The City in State 

click to enlarge street04_wilder_100.jpg

Heads bobbed in acquiescence and the crowd chuckled on cue. Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's State of the City address Jan. 20 ushered in 2007 with more of the same: lots of finger-pointing and big talk of big change — Wilder even comparing himself with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — but not much to show for it all.

Promising to review his major accomplishments, Wilder spent the bulk of his speech in the SunTrust auditorium at 9th and Main streets lambasting the Richmond School Board for its lack thereof.

"Change is messy," Wilder warned. "It takes time, and it's not for the faint of heart."

Indeed, change included taking credit for economic development his office didn't initiate — including the Philip Morris $350 million downtown research center — and the promise of two charter schools that will do little to address the school system's ailing infrastructure needs. Oh, and the Richmond Braves are staying put.

Expect more where that came from. "Two more years is also a period that is a long, long time," Wilder said. We'll just have to wait. S

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