Richmond City Council President Charles R. Samuels’ push to put a ballpark referendum before city voters this fall died a second death Monday night, though he won a minor victory in getting the public a chance to weigh in before the vote — an opportunity speakers used to voice strong opposition to putting a stadium in Shockoe Bottom.Click here to read the article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
What about ignoring and paving over Shockoe Bottom's unique history to do with slavery? What about what actual baseball fans want today? What about the will of the people?
It seems those concerns weren't as important as simply holding onto power.
As this frustrating exercise has reminded us, over the last couple of weeks, most elected politicians don’t much care for referendums. Often they have worked hard and spent a lot of somebody’s money to get elected, which means they want to hold fast to their power … think of dead Charlton Heston still clinging to his guns.
For instance, we’ve heard office holders asserting that we live in a representative democracy and they were elected to make the decisions; like parents they always know what‘s good for us kids.
Of course, in this case that convenient Father Knows Best assertion turns a blind eye on the decade this issue has flapped in the breeze. Unfortunately, the 27 people who’ve served on City Council over that 10-year period have been unable to do anything but keep kicking the old baseball down the road.
Sometimes noisy activists and failed politicians who claim to want to push for progress and resolution on issues associated with a proposed referendum don’t like direct democracy, either. That was the case this time, as some of our most vocal locals didn’t really want to see the baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom issue resolved this way.
You see, a large Election Day turnout to reject baseball in the Bottom would have deprived them of squawking points they want to use to bash certain elected politicians. And, sometimes resolving an issue can put a feather in the wrong cap(s).
Speaking of feathers, we’ve seen examples of just that sort of pettiness with the Redskins training facility, as some who had little to say last year to criticize the process of making the ‘Skins sausage -- when the project’s fate was still up in the air -- began to relentlessly savage the building of the facility, once it was too late to stop it. They’re still at it and we can expect more of the same once the mayor's baseball stadium deal is announced and rubber stamped by City Council.
And, so it goes…