GOLDMAN: Mayor Jones’ new Shockoe Stadium strategy revealed

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

RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones made it official over the weekend. Jack Berry, Jim Ukrop, Ken Johnson, David White, Lou Salomonsky, Tammy Hawley and the rest of his pro-Shockoe Bottom stadium posse were still in the saddle.

The Mayor told WTVR’s Sandra Jones he is working on the new Shockoe Stadium proposal. If you see his interview with Sandra, the Mayor looks confident he is not going to fire blanks when he reveals his new Shockoe Stadium proposal.

Remember, Richmond City Councilwomen Graziano, Robertson, Newbille and Mosby are 100 percent behind the Shockoe Stadium proposal. Even a Tsunami of facts, figures and common sense can’t budge the “Jones 4.”

But he needs at least one more Council vote to turn the Bottom into a ballpark.

Today, we focus on what the Mayor is doing behind the scenes. He is developing not merely a new Shockoe Stadium plan, but a new Shockoe Stadium pitch. It is what we call the “spin,” usually as important as the actual substance.

My private sources tell me the “spin” is being developed by the Mayor’s Shockoe “spin doctor,” Mr. Ken Johnson.

Moreover, there seems to be public evidence to support their private understanding. Here is what the Mayor said in his recent newsletter in justifying his Shockoe Stadium proposal:

“The Shockoe [Stadium] development plan will …include at least a 40% minority business participation rate and at least a 20% minority ownership stake. Richmond has never seen community wealth-building commitments like these on a project this big.”

This is, as we say in politics, right in Ken Johnson’s “wheel-house.”

Mr. Johnson has been a leader in pushing for greater minority business participation in projects controlled and/or steered by city government through various methods. The late Ray Boone, editor of the Free Press, was likewise a major critic of what he saw as a failure of city government, state too, in making sure minority businesses received a bigger share of the contracts. Ray had some powerful statistics to back up his case.

I believe Mr. Johnson has convinced the Mayor to highlight this part of his Shockoe Stadium mantra far more than in the previous months. Clearly the old strategy didn’t work.

In politics, it is not unusual for the “new” strategy to be basically a refocusing of elements of the old strategy.

Could the “spin” work for Jones?

Councilman Baliles, Samuels and Hilbert are known to have higher political ambitions. At minimum it gives Jones – and his Stadium surrogates like Berry and Johnson and Ukrop – a leverage point, at least in theory.

Read carefully the way the Mayor is putting it. He and whomever is advising him are using the 40 percent and 20 percent figures the way they do for a particular reason.

Has Mr. Johnson given the Mayor a way to get his fifth vote? We shall see.

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.


  • Ron Melancon

    Right to the point no matter how many overpaid consultants you have,,, build the screwball stadium in the bottom we are not going to come. We will not deal with the traffic and your secret plan to toll us on 195 to avoid the traffic jams that will be created by the others who will use I 95. The people will wake up and vote the council members who will vote for a tax payer Nutzy playground but can’t fix leaking school roofs

    • John

      Ron, There may be some traffic delays due to high traffic. Yet, it would be no different than a large event at the Coliseum. Everyone flows out to the highway and gets home…no problem.

    • dookiedog

      Speak for yourself, Ron. I will be there time and time again. Heck, I might even move to that area away from the boring west end that my ex wife forced me to move to after 13 years in the wonderful fan. I can’t wait to bring my kids down to the bottom and show them what life is like in the vibrant, interesting, beautiful, river city. Just the thought of mountain biking the James River trails in the morning, kayaking the James River on a Saturday afternoon, then going to a Squirrels game in the evening, then going out to enjoy the night life gets me excited. Give’m hell Major Jones. Don’t let the “no we can’t” crowd win!!!!

  • John

    If the stadium proposal were to be on the ballot in a general election, I think it would be approved. The mood of the public is that this is getting old. People are getting sick of talking about this subject. Where is the latest polling numbers of the public?
    We know the 5th vote is going to have to be either Samuels, Baliles or Hilbert. We know Agelasto and Trammell are a No vote and I can bet they will have some well financed competition in the next election.

    • Appreciative Citizen

      Honest representatives who stand up to corruption usually have well-financed competition. If you want it on the ballot, there is a petition to have Referendum.

      • Ron Melancon

        Only build the stadium if is private money. You have School Funding Needs that could use the money. If you don’t fix schools if you don’t fix schools people move …. People move less revenue for city… Which results in higher taxes… More people move to Henrico…. Which means more people move …. Then people loose jobs then they go into section 8 housing then they get food stamps then more people move …. Then all you have is a big beautiful screwball stadium and high taxes.

  • Becky

    With Samuels serving The Venture Board and seeking a political reward of a judgeship doesn’t seem to
    present a problem for the Mayor. Ellen Robertson also serves The Venture Board. Seems a decisive conflict of
    interest with both serving two masters. Chris Hilbert wants president of City Council. Party rewards require
    complicit and compliant servitude to Agendas. Mayor Jones was rewarded and raised to State Democratic Party Chairman.

  • Becky

    RTD, as Venture’s Partnered Media Affiliate, did a promotional production number highlighting Kenneth Johnson
    Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013 12:00 am | and Updated: 8:53 am, Mon May 5, 2014. Wow. Always continually amazed by the blatantly obvious, clearly transparent, incestual relationships, with all out media production numbers, for the Favorite Politically Correct. Johnson has all the right PC Connections, and is working it, along with his business of, by, for, and through Party’s Venture Richmond. His mission/objective is now to market, sell, promote, communicate with the
    public all the angles for The Mayor/President of Venture Richmond’s “New and Improved Shockoe Bottom Stadium Proposal”, behind the scenes, of course.

  • Becky

    PC Connections: Governor’s Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission, Governor’s Supplier Diversity Council, Venture Richmond, Greater Richmond Chamber, and all of Ventures’ Board, Sponsors, Contributors, Lobbyists, Donors, Friends, and Developers for Dollars. All Partnered Media Affiliates as their PC Party Advertising/Propaganda Agencies. The Venture Government of Culpability, Corruption, Collusion, Covert
    Operations, all pre-planned, set up, orchestrated, and in place for personal enrichments, party agendas, with all the party operatives in tow seeking party rewards. . Governor personally stops by a Richmond City Council meeting sponsoring the Mayor’s all out efforts and wants to be a part of it. Governor promotes Venture President/Mayor
    to Virginia Democratic Party Chairman.

  • Glen Allen

    The City Council members that support the Mayor’s plan to gamble the Bottom away, will be remembered most when it fails, and fail it will, because there is absolutely nothing exciting or unique about the plan. It is boring and sells the Bottom short of what it could become if the development and design had been put out for competition. Seriously, a giant concrete hole in the ground, a Kroger’s Grocery Store, a new modern hotel, office and apartment building(s) are stale, and with the grocery store war about to begin in the Richmond area, is Kroger’s really a good “fit” for younger population that area serves?

  • Becky

    It’s hard to “spin” corruption, collusion, culpability, covert operations, buy ins for pay off, party strong arm tactics, bulldozing, ramrodding, friends with benefits, donors for dollars, lobbyists and Big Corps, for tax exempt special, exclusive interests, subsidizing party agendas for tax dollars. They Are so transparent now and seen all throughout their city with their version of Positively(?) Richmond of their benevolence with Our Tax Dollars, their way, without our say.
    Redskins Deal, Altria/Mosque, Free Give Away of Monroe Park, 2015 Take over by Over Ride Rules/Close the City
    Dictates, Venture Venues of Self Rules, Redskins Vendor Deals. Venture Government by Usurping Government/
    Extorting Taxes.

  • manalishi

    “GOLDMAN: Mayor Jones’ new Shockoe Stadium strategy revealed” New strategy is same as the old one, fraud, deception, lies and corruption with spin. This failure could easily be sold to typically weak minded democrat majority.

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