Dear Doug Wilder 

Aug. 24, 2005

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After taking office, Mayor L. Douglas Wilder set up an Ask the Mayor feature on the city's website to allow residents to ask him questions directly. By August 2005, Wilder had zeroed out the city budget, lashed out at grocery magnate Jim Ukrop and the business leaders behind the performing arts center project. And he fired half of City Hall. Reporter Melissa Scott Sinclair compiled some of the more interesting questions (unedited, of course) the mayor received. "They think the mayor is — omnipotent," Wilder spokesman Linwood Norman told Style.

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Mr. Mayor,

Why is soup $2.95 and a cup of chili $3.95 at Padow's Restaurant located in City Hall? The prices are exhorbitant for everything!, when compared to a cup of chili at WENDYS, 0.99 cents or a bowl of soup from UKROPS, $1.99? I ask this because their rental fee is so little. Is this a wise choice for taxpayers money? Thank you for your consideration.

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Mr. Mayor,

Do you believe that a man should be required to pay a woman from whom he is divorced, alimony, until she is Re-married or Dies? (yes, I said RE-MARRIES or Dies) I DON'T!!! My son has been paying his X-wife $1,000 a month for the past 4-5 years and at the rate she is going and the men she has been with and the caliber of people with whom she associates or has associated, that eventful date will never come.

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Mr. Mayor,

Your recent argumentative behavior is both unbecoming a public official and, as the Vice Mayor says, "unnecessary." Since you seem to enjoy the battles and have significant control issues, along with an unwillingness to lead in concert with others, would you consider counseling so the city can move forward without your ego having to be fed each step of the way?

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Mr. Mayor,

I was outside with my dog when the pound came to get my dog, Tanner. He was a golden retriever, part chow . ... Now, I understand that it had to be done for the safety of children and adults in the neighborhood, but I believe the way [the animal control officer] took him was unorthidox and rude .... He took my dog without a kind word. I yelled and I cried and I screamed. I was only 10 years old and having the only creature that I loved so much and that I could go to when I was upset was the worst thing that could ever happened to me and will probably stay that way. He choked my dog and threw him in the back of the truck in a kenel that was too small. Now, Tanner was a harmless dog who wouldn't and didn't harm anybody. I know I can't get him back now, but I would like to know two things, 1. would you please go to the pound and see if there is a golden retriever that goes by the name of Tanner and has black spots on his tounge.

... Even though I an only 12 I speak for any and every child and/or adult who has ever had their dog taken away from them ... Oh, and if you don't make this a law, I have indescribable connections in Virginia that could and probably would make you lose your office as mayor. Thanks again for reading my letter. (Think of Tanner. Think of your future as mayor. You can change the fact that you will be hated or you can make everybody hate you even more.) Bye. Have a nice day!

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