Democracy was on full display in Richmond, Virginia last night. The City Council adopted, by a majority vote, a resolution that seeks to require answers to serious questions raised, by the people, about the proposed $1.5 billion coliseum project.
I have been unable to learn enough about the proposal to publicly support or oppose it.
My first question was raised relative to an op-ed by VCU President Michael Rao published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch on January 6, 2019, declaring that $300 million had been set-aside for “minority contractors.” It has subsequently been revealed that he did not write the op-ed and that it was written by the developer.
It is illegal, as declared by the U.S. Supreme Court for “set-asides” to be made for any group — black, brown, or purple.
Nevertheless, that lie has continued, though the Navy Hill District Corp. and Foundation Board has a lawyer, who also happens to be the lawyer for the proponent (Dominion).
Questions linger relative to why the size of the tax increment finance (TIF) district is 80 blocks, and along what property and boundary lines comprise it, the assessed market value of the properties, and where the over $1 million already spent and more as to the source of city funds.
But the current mayor, Levar Stoney derided the members who sought answers for the people and said their actions were “laughable”.
Last week we celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and I wrote, “Honoring Dr. King Today; How Will We Honor Him Tomorrow?”
I knew Dr. King, and knew how much he honored the collective voices of the people of our nation. One of his favorite expressions is also a favorite of mine.
“Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” Those who seek the truth are not to be laughed at, ridiculed, or otherwise disparaged by Levar Stoney nor anyone else.
I have always tried to adhere to, and still believe in Lincoln’s admonition that, “government of the people, for the people, and by the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Once again, the people are always ahead of the politicians.