BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – The researcher behind the discovery of GenX in the Cape Fear river shut down campaign flyers that back the anti-reverse osmosis plant candidates for the H2GO board.
Dr. Detlef Knappe reached out to our newsroom denouncing a campaign leaflet for candidates Bill Beer, Brayton Willis, and Dan Yousey.
Dr. Knappe issued the full statement to WWAY:
I have publicly stated that I am not going to take a position in the H2Go board election. However, I have become aware of a campaign flyer that invokes my name. The flyer uses a quote of mine and appears to imply that I am supporting a policy position proposed by candidates Beer, Willis, and Yousey. The flyer supports a policy of providing homeowners in the H2Go service area with under-the-sink RO systems as a solution to dealing with the occurrence of emerging contaminants in H2Go tap water. I have publicly stated that I do NOT support this idea as a long-term solution. Instead, I have stated that under-the-sink RO systems are a temporary fix for homeowners to remove emerging contaminants until a more permanent solution can be found. The candidates have not asked permission to use my name in this political advertisement, and if I would have been asked, I would not have given my permission.
The flyer directly quoted the doctor in a statement he made surrounding reverse osmosis treatment of water in homes. He reached out to the candidates who say they were not aware he asked for his findings or statements to not be included in campaign content.
“It was written by our staff probably too enthusiastically but it was not written as an intention to have any endorsement implications at all by Dr. Knappe,” said candidate Brayton Willis.
There’s another statement the campaign touts as an endorsement that is still in question. H2GO has come out denouncing the Beer, Willis, Yousey ticket for saying that the county NAACP chapter has endorsed their platform.
Former NAACP member and H2GO board Ronnie Jenkins, who IS seeking re election, issued a statement saying the endorsement was invalid because the chapter never met to vote on it nor was he or the candidates on the other ticket given a chance to speak their platform.
Here is his full statement:
As a formal member of the Brunswick County NAACP, I was alarmed to hear about the so-called endorsement of the plans of candidates who are against the building of the H2GO water plant.
The National bylaws state that the NAACP cannot endorse a candidate or slate of candidates or their platform or plan. What occurred is an endorsement. In order to make any statement of support, Mr. Parker must have invited the other candidates to discuss their views on the issue and then take a vote of the members on the statement of support. I and the other members of the Brunswick County NAACP did not receive an invitation, so the members of the organization couldn’t help make a decision. Needless to say, because there wasn’t a meeting held, there also wasn’t a vote. As a result, the “endorsement” is invalid.
Velma Williams gave us her perspective as a life long and local NAACP member.
“There’s always been a rule, NAACP do not endorse political candidates.”
Brayton Willis disagrees and says the chapter president Carl Parker, did in fact endorse them.
“We do have two more letters of confirmation from the director of Brunswick County. Email confirmations that said ‘we stand by you, it’s good’.”
Anti RO candidates say they did not mean to make it look as though Knappe was endorsing them and they have since stopped distributing the flyers.