Sunday, July 30, 2006

Where are Wilder's solutions?

Will there be a Wilder legacy? Or, will there only be colorful stories about what a character he was, while he served in public offices?

From 1969 to date, the man has been (State) Sen. Wilder, Lt. Gov. Wilder, Gov. Wilder, and now Mayor Wilder. But according to Richmond Times-Dispatch political columnist Jeff E. Schapiro, in his Sunday Commentary piece -- "Same Old Wilder" -- Hizzoner has only really been consistent about one thing -- he bashes and undercuts friends and enemies, alike.
Wilder usually wins and always dishes out grief. Then what?

“At a change-averse City Hall, people scratch their heads in befuddlement or quake in fear. Why, they wonder, is Wilder so ruthless, so untrusting? When was he not? Reading Times-Dispatch reporter David Ress’ July 22 article on Wilder’s reign, one is reminded he is a one-trick pony with a nasty kick.”

While he’s been good at firing people, where are the bridges or schools Wilder has built? While he’s been good at exposing follies in-the-making, where are the theaters he’s built, or even refurbished? Where are the programs to cure social ills?

Other than winning, then ruling by whim -- with paybacks aplenty -- where are the signature accomplishments of Wilder's many terms in office? Any office?

Over the years, Wilder has probably done as much to hurt his fellow Democrats as he has to help them, so he certainly won’t be remembered for building up the party that has served him so well. He left the party and ran briefly as an independent, in 1994, for Democrat Chuck Robb's U.S. Senate seat. Then he suddenly pulled out of the race in October. What was that about, other than payback?

Richmond's Mayor Wilder has been as good as it gets at pointing his finger at problems. Many times he’s been absolutely right about those things, too. But where are his solutions?
Art: F.T. Rea


Scott said...

What has the Virginia Democratic Party done for Richmond?

Of course, Wilder is really about himself, but I give him lots of props too- putting at least a temporary halt to the Richmond Rensaissance's white elephant parade on downtown Broad St., and pushing schools to the forefront of the City's agenda. He also just signed Richmond up for the Sierra Club's Cool Cities campaign. Wilder is still dealing with the after effects of a corrupt Council and Renaissance's hand-picked City Manager.

Give the man his due.

F.T. Rea said...


I've written lots of words in support of Doug Wilder over the years. I was totally on board with the charter-change to a fulltime, popularly elected mayor. But his way of selling that, so he could become that mayor, was rather self-serving in the long run.

And, sometimes I just get tired of all his bluster. That silliness with the Maymont bears is still bugging me.

So far, as mayor, Wilder has given Richmond a lot of style and very little substance. He talks the talk as good as anybody, but where's the walk?

Scott said...

Where do you want him to walk to?

For years I have said "Schools before Stadiums!", only to have Council hem and haw, blame the School Board, and give the VaPAF more taxpayer money. Priorities have changed.

On the surface at least, I am getting more of what I want as a citizen.