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