GOLDMAN: Who will win tonight’s Shockoe Showdown?

Posted at 10:01 AM, May 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-27 10:51:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. – On the surface, it seems City Council has the upper hand on Mayor Jones in tonight’s Shockoe Showdown. But is this true, or is Council at risk to make a huge potential mistake?

In today’s RTD, the Mayor attacks the City Council in strong terms, signaling he knows a Council majority is posed to vote NO tonight on the Jones’ Shockoe proposal.

On the basis of phone calls and emails and texts, it seems people across the city are certain tonight is Waterloo for the Mayor and his Shockoe Shocker.

My gut instinct, we need to see what the Council actually does.

The Mayor thinks he is the greatest Mayor in the history of Richmond, claiming he has done things that no one has been able to do in 400 years!

Get a grip dude!

This isn’t merely a sweetheart deal for his political posse, it goes way further as his statement revealed if you read it closely.

Tonight’s vote might not be the end of it by any means. For example, what happens if Jones wants to withdraw his proposal from tonight’s agenda. What happens then?

Do the math.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in potential sweetheart No-Bid contracts handed out by a rigged scheme without the usual legal protections and now claimed by Mayor Jones has the most visionary proposal in the city’s economic history. His statement even goes farther about how this is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

This doesn’t sound to me like a guy planning to give up any time soon. Let’s remember, he has four sure votes on Council for his Shockoe boondoggle.

He only needs one more.

He doesn’t care that the people of Richmond are overwhelmingly opposed to his NO Bid rigged scheme using the Economic Development Authority – and they seem to be willing participants not unwitting – to heap lavish rewards on a handful of political allies.

I maintain the following now, as I have for all this debate, by refusing to put the Mayor’s proposal to a referendum of the people, the Council allows Mr. Jones to maneuver behind the scenes to find one more member of Council who can be persuaded to defy the wishes of the people.

If the matter was put to a referendum, then the Council would put everything on hold until the public had a say. This would force the Mayor to make his pitch out in the open, not in secretive, smoke-filled rooms.

Again, he has four sure votes. It surely remains possible for him to get a fifth. If he does, the Mayor can use the five votes to ram through all the legal authority he needs to put in place what would be seen over time as the greatest raid on public assets in the history of any locality in the state.

“But Paul,” you say. “You are worrying needlessly. Council will kill it tonight and the whole Shockoe debate will be over once and for all. Just relax. Trust the Council on this. The Mayor will fold his tent after tonight.”

Maybe so. I realize this is the consensus opinion right now, that the Mayor’s statement last night says he knows he has lost and therefore lashed out.

I don’t read the Mayor’s statement as being a bitter swan song. But admittedly this is a minority view right now. But that’s my analysis: Mayor Jones has still got a lotta of fight left in him on Shockoe.

I have never known a politician to toss in the towel just one vote from having it all. At least not so quickly.

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.