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GOLDMAN: Mayor Jones is the Miley Cyrus of Richmond

Mayor and Miley

Mayor and MileyRICHMOND, Va. – Today’s Richmond Times Dispatch is forced to concede my column yesterday was correct, Mayor Jones is now the Miley Cyrus of Richmond.

The RTD agreed the Mayor came in like a Wrecking Ball, poisoning city politics generally and the stadium debate specifically, with a race card strategy aiming to win at any cost. The RTD’s lead editorial examines the Mayor’s stadium comments first made to a meeting at Fifth Street Baptist Church.

It concludes Mayor Jones has indeed been “race-baiting on the issue.”

Would Mayor Jones or the Marsh/Jones political machine excuse a white mayor of race-baiting? Would the RTD or the business community or those in the media?

The answer is self-evident. They would demand an apology, at least.

Yet the RTD gently chides the Mayor for “calling [Shockoe Stadium] skeptics racist.”

What gives?

Instead, the RTD says the Mayor has made a good case for his Shockoe Stadium.

They didn’t explain the basis for this conclusion. Was this before or after he got around to admitting his Shockoe Stadium will cost $30 MILLION MORE TO BUILD? The RTD didn’t say.

THE RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH EDITORIAL MISSES THE LARGER POINT.

Truth is, the Mayor Jones, aka Miley Cyrus wrecking ball, has made it impossible for citizens to trust the system, to believe the Shockoe Stadium scheme will be voted up or down on the merits, not the politics of racial intimidation.

Let’s examine the Mayor’s race-baiting logic.

PREMISE: Poverty in Richmond disproportionately affects African-Americans. This is true. But his Anti-Poverty Commission Report says leaders like the Mayor have consistently made decades of empty promises on the issue (Start at page 42).

SECOND PREMISE: The Mayor claims the Shockoe Stadium is the lynchpin in his anti-poverty effort. But nowhere in the Report is this ever mentioned.

ADDITIONAL PREMISE: The Free Press does the Mayor’s math, saying Council’s “three black representatives appear to be ‘yes’ votes” but no “white member” is currently for it, indeed three “white members” seemed likely opponents. Three negative votes would defeat the Shockoe stadium.

JONES’ RACE CARD DEDUCTION: Since (1) poverty is an African- American concern, (2) the Mayor’s anti-poverty plan requires a Shockoe Stadium, and 3) all the African-American council members support it, then (4) skin color explains why “racist” white members would vote against it.

I have been in politics a long time.

The Jones/Marsh Machine played the “race card” against me in 2003 in a desperate attempt to stop the Elected Mayor Law from being approved in a public referendum. Governor Wilder had asked me to write the law and lead the “Vote Yes” campaign.

Then Delegate Jones and Senator Marsh used race-baiting tactics attempting to defeat it. But the measure won with 80 percent, winning handily in all nine council districts.

But I know the dirty little secret of that campaign, without Doug Wilder giving me cover, the Jones/Marsh race-baiting would have triumphed, stigmatizing me for life.

The Jones/Marsh race-baiting scares whites, especially white politicians. That’s the hard ball truth — and they know it.

The Mayor’s pro-stadium backers in and out of government know the Shockoe Stadium lacked financial justification BEFORE the Mayor admitted it now costs $30 MILLION MORE.

But the money making opportunities for those with the right City Hall connections are apparently too great.

Is the “Color of Money”, as Paul Newman might say, really worth poisoning city politics for a generation?

NO. At least for me.

A public referendum, now more than ever, remains the only fair, honest and trustworthy process to decide whether to spend the more than $100 million needed to finance the Mayor’s Shockoe Stadium. Anything else is recklessly selfish.

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.