GOLDMAN: Dr. King offers Mayor Jones a face-saving Shockoe Stadium plan

Posted at 1:08 PM, Jan 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-17 13:08:09-05

RICHMOND, Va. – In celebration of Dr. King’s wisdom, let me offer the Mayor a face-saving way out of his race-card dilemma. Today, top Richmond Times Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams agreed with me, calling the Mayor’s Stadium politics “unconscionable” and an insult to the public’s intelligence.

His view, matching mine expressed last week, says race-baiting has no place in our politics. The Mayor made a huge mistake, then compounded it by not only standing by the comments but digging a deeper hole by defending them.

Let’s cut to the chase.

There is no way Richmond City Council can pass – on the merits – the Mayor’s new $30 MILLION MORE EXPENSIVE PLAN, effectively robbing the poor kids to pay bond holders more in interest. Council members know that. But Mr. Jones clearly feels he can get their votes by threatening the Marsh/Jones machine political retaliation especially among African-American voters.

It’s a bluff I hope Council has the guts to call. I stood up to the same thing and voters citywide backed me, not the Mayor.

The Mayor is a good guy, he just really mess up this time. We all do.

What should he/they do now?

Easy, take a face-saving way out.

How? Easy again.

The Mayor should ask City Council to put an advisory referendum on the ballot this November letting the people decide whether they want baseball on the Boulevard or in the Bottom. If Richmond residents want to make the decision themselves, they can vote against both sites or pick one and reject the other.

Should they choose instead to let City Council make the choice, they can support baseball both places.

Advisory referendums should be used rarely. We only had one in the last generation. It is time for another.

As Mr. Williams points out, the Mayor’s failure to appreciate his mistake shows a blind spot no one knew he had. As Dr. King said, each of us has God-given right to be judged on character, not skin color.

I want the Mayor to succeed, so do those opposed to his Shockoe Stadium plan.

I am willing to give him another chance. But does he want it?

His Shockoe Stadium has become way too costly and way too divisive.

The Mayor wants the business community, the city’s Baptist Ministers, and his allies on City Council to risk their reputations, perhaps ruin them.

He owes his supporters a face-saving way out.

If his Shockoe plan is all he claims it to be, then he needs to trust the wisdom of the people to see it. They voted for him didn’t they?

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.