In two recent columns about the CVB board issue, I made a mistake and then repeated it. Three weeks ago (Packet #911, Dec. 23), reporting on the December 21 city council meeting, I wrote that Charlie Box was the only councilman to vote against establishing a six-member CVB board with all six seats being at-large (meaning that it would have no seats designated for representatives of the eating and lodging industries or of the Pilgrimage homeowners or the Link). I then wrote that after this motion passed 5-1 Bill Gavin made a motion to increase the CVB board from six members to nine members by seeking a local & private bill in the legislature but that his motion did not receive a second. I repeated this report again last week, and I added that it appeared that Mr. Box did not second Mr. Gavin’s motion because Mr. Gavin had voted for the six-member, all-at-large board.
After last week’s Packet appeared Mr. Box phoned to say that it was he, not Mr. Gavin, who made the motion to expand the CVB board from six to nine members. Mr. Box sits at one end of the long council table and Mr. Gavin at the other, but they all speak through a non-stereo speaker system, and I mistakenly thought that Mr. Gavin had made the second motion.
I ran into Mr. Gavin at Lowe’s over the weekend and told him that Mr. Box had called and informed me of my error. He replied that he didn’t remember how he had voted. I told him that he well knew that he voted in favor of the six-member, at-large board and that he did not give a second to Mr. Box’s motion to expand the board. Continuing to walk across the parking lot, he said, “It’s not important.” I replied that it is important because my error will lead people to believe that although he voted for the six-member board he also wants to expand the board. He then said, “I have my reasons,” and got into his vehicle.
This Packet carries a letter from Mary Shields, who is serving a life sentence for murder. Hers is a case that I have always found particularly troubling. The “murder” occurred on shortly after midnight on January 1, 2003, in the Club Elite, on 15th St. North, just north of 7th Ave. The victim was Larry Martin, 45. Mr. Martin got into a fight with Ms. Shields, then 36, and her son, Joseph Shields, then 20. Mr. Martiin was struck on the head with a cheap wooden bar stool during the fight, but the blow was not fatal; what killed him was a heart attack, apparently brought on by the stress of the fight and, no doubt, by too much alcohol. Mr. Shields was charged with murder and her bond was set at $75,000, which she couldn’t make. She refused a plea deal and remained in jail until her trial in Februrary 2004, at which she was represented by public defender Mike Farrow. She was found guilty of murder and Judge Jim Kitchens sentenced her to life in prison. Ms. Shields’s only prior conviction was for burglary of a business—she had pled guilty of breaking into the old Cost-Less Food Store on College St. in the fall of 1998 and in early 1999 was sentenced to a year of house arrest.
After his mother was sentenced to life in prison for murder, Joseph Shields accepted a deal, pleading guilty to manslaughter and receiving a 13-year sentence in August 2005. His only prior conviction was for burglary of a dwelling in 2001—he went to a restitution center and then was placed on probation for that crime.
It’s inconceivable to me that a life sentence would have been handed down in a case like this if the people involved in the fight had been middle class or upper class.0