RICHMOND, Va. – Say what? Eighteen months and it looks like we are back to square one due to Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Richmond City Council having followed an UPSIDE DOWN decision-making process, having followed a process geared TO BENEFIT THEIR POLITICALLY CONNECTED ALLIES, geared to benefit two groups with political access to make secret back-room dealing CUTTING OUT EVERY OTHER HONEST BUSINESSMAN AND WOMAN.
That’s right, based on my review and analysis, every city which has successfully made a stadium decision has followed a process rejected by the Jones-Baliles-Samuels-Hilbert-Graziano-Agelasto-Robertson-Newbille-Trammell-Mosby “Game of Thrones” approach.
These other cities created an independent group to openly and transparently review and analysis of all the possible stadium locations options, providing the public with the pros and cons since there is never a perfect solution. At which point all interested parties have an equal and fair shot at making the winning proposal.
BUT NOT IN RICHMOND, the only place on the third rock from the Sun where the sunlight doesn’t reach into the City Council chambers and the Mayor’s office.
Our Mayor and our Council have done it BACKWARDS AND IN THE PROCESS FAVORING THOSE WITH POLITICAL ACCESS TO THEM.
Look at the facts.
We started this week with one secret baseball stadium proposal, the Shockoe proposal from Mayor Jones. We have ended the week with two secret baseball stadium proposals, #2 apparently the apple of the the eye of certain people on Council.
Moreover, we learned that they have known about this secret proposal # 2 since 2013, indeed they have had secret meetings on it set up by Chesterfield Supervisor Dan Gecker. We learned the Mayor’s office has known about this proposal.
So let me get this straight, for months now, at a huge expense totaling millions of dollars, the Mayor, his posse, City Council and their posse, have been making Richmond the laughing stock of the country. We are depicted as insensitive to history, found by the state auditor to have the most expensive City Hall and City Council in Virginia, and the Jones-Baliles-Samuels-Hilbert-Graziano-Agelasto-Robertson-Newbille-Trammell-Mosby tag team have refused to even give the public an advisory role in this fiasco.
BUT ALL THIS TIME, THEY HAVE BEEN ENGAGED IN A CHARADE.
The Mayor and the Council have always known there were competing proposals from politically connected groups. Where is the equal chance for those without political connections, an honest open process? Why don’t they get a chance?
By what legal authority does the Jones-Baliles-Samuels-Hilbert-Graziano-Agelasto-Robertson-Newbille-Trammell-Mosby UPSIDE DOWN posse create a charade to benefit their political and other allies?
Why is it in the best interests of the City of Richmond to secretly maneuver the process to benefit these two politically connected groups? In every other city making a successful stadium decision, there has been an open and transparent process, where finding the best location is JOB # 1, the first thing you do, AND YOU DO IT OPENLY AND TRANSPARENTLY.
This has not happened in Richmond, indeed, quite the opposite! The Mayor and the Council have been misleading the public all the way on what was really going on behind the scenes!
THE BEST IMMEDIATE FIX:
Ask the public, through an advisory referendum, whether they want to have baseball in the Bottom, on Boulevard or anywhere else there is a viable location.
We can have a public vote by November.
THERE IS NOW NO CHANCE OF MAKING AN OPEN AND INFORMED AND COMPETENT decision before this time if you are going to have process fair for all.
For gosh sakes, since the people have to pay, give them a say!
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.