December 29, 2004 News & Features » Cover Story


Wilder on Deck 

So fierce was Wilder that Richmond Police Chief André Parker, while still holding the post, saw his job advertised in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in mid-December. (A Wilder spokesman said he could reapply.) If anyone questioned his heart, his willingness or his ability to run the city in his mid-70s, Wilder sent an emphatic message: He's the singular man for the task.

The day after Wilder lost a court battle to stop Jamison's $174,000 severance package, Dec. 23, he called for a special session of City Council to vote on new legislation he is proposing: the Anti-Cronyism and Corruption Act, which Wilder said would, among other things, outlaw "golden parachutes, shutdown the PAYGO accounts, end the lavish expenditures for food at meetings of City Council committees and other governmental entities."

And you thought Council TV was entertaining. Luckily for Richmond, when Wilder was too busy sniffing out cronyism to talk to the media, there was his trusty sidekick, Paul Goldman, to keep the party hopping.

Sporting his New York-nouveau blazers and rumpled hair, Goldman held his own, slashing and burning with his acidic yet poetic statements of grandeur. See Exhibit A, an e-mailed statement from Goldman Dec. 21 in response to City Manager Calvin Jamison's farewell press conference, featuring outgoing Mayor Rudy McCollum and Vice Mayor Delores McQuinn.

In a press release to the media Goldman wrote: "They were singing like one of Barry Gordy's great Motown groups — or the Beatles without one of the FAB four — belting out the lyrics to one of Mr. Gordy's favorite songs, and Motown's first huge top Billboard national seller, not to mention a big hit recorded by the Beatles, also: But Barrett Strong's original Motown version is far and away the best, voted as one of the 50 greatest songs."

Goldman then included the lyrics, verse by verse, of Gordy's "Money (That's What I Want)."

If Richmond needed a jolt, by the end of the year it was in shock therapy. The Wilderisms were reverberating throughout the region, but expect Richmond to have a new presence in the statehouse, too, and a sharp influence on the gubernatorial race.

The big concern is whether Wilder's massive ego can coexist with City Council, which he needs desperately to pass his agenda and his budget. (In the new city charter, the mayor has no vote or veto power on City Council matters.)

The Score continued ...


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