The Richmond City Council last week approved a $630 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes nearly $24 that will go toward the purchase of one of those red phones that mayors and presidents have to get in touch with really important people, and do so really fast.
The $23.50 phone will be a hotline to the city’s police chief for Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, and will be used solely for major emergencies.
“He won’t even have to dial a number. That’s how cool this phone is,” said City Council President Kathy C. Graziano, expressing the council’s 9-0 support of the mayor getting to have a red telephone. “All the big city leaders have red telephones. I’m pretty sure [President] Obama has one. You have to consider the time it will save when you can just pick up a receiver instead of having to dial three numbers [for 911]…we’re talking about valuable seconds.”
Jones said in a statement that he was pleased to finally be getting a red telephone for such high-profile calls, and it is “almost as cool” as the spotlight on the roof of City Hall that projects the silhouette of a bat into the sky.