Joe Morrissey is the former Commonwealth Attorney for Richmond. He’s also a former State Delegate and has run a successful law firm for many years. Here’s what he presents to us.
He has said that he will put 50 million dollars into the school system in his first year in office. He wants kids going to school year round and wants them in uniforms. He wants to use historical tax credits to assist in upgrading the school facilities. He wants to provide vision screening as well as some diabetes testing among others for school aged children. He wants to incrementally raise the minimum wage and will champion the Pulse/BRT system. He wants an intense job training program that will assist his constituency with employment.
He vows to work with Council and the School Board to make things run more smoothly with a shared agenda. He will not retain Chief Durham replacing him with former Petersburg Chief John Dixon. The rest of the senior staff should stay in place. He promises that the basic city services will also improve under his watch. He vows not to raise taxes and promises to end all wasteful spending. There will be no shiny new projects that will further hinder our debt ceiling. He will instead seek outside funding for whatever projects he may agree to.
One of the major concerns with Morrissey is that because of his brash personality, he’s looked at as a pariah and no one wants to work with him. Very few of the present council or school board members support him, as well as the candidates running for their positions. His style is not collaborative and it makes progress difficult. The hiring of John Dixon is concerning as RPD doesn’t need any blows to lower the morale amongst the ranks.
His social agenda will have minimal impact because the funding stream for those projects will be low. He promises to put 50 million dollars into the school system in his first year but where will that money come from? Any larger projects will require both regional and state assistance which will be limited at best. He brags about being chosen minority whip, but it’s a position of a debater and as an accomplished attorney he was chosen for his skills at arguing cases not his skills as a litigator. His record is lacking in achievements. We also wonder whether he’ll be a full time Mayor. He has very young kids that he raves about and we know that’s a handful to deal with. Also the Mayor’s salary is far lower than surely what he makes in his law practice.
His scandalous ways will continue as his ego as Mayor will be at its largest. Having witnessed him recently I can say for sure that his salacious appetite for women won’t subside. He continues to say that he has moved beyond his old ways but there seems to be an allegation of wrong doing on a weekly basis. He still stands a chance to lose his law license again!
We see a Morrissey led Richmond riddled with scandal and ridicule. Our City will be an international joke and we’ll be isolated from any meaningful assistance because of his combative nature and personal conduct misfailings. His social agenda will help some but his ability to move this City further economically is very questionable. Expect daily press releases about his shortcomings and Coleman Pride marching in front of City Hall.
Levar Stoney is the former Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He’s also the former head of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Here’s what he presents to us.
As Mayor he will do a comprehensive evaluation of every department in City Hall, identifying the most efficient and least efficient components of the each department.
He will retain Chief Durham and his community policing, but some other department heads are in for a rude awakening. Once ridden of the fat he will open up opportunities for those who really care about the city and that are determined to work hard to see a better Richmond. As Mayor he will be very visible, regularly attending council meetings and engaging all facets of city hall to be sure that everything is running as well as it should. He will identify the wasteful dollars and channel them into more efficient city services and the schools. He will collaborate with Council and the School Board to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Having grown up in poverty he clearly understands how to bring the two Richmonds together in shared growth personally and professionally. The main areas of focus would be in providing jobs with competitive wages, improving transportation and making affordable housing truly affordable and stable. He will expand on the Office of Community Wealth Building. He will also address the gentrification in the neighborhoods to see that they remain ethnically and economically diverse and protect folks from being forced out of their neighborhoods in which they have been invested in for years.
He will support baseball on the Boulevard and the surrounding development that could embolden the mid town of our City even more. He will continue the growth of Downtown but not with big expensive projects that have left the city with the low end of the stick. He will also focus on the small businesses that nurture our neighborhoods and give them the keys to help sustain their communities. Having already established relationships on the state and local level, regional cooperation will help him secure the necessary funding to help with these endeavors.
Among the concerns with Levar Stoney is his lack of experience running an organization as large as the City of Richmond. His campaign team is made up of mostly people not from this area and it makes you wonder what kind of administration he will put around him. With so many of his campaign dollars coming from outside the city the question will be how much of an influence will they have on his agenda. With so much money taken in he has to be beholden to someone. A bigger concern is whether the Governor will have a big hand in shaping his agenda. Another concern is transparency, in that it was revealed that he had a hand in the negotiations for the new stadium plan of VCU and the Flying Squirrels, that no one knew of.
Levar Stoney’s lack of experience running a municipality won’t hinder him as some think. He has shown the ability to listen earnestly to suggestions and he’ll be cautious in his approach to his agenda. He will focus on the schools and we believe that he will be the one to finally help strengthen education in the City. He believes that a proper education is the key to success in life and he wants all Richmonders to achieve this success. Regional cooperation will be a strength of his administration and he will not do the Governor’s bidding as some think. He’s determined to be his own man. Now with Jon Balilies on his team he has the right advisor that will help him navigate the uncharted waters that he’ll face and the two if them could do dynamic things for this City. People say he’s only using the position as a stepping stone to higher office. Our Vice Presidential candidate used the same tactic and no one said a word. He’s a young man with ambition. That’s not a bad thing. The Mayoral position is not a life long job. If he’s fortunate he’ll get only 8 years to lead this City at which time he’ll still be a young man. We believe that he’s the right man at the right time to finally turn this City around.
Jack Berry has had a long career in public service. He’s served as Deputy City Manager for Richmond, County Administrator for Hanover County and Director of Venture Richmond. Here’s what he presents to us.
Like all of the other candidates, he promised to work with Council and the School Board to make things run more smoothly. He wants to unite the community in support of the schools, bringing in resources that will support the students and their parents. He wants the children to be exposed to better opportunities beyond their neighborhoods. He will put in a capital funding plan within his first 90 days that will address the inefficiencies in the school system.
He wants to put a comprehensive plan in place to help revitalize our neighborhoods. He says he will bring together RRHA, City staff and community organizations to redevelop public housing into mixed income communities. He wants to provide “wrap around ” services to assist these families of these communities. He will help minority contractors to get their opportunities he says. He will even let the small man do a service such as cutting grass for a price to be sure it’s done. This among many other city services that are now being overlooked, will no longer be under his watch.
He’ll keep Chief Durham in place as well as probably most of the senior staff. He wants Downtown to be a destination spot for people from across the country opening up many new business opportunities. Economic development will be a strong focus of his administration.
The concern with Jack Berry is that he is the Establishment candidate. Basically his interests will mirror the present administration’s. He’s rumored to be a Republican and whether that’s true or not his interests are definitely big business. He promises that there will be no “shiny projects” but his desire to make all of Downtown boom alludes to just that. His big business campaign managers, specifically Jim Ukrop, will surely be an influence on his agenda.
He says he wants to strengthen our neighborhoods but in all honesty he really doesn’t know our neighborhoods. He tries to convey his concern but you can sense the uneasiness in him in certain neighborhoods. It looks forced. Of all of the African Americans he could get to endorse him he chooses Chuck Richardson, a known drug abuser. He once was a champion for the 5th district, but his time has long passed. It smells of desperation on both of their parts. We don’t see him as the unifier he claims he’ll be.
We expect that under his watch basic city services will actually improve. The vibrant uprising of this City will continue but it will come at a cost. Jack Berry is a bureaucrat whose interest is big business making us wonder what will be left for everything and everyone else.
Next up Levar Stoney
Jon Baliles is the Council person of the 1st district which represents the affluent West end of the city. He is the son of former Governor Gerald Baliles. He’s very much involved in the arts scene in the City. His claim to fame is being an outspoken opponent of the Shockoe Baseball stadium plan. Here’s what he presents to us.
His time on Council has been pretty much uneventful except for his questioning of the ballpark deal. He has though shown the ability to work with all facets of city government. He supports Chief Durham and his community policing. He will be a strong advocate for improving our schools and making them more accountable. He’s a strong advocate for stable funding for our schools to ensure that the school system cand make long term financial commitments, like hiring new teachers.
He believes that education is the key to reducing the high poverty rate. He will expand on the Office of Community Wealth Building’s work program as well as the Richmond Technical Center which will put more skilled workers into the labor force. He wants to provide more and better housing to the underserved communities. He wants to strengthen our neighborhoods with good stable families that are invested in their neighborhoods.
He will build a new ballpark on nine acres freeing up the remaining acreage for the appropriate economic development needed on the Boulevard. The Museum and Arts districts will definitely be enhanced under his watch. He also will further develop the area around the Richmond Marine Terminal, creating more jobs. He would retain the CAO and does not appear to favor a big shake up in City Hall. He’s very independent and beholden to no one yet he has the ability to work across the lines to achieve common goals.
Baliles classifies himself as an outsider but we beg to differ. He’s the son of a former Governor and was on staff in Mayor Wilder’s administration. That says that he’s the ultimate insider.
Council person Michelle Mosby was the first to declare her candidacy for the Mayor’s position. Her rapid ascension to the Council presidency was viewed at as a stepping stone to the top, to which she took. Here’s what she presents to us.
As council president she helped to foster a better working relationships than in previous years she boasts. She says that she has the ability to bring a diverse group together in a collaborating effort to strengthen the City. She wants everyone to know that she is already on the job of trying to bring about a better Richmond which makes her transition to the seat seemless. Baseball is not a priority as she’s sees many more important issues. She would retain Chief Durham and she’s committed to strengthening the force.
She won’t incringe upon the School board’s authority but will collaborate with them on both short and long term solutions for funding the schools. she believes a tax abatement plan would help fund the schools. She wants poverty addressed by building upon the iniatives of the anti poverty commission as well as the Office of Community Wealth Building. Job training and a viable Transit system are key to this as well she says. She looks to bring more economic vitality to he City with such projects like the Stone Brewery . She would retain the School Superintendent as well as the CAO, but she would sit down with her to see where to trim the fat .
Our concerns with Miss Mosby is that she’s been labeled a Dwight Jones crony. She seems to support all of his iniatives. It’s thought that he was behind her power play for the Council presidency and that he convinced her that she could be Mayor. She says that she’s into building coalitions yet she has not seemed to be able to do it as a candidate. Her message has not resonated with the voters across the City and now she appears to be losing her own district. It brings to question what kind of team she would put in her administration as this team is certainly failing her. Her body of work consists of the “ban the box” legislation which was a success but her touting of her council experience is not that well smiled upon. The current council by many, is viewed as dysfunctional .
A Michelle Mosby run city would not look much different than it does now. She’ll be the status quo Mayor without any originality. Her administration would mirror the current one as she will continue to do Dwight Jones’ bidding, leading to more bad economic deals. She will struggle to get help from the General Assembly and getting regional cooperation will escape her as she hasn’t shown the ability to forge a viable working coalition. There’s also concern as to what other interests will influence her as she is now doing Jack Berry’s bidding with her attack ads against Joe Morrissey.
Next up Jon Baliles