Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Always about Wilder

When the movement in Richmond to change the city charter picked up steam, to allow for the citywide election of a strong mayor, it was said to have been about accountability and efficiency. It was said that it was about problem-solving.

It wasn’t, because it was really about L. Douglas Wilder.

In 2004 Richmonders overwhelmingly voted for the change, ushering in a new era in local politics. Many of those voters thought it was about reform and putting an end to taxpayer-financed boondoggles.

It wasn’t. It was about Doug Wilder.

When Mayor Wilder pulled back the curtain to reveal the pure folly of the Virginia Performing Arts Center’s grandiose plans and outrageous fudging on the numbers, many hoped it was about putting the kibosh on such malfeasance.

But it wasn’t. It was still about Hizzoner.

When Richmond’s showboating mayor regularly butts heads with the city council, voters wish it would be about making Richmond a better city. When Richmond’s stubborn mayor fights with the school board, parents wish it would be about improving education. When Richmond’s quarrelsome mayor accuses and intimidates nearly everyone in his path, especially people who work for the City of Richmond, citizens wish it would be about important issues, they wish it would be about leading to a brighter day.

Alas, it never is. It’s always about Wilder.
Art by F.T. Rea


Anonymous said...

Sure, it may be all about Wilder. In my opinion he likes to hear himself talk - and he really enjoys a good debate. But hey - He is a Lawyer!!. But where has he gone wrong? Don't we need a Mayor to But-Heads with City Council?? Don't we need a check and balance system?? The parents/tax payers of Richmond should be STEAMING MAD at the School Board - for grossly wasting our money. We should be demanding an AUDIT every year -- It's our money we should know where it's going.
No matter where you work - don't you want to be hired the right way? If City Council did it wrong - Should'nt it be fixed?
Whatever his motive or means - he's finding the wrongs of this city - and tax payers - we should be thanking him - for a job well done. If you don't think so - then please someone tell me - who was better as Richmond Mayor?? Tim Kaine?? Did Kaine ever say anything to the City Council? Anyone remember Saad El Amin??

F.T. Rea said...


Doug Wilder is Richmond’s first strong mayor since the 1940s. Kaine and the mayors before him, going back that far, had no real power over other council members or city employees, beyond hiring the City Manager. It was largely a ceremonial job.

So, comparing Wilder to Kaine makes no sense, unless you just want to bash Kaine.

Wilder has kicked up a lot of dust in the name of fixing things. Meanwhile, Battery Park still floods with every hard rain; the performing arts center boondoggle has not gone away, only the cards have been shuffled; we have no idea if the Richmond Braves are staying here, or not. This list goes on.

I’ve voted for Wilder more than once, and I have been proud of him at times. And, I been disappointed at times. Right now, I’m tired of his bluster with no real results to show on many fronts.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but Kaine really messed up with the inappropriate appointment of Calvin Jamison.

Citizens warned Kaine and protested at Council and it did not do any good. Richmond Renaissance had put the lock on him and Council.

Anonymous said...

I was proud of Wilder the gov -- but after he made his appearance as a VCU "faculty" member and I became aware that he was an ego-maniacal jerk I couldn't bring myself to vote for him, even tho I had this faint hope he might do something worthwhile. He hasn't.