So many of you have been blogging about this RTD article that talks about Richmond patterning itself after Asheville NC... which is interesting because Jeremy lives in Asheville and I live in Richmond, so we have a very unique perspective on it, but even more interesting is the route our conversation about the article takes... from Asheville vs Richmond to a more unique solution for Richmond that does not involve just copying some other city (how has that San Antonio River Walk thing worked out?)
Adam: Check out this article where the author talks about how Richmond should be like Asheville... I thought you may enjoy.
Jeremy: I'm guessing you don't like this article. Particularly the end where the write says: “Richmond could start by encouraging local entrepreneurship and abandoning its constant search for a Downtown Savior -- a single project that will turn things around"
A completely pro capitalist statement.
Adam: It's all good... I would like to see Richmond live up its rather obvious potential... I was just thinking the other day that I think it would a great idea if Richmond started offering bigger tax breaks and incentives for businesses to bring more jobs into the city... I also think it would be great to see Richmond plan a Spanish speaking neighborhood on the south side... right now many Spanish speakers live on the south side, but Richmond seems reticent to acknowledge that... I say screw that... over people with Hispanic backgrounds incentives to move to the South side and call it little Mexico... open up community centers were people can learn English and Spanish offer all services in bi-lingual form... open up a legal services office to help low income people with legal matters including immigration... Any large city you go to has sections of town where English is the second language and the culture is decidedly un-American I think Richmond should accept and embrace that.
Jeremy: I like that idea. I'm curious about the Hispanic culture in our area. It appears to be growing, but I have no clue where they live/hang out. I see them working construction or of course we have all the Mexican restaurants, but I couldn't tell you where to find these people in the off hours. But, I think if you had a large majority of them in a certain location like "the bottom" or that’s probably different from real "south Richmond". Then I would say it would be good for the city to support something like what you are talking about.
Adam: Yeah the bottom is a whole other thing, but yeah not only would it be beneficial for the city, but think of the great PR... or bad... but Richmond would be the city that has opened it's doors to the one group people still feel like it is okay to hate... while others a trying to kick them out we are asking them to come and be part of our great city...
Jeremy: Yeah, good call. What do you think it would take to get that done?
Adam: A Mayor and City Council that get it and are not afraid to think outside of the box... It is a pretty low overhead deal... maybe a few new signs and banners like they have in DC's Chinatown, maybe you rename a few streets with Spanish names and maybe you post all the public signs in both English and Spanish... but really the idea is just to entice people into the area... but like we have already said this is not a normal idea and I don't think normal politicians would be willing to make it happen.
Jeremy: Do you have a normal mayor and city council?
Adam: Wilder might be crazy enough as a mayor but the Council are all corrupt old school politicians who would never think this far outside the box.
Jeremy: hmm....it doesn’t really seem like a hard idea to grasp? Are Hispanics really that despised up there?
Adam: I would say that people around here don't outwardly treat Hispanics poorly, but they are more than willing to continue to stereotype them and push them into some sort of servant class economically.
Jeremy: So I think you should talk to the mayor and see what they think?
Adam: A proposal of sorts...