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If Richmond Had a Republican Mayor


The Times Dispatch would expect city business to be directed by a lobbying firm. He’d turn his back on the franchise that invested in the city in favor of one with connections. He’d try to obligate adjacent jurisdictions to unjustified projects. He’d feel confidence from a Democratic U.S. Senator’s complicity.

“The setting said it all.

Instead of City Hall, the mayor received the final recommendations of a business-laden team of advisers at the downtown Richmond law offices of McGuireWoods.” – Richmond Times Dispatch

That Republican Mayor would listen to those enthusiastic promoters whose investments in their schemes would benefit dollar for dollar by any increased revenues, recovering their marginal costs in the short term, and ignore the fact that it takes 20 of those dollars for the city to recover a single buck. That Mayor would ignore the math that says the city’s investment takes 20 times more revenue to recover than his advisors’. That Mayor would have learned about the $10 million capital investment required by the Redskins deal by reading Blue Virginia weeks before his pals at McGuireWoods confirmed it.

    Let’s review these sweet deals:

  • 2015 world cycling championships: a flash in the pan, a single event during which to recover the entire investment.
  • New coliseum: the only real private sector interest in the region is in Virginia Beach and even that looks like a bait and switch tactic by an unhappy sports franchise.
  • New baseball stadium: be one with local slumlords…the tenant has put up with our neglect for years; what’s a few more?
  • Redskins summer camp: happy local business community; unhappy schools, mass transit…whoever relies on city services and continues to foot the bill for the debt well after the deal has ended.

And a Republican Mayor would be oblivious to the fact that one of the locations proposed for that loser of a Redskins deal, the neighborhood around City Stadium, just isn’t going to be popular with the residents. Their patience with neighborhood parking during stadium events ran out a long, long time ago. The no parking signs along the streets make that perfectly clear (to use a Republican standard). Then again, that same Mayor might never have driven the area. It’s not a neighborhood where his friends at McGuireWoods live.

“We need to know the costs, who’s participating and how much,” County Manager Virgil R. Hazelett told Flohr. “If you can’t release the information, the question is why?”

“I want to see the cycling races happen, and I want us to be a part of it,” said Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson. “You came and gave me nothing tonight.” – Richmond Times Dispatch

Then too, that Mayor would be surprised when neighboring jurisdictions balk at the flimsily supported projections in the proposals his pals at McGuireWoods provide them. But he would go full speed ahead, trusting the hype, wanting to believe the con, because he wouldn’t know what to do otherwise.

“I think the mayor, as long has he has the backing of the business community, and he does, is going full-speed ahead,” said Richard Cullen, chairman of McGuireWoods and a former state attorney general. “People are excited about what’s happening in Richmond, and he’s clearly calling the shots.” – Richmond Times Dispatch

That would be the Richard Cullen never elected by the people of Virginia, but appointed by then Governor Allen to fill the unexpired term of Jim Gilmore; another guy who didn’t complete his term in office. Further on, in the same article, the Times Dispatch came a bit closer to the truth:

“Right now, the mayor is making the calls, with help from his friends in the corporate community.”

Even closer if they had placed quotes around the term: “friends”

This is dangerously close to responsible journalism if you accept that it is some sort of sarcastic code. Fortunately, the Times Dispatch’s Michael Paul Williams comes a lot closer in his commentary two days later.

And as for that Democratic U.S. Senator:

“The transformation began after Jones became co-chairman of Richmond 2015 with Gov. Bob McDonnell, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, and Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Resources, who has been a powerful corporate backer of the mayor’s initiatives to boost the city.” – Richmond Times Dispatch

Shall we say strange bedfellows? No, not if one wants to be President. And two of these have that ambition.

You’d expect all of this if Richmond had a Republican Mayor.


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