by Paul Goldman
RICHMOND, Va. – This is from the book on Richmond entitled “Same Plantation, Different Owners.” Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones wants to get rid of 6th District School Board Member Shonda Harris-Muhammed. She provided the tie-breaking vote to elect the mayor’s choice to head Richmond School Board – his former aide Jeff Bourne – over someone the Mayor opposed.
But as we know, Ms. Muhammed has been in trouble over false claims regarding a non-existent doctoral degree. The mayor figures she is no longer a guaranteed vote for Jeff Bourne later this year when the School Board has to vote for a new chair [they only get a one-year term.]
The mayor is right.
Ms. Muhammed is unpredictable in that regard as in other circumstances. You never know who is going to come out in the next chair race given internal board politics.
So last night, there apparently was a police raid of sorts on Ms. Muhammed’s home. It appears the police believe her husband is involved in some way with marijuana.
Here in Virginia, “weed” is not legal for anything. If you are in possession of the stuff, for whatever reason, you are going to have some legal problems: maybe small, maybe big, but something.
Sadly, the mayor saw an easy shot and so he took it, Richard Nixon style.
The disgraced president mastered the politics of smearing without getting your hands technically dirty. He mastered the technique of painting in a bad light, for political reasons, while claiming to be defending you. Nixon came to political prominence during the Cold War, when accusing your opponent of being a communist, or supporting communism in any way meant certain political death.
So Nixon would do this to a series of opponents.
He would say: “I know my opponent, he is an honorable person. I have no reason to doubt his loyalties, I have no reason to doubt he is anything but a loyal American. Now, it is true that some people have questioned whether this is true, they have said or implied he might be a communist, or show sympathies in that direction. I don’t know why they say this, nor do I think it is appropriate or relevant. I just want everyone to know I have nothing to do with these stories and refuse to comment on them. But it is true, these stories are out there.”
Notice Nixon, while technically defending the person and saying these claims by others shouldn’t matter, has gone out of his way to make sure the claim is debated and up front. He can’t be accused of spreading the rumor or even the story, but he makes sure the charge is known and repeats it for those who haven’t heard.
Likewise, Mayor Jones today pulled a Nixon by saying “This matter [of the drugs] is clearly very concerning, but I don’t want to rush to judgment before we understand all the information related to this case. Ultimately, I’m sure the residents of the 6th district make their wishes known as it relates to how this matter impacts their school board representative.”
Think about it.
Why is the mayor issuing a statement on this matter? There are drug busts every day in Richmond, he doesn’t comment on them?
The WTVR story is headlined that the mayor is “Concerned” about the drug bust at a school board member’s house. But if he is giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, why is he even saying a word, his view doesn’t affect the legal aspects of the case, supposedly his only concern in terms of getting all the information.
Moreover, why is the mayor already linking this case to Ms. Muhammed? She isn’t charged is she?
Would you like me to play the fool, just write stuff with dunce cap on? That’s not my style. I call it like I see it.
The mayor is playing politics here, from start to finish. He wants her off the board. Under the informal agreement between members of City Council, the replacement for Ms. Muhammed would be hand-picked by the mayor’s top political ally on the body. Since the vacancy would occur in Ellen Robertson’s district, she would be given the de facto power to choose a replacement.
If the replacement were picked before there was time to hold a special election this fall, then this hand-picked replacement would stay on the board until November 2014. Moreover, if that person could run for the remainder of the term, such individual would have a big advantage.
As I say: The Plantation mentality rules Richmond, the rest of us should feel lucky we are allowed to live here.
The Mayor has learned his politics well. There is no reason except for politics for him to be commenting on a drug bust at this stage of matter. NONE.
Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.