Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Video of Mayor Jones' rollout of redevelopment proposal

This is video of Richmond, Virginia's Mayor Dwight C. Jones rollout of his proposal for redevelopment in the city's Shockoe Bottom District.

Throughout the video you will hear the speakers interrupted by protesters. I believe that the protesters badly overplayed their hand yesterday. There is a fine line between protesting and heckling, and the protesters crossed that line.

Many Richmonders, like myself, showed up without strong feelings one way or the other, but we wanted to hear what the mayor had to say. The rude and inane heckling by the protesters has tipped me off the fence onto the side of the mayor.

There was a large crowd at the rollout--perhaps 500--and of them maybe 50 were anti-development protesters. Yesterday's performance was an example of how not to protest. Anti-development protesters failed to persuade anyone; indeed they offended those of us who came to hear the mayor out. It reminded me of Occupy Richmond's attempt to interfere with the 2011 Richmond Christmas Parade and the way they picked a fight with the Richmond Police Department.

The anti-development protesters could have held their own press conference in which they laid out their own cogent objections to the redevelopment of Shockoe Bottom. Instead, they chose to try and shout down Mayor Jones and disrespected the other people who assembled to hear Mayor Jones speak. The anti-development protesters impressed no one. It was lost on no one in the crowd that the gang of hecklers were overwhelmingly composed of 20-something whites shouting down an African American mayor. I am amazed that this disrespectful crew has the presumption to lecture prominent African Americans like Dwight C. Jones and Delores McQuinn on how they should commemorate Richmond's legacy as a major slave market.

Now debate shifts to City Council, and no doubt the anti-development protesters will do their worst to intimidate City Council and block this plan. It will be interesting to see who votes for redevelopment and investment in Richmond's East End, and who caves to this crowd of bullying hecklers.

No comments: