Friday, January 02, 2009

Wilder, Wilder ... Wilder

Rather than write a retrospective of the career of the one and only L. Douglas Wilder, Esq., another look back at his astoundingly unique role in politics, I'd rather dredge up some of my old stuff -- cartoons and links to a couple of written pieces. Today, I'll stand on my various reactions to his doings, already on the record.
The 'toon above was part of a series on the U.S. Senate race called Campaign Inkbites (1994)

After Wilder won the mayoral race by a landslide in 2004, I wrote a Back Page for STYLE Weekly, "Wilder Comes Home" (Dec. 29, 2004):
From a platform at his Nov. 2 victory party in the Omni Hotel, former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said he needed to do no "studies" to divine which were Richmond's most pressing problems. When he spoke of a set plan to "hit the ground running," the crowd lapped it up. Even as the Democrats' national ticket was about to crash and burn, this was a roomful of unrestrained smiles. Those also assembled on the ballroom's low-rise stage, including Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, beamed and applauded. With so many longtime Wilder supporters on hand the sense of satisfaction in the air was palpable.
Click here to read the entire piece.
The drawing of Wilder above was done in 2004

Following the episode at City Hall that had a judge halting an eviction of the public school administration in the middle of the night, I wrote a piece for Brick Weekly, "The Wilder Walk" (Oct. 4, 2007):

Yet most of the defenses of Mayor Wilder, these days, have a striking similarity. They consistently laud what he said back when he was on the campaign trail, asking for votes to win the job he had done much to create. Yes, the same job he originally said he would not seek.

What Wilder’s defenders can’t do is say much on what problems he has solved, or of what he has actually accomplished in a satisfying way on the job as mayor.

Click here to read the entire piece.
The illustration above came in the wake of the sad news a year ago that the Richmond Braves would be leaving town.
-- Art and words by F.T. Rea


Preston M. Yancy said...

1 A golder opportunity was wasted.
2 The "strong" mayor nonesense is foolishness created by Mr Wilder, his apologists and the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial writers.
3 Despite his many talents, Mr Wilder has none of the skills required to be a successful mayor. A successful mayor must be a consensus builder, a diplomat and a team player. Mr Wilder is a bully, a warrior and a grandstanding superstar.
4. As bad as "Fiasco Friday" was, his effort to take control of the city employees who report to City Council was worse. In this case he inflicted pain on 54 human beings. There is no instance in the free world where the executive branch gets to hire and fire employees who report to the legislative branch. Only in dictatorships could this occur.
There are thousands of city employee who are under the control of the executive branch of city government. There are major problems in some areas. Instead of dealing with the problems in his shops, Mr Wilder wasted thousands of dollars and a great deal of time in this autocratic vindictive power play.
Finally, the jury is still out on whether the elected mayor system is better for the city than the council manager system. If all of our mayors act like Wilder, we will have taken a step backwerds.
Preston M Yancy

F.T. Rea said...

Preston M. Yancy,

The strong/directly-elected mayor concept hasn't really been tested. It's not likely we'll see the likes of Doug Wilder running the show at City Hall again.

Instead of solving existing problems, as he promised he would, Wilder created new problems.

Doug Wilder ruled for four years, because he likes ruling. Now he's only ruling his blog. And, if you check it out, you'll see he doesn't allow comments.

Anonymous said...

I doubt he's actually going to write the blog. He seldom wrote any of his published pieces.

F.T. Rea said...


Do you actually know who his ghostwriters have been? Or, are you guessing?

Preston M. Yancy said...

I doubt than I will read his blog; I have read and heard enough of his doubletalk to last a lifetime.
Preston M Yancy