Paul Goldman

Ok, we know he’s not in the race anymore, but he had good insight while it lasted.

Overall participation: 71%

Check out his responses below.

Question 1:
List five initiatives that you believe are more important than finding a new baseball team for the City of Richmond.

1. Implement the Goldman “City of the Future” plan, which all my opponents, even the Mayor has praised, which will among other things begin the modernization our public school facilities, on average roughly 60 years of age used state statistics and the oldest such system in the state. Unfortunately, the Pantele-Wilder government we have had for the last two years has meant not a single school has been modernized in the last 4 years.

2. Stop the Echo Harbor project, and build a green DNA into our future building code, which of course will require the election of myself as Mayor, as my major opponents are too beholden to the special interests to pledge to stop Echo Harbor among other real estate projects.

3. If we want to be a first tier city, then we can no longer remain last in job creation among the state’s cities, as was found to be the case in the Kaine Administration study. This is why I have proposed to stop skewing city policies to favor certain special interests and instead concentrate on creating jobs with tax policy and economic incentives.

4. Elect a Mayor, like myself who has a Masters in Public Administration, and thus actually understands fiscal and budget policy, one that will be honest with the public about the 60 million in waste the City Auditor says the budgets backed by Bill Pantele and Doug Wilder have larded into city government, such waste and inefficiency a good part of the reason why we have the most expensive City Hall, the most expensive City Council and the most expensive School Bureaucracy in the state. We have a fiscal mess in city government, with the Mayor saying the city faces a $6 million dollar deficit and the City Council refusing to guarantee that it will keep it’s commitment to city retirees, despite their previous promises.

5. Appoint David McCoy, now the interim Police Chief, as the permanent Police Chief, which he deserves given the lowest crime rate in more than a generation, not to mention that it will send a message our children need to hear in our town; namely that merit, not political correctness, is the only qualification that should count.

Question 2:
What are two qualities that people who know you well might say make you suited for the office you seek?


That’s right, this record of proven leadership has been discussed by the authors of several acclaimed books, on the pages of many of the nation’s leading daily newspapers and weekly news magazines, indeed in all the newspapers across Virginia. I took the lead in several historic efforts to expand the political and/or defend the political and personal rights of African-Americans and women against powerful forces who wanted to reverse the progress we had made, or even take us backward.

Moreover, here in Richmond, while my opponents were comfortable with the cronyism and corruption of the failed old form of government, I alone stood with the people of our city who wanted change: and so I wrote the Elected Mayor law, I led the petition drive to get this historic Charter Change on the 2003 referendum ballot, and then lead the campaign that won 80% of the vote to help make our new form of government a reality. My opponents didn’t believe you, the people, should have a vote in deciding who was your Mayor. And without the efforts of those of us – and I greatly admire all of those who helped me and joined in standing-up to the powerful interests opposed to change – you, the people of Richmond, would not be voting for Mayor this coming November.

I have been a leader in challenging what some have called the “Plantation Mentality” that ruled Virginia and Richmond: and I am proud that when I chaired the Virginia Democratic Party, we worked hard and there were more African-Americans and women elected to state and federal legislative office than eve before.


As I write this post, Richmond is the first city in the history of Virginia, as best I can tell from available sources, to be in the third month of a new fiscal year and not have a budget that City Hall and City Council can agree is the official city budget, not to mention a $6,000,000 deficit according to the city’s finance officer. Is it any wonder that based on available state statistics, Richmond appears to have the most expensive City Hall, City Council, and School Bureaucracy in the state, not to mention among the highest if not the highest combined water rates, gas rates and real estate taxes of any Virginia locality? According to the City Council’s own auditor, as admitted by City Council President Bill Pantele at our last debate, the City Council has been approving budgets that – in Mr. Pantele’s own admission – contained upwards of $60,000,000 in wasteful spending!

I am the only candidate who has pledged to cut taxes so we can start creating jobs in our city – according to a Kaine Administration study, Richmond had worst record on jobs, and the most private sector job losses, of any city in the state.

This has to be a “we” thing, not the “me” thing of those in office today: we, the people, have to take back control of our government, for it is spending money on big salaries and wasteful programs to the tune of millions of dollars, spending at a rate that is beyond the fiscal means of city residents. Moreover, given the current economy, and the huge state and federal budget deficits, Richmond is going to have to tighten the budget belt.

Besides a law degree, I also have a Masters in Public Administration, and will therefore be the first Mayor, to my knowledge, who has the fiscal and other training to meet the usual education requirements demanded of a top-rate city finance officer and chief administrative officer.

When I was Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, I inherited a huge deficit: and turned it around to create a big surplus, having been praised for making the party financial sound by Mark Warner, among others.

Question 3:
What are your thoughts on the relationship between the current mayor and city council? Outline a model for how you’d like to see the mayor and city council work together in the future.

Unfortunately, both the Wilder-led Administration and the Pantele-led City Council have failed to understand the basic structure of the Elected Mayor form of government, contained in the highly praised law that I originally drafted, which the people endorsed by an unprecedented 80% vote, and then was formally enacted, with improvements, by overwhelming bi-partisan majorities in the Virginia House of Delegates and the State Senate, such legislation then signed by Governor Mark Warner at the urging of Lt. Governor Tim Kaine. In 2005 and 2006, further improvements were made to the law, likewise by overwhelming majorities in the General Assembly.

Sadly, all of my opponents in this year’s Mayor’s race were content with continuing the old form of government, leaving it to me to put in the time and energy to lead the change effort that put the new form of government on the 2003 referendum ballot to get Richmonders their right to elect their Mayor. To be fair, they say they have changed their mind and now support the law and it’s changes signed by Warner and Kaine.

Still, it is fair to ask: Given my positive role in making change, and their refusal to take the initiative, who is better equipped, and indeed most truly interested, in making the effort to make sure the new form government works as best it can?

To make it work as best intended, we need a wholesale revision of the city’s bloated bureaucratic structure, the most expensive such government bureaucracy, and City Council in the state.

No wonder the City Auditor has already found 30 million in waste in last year’s budget, the sum likely to perhaps double when he is finished. The leaders of City Council voted for this wasteful budget.

Mayor Wilder ran on a platform to change this. But he didn’t. So as I say, Mayor Wilder and City Council President Pantele can make political points by blaming each other; the City Auditor’s findings speak for themselves.

Now, more than ever, we need leadership with my proven record of making historic changes.

That’s why at the outset of this campaign, I proposed to create what I call the “Richmond Unity Council”, an 18 person advisory group patterned after the Council on Virginia’s Future at the state level.

We need to stop the blame game: and get on the same page.

It has to be a “we” thing, not this constant “me” thing.

Such a cooperative group is unprecedented in any locality. But I am committed to changing the culture of city government, and creating a new cooperative culture.

The Richmond Unity Council will meet every three weeks, same time, same place, and be open to the public and the press. It will have 10 citizens from across our great city, all with proven records in their area of expertise and from neighborhoods across Richmond. There will also be 7 of the top elected and appointed officials in the group in addition to the Mayor, such as the President and Vice-President of the City Council, the Chair of the School Board and the School Superintendent, the Police Chief, a member of the city’s delegation to the General Assembly, and Commonwealth Attorney.

We will meet in public view, answer questions from the public, and be seen discussing our plans to work together to solve long-standing problems.

Every three weeks, we will be back, and thus have to show what we have done working together in the proceeding three weeks to do what we have promised.

No such meetings have ever taken place before in the history of Richmond: indeed, no such meeting between such elected officials was ever proposed, much less held, during the last few years.

Within a few months, I am confident the need for our top officials to present a regular public accounting of their cooperative efforts to make positive change will change the culture in city government, and lead to an era of mutual respect that produces positive results in so many areas. It will require daily contact between those at all levels of city government, between key elected leaders, between citizens and their government officials, between all those who need to be interested in making our schools work better: and if they have to go to these meetings and show nothing has been done, those public meetings of the Richmond Unity Council will prove quite embarrassing to the 18 members.

They are not going to let that happen, believe me.

Indeed, we such cooperation now more than ever for another reason: in my judgment, the Wilder Administration and the Pantele-led City Council have created a fiscal mess that goes way beyond the $6,000,000 deficit the Mayor says currently exists in the city budget, the first such deficit in history at this stage of the budget year from what I can tell of modern Richmond.

Fortunately, I have had the experience of being a key fiscal advisor to two Virginia Governors who took over facing big budget deficits during tough economic times, the very situation that experts say is likely to face Richmond’s next Mayor.

That being the case, if elected, I will start during the Mayor-elect transition process to bring the change we need to our City. I want the new Richmond Unity Council to be up and moving by the time the Goldman Administration is sworn into office.

Question 4:
If you support the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what specifically will you do to ensure the plan is implemented? If you oppose the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what steps will you take to correct, change, or modify the plan?


Question 5:
What do you consider to be Richmond’s greatest asset? What do you consider to be its greatest liability?

Richmond’s greatest asset is the people of the River City. The greatest liability is the fiscal mismanagement and utter lack of real vision on the part of the Wilder-led Administration and the Pantele-led City Council. They love to praise my “City of the Future” plan, and it’s vision: but they have proven totally incapable of implementing the key provisions of it, indeed their failure will wind-up costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

Even the City Auditor, an employee of the Council, admits that the Council has been wasting at 30 million a year in terms of the wasteful and unnecessary spending passed by the Council, and agreed-to by the Mayor, that have been larded into the city budget. And who pays for this mismanagement? The people do.

We have the oldest schools in the state, the most expensive City Hall entourage, City Council staff, and public school bureaucracy in the state, the highest water and gas rates for those least able to pay, and I could go on.

Once again, we see why my opponents continue to offer just the same ole, same ole: The lastest example, I alone had to guts to stand-up to Mayor Wilder and say he was wrong to bypass Police Chief David McCoy for someone with far less merit; it was clear to me that the Mayor had not made his appointment based on merit, but for the same ole type of reasons that have held Richmond back for far too long.

If elected Mayor, I intend to hire Mr. McCoy as the Police Chief – assuming of course that he still wants the job – and send Wilder’s choice packing.

In a Goldman Administration, decisions will be made on merit.

But everyone of my opponents were too afraid to state the obvious: no wonder the special interests that have held this City back have given my opponents upwards of $300,000 but have not given me a penny: they know that Paul Goldman is the only independent candidate in this race with the guts to say NO to the power-brokers.

Apparently, Barack Obama, who has praised the work I did to help bring whites and blacks together to make historic change, and yours truly are the only candidates this year who understand that we need to get past the old racially-tinged politics if we are to make Richmond and America all they can be.

Question 6:
If elected, how will you promote the use of public transportation by Richmond residents? What improvements would you make to the current system in order to do so?

Over the years, I have already been a big supporter of public transportation and worked to make sure in 2005 that the GRTC didn’t raise the fare. As the only candidate running for Mayor who has taken the lead in challenging the growing deficit and fiscal mess currently existing in city government that would become an even bigger mess if Richmond followed the budget and fiscal plans of Mr. Grey and Mr. Pantele, let me point out that today, 2/3 of the cost of running the GRTC comes from government sources including what is included for the GRTC in the city budget.

Given the fiscal mess that the Wilder-led Administration and the Pantele-led City Council have created, when this is added to the fiscal and economic problems at the federal and state levels, no responsible candidate for Mayor can promise that there will be any new money for just about anything in the next budget; indeed, this is why I have been trying to get Mayor Wilder and City Council President Pantele to tell the truth about the city’s fiscal mess, but they refuse for self-evident political reasons.

Mr. Pantele and others are saying they want to raise hundreds of millions for a light rail system in Richmond, but they refuse to say how they intend to get the money:I think you can figure out who they want to pay!

In this campaign, I have made a solemn pledge not to pander to voters. I will let the others makes promises of spending millions we don’t have.

So let me tell you straight: The next Mayor is going to face the biggest budget deficit in the history of Richmond, and will have to cut millions in wasteful spending while working night and day to protect the safety net for the people of our city.

Thus, the first thing we need to do, in terms of public transportation, is to make a realistic assessment of how much money will we realistically have, and our surrounding localities have, to operate all such systems. In my view, in order to have sufficient funds, the Mayor will have to work with the GRTC and others to make sure all possible efficiencies that can be made without reducing the level of service are indeed made as quickly as possible.

The faster we can be smarter and more efficient, the better for those using public transportation.

Hopefully we can get more cooperation from the counties in regards to public transportation. I will work hard to get this done. But there are no guarantees on this.

So in terms of what can be done, making sure the GRTC provides the best possible service at the lowest possible cost to the rider and the community is something we in Richmond can best control.

The Mayor’s role here is one of promoting public transportation, working to provide the funding possible in a very difficult fiscal environment, and of helping to make it easier for the GRTC to take the actions necessary to make efficiencies without adversely affecting services.

There is no free lunch despite what my opponents claim.

It will take the kind of hard that I am known for doing, my being called “the Man who got things done” by Style Weekly.

Question 7:
The city, state, and nation are facing a severe economic crisis, and yet during elections we typically hear candidates promoting projects and ideas that will require additional financial support. What are some initiatives you think Richmond is going to have to put on the back burner as we weather these challenging times? Please explain why.

NO RESPONSE (withdrew from race October 21)