Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones used his State of the City address on Thursday to call for “bold, intelligent action,” saying that his baseball-focused economic development plan would be a major step forward for a city that has higher tax rates and more poverty than its neighbors.
Several Richmond City Council members have expressed concern about recent comments by Mayor Dwight C. Jones, who told a mostly black audience that a majority of the council “does not look like us” while criticizing some of the council reaction to his baseball-focused development plan.
According to an article in this week’s Richmond Free Press, Jones made the comment on New Year’s Day at Fifth Baptist Church while speaking to the Baptist Ministers Conference during an event commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation.
It was more hardball than softball Thursday night when Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones took questions on his proposal for a Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium at one of the first of many public forums scheduled throughout the city.
Despite a warm welcome on Twitter, @MayorJonesRVA is apparently a phony.
After media inquiries, Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ administration on Wednesday evening announced that the new Twitter account, which has picked up nearly 300 followers, including residents, reporters and politicians, was a fraud.
Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones is expected to weave his personal story into the city’s historical ties to slavery today as he makes his pitch for a Shockoe Bottom development plan that includes both a baseball stadium and a heritage site to commemorate what was one of the largest slave markets in antebellum America.
The long-anticipated Shockoe plan, which would involve private and public investment of more than $200 million, also includes a Kroger grocery store, a Hyatt hotel, 750 apartments and a parking deck, according to prepared remarks and other materials provided to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, but the slavery memorial is a key component that could defuse some of the opposition to a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom.
A Richmond City Council candidate trying to unseat a two-term incumbent in the race for the 1st District is raising questions about a city project that created what he calls the "Taj Mahal of alleys" behind his opponent's house.
Jon Baliles, an insurance broker and former city employee who is running against Councilman Bruce W. Tyler for the seat representing Richmond's West End, said he wants to know how a major project paid for with money from the city's 3-year-old stormwater utility wound up behind Tyler's house.
Incumbent 1st District City Councilman Bruce W. Tyler, often seen as an antagonist of Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones and the city administration, makes no apologies for how he handles business from his seat on the council dais.
"My questions are direct," Tyler said. "The job that I've been elected to do is an important one for the city. To go down there and sit there and act like everything is perfect when it isn't is not doing a service to the city."
The latest campaign finance reports for Richmond's City Council races show challengers in some tightly contested races rapidly raising money on the way to the Nov. 6 elections.
Challengers in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 9th districts all outraised their incumbent opponents from July 1 through Aug. 31, though most of the incumbents still retain an advantage in cash on hand. Campaign finance reports were due Sept. 15.
Incumbents in all but one Richmond City Council race continue to hold a major fundraising advantage over their opponents.
And while several challengers say cash isn't everything, they acknowledge that money does equate to messaging, and they're doing their best to catch up.
According to the latest campaign finance figures from the Virginia Public Access Project, the only race in which the incumbent doesn't enjoy a significant financial edge is the 2nd District contest between incumbent Charles R. Samuels and Richmond businessman and real estate developer Charlie Diradour.
Richmond's City Council has a problem with making and keeping appointments. A council committee struggled Tuesday with proposals to change the way it appoints members to the Slave Trail Commission, Capital Region Airport Commission and a new GRTC Transit System task force, while belatedly reappointing two members to the board of commissioners at Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.