I think fining members of council for communicating with the public is not good, it’s not a healthy situation and it needs to end.”
NewsChannel 3 reached out to Mayor Wright about both matters. He responded in a text message saying he is not at liberty to discuss personnel matters pertaining to Mr. Meeks.
However, in response to the petitions, he says, “We are extremely pleased with the progress that the City of Portsmouth has made over the last six years! I encourage all of our citizens to continue working together for the greater good! We have a bright future and our strength lies within our diversity!”
Councilman Meeks did not return NewsChannel 3’s calls for comment.