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NC county commissioner slurs dead son of fellow commissioner

Timothy Kincaid

December 17th, 2009

bill jamesBill James is a member of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, serving as representative for the suburbs of Charlotte, NC. He considers himself a conservative Republican, attends an evangelical church, and sends his kids to a private Christian school.

Bill James is also an insensitive jerk on a colossal scale.

Last night the Mecklenburg commissioners voted 6 – 3 to provide benefits to the same-sex partners of gay employees in the same way that they do for their heterosexual employees. In the debate one commissioner, Velma Leake spoke passionately about a personal connection she had to the issue. (WFAE)

After about 90 minutes of debate, Commissioner Vilma Leake spoke up for the first time in support of extending benefits to the same-sex spouses of gay employees.

She invoked the memory of her son.

“…And to think about, one, that I had a son that I birthed that I died of AIDS, and I did not know that in 2010 I would be sitting here to defend that process and his lifestyle, so I stand gloriously to vote for this issue….:

Then, a smiling Bill James leaned over and spoke to Leake.

“Your son was a homo, really?” James said.

Most people – well, all decent people who are not raging a$$holes – having realized that they had used a slur in speaking of the dead child of another human being, would have been remorseful and conciliatory. Most people strive to go through life without intentionally causing pain to others or gleefully delighting in the harm they leave in their wake.

Bill James is not most people.

In response to the controversy, James emailed the following statement to a local station:

Vilma is a religious hypocrite.

She was married to a Bishop in the AME Zion church. A church that has historically opposed homosexuality.

She used her son\’s ‘lifestyle\’ and his death from HIV-AIDS to justify in public voting for benefits to allow more individuals to use tax dollars to engage in the very behavior that resulted in her son\’s death.

It is akin to someone whose son is an alcoholic and died from the disease, using his death from drinking as justification to have the taxpayers pay for more booze.

Her position was that her ‘faith\’ demanded that she do this to support her son and his ‘lifestyle\’ which she acknowledges killed him.

Since she didn\’t define what ‘lifestyle\’ she was referring to, so I asked her. Asking the question is completely legitimate since she used him as the basis for explaining her public vote.

Her response to me was threaten violence. This is also nothing new for Vilma as she did that on the School Board as well.

Leake: “Don’t make me hurt you. Don’t do that to me. Don’t talk to me about my son.”

Well, with all due respect to Ms. Leake – if she didn\’t want to talk about her son then why did she use his death from his ‘lifestyle\’ contracting HIV/AIDS as the public justification for spending tax dollars to support the very behavior that killed her son.

I have nothing more to say about Bill James.



December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Worst persons nominee.

December 17th, 2009 | LINK

“Worst Person” – exactly. This one just screams for an Olbermann WPITW award tonight.

How ironic he tries to smear Leake as a “religious hypocrite”

December 17th, 2009 | LINK

I could care less whether she is a “religious hypocrite” or not. That’s between her and God. This is about CIVIL law, not religious. Once again we see a social con who just doesn’t get it and mixes the two, perverting the very Constitution they took an oath to uphold.

December 17th, 2009 | LINK

That’s disgusting. That he would attack a woman and the memory of her dead son. It’s ridiculous. Is there a challenge to his authority, or his position?

Christopher Waldrop
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

If Leake really did “threaten violence” as James claims (and even according to his own claim all she said was, “Don’t make me hurt you”, which was very non-specific and not an actual threat), that doesn’t justify him launching a personal attack on her in which he calls her a “religious hypocrite”. I’ve read elsewhere that this is a non-issue because Bill James’s side lost, but I think this goes well beyond who won or lost. It’s about civility and respect. If Leake chooses not to discuss her son’s sexuality privately with someone she knows has an anti-gay prejudice that’s her choice and her right. For James to claim that she should be forced to talk about her son’s sexuality with him is unbelievable.

December 17th, 2009 | LINK

I’d like to thank him for so excellently demonstrating what depraved, immoral people anti-gays really are.

December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Her son certainly may have been a “Homo” but this Man is something far worse–lower than pond scum and a complete waste of perfectly good oxygen.

December 17th, 2009 | LINK

LOl… you dont get aids from fomenting monagamous relationships. She obviously undertands this…

December 17th, 2009 | LINK

As a Charlottean, I can’t begin to say how many times Bill James has wowed our community with his total lack of compassion and thoughtfulness, and his abundance of hypocrisy and self-importance. I’m constantly stunned by how he appears to honestly and truly believe his actions, attitude and comments like those he made to Vilma Leake are Christian!

Please note, as the overall vote showed, Bill James is NOT representative of most of Charlotte.

Unfortunately Bill enjoys a lot of political support from other evangelical, anti-gay, mean spirited conservative so-called “Christians”.

PLEASE, help us fight Bill James politically by donating to MeckPac, our Charlotte – Mecklenburg County Gay and Lesbian Political Action Committee.

December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Bill James has been spreading hate in Charlotte for at least 15 years now. He was one of the crusaders who sought to strip funding from the Arts and Science council because they dared to sponsor Angels in America. After the republican majority voted to strip the funding in the next election several members were kicked out. Unfortunately he is the last one from that group who continues to get re elected time after time because his district is a bunch of old blue haired republicans.

He is a disgusting and revolting “christian” who will never change.

December 18th, 2009 | LINK

Good lord– sexual BEHAVIOR, not sexual ORIENTATION, is an HIV risk. Surely Commissioner James knows that, regardless of what the Red Cross still uses as a screening tool.

And the reason Commissioner Leake’s son died quickly of AIDS (‘quickly’ here indicates 10-12 years as opposed to 25-30 years) has more to do with US medical policy regarding HIV screening than it does with his sexual behavior or orientation. HIV is quite manageable when it is caught and treated BEFORE it largely (or even completely) destroys one’s CD4 t-cells.

I should know, because I first found out that I had indeed contracted HIV (many years earlier, probably) when I was symptomatically diagnosed with AIDS because I was seeing my Doctor about a PCP (a type of pneumonia usually only contracted by PWAs) infection. He asked me when I had recently been screened for HIV and my immediate response was simple: “hell, I don’t know. You’re the doc; you tell me.” Only then was it explained that HIV screening is not included in routine annual bloodwork, and that I would know because an individual has to sign all sorts of waivers in order to have it done, EVERY TIME, because private insurance companies aren’t interested in covering HAART drugs, because they’re very expensive.

Privacy is important, sure. But not more important than life. God rest Commissioner Leake’s son’s soul, and shame on Commissioner James for his mean-spirited behavior and violation of civic duty.

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