RICHMOND, Va. – Michael Martz and Michael Paul Williams have just written the two most important dueling pieces on the Shockoe Stadium issue in the last 10 years. Both appear – the news article by Martz, the opinion column by Williams – in Tuesday’s Richmond Times Dispatch.
While Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones may still not get his Shockoe Bottom Baseball stadium, there are knotty outstanding issues to resolve. His rope-a-dope political style on the issue appears to have finally exposed the “wolf tickets” being sold by the “alleged” leaders of the opposition.
They march under a big “No Stadium in Shockoe” banner, photo of same appearing large in the newspaper.
But as Martz and Williams expose, they are selling “wolf tickets,” defined as either aimless, empty, misleading talk in polite company or B.S. for those who like their slang more earthy. Like I said, read their excellent pieces in today’s newspaper and reflect upon the fundamental difference between the two as you get to their separate bottom lines.
In the Martz piece, the alleged “No Stadium in Shockoe” leaders are quoted making sure the Mayor gets their real message:
“Make us an offer we can’t refuse.”
Martz is an excellent journalist from the old school, reporting as accurately as possible as to what was actually said. This is a fading talent, probably lost after his generation of journalists are no longer in the business.
Martz made it crystal clear, the leaders of the “No Stadium in Shockoe” are actually NOT opposed to a Stadium in Shockoe! Indeed, his piece is written to make sure the reader understands that the word “No” is not used as in Lorrie Morgan’s famous song where she says “What is it about NO that you don’t understand?”
NO doesn’t actually mean NO to the alleged leaders of the alleged “No Stadium in Shockoe” coalition.
Martz made sure the protestors were thus put in their best light, the only question he left unanswered was, “while the protest leaders intentionally signaled their willingness to accept the ‘Godfather’ offer, would they, when push came to shove, actually be willing to stand with Mayor Jones at a press conference and publicly agree for all to see?”
After reading Michael Williams column, I realized Martz had actually answered the question.
THERE IS INDEED A COMPROMISE THEY ARE WILLING TO PUBLIC ACCEPT INDEED CHAMPION.
The Williams piece makes clear there is actual “No Stadium in Shockoe” leadership, individuals totally opposed to any such stadium on grounds it cannot ever be reconciled with truth telling about African-American history specifically, and Richmond’s in general.
THERE IS NO COMPROMISE SOLUTION due to the nature of crimes against humanity committed in Shockoe Bottom. From them, the area has only one best, necessary and sacred use, to tell a history that needs not only be told, but preserved for all time.
Whether you agree or disagree with this position is not relevant to my column today, that is for another column. But what is relevant is the following:
Williams gave voice to the true “No Stadium in Shockoe” coalition, those who believe there is a time when a civilized society has to realize that preserving as much of a history as possible trumps whatever riches or political rewards are offered. Whether Shockoe rises to such a level as to make it impossible to build a baseball stadium, I leave for your thoughtful consideration.
My position has been clear from the beginning.
This is a decision that the people of Richmond, through referendum, are only capable of making. It will define the soul of their city forever perhaps. That it is too weighty a matter to leave to writers, protestors, legislators, mayors, governors or even presidents.
There are times when only the owners of Richmond – the people – can decide which fork in the road to take.
The people may choose wrongly.
But so might everyone else.
To say it is a decision only for the African-American community to make creates a division that’s implications are counter-productive to progress in the long run.
At some point, you have to trust the people, together, and I do in this instance.
I have trusted the people to join together in a biracial coalition to make history several times against the advice of the “gurus” and “smart” people. It turned out the people could be trusted to do the right thing every time.
Now I know why the “No Stadium in Shockoe” coalition refused to trust the people of Richmond, why they oppose a referendum. Think about it, a referendum is definitive, the Shockoe Stadium is either banned or allowed, there is no middle ground.
The coalition leaders claim they don’t trust the people to say NO.
But Martz and Williams expose this phony objection by showing that the coalition leaders actually are in the YES camp. They are not opposed to a Shockoe Stadium, but rather feel they can use a protest to make sure the Mayor gives them a Stadium deal they are ready to accept.
I believe Mayor Jones knows all this. Why?
I keep asking myself, Jones just said publicly he knows power better than most people. So if that is what he thinks, then why do the rope-a-dope? It is never the smart political strategy, UNLESS, you have reason to believe the opposition won’t have a punch in the final rounds of the battle.
“No Stadium in Shockoe” is not a NO coalition, but rather a slogan hijacked by those who are in the RTD yesterday and today begging the Mayor to let them say YES.
Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.