Paul Goldman for City Council? 

click to enlarge street13.goldman.148.jpg

Pounders, a member of the mayor's neighborhood roundtable and director of operations for Winn Transportation, is in the process of officially registering as a City Council candidate. Goldman has not yet done so.

"I think he's fairly serious about it," says former Delegate Alexander B. McMurtrie Jr., an old friend of Goldman's who contributed $5,000 to Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's mayoral campaign, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

McMurtrie says he believes Goldman can raise the approximately $75,000 needed to launch a campaign.

Goldman, however, claims he's not yet sure he wants to run. First, he says, he wants to discuss it with Wilder, with people in his district and with "people who know a lot more of this game than I ever will."

That sounds odd coming from a guy who has managed countless campaigns, including Wilder's historic runs for lieutenant governor in 1985 and governor in 1989. But Goldman says he'd be a "rookie" at running for office himself.

Last week he seemed to be testing the waters. He accepted an invitation from School Board member Carol A.O. Wolf to speak to the School Board about the mayor's "City of the Future" plan, which includes building 15 new schools.

The mayor, who has turned down the School Board's request for more information on the plan, had his press secretary issue a statement condemning Goldman's appearance and reinforcing Goldman's separation from the administration.

Goldman also seemed to take a jab at the mayor when he sent out a mass e-mail after the meeting declaring that his plan was "a we thing, not a me thing."

Goldman says he wants to make the council an "idea body," continuing to propose his sometimes-radical plans for civic and school improvement that he became known for as Wilder's policy adviser.

Pounders says he wants to improve schools and strengthen the city's sense of community — "putting the things in place that give people a vested interest in their neighborhoods from a young age."

Some might ask if Goldman, the mayor's longtime friend, could work independently on council. Goldman says if he runs, he'll focus on the needs of the 1st District: "In theory, that would require you to challenge the rest of the Council, that would require you to challenge the mayor. … I'm perfectly prepared to do that."

For his part, Pounders says he's perfectly prepared to take on Goldman. "Although Paul has good ideas about things, I think there is a tendency to shake things up and stir it up all the time," Pounders says. City Council needs unity, not division, he says: "There is a place for Paul Goldman in city government, but City Council is not that place." S


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