Fredericksburg City Beat

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Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Three candidates in Ward 4?

UPDATE: (3:30p.m.) I just spoke with Paolucci. She said she did not authorize the sign (pictured at right), and that she noticed it for the first time while walking to dinner on Friday night. “I was dumbfounded,” Paolucci said. Since then, she said she has had many calls from people asking if she will run. “I am absolutely flattered, and I am thinking about it.” Just a reminder to third-party campaigners: Any money you spend to influence an election must be reported under the State Board of Elections’ campaign finance guidelines.

(Update to the update) I called Paul Cymrot, who owns the “Read All Over” bookshop where the sign appeared. He said this sign is currently the only one of its kind, and was posted by a group of about seven or eight people whom he loosely called “The Committee to Elect Bea Paolucci” (of which Paolucci is apparently not a member) and posted in time for First Friday, when they knew she’d walk by and see it.

“We are now crossing the street when we see her coming,” Cymrot said. “We are watching her reaction and waiting to see what she decides.”

Cymrot said the group’s expenses so far have totaled about 50 cents for a color copy. He said the group does not plan to conduct further activities.


The least competitive ward in the May 4 City Council election has suddenly become the most competitive. Granted, that’s not saying much, but there now appear to be three Ward 4 residents seeking the seat as write-in candidates. Here’s the rundown (in alphabetical order):

Shawn Lawrence, who works with the disAbility Resource Center and lives in Mayfield, is current Councilman Hashmel Turner’s choice for the seat. Turner said he approached Lawrence about running before the filing deadline, but “at first he thought I was joking about not running. After he found out I had not filed, we talked and he said he was definitely interested.” Lawrence, 57, has served on several regional committees that deal with social services and serving the disabled. Turner said he has been working with him to try to get CSX to stop storing hazardous materials in the Mayfield neighborhood.

Bea Paolucci, a downtown resident, has been involved in preservation issues in the city for several years. There’s a sign urging people to write in Paolucci’s name in at least one downtown shop. I have not been able to reach Paolucci this morning to confirm whether she authorized the sign and is actively seeking the seat. Paolucci serves on the Historic Preservation Task Force, which has been putting together a preservation plan for Fredericksburg. She was also part of a group that sued the city several years ago over who has standing to appeal Architectural Review Board decisions.

John White, a Mayfield resident and a 1959 graduate of Walker-Grant High School, said he decided to seek the seat after he learned there was no other candidate. White is a retired U.S. Air Force major and assistant pastor at Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church in Falmouth. White, 69, previously ran for sheriff in Fredericksburg in 1993.

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  • George

    So, I’ve been wondering for a couple days now: how does our Electoral Board match up write-in votes with a specific individual? How much of the name has to be correctly written on the ballot to count?

    And most importantly in another two months: what can candidates do to make sure the votes intended for them actually count?

    Thanks for the coverage, Emily.

  • Emily Battle

    It is my understanding from talking to the State Board of Elections that you do have to spell a candidate’s name correctly for their write-in vote to count. We’ll be looking more closely at this in the weeks ahead, though. For example, if somebody goes by a nickname (i.e. “Bea” for Beatrice), how much of the name does someone need to get right? And if there are two John White’s in town, do you need a middle initial to credit the vote properly? These are all good reasons why people who want to run for office should actually file for candidacy, to get their full name on the ballot. Stay tuned…

  • George

    I look forward to it.

    I’m sure if I were a write-in candidate, I would be handing out sample ballots with the name written in as a concrete example.

  • sally

    I actually know Ms. Paolucci and I think she’ll do a fine job for the city and represent the people well. She’s a very opinionated person and will not be bought!