RICHMOND, Va. – What happened to me on Saturday while trying to get YOU THE RIGHT TO VOTE on the Jones’ Shockoe Stadium proposal – AS ENVISIONED BY THE CITY CHARTER – requires being told.
But to be clear upfront, I hold no ill-will or any such feeling against anyone. As for the cracked iPhone screen, I provide basic facts and let you form your own judgment.
Would it have happened if the individual had not been doing what was being done?
That I leave to your judgment. I’m over it, I put it down to my being more careful the next time. But to be honest, the fact he laughed and mocked me upon seeing the cracked screen does still tick me off some.
But, if there is blame to assess for Saturday’s situation, then the BLAME GOES TO CITY HALL AND CITY COUNCIL due to the way they are conducting this Shockoe Stadium fiasco.
They are bringing back that “culture of corruption and inefficiency” discussed 10 years ago. This is having consequences to the city’s political culture.
Their “me” attitude is being communicated down the food chain.
What the heck does the Mayor and City Council expect when all they do for months is play their behind-the-scenes political games on a back-room, sweetheart deal still shrouded in secrecy?
This “give me mine” attitude pollutes everything over time.
The petition group had a booth at the Earth Day event at the Shockoe Farmer’s Market area. I was out in the crowd getting signatures, the event organizers were okay with it.
Suddenly a city official came up to me and said such petitioning would not be allowed.
Eventually he showed me page 16, Section 16 (a) (v) of regulations banning my exercising these First Amendment rights in the “market commons outside of a registered booth area.”
Some of the banned area seemed hard to justify on a legal basis. But I moved to a sidewalk area along 17th Street he said was okay for petitioning.
After a few minutes I reached a spot on the sidewalk outside a business. Suddenly, an individual came through the doors, approached me and began firing verbal darts in my direction.
Let’s be clear here, I had done absolutely nothing wrong.
Needless to say, we held differing views on the Mayor’s Shockoe Stadium. We had a lively discussion. But when I turned to head back down the sidewalk to get petitions, this individual decided to follow me, eventually barraging into a conversation I was having with another citizen.
At this point, I told the pro-stadium posse “tracker” to back off, that you can’t harass me in this way. He refused and said he could do what he wanted on a public sidewalk.
I could not shake the individual. We exchanged comments and the individual kept following.
I made a few calls trying to find someone with whom to discuss the situation. He kept dogging me, then my iPhone slipped from my hands and the screen cracked when hit the brick pavement.
Those are the basic facts and you can add the laughing and mocking if you want.
This individual kept following me to another part of the market and barraged into another conversation. I mentioned it to another city official. But this city official said that as long as this person was on a public sidewalk, the person could do whatever.
CITY OFFICIALS AND CITY COUNCIL EXPOSED BIG TIME
Myself and others therefore decided to leave and go early to the Earth Day at Manchester put on by Style Weekly and others on private property. It was basically a carbon copy event.
BUT HERE, they let us circulate through the crowd to get petitions. There were police, fire officials, presumably other city officials present.
It went great, the event proceeded.
OUR PETITIONING CREATED NOT A SINGLE PROBLEM FOR THE EVENT!
So in a way, that pro-stadium posse “tracker” and the “what-me-worry” city officials did me a favor. They totally exposed City Hall and City Council.
Our elected officials evidence no interest in anyone’s right to vote but their own. They have strictly a “get mine,” “me” attitude and not a “we” approach and it is hurting the city every day.
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.