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Presidential Candidate Initially Blocked From Jones' Swear-In

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What kind of world do we live in where a former presidential candidate can't get an invite to the private inauguration of Richmond's new mayor?

Silver Persinger, who ran as an independent in a race dominated by president-elect Barack Obama, says he's on to greener pastures as a blogger focused on city government.

But his newly diminished station in life barely explains how he came to write his first blog posting at richmond-telegraph.blogspot.com. The posting chronicles a long and confusing trail of frustration for members of the public interested in attending Mayor Dwight C. Jones' Dec. 31 private swearing-in at City Hall.

Persinger writes in a Dec. 30 posting that he called the city clerk's office on Dec. 29 and was told “it would be a private event.”

“At the time, it struck me as unusual that the swearing in of an elected public official would be a private ceremony,” he writes.

Persinger, in fine blogger fashion, gives a blow-by-blow of his telephone odyssey to gain admission the event, held in City Council chambers at City Hall.

On his second call, dutifully logged “at 4:49 p.m.,” Persinger is again told by the city clerk's office that the event is private, but is referred to Jones' transition team. 

He calls “the number … provided at 4:51 p.m.,” and is again told the event is private. Persinger writes that he asked permission as member of the media to attend, but was told he'd be called back after consulting with Jones' assistant.

The blog is silent after this, but appears to have been worked out, as Persinger arrived at the event with digital camera in hand … only to be stopped by City Hall security just after entering Council Chambers.

“Who are you?” the guard asked, citing the private nature of the event.

Persinger identified himself, only to have the security guard ask “do you have permission to be here?”

After several versions of this same conversation, another reporter suggested to the security guard that an inauguration was a public event, to which she said “I'm just asking because I was told to ask.”

In addition to Persinger, guests at the ceremony included crews from three television stations, reporters and photographers from the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly, a WRVA radio reporter, various members of the mayor's transition team, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott and members of Jones' family.

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