INTERVIEW: Style Weekly's 50 Most Influential People

By Diane Walker - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Style Weekly is out with its annual list of Richmond's power players.

The newspaper gives its take each year on who the 50 Most Influential People are in the metro Richmond area.

The 2010 addition has quite a few changes. Scott Bass, the paper's news editor, joined First at Four to discuss the list.

Diane:  I'm impressed. I really am. It's truly a diverse list compared to your list in the past. There are a number of African-Americans who made the 50 Most Powerful Players in the Richmond metro area along with women, philanthropists, politicians all the way to an artist. Explain the difference in this list compared to the past.

Scott: Well, the first thing to notice is the fact that in years past, it's been 75, and this year it's 50. We scaled it back a little. The second thing that's important to understand is the last year or so, people are licking their wounds economically and the corporate community is devastated by the lost of Circuit City and Ukrop's and Land America. Local governments have been pushed back because of the housing collapse and the real estate values not being where they need to be, so everyone has been in retreat mowed. How can we fix the budget issues we have now and go back and do a little house cleaning.

Diane: Right, our viewers are seeing some of that his scrolling on the television screen and topping the list the Thomas Farrell, chief of Dominion Resources, Virgil Hazlett,Henrico county manager. William Goodwin, chairman of CAA Industries. We also have Mayor Dwight Jones as number 7. I saw a few repeat performers on the list.

Scott: There are quite a few. There are not a lot of new folks on the list this year and part of that is the fact that we shrunk it quite a bit and the other issue is there hasn't been a lot going on in the past year.

Diane: How concerned are you about that? We were talking in the break about there's not a lot of rumbling between the mayor and city council, everybody seems to be getting along pretty well compared to under Doug Wilder's administration. It's not a whole lot going on. Is that something to be concerned of and how does that skew the list?

Scott: A little, I think Doug Wilder was ego-centric and ineffective in a lot of ways, but a lot of things atop the public consciousness --  schools, poverty -- those things were being talked about on a regular basis publicly and we're not hearing those conversations coming from city hall right now.

Diane: Where are these people taking us? I like the caption on your newspaper. It says the mayor keeps us in limbo and where are they all taking us?

Scott: We're not sure yet and I think that's the question. Tom Farrell kind of embodies this new collegial atmosphere in Richmond right now. He's not a bruiser or a real pusher person like wilder or Eugene Trani or even Bill Goodwin. He's more a status quo guy and that's not real good either. He's qualified -- head of Dominion Resources; ironically, the power company -- but for the most part, we haven't seen a lot of push for some real --

Diane: Well, Style Weekly understands now, right?

Scott: Exactly.

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