The Blog Squad

Friday, October 14, 2005

The hole that hubris dug

Well, folks, where do we go from here?

We've got a multimillion dollar hole in the ground on Broad Street, a concert hall closed and dark until God knows when and — if you will pardon the insolence, Your Most Excellent Highness, sir — a petulant mayor who seems just a bit too gleeful at these developments.

You want to know what I think about the Arts Center? Truly, I have no freaking idea. It all looked so lovely, as artists' renderings always do with their slightly futuristic, gleaming representations of bustling cities. But it always reeked of being too big for its britches, yet another one of the "If you build it they will come" projects that Richmond always gets sucked into. All this talk about the people "who run Richmond" being behind it certainly gave it the imprimatur of legitimacy from the outset. They sold us the idea that their involvement was based on a deep commitment to the arts, but were they really trying to ram something down Richmond's throat it didn't need as a way of "propping up" the convention center? Probably.

Wilder, meanwhile, tried to sell us the idea that he was all about being the tough and responsible steward of the taxpayers' money (while walking around with a security force like Elvis') but did he thwart the foundation at every single turn just to thumb his nose at Jim Ukrop and Booty Armstrong, et al, to prove he's really the guy running the show? Well, probably.

It might not be a popular notion to spread blame all the way around. We live in a divisive time where people are expected to choose a side, assign white hats and black hats and gather all the facts possible that support the position they already hold.

I hate to be all kumbaya about it, but couldn't this whole mess have been avoided early on if — heaven help me, as Rudy McCollum suggested — the parties had gotten behind closed doors and hammered out some kind of deal? But that would have involved compromise, which requires flexibility and even a little humility. Seeing as it was hubris that dug us our big hole, I don't see it getting filled anytime soon.


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