Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where was Doug?

With all the smiling faces at the Civil Rights monument's unveiling in Capitol Square Monday morning, baking in the bright sunlight, one politician was rather conspicuous by his absence — the nation’s first black governor and Richmond’s lame duck mayor, Doug Wilder.

Hizzoner sure wasn't on the platform with the other elected officials and dignitaries.

Was Wilder watching the proceedings from an air-conditioned penthouse super box? Could he have been in Fredericksburg, tending to Slave Museum matters? Maybe he was in an undisclosed location having secret talks about a new baseball team in Richmond?

Where was Mayor Wilder?


Update: The Washington Post wondered, too, as Anita Kumar asked, "Where was Doug Wilder?"

But L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor, who now serves as Richmond's mayor, was noticebly [sic] absent.

"He wanted to be there,'' Wilder spokesman Linwood Norman said later. But, Norman said, Wilder was out of town on a long-planned trip.

Click here to read the entire article.

Norman says Wilder "wanted" to be there. But the Doug Wilder I know usually does what he wants to do, and little else. And, this important unveiling ceremony had been "long-planned," as well. Norman's weak alibi doesn't ring true.

So, I'm left to guess at what would keep Wilder away from the cameras and microphones. After all, he was all over the 1996 Arthur Ashe statue unveiling on Monument Ave. And, he wasn't even an office-holder at the time.

Why would Mayor Wilder blow off the most significant local, public art unveiling of a generation?

With Tobacco Avenue on vacation, who can we turn to for some answers?

Update II: STYLE Weekly also wonders about the missing mayor: Click here.

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