As the City of Wildwood enters the final days of its election season, a whirlwind of accusations, litigation and even self-censure continue to amaze and surprise.
A seemingly desperate Shea campaign dug deeper into the mud with unsubstantiated allegations of sign stealing. After stirring a controversy over using a disputed five-year old endorsement, recently censured candidate Tammy Shea made an unsubstantiated claim of the stealing of political signs.
When asked by Wildwood Matters to clarify how many signs were stolen and from where, Shea declined comment.
Her opponent Dr. Remy, who is an ICU physician at Children's Hospital stated that "I have never stolen a single sign in my life. I have six signs missing but I don't know if they have stolen, removed, or blown away. I prefer not to speculate on their whereabouts because frankly it's not worth my time when working on serious and important issues."
On March 26th, Candidate Tony Salvatore, who is running against Lauren Edens for the 2nd District seat filed a complaint to sue the City of Wildwood in the United States District Court of Appeals. His complaint alleges in part a violation of his free-speech rights during a failed campaign last year. The suit has garnered some attention in the local media. Mr. Salvatore alleges that the Wildwood police department wrongfully attempted to prevent his holding a campaign sign in the right-of-way. Free speech is an important issue in Wildwood and the council passed a free speech amendment this year. Currently the city council is attempting to change Wildwood's sign ordinances that in part led to the current controversy.
Mr. Salvatore was a member of the council in 2009. In a previous encounter with the court system, Mr. Salvatore faced charges that he attempted to use his official council position to influence the police during his arrest in 2009. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "a St. Louis County Circuit Court jury found Salvatore guilty of interference by a city council member and prohibited acts by a city officer." He was sentenced to community service and a $1,000 fine.
At its March 25th meeting the Wildwood City council saw a profile in courage as outgoing councilman Greg Stine, Ward 7 offered a resolution of censure of himself. Mr. Stine made the motion for the purpose of allowing a resident and incoming Council Member Crystal McCune to have her allegations heard. McCune had claimed at a previous meeting of the council that Stine was inordinately rude to her after she publicly accused him of lying, a charge which Mr. Stine categorically denied.
Mr. Stine stated that he had met with McCune after the event and offered his personal apology. He also stated that McCune had apologized to him at the same meeting. Stine explained that he was surprised when McCune came back to the council complaining that she had no way to have a motion of censure heard against Stine because she was not on the council. At that point for the purposes of transparency, Mr. Stine offered to put forward anything she would provide for the purpose of debate.
After some discussion, Councilman Niles Stephens of Ward 8 made the motion to indefinitely postpone the resolution, which would effectively kill it. Ultimately, the council voted overwhelmingly to kill the motion by Stine to censure himself.
When asked as to why he would put himself in such jeopardy, Stine told Wildwood Matters, " I have always been a fan of Alexander Hamilton."