In a recent column, Tom Barnidge was clearly distressed about some of my activities as Richmond Mayor. He took grave offense to my recent visit to an Ecuadorean community ravaged by oil pollution, and he slammed our city's bold plan to assist homeowners in danger of foreclosure.

 

Barnidge may not live in Richmond, but I certainly respect his right to disagree with my positions and the strategies I promote. I also understand that leaders representing movements that challenge "the powers that be" often become lightning rods, subject to ridicule and attack from the press. But the bile of Barnidge's column seems oddly divorced from the reality of Richmond's remarkable progress in the last decade.

 

By any measure, our city is rising from a history of scarcity and despair, and gaining national attention as a community courageous enough to define its own destiny.

 

For nearly 10 years I have served on the Richmond City Council, the last 7 years as mayor. I proudly stand by the positive achievements that we, as a community, have achieved during my time in office: