The McDonnells' "Giftgate" was deemed the Worst Local Scandal of the Past Year, as well as Most Embarrassing Richmond Moment of the Year
Worst Reason for Building a Stadium in Shockoe Bottom
We see you took the pragmatic route on this one, readers. To be honest, we were expecting variations on “because it’s stupid,” “flood plain” or “12 Years a Slave” to win.
2. The site is a historic area
3. The site is prone to flooding
Worst Reason for Keeping the Stadium on the Boulevard
The poor condition of the facility/needs renovation or replacement
The Braves already left because the stadium was sub-par and the city couldn’t come up with a plan to build a new one, and the Diamond has only gotten older in the intervening years. What better indication is there of how dilapidated the ballpark is than the Squirrels constantly reassuring everyone that they won’t leave like the Braves did?
2. None/it’s where it should be
3. Tradition/that’s where it’s always been
Worst Performance in a Locally Produced YouTube Video
It’s hard to criticize a video about being happy, so we’ll chalk up #RVAHappy’s nod in this category to readers’ frustration with the song’s round-the-clock radio play. The dancing was, at times, seemingly inspired. But Dwight Jones’ never-quite-on-the-beat snapping? Weak. C’mon, Mr. Mayor. You can do better.
2. The Real Babymamas of Richmond
3. “Girls Night Out (GNO)” video
411 N. Harrison St., 864-5488
Well, for starters, Edo’s is one room. It’s always full. The tables are crammed together. People are waiting to be seated. And the family-style service means that everyone is shouting across their table about various dishes at the eatery readers also voted Best Italian Restaurant in this year’s survey. But, yes, what is up with the acoustics in this place? Maybe some egg crates on the walls might help.
2. Tie: Can Can Brasserie; The Daily Kitchen & Bar
Most Unhelpful Local Website
It’s 2014, but the city still hasn’t got the memo that a website’s drop-down menus are supposed to make things easier to find. (And speaking of making things easier, why isn’t it just Richmond.gov?) The least controversial development the city could back is a revamping of its website. Even Chris Dorsey would support it.
Least Prepared Locality for a Winter Snowstorm
City snow removal wasn’t really up to snuff in the half dozen snowstorms Richmond suffered through this past winter. Of course, the only people who were surprised by this are probably the same people who were doing 50 mph on Broad Street when it was an ice rink.
Worst Local Scandal of the Past Year
The McDonnells’ “Giftgate”
The only thing that faded faster than former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s political star was his hair color. Guess that’s what happens when you (and your wife) accept favors and monetary gifts from a pharmaceutical company CEO and have to do battle with federal prosecutors. Things may only going to get worse for the former governor and first lady — as of press time, they were heading to federal court.
2. Child sex scandal with pastor from ROC
3. Stadium in Shockoe Bottom
Worst Event in the Richmond Region in the Past Year
Shamrock the Block, both locations
Maybe you’ve seen the video from the 2013 Shamrock the Block debacle? (If you haven’t, Google it.) It’s pretty clear that festivals, though fun and frivolous, also have the potential to go awry in Richmond, especially when involve masses of sweaty dudes drinking themselves into oblivion. Of course, that didn’t stop thousands from filling the Boulevard at the 2014 festival. At the very least, the new location seems like a winner. (See below.)
2. Bacon Festival
3. This past winter/the polar vortex
Most Notorious Richmonder of the Year
Mayor Dwight Jones
A pair of widely criticized sports projects (see Redskins training facility, Shockoe stadium proposal) may have sealed the mayor’s win in this category. But you can’t fault the man for trying to secure “projected economic impact” for the city, can you? OK, maybe you can.
2. Bob McDonnell
3. Billy Jefferson
Most Overzealous Meteorologist
You say overzealous; he says cautious. Freiden may jump the gun on some predictions, but name a meteorologist who doesn’t. What? Were you mad when you went outside and it wasn’t hailing? It’s called a forecast for a reason, people.
2. John Bernier
3. Tie: Jim Duncan; Dave Tolleris
Worst Outcome for the Stadium Debate
Nothing happens/the Squirrels leave
Richmonders’ collective fear that yet another minor league baseball team will abandon us for lack of a new facility has taken hold of the hearts and minds of Flying Squirrels fans. But don’t worry. No matter the outcome, Nutzy will always love RVA, even if he does so from a new address.
2. A new stadium is built in Shockoe Bottom
3. A new stadium, period
Worst Thing Done to Broad Street in the Name of Improving It
Sixth Street Marketplace
Billed as a boon to downtown development, the failure that was the Sixth Street Marketplace has become ammunition for opponents of the proposed Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium and its city-backed development. The argument goes something like this: “Remember what happened that time?”
2. Short Pump
Worst Omission in the #HappyRVA Video
Shaka Smart/ VCU Basketball team
It had Rodney the Ram, but readers wanted Virginia Commonwealth University head basketball coach Shaka Smart and his squad to bust a move for Richmond’s video rendition of Pharrell Williams’ can’t-get-this-out-of-my-head hit “Happy.” Personally, we would have settled for VCU President Michael Rao moonwalking through campus.
2. Happy the Artist
3. Tie: Richmond Ballet; University of Richmond
Most Embarrassing Local Politician
Fortunately, Jones doesn’t have to worry about a re-election campaign in a city sharply divided over his signature proposal. Can Richmond ride out the rest of his term without more stadium-esque drama? Two more years, people. Two more years.
2. Bob McDonnell
3. Eric Cantor
Worst Place to Look for Love in Richmond
Perhaps there are solid singles bars in the city, but recent experience says that any person you meet at a bar in Richmond is going to talk your ear off about “buying local” and how sexist our state legislature is and how this one time they almost got doored while biking through Jackson Ward. Stick to OkCupid, boys and girls.
2. Shockoe Bottom
3. Off the Hookah
Worst Access for People With Disabilities in a Public Building
Richmond City Hall
There are probably a lot of reasons for this pick: City Hall was built before the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law; ADA compliance is notoriously hard to enforce; and the city is cash-strapped. But none of these reasons can excuse it.
2. Tie: The DMV; Richmond Public Schools
Worst Outdoor Dining Spot
Baja Bean Co.
1520 W. Main St., 257-5445
Apparently, our readers weren’t satisfied with their last meal on Baja Bean Co.’s patio. We suggest a few more margaritas to take the edge off next time around. And order the nachos. You can’t go wrong with Baja’s nachos. Especially after a few margaritas.
2. Can Can Brasserie
3. Nacho Mama’s
Most Embarrassing Richmond Moment of the Year
The McDonnells’ gift scandal
It’s funny to think that people were touting former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan as his “legacy” after the General Assembly adopted it the session before news of Giftgate scandal. Boy, were they wrong.
2. Baseball stadium debate
3. Bottle-throwing incident at Riverrock
Sometimes it’s too hot. Sometimes it’s too cold. Sometimes there’s an inordinate amount of grounds in your cup, which you unwittingly sip and attempt to regurgitate without making a scene, summoning memories of the last time you swore off Starbucks for good under similar circumstances. Sometimes convenience (or caffeine addiction) trumps common sense. We’ve all been there, and probably will again.
Worst Parking for a Restaurant
Anywhere in the Fan
Trying to park in the Fan can be an adventure. Parking lots aren’t really an option for most establishments in the neighborhood, so when planning a night out, it’s probably best to budget an extra 20 minutes to circle the block in search of a spot you can squeeze into. #rvadine
2. Anywhere in Carytown
3. Edo’s Squid
Worst Food Trend
The droves of people who turned out in June for the second Bacon Festival say otherwise, but we’re going to side with our readers on this one, with the exception of Sugar Shack’s maple bacon doughnut. That’s a culinary masterpiece.
Worst Idea Proposed in the City
New stadium/stadium in Shockoe
We’re guessing our readers made this pick because they don’t see the value in spending $80 million of public money on a new stadium when the condition of city schools, public housing, public transit and infrastructure in general could use the investment more. Or maybe they just think it’s a dumb idea. Both are understandable.
2. Redskins Training Camp
3. Richmond schools budget
Worst Idea Proposed in One of the Counties
Meals tax in Chesterfield and Henrico
While Chesterfield voters shot down a proposed 2 percent meals tax last November, Henrico residents supported their proposed 4 percent tax by a slim margin. Face it: You did this to yourself, Henrico.
2. Raising taxes
3. Short Pump development, including Wegmans
Worst Area of the Region for Riding Bicycles
Is it coincidental that the Fan is the most-cycled-in neighborhood? Those “sharrows,” white arrows painted on the pavement to remind motorists to share the road with two-wheeled travelers, may not have helped, but hold out hope for a smoother ride in the future; the city will likely make a push to become more bike friendly-ahead of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships next September.
3. River Road