The Honorable Bobby Dyer, Mayor of Virginia Beach,

In response to the incidents around the nation and here in Hampton Roads with regards to injustice, inequality and government inaction, a grassroots organization comprised of concerned citizens,

community leaders, and churches have banded together to bring about change and be more engaged in standing up for our citizens. Due the Right Things was created as an engagement platform with the public to share videos, photos, and stories about overreach, injustice, police brutality, and government inaction.

Your decision to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to fight for an illegal voting system in our city is insulting and has not gone unnoticed. Neither was your decision to take our city backwards by selecting Councilwoman Wilson as Vice Mayor. Not only did Councilwoman Wilson oppose initiating a disparity study for the city but she famously demonstrated a lack of leadership by leaving town prior to the historic Something in the Water Music Festival. Her appointment to the Vice Mayor role was a huge setback for our city.

While our organization and many citizens were disappointed with these recent decisions, we believe you and the council now have an opportunity to redeem yourselves and move our city forward with the selection of the next council person to represent the Lynnhaven District. While we agree that four of your five finalists for the role are acceptable, we strongly believe that appointing former councilman Linwood Branch to this role would not be in the best interests of the citizens of Virginia Beach and would do irreparable harm to the future of our city. Mr. Branch’s reputation is well known in the city. As you deliberate on the selection, we suggest you carefully look at why he chose not to run for reelection the last time he was on council. Think of the signal his selection would send to citizens and other leaders within our region. What is his current relationship with developers and can he truly represent the interests of all citizens within the district and the city? But most importantly, does Mr. Branch truly want to make Virginia Beach a great city for ALL citizens or just for those with means, power and influence?

Now is the time to Do the Right Thing and appoint a Lynnhaven District Council person who will not take our city backwards.

Gary McCollum