GOLDMAN: Mayor Jones may support Shockoe referendum today

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

RICHMOND, Va. – In 1994, Mayor Jones agreed with the citizen’s group now working hard to get a Shockoe Stadium referendum on the November ballot.

The late Senator Benjamin Lambert, recently lauded by Mr. Jones, likewise agreed with the need for Commission created by this referendum.  So did Senator Henry Marsh, indeed roughly the entire Richmond legislative delegation!

Here it is.

The Referendum sets up an Historic East End Shockoe Bottom Commission to make sure the area’s uniquely significant historic events, crucial not only to local history but state and national as well, is fully and adequately and openly protected BEFORE ANY DECISION  on such a massive bulldozer project is made.

Back in 1994, they all agreed such a Commission VITAL TO RICHMOND!

So why then has the Jones/Marsh political machine changed its mind?

If it was the right thing to do for Richmond from 1994-2013, what changed here in 2014? Presumably, today we find out.

Why? Last month, the Mayor promised to reveal to the City Council certain until-now secret details to his Shockoe Stadium proposal.  Today, his top aides will present these details to Economic Development Authority board meeting at Main Street Station.

This is fitting as the Mayor will reveal today, the EDA is being used because it allows the Jones Administration to bypass certain city and state laws, including the City Charter  which otherwise gives the public the right to demand their right to vote BEFORE between $100-200 MILLION in public funds is spent and BEFORE politicians and private developers can bulldoze anything in an area with this much historic significance.

I get it, the EDA is controlled by key political interests. The EDA isn’t subject to the public bid and other processes created by local and state law.

There are upwards of $700 million in contracts potentially at stake when all is considered, including roughly $300 million the Mayor’s plan wants to reserve for those with political connections to key city politicians.

I get all that, I wasn’t born yesterday.

The  Jones Administration claims they are justified to do business this way.

Today, they get their chance to prove it.

I am a fair person. Let’s see what they have to say.

But my prediction remains, when all is said and done, it will be further self-evident why the Referendum process is the only fair, fiscally sound, and transparent process left to the City on this matter.

I say again, the Referendum process is the only way left to heal the divisions in our town created by the flawed process now being used.


The referendums are pro-vote, pro-people.

They don’t demonize, they don’t judge, rather they let the people express themselves, to be a direct part of the process. The Mayor, the City Council,  the business community, the pro-stadium posse – they don’t lose any power.

Rather, the people get their rightful authority to express their rightful opinion.

What’s wrong with that?

The Mayor’s Administration will talk at 3 p.m. By 5 p.m., I predict the Mayor and his team will have become – inadvertently it is true – supporters of the Referendum.

Why? With all due respect, they will have underscored the very reasons the citizen’s group has decided to try and clear the greatest petitioning hurdle in state history [they  have to get roughly 10,000 valid signatures in Richmond ONLY whereas it  takes 5,000 collected statewide to get on the ballot for President!] in order to ensure that YOU, THE PEOPLE OF RICHMOND, get your right to vote.

An indirect endorsement? In politics, it is often better than a direct one!

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.


  • me

    Jones has a long history of running and playing his games, tricks, scams, cons, and favorites.
    …Jones has been fundraising for a possible reelection campaign, with a majority of Contributions from ALTRIA Group Inc and DOMINION Resources Inc Executives and Employees.
    In 2011, Jones re-election committee received 96 donations, 46 of the donations (45% of the total cash value) from these two corporations, their executives, and employees.
    [3] Complaints of Corporate Influence and Favoritism arose after Jones’ 2008 election when the Mayor supported construction of a new city jail by City Central LLC.
    City Central LLC was a Consortium of Individuals and Corporations which were Major Contributors to Jones 2008 election campaign

  • me

    .[4] On February 16, 2010, City Central LLC submitted an unsolicitied proposal to build a new jail. Although the city of Richmond had already begun the process of expanding the existing jail and had received 11 proposals. City Central LLC proposal was accepted and the eleven other submissions were returned unopened.
    [5] Acceptance of the City Central LLC proposal was controversial and after opposition by the city council, additional proposals were requested by the city administration.
    [6] Mayor Jones eventually awarded the jail construction project to Tompkins/Ballard Joint Venture of Washington.
    City Council members questioned the award, claiming Bias and the City had ignored its own Procurement Rules, and ordered an audit of the procurement process.
    [7] Despite concerns and questions raised by the audit, and after Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Operations Christopher Beschler accepted responsibility for the Procurement Failures, the City Council approved the selection of Tompson/Ballard.
    Despite the approval, some city council members were not satisfied with the process. Member Bruce Tyler stated,
    “The mayor chose to put POLITICS in front of people.
    They rammed it down our throats instead of dealing with our questions”.

  • me

    Now City Council is fully complicit, compliant, and in tow and on board.
    The Positives Richmond’s Elite Who’s Who Rich Individuals,
    Corporations, Big Business and their Party Consortium(s);
    The Tax Exempt/Non Profit Special Interest LOBBYISTS have bought, own, operate, manage and Run Richmond.
    Governor and State Official laud this Party Hardy Pol-“I”Ticking and raise
    Jones to elevated Party Pedestals when he can’t manage to manage
    Richmond himself without Failures, Frauds, Scandals Galore, Debauchery. Party Cohorts have to step in. without their outside (Party) Councils, Commission, Consortiums, and Studies to Study Studies.
    Ain’t NO SUNSHINE, OPEN GOVERNMENT, in the hidden, back rooms,
    closed doors, of down and dirty “Deal” for Mayor and DONORS
    Friends with Benefits and Buy Ins for BIG Pay Offs.

  • me

    Same ol, same ole Jones. Same ol, same ole Party Without rules,
    regulation, laws, Constitution, “Ethics” that facilitates Democratic GIFTGATE(s) that are blatantly inyoface!!!, with Party Carte Blanche.

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