Friday, December 07, 2007

An Open Letter to Mayor Wilder

Dear Uncle Doug,

That was a really great picture of you with the hard hat in Wednesday’s TD. But I knew right away when Michael Martz quoted you as saying, “This is a helluva atrium! I've never seen anything like it in my life!" you weren’t talking about the new learning courtyard at Westover Hills Elementary School. In case you missed it, that atrium for our kids was put together with the money and work from the Westover Hills School community and its business partners. It’ll be a great place for the kids to learn about nature and that kind of stuff.

Of course, the atrium you were talking about, at the new Hilton Garden Inn being built on the old Miller & Rhoads site, is probably a lot prettier than the one at Westover Hills. And the people who see it will probably be of a much better class than the students that go to our schools. I would imagine that many of our students will never see it at all. But, it was a great photo op.

I also like that one of you last week leaving your hand print to be hung on the wall at the new North Boulevard Cinema. It really has the homey touch. It takes the edge off of some of the bad press you’ve been getting lately. I wish that nasty Judge Spencer could just get to know you. Maybe then she wouldn’t be writing those decisions against you.

There are probably some people that will criticize you for all these photo ops. They might think they are a waste of time, especially when the city has so many problems. I really have to disagree with them. I understand fully you hanging out with the business men. I know that all the new business development will increase tax revenue for the city. I also know that once that revenue rolls in you’re going to make sure that the City Council appropriates it all for Richmond Public Schools. Those people who think you don’t care about the kids just because you insist on the School Board cutting $20 million from their budget before you’ll talk to them just don’t know the real Doug Wilder.

Uncle Doug, there is another thing you could do for the kids. You might consider spending an hour or so each week in one of our public schools reading to the kids or helping them learn to read better or to learn their math. As the Crupi report indicated last week, there are a lot of kids in our schools who can really use your help. If you choose to do it, and I really hope you do, I suggest that you don’t bring the photographers or reporters. Trying to make sure our kids succeed is not something you want to do with the camera running. It’s not a photo op. It’s just doing the right thing.

Take care.


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