People tell me, “Justin that is great that you talk about fixing services and getting rid of the waste, but it is impossible to make those changes in Richmond.”
Impossible is also what people told me when I told them I was going to start my own civil law practice right out of law school or when I set out to stop the Navy Hill Coliseum redevelopment plan, but I succeeded in both of those ventures.
Richmond government fails not because it is impossible to have a competent government in this city, it fails because of the mayors we keep electing. They are so focused on furthering their political careers that they don’t do what is in the best long-term interest of the city.
A great example is the three new schools being built in Richmond right now. There was a lot of controversy about how the costs ended up being way higher than expected. The true reason they are higher than expected is because Mayor Stoney wanted to rush to build all three so they would open right before this 2020 election.
The costs were higher because he insisted on doing them all at the same time. There are only so many companies that can do projects that large. Plus when the projects started there was construction going on all over the Richmond region.
When demand is high and supply is low, that means costs are going to skyrocket. It is economics 101.
If the builders were going to muster the manpower to make all those projects happen it was going to cost a premium. Because Mayor Stoney was anxious to get them built, it had to be done at any price. Nobody on School Board or City Council understood this and did nothing to stop it.
These short-sighted, selfish decisions cost Richmond dearly in the long-run.
I will spend all of my political capital to make sure things are done the right way and people that are interested in serving the people are employed by the city. If it costs me politically, then so be it. This isn’t about me, it is about making Richmond the best Richmond it can be for the people of Richmond.