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

Good morning, RVA: Violence, Shockoe Valley, and glue

Good morning, RVA! It's 37 °F. Highs today may hit 50 °F if you're standing directly in the sun. Definitely warmer than yesterday's reminder of why we don't live in the Midwest!

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting a homicide that occurred yesterday morning at 1:20 AM on the 700 block of Rothesay Road. Officers arrived and found Michael T. Boston Jr., 27, shot to death.

The Mayor wrote up A Vision for Shockoe Valley over on his Medium (yes, the Mayor does indeed have his own Medium). He's leveraging his selection as a Daniel Rose Land Use Fellow to protect and honor Shockoe Valley by presenting "a design and land use issue to a world-renowned team of urban planners, who provide expert guidance and technical support to cities to assist them in addressing their challenges." One super important, key takeaway from this post: The area plan that comes out of this process will not be limited to just Devil's Half Acre but include the site of the jail, the African burial ground, and "the broader footprint of Shockoe Valley." The world-renowned folks will be in town this coming February, which is just a couple of weeks away!

An anti-Dillion Rule editorial in the paper! And not only that, an anti-Dillion Rule editorial that uses the Confederate monuments as its lead example of how the Rule can stifle cities! If you're not a huge nerd, the Dillion Rule is what says every power not explicitly given to a City belongs to the State. It's pretty much the answer to any questions that starts with "Why doesn't Richmond just..."

Actually, for a perfect Dillon Rule example, read Mark Robinson's piece in the RTD about City Council trying to separate the auditor and inspector general roles. To make this happen, Council must convince a state legislator to introduce a bill into the General Assembly this winter to update Richmond's charter.

I have been complaining about the State's takeover of Bank Street for almost an entire year now. Back in February, I said this: "Just because they’re state legislators does not mean that they don’t have to use sidewalks like everyone else. If they think the pedestrian infrastructure on Bank Street is inadequate…maybe they can pay for the neccessary improvements?" That same month, the Richmond Times-Dispatch talked with a City engineer about the State's plans, to which he said "Bank Street is a significant thoroughfare and public access point in our downtown road network...we look forward to working in collaboration with the state to develop a solution to meet these needs while maintaining general public interest and access.” So much for collaboration, access, and infrastructure. Here's a picture of what the State decided to do to our street. Not only does this look like extreme crap, they've basically shut down access for bikes and pedestrians as well as cars. They've even blocked off half the sidewalk with one of their incredibly ugly, oversized bed-knobs. Where does one even find bed-knobs of that size?? Can wheelchair users and folks pushing strollers even use that sidewalk anymore? GRUMPY PEDESTRIAN ROSS IS GRUMPY, IF YOU COULDN'T TELL.

I've been informed that having a Topgolf within walking distance of the city limits would be a Big Deal™. J. Elias O'Neal at Richmond BizSense has the news of one coming to the industrial area west of Scott's Addition (WOSA?). A high-end driving range is certainly not the densest development I've ever heard of, and I feel like the County should be out there building housing—but I am not a golfer, and I am very boring.

Binford Middle School students and teacher Juliane Codd Toce and have created this excellent/sad Christmas tune spoof, "All I Want for Christmas is Glue." I love this! But, like, it's sad that teachers need to create viral videos to get basic supplies, right? You can donate to Binford over on GoFundMe (also sad that a middle school needs a GoFundMe).

This morning's longread

In Defense of Hair Metal

Come for the history of Hair Metal, stay for the fun list of metal sub-sub-genres near the end.

For me, heavier and darker-themed music has always cheered me up when I’m angry or depressed; the more fast and aggressive and screamy it is, the more it calms me down. Listening to Slayer at high volume for half an hour leaves me full of endorphins, relaxed and euphoric, as if I’d just gleefully smashed up a Kay Jewelers at the mall with a baseball bat (but without the worry of impending jail time). Conversely, nothing makes me feel worse when I’m pissed off or down than hearing an upbeat, turn-that-frown-upside-down-Charlie-Brown song like "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter. Hearing that song at the wrong time might just make me want to smash up a Kay Jewelers for real. (Or just nuke it from orbit; the only way to be sure.) I know, it’s weird, but it happens. Hell, there are even studies about this phenomenon. So there. I’m not the only one. Science.

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Good morning, RVA: Continued violence, the Police Chief, and Paul Goldman returns

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