GOLDMAN: City council should hire public, NOT high-priced consultant

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Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. — Why does Richmond City Council have such a low opinion of the common sense and basic smarts of the people of Richmond?

The public is plenty smart enough to decide whether to keep baseball on the boulevard or shift it to the Shockoe Stadium under the Mayor’s $100 MILLION AND COUNTING proposal to be TOTALLY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TAXPAYERS OF RICHMOND one way or another.

But Richmonders own elected representatives don’t think so. Earlier this week the City Council asked for the public funds to hire yet another Big Time Consultant to do what they were allegedly doing the last 5 months: trying to determine the right answers to the financial, traffic, bond, construction, tourism, housing, zoning and related issues raised by the Mayor’s unprecedented no-bid, negotiated in secret Shockoe Stadium deal.

I ask them: Instead of hiring a big time consultant for a CYA report, why not follow the intent of the City Charter and allow the public to make the final decision on these kinds of $100 MILLION PROJECTS backed with city money?

That’s what the Charter intended.

Instead of wasting money on yet another consultant, why doesn’t a majority of the City Council hold a press conference and do what the City Charter intended? They need only to say they will agree to abide by the decision of the people when it comes to spending their money ON THESE KINDS OF $100 MILLION DOLLOAR BOONDOGGLES providing all that “vig” to those special interests with political connections to City Hall.

But in the past few months – the Mayor and City Council claim merely be coincidence – the people’s right to decide HAS BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY ELIMINATED BY THEM.

That’s right: The Resolution supported by the Council last month allows the Mayor and his pro-Shockoe posse to ELIMINATE THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE!

Let me make sure I understand what the Council just admitted: They voted YES last month to approve the Mayor negotiating no-bid, sweetheart MEGA MILLION deals [with 40% reserved for politically connected friends of the Mayor and City Council] but now need a high-priced consultant to tell them what the heck is going on?

This is bizarro even for the Richmond City Council.

ALL RAISING THIS BASIC QUESTION: Why doesn’t the Council trust the people of Richmond to make a decision on whether to put baseball in the bottom or keep it on the boulevard?

This is why a group of ordinary citizens – not those well-connected to City Hall and City Council and hoping to get part of the “vig” – are going to meet again this coming Saturday to do their civic duty and try to get the public their right to be heard in the manner intended by the City Charter and state law.

Richmond’s elected politicians don’t need to waste more money on a high priced consultant. They should merely hold a press conference and announce they will abide by the public’s decision in a referendum to be held this November should the people want one.

A group of civic-minded citizens is again meeting this Saturday to try and do just that. If the City Council truly wanted the right answer the right way, they would helping this group get the people their right to choose.

AND: The group isn’t asking for any high-priced taxpayer-funded goodie! What’s not to like?

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.


  • Tom Hartman

    Whether or not the stadium issue has been well handled thus far, and whether or not a comsultant’s analysis in now a good idea….. Put all that aside… Put the past in the past…. Deciding the issue by public referendum seems like a great idea, a perfect expression of active direct democracy. This issue draws virtually everyone in and would, I think, produce a truly informed and representative vote.

  • athynz

    I’ve always been in favor of a public referendum on this but it’s no coincidence that the mayor and co. has found a way to shut the public out of decision making process. What the mayor and council realize is that the public is indeed smart enough to make the call on this and they know that the majority of the public is not in favor of it. So the mayor makes it so that the public is shut out so his list of people to bribe to shove his legacy project through is short.

  • John

    Why would they let the people vote on this when they aren’t allowed to vote for their judges? Doesn’t attorneys in va elect the judges? Ripe for corruption .

  • F.T. Rea

    Is asking for yet another study, to decide how to spend public funds, a matter of reaching out for expert advice? Maybe it is; maybe it’s smart. Or maybe it’s more about politicians looking for some cover for their exposure. After 10 years of squabbling over plans and studies, since this is the third baseball in the Bottom scheme, isn’t it about time to ask the voters if they want their tax money used in the mayor’s stadium plan? If the majority votes “yes” to baseball in the Bottom that would take all the heat off of Council members. Who’s afraid of democracy?

  • Glen ALlen

    Reva Trammell is the only City Council member to recently show support for a referendum, every other member should be voted out of office in the next election. That is one vote neither the Mayor, or City Council can take away from Richmond voters.

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