Schools referendum: ‘It’s not perfect’

11/24/2017, 2:45 p.m.

Re editorial “Real results,” Free Press Nov. 16-18 edition:

Your baffling editorial disparaging the massive Election Day support — 99 percent in the African-American community and 84.8 percent across the city — for the school modernization charter change referendum claimed the following about the proposal: 

“We believe it (has) a fatal flaw allowed by organizers of the petition drive. Even if the measure is approved by the state legislature, nothing requires Richmond’s mayor or City Council to pony up to improve the horrible school buildings and conditions in which Richmond youngsters are supposed to learn.”

So what about this alleged flaw?

Apparently the editorial writer attended a secret law school teaching an unknown legal doctrine: I could have written a law forcing city officials to raise taxes or issue city debt should the entity authorized by said law to declare “horrible” buildings and conditions exist demand the money to fix it and ASAP. 

Inquiry: Did the professor also explain how to get the two-third vote in the General Assembly needed to pass such a charter change? Or show where such a law might be found anywhere? Perhaps you skipped class that day. 

Admittedly the mayor, City Council, Democratic Party and business leaders likewise claim my proposal has flaws. It’s not perfect. But have they proposed, in required legislative form, even one improvement — much less one that can pass? No.

In 2003, I figured out how to write the law that got Richmonders the right to vote to elect the mayor even after Tim Kaine had given up in frustration. Now we are closer than ever to getting all Richmond Public Schools students modern school facilities, a goal since the 1955 Brown II case. Let’s not blow it.



The writer organized the petition drive for the Nov. 7 Richmond schools referendum.