Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: A monuments resolution, ten thousand eye rolls, and green spaces

Good morning, RVA! It's 41 °F, and today we're looking at highs in the low 50s. A bunch of clouds hanging around may gloom things up a bit. Grab an extra blanket or two tonight, because lows will fall to around 20 °F!

Water cooler

Justin Mattingly was at the first joint meeting of the Education Compact yesterday. It seems like there's a lot of work left to do, both in terms of finding the funding to execute on the first phase of the facilities plan and what even that first phase should entail. The team will meet again on January 29th, right before the RPS budget needs to head on over to the Mayor. P.S. When I checked the City's legistar page this morning (as I do every morning, duh), yesterday's Education Compact meeting was listed! No agenda or minutes yet, but perhaps the Compact has found a digital home!

Mark Robinson was at City Council last night and has a story on Councilman Jones's resolution to ask the state for the authority to take down our Confederate monuments. I don't disagree with this resolution at all, and, now, with such dramatic turn over in the General Assembly, the chance of the State passing the corresponding legislation certainly seems less far-fetched than it did just a couple of weeks ago. So...I've come around on this resolution! Before the election it seemed like a waste of time, but now I think I'd like to see something like this resolution included in our annual legislative priority packet to the General Assembly. I still don't think there's a better-than-average chance that the GA makes a move on this, but Jones is right: "As a locality, I think we should have that right to say what it is we want to do." Saraya Wintersmith was also at the meeting and has a great set of live tweets that you should scroll through to get the vibe of the evening. She picks up on ORD. 2017-214, which I was confused about when I saw it on the Finance Committee agenda, and it seems like Council was confused about it too. If anyone out there has some background on this ordinance, I'd love to hear it!

I can't eyeroll hard enough at the stupid Confederate States II: Electric Boogaloo "rally" that was held this past weekend. I didn't mention it in this space, because it was too stupid for words. Ned Oliver has the equally ridiculous news that these out-of-town White supremacists were allowed to carry machine guns because they stood on the sidewalks not on the grass. OK, Virginia.

I did not know that The Great Christmas Light Fight existed (apparently its in its 5th season!?), but the Phifer family in Henrico has won the fight and taken home its $50,000 prize. You can watch the episode online.

Tonight at 6:30 PM at the newly opened Sarah Garland Jones Center in the East End, Beautiful RVA will host a community conversation about urban gardens, green spaces, and place-making. If you're looking to share or learn about how to make urban green spaces sustainable, don't miss tonight's hangout!

Vox has a What to Expect about tonight's special election in Alabama. But, like, does anyone really know what to expect?

This morning's longread

Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving's Story Explains Why

From Patron Val comes this very disturbing story about some of the systemic biases built into our healthcare system.

According to the CDC, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health. Put another way, a black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 300 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes.

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Good morning, RVA: Changing school names, women who lead, and Alabama

Good morning, RVA: Violence, Education Compact meeting, and bad editorials