Richmond-grown Freeper here.
This is nuts.
The key is that Richmond gets money from tourists, who are there for Civil War input.
Deny that and the money doesn’t come.
I cannot think of a reason for a tourist to go to Richmond now. Richmond has (had) a special place in American history as the capitol of the Confederacy. The monuments helped identify the city as such. People like to visit historical places to see reminders of the place's past. Richmond appears to be expunging its past. It would be like Rome getting rid of all its Ancient Roman ruins. I guess Richmond is just another Birmingham now.