Good morning, RVA! It's 54 °F, and that's about as warm as it's going to get. Expect rain to move in later this morning and then continue throughout the day. Cold, and rainy, and bleh!
It's Election Day! Polls are open until 7:00 PM, and you can find your polling location using the Department of Elections' handy tool. You do need a photo ID to vote; acceptable IDs include: DMV-issued photo ID, passport, employee photo ID, a valid student photo ID from a Virginia college/university; military photo ID, and any other photo ID issued by the U.S., Virginia, or a political or local subdivision in Virginia. Oh, also, a Virginia Voter Photo ID. Basically just make sure you bring any ID you have laying around, and even if you do not you can still cast a provisional ballot. John Murden at Church Hill People's News has a brief rundown of the local races you'll see on your ballot.
If you're thinking about not casting your vote because it's a little rainy out, I want to direct you to these interviews in Style Weekly with a bunch of folks who are super stoked to vote for the first time. Lots of students make this piece, but so does Jesse Montague, 62, who had his rights restored by the governor and will vote for the first time in his life today.
Mark Robinson hit up City Council's special meeting yesterday in which they created a special fund for road and sidewalk maintenance. Assuming the numbers on last year's budget surplus are correct, $750,000 could find its way towards new and better sidewalks. This is good news, especially in light of the Mayor's recent commitment to Vision Zero! As for Councilwoman Trammell's concern that the Department of Public Works spend this money in an equitable way across all council districts, I present Denver's Pedestrian and Trails Plan Existing Conditions report (PDF)! I can't get enough of this report, and if you've been in a meeting with me since I stumbled across it, you've probably heard me go on and on about it. Having good data about the existing state of sidewalks and connections in Richmond would go a long way toward helping DPW equitably decide how to prioritize projects and spend money.
Richmond's School Board punted the school facilities conversation down the road another couple of weeks, says the RTD's Justin Mattingly. Disappointing stuff as every delay makes it even harder to get a real funding plan in place this budget cycle. Some context: I'm not sure on the specific dates but based on last year's budget calendar, the Superintendent submits their budget to the School Board in January, who then submits it to the Mayor in February, who then includes it in his budget to Council in March. So you can see how we're running out of time—not to mention the Board is also in the process of hiring an entirely new superintendent. Gah! P.S. Notice how I can be upset with the pace of progress while also voting NO on Paul Goldman's Ballot Referendum.
Also by Justin Mattingly, this Q&A with Leland Melvin, UR wide receiver, astronaut, and guy who loves golden retrievers.
Read Samantha Willis's super interesting article in Richmond Magazine about Ziontown, a small, Black community in western Henrico founded by a formerly enslaved man. Right on Ridge Road between River and Three Chopt! Faaaaaaascinating!
This morning's longread
This is definitely one of the most interesting articles I've read all year.
The Athenians had to keep those bodies flowing smoothly, then, and that was largely a matter of keeping track of who belonged where and when. They also had to maintain a smooth and dependable flow of the information generated by those bodies -- the votes, the decrees, the endless speechifying. They had, in short, to do a lot of stuff that modern information technology would have helped them tremendously to do, and nonetheless they managed pretty well, with the materials at hand, to build the tools they needed to make their system work. Those tools -- the info tech of ancient Athenian democracy -- are the subject of the following Notes. I present them now without further ado.