Home Virginia Politics Mayor Jones’s New Church Mouse Losing Its House

Mayor Jones’s New Church Mouse Losing Its House

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Mayor Dwight Jones photo 140311MayorJones_zps3245b2ae.jpgTis the season for miraculous financial initiatives. The man who didn’t clearly outline Richmond’s obligations for his NFL football summer training facility or find backing for burying hallowed historical ground under a minor league stadium is now preparing to make the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) homeless.

All the get rich land development schemes that characterize Richmond City high finance remind one of the common flights of fancy on The Honeymooners. One difference, though: Mayor Jones is banking with other people’s money and trust. After making an effort to gain clarity on the DPVA’s financial health, there is nothing to show but despair. Appropriate since Jones and his recent predecessors as Chair have all left the political party borrowing against time while concealing the bottom line. Requests for financial statements have been ignored, so the depth of the hole remains closely held. Miraculously, during six years with a Democrat in the White House and in a state with two Democratic United States Senators plus the election of Democrats to all three statewide executive offices in the past year, time has run out on the Party’s mortgage.

A big portion of the DPVA party leadership’s responsibility is to provide the hired staff with sufficient resources to run a statewide political party. But Jones, who fought through charges that he doesn’t represent the party’s principles of equality and equal rights to gain the position of Chair, has been an absentee landlord. The infrastructure, physical and fiscal, has continued to decay since his ascension to the post. He has consistently missed meetings and party conference calls. E-mails go unanswered. The excuse is always that his responsibilities as a pastor and Mayor consume his time. Those responsibilities did not preclude him from interfering in an intra-party state Senate primary race (his influence proved ineffective). Now he’s on the verge of missing the payment on the DPVA’s “digs” on Franklin Street in Richmond.

His answer? Accept his responsibility and initiate a fundraising campaign? Find well-heeled donors to right the ship? Call the Governor who has some fundraising experience? No. Hat in hand he is participating in the liquidation of what is essentially the family silver; as tarnished as it is. Are we supposed to trust that the model our Republican friends use to govern (no reinvestment while drawing down on languishing assets) is the answer to the party’s financial woes? And that building has languished. The DPVA is upside down in the investment and is its own slumlord. Fortunately there’s a white knight out there…well maybe the devil in disguise: a real estate developer.

The deal, like the one for that training facility over on West Leigh, is very special. It really is a unique offer, promising less than the party paid for the property but at a premium well over any other current offer. And it is with developers who have a long history of working with the Richmond City Council. Okay, influencing the Richmond City Council. Well, buying off at least one Councilperson.

Now what might one want in return for such a deal? Shhhh…it’s The Virginia Way, don’t you know? Trust isn’t engendered when you deal with the devil and a man of the cloth should appreciate that. Maybe it is unfair to blame Jones because it does appear he is in way over his head. When he agreed to be a marionette he probably figured his handlers would know what they were doing and make him look competent. On the other hand, maybe his benefactors didn’t know how difficult that task might be.

Time for him to do the honorable and, heaven forbid, ethical thing: step down as DPVA Chair.

  • BatCave

    and the crowd at the governors mansion who appointed this guy as Chair knew he was.  But they didn’t appoint him to run the party – they wanted him as Chair of the party when Hillary runs.  And they got what they deserved so let them clean up the financial mess that Jones has created.  What a disaster this is going into state legislative races next year.  With Jones at the helm, it really loks like we are going to lose ground in both the House and Senate.    

    And to all of those useless members of the Democratic State Central Committee who voted for Jones as Chair because “the governor should get his choice as Chair” – please grow a pair.  It’s time you start doing the job you are supposed to do and that is help run the party.  Stop rubber stamping the latest elected officials choice for Chair and start looking for/grooming candidates to run the party.  Hire a CEO and not some political hack with no skill sets to get the job done.  Don’t you see they don’t give a shit about the party?  All they want is someone to do their calling – not build the party.  And until you recognize that and grow a pair, you are always going to be part of the problem.

    And to Mayor Jones – resign.

    And to the rest of you clowns out there – Happy New Year.        

  • as Chair?

  • Tom

    I don’t much care that Jones is in over his head as long as the DPVA gets rid of that awful building and write off the loss to stupidity, whatever. There are few paid staff or local volunteers who ever use the office that they could easily find a much better small office to rent for the paid staff, some of whom I believe do live in Richmond and could offer space in their homes for occasional meetings.

    I would much prefer that the DPVA stop having JJ Weekend in Richmond and in July. Why not go back to JJ Weekend in Va. Beach where there are great facilities and affordable hotels in the winter ? And there are certainly affordable (empty) office space in the Tidewater area available for a long-term lease or lease-with-option to buy.

    My PWCDC Chair made the point before Jones was chosen as DPVA Chair that Jones has little fund raising abilities (I’d call it lack of any business skills) and emphasized that Jones himself said repeatedly that he would not and could not spend much of his time actually performing the tasks he was “elected” to perform. He has had more than enough time to prove whether he was qualified, and he has failed to even attend meetings or participate in monthly conference calls. I’d say his “proof of performance” has conclusively shown to the Central Committee that he has failed the test and he should resign just as soon as he has signed the contract with the developer to off-load the building the DPVSA should never have bought.

    Now that we have that settled – that is, Jones should be given the choice of resigning or be fired for cause by the Steering Committee and confirmed by the Central Committee at the next quarterly meetings. Then schedule the 2015 JJ Weekend and the winter quarterly meetings at Va. Beach in Feb. and decide then where to move the DPVA to a more  suitable location. I think the further from Richmond and the governor’s office the better for DPVA HQ.

    Now we need to begin (again) discussing in earnest who we believe should replace Jones as DPVA Chair. And do not forget that the governor only gets one single vote – not the 51% vote he was allowed when Jones was “elected”, albeit NOT by acclamation as the DPVA record implies.

    In a few hours we will be entering a New Year. Let’s do all we can to also make this a New DPVA Leadership Year. I’d also include replacement of the current Executive Director who Jones selected and who has demonstrated his inadequate skills no less than has Jones, the main difference being that the DPVA pays the Exec. Dir. well enough to expect and require by contract that he perform far better than we have seen this past year.

    Thanks for the very thought-provoking discussion. With your ideas that have provoked me and I’m sure many others to become re-energized in the effort to push hard again toward rebuilding my party so we have a better chance in 2015 of electing many more good democrats.

                          T.C.

  • ir003436

    I don’t understand most of this article — it’s written in a circular fashion, referring to events and personalities that the author seems to assume everyone else knows about.  I apologize for my ignorance but the only person I recognize in this article is Jones and I think he’s not a mayor but the DPVA Chair.

    So — Jones is selling off the DPVA building?  Didn’t know they had a building.  Where is it?  What’s it worth?  Is he giving it away?  Does he have a buyer?

    Does DPVA have a staff?  Couldn’t prove it by any of us abandoned souls on the Northern Neck.  For four years I’ve been trying to get them to answer emails, letters, and phone calls.  Not an answer yet.

    Is Jones stepping down or being forced out?  To be replaced by another useless, inactive has-been looking for a sinecure?

    In 2015 the entire General Assembly is up for election and we’re swapping one has-been for another one.  Great.  Why even waste the time and money on an election?  Just tell the Republicans to keep the General Assembly, we aren’t interested.