Good morning, RVA! It's 23 dang °F and today's high is only forecasted to hit 38 °F. Stay warm out there (or stay under the blankets) because it's cold, cold, cold!
Did you miss me? Sorry about yesterday's lack of Good Morning, RVA, but my power was out the entire morning. This makes it hard to do internetting, but, the juice is back on now, so here we go!
If you missed this Michael Paul Williams piece on regional poverty because your power was out, take a couple minutes this morning to give it a read. Williams responds directly to Chesterfield County's elected officials' denial of the reality of increasing suburban poverty. He also zeroes in on two keys to attacking poverty: more affordable housing and more public transit.
Jeff Schapiro in the RTD describes Virginia's redistricting trial perfectly, "Redistricting is a boring subject with exciting implications." And I would add that those implications are critical to a fair and healthy democracy. That's why this trial is so important! Graham Moomaw has the ongoing coverage from inside the courtroom from Monday and Tuesday if you want to dive in. Or just take a look at these super squiggly district maps (PDF) to see what all the fuss is about.
Debbie Truong has an update on Henrico's budget, which was unveiled last night by County Manager John Vitoulkas. I scrolled down quickly to the public transportation section and am happy to see that the county has increased their GRTC budget—unlike another county adjacent to Richmond. It's a tiny increase, but a decision to flatline the budget line item would most likely mean a reduction in fixed-route service to compensate for the ever-increasing cost of paratransit. Both Richmond and Henrico have proposed an increase to their public transportation budgets this year, and we should definitely celebrate that as a small victory. BTW, if someone stumbles across the actual Henrico_budget_2017-18.pdf, shoot me a link.
Speaking of budgets (I know, boring, but tis the fascinating season!), Jackie Kruszewski at Style has "Five Takeaways From Mayor Stoney's $681 Million Richmond Budget." #3 is a thing I did not know: 100% of the City's 8% lodging tax goes to the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority (PDF) (projected to hit $8,026,319 this year, up from $6,056,982 last year). Of course, Richmond gets all the other tax benefits of having conventions inside its boundaries, but I wonder how the math works out—especially as lodging tax revenue increases.
March Maddness kicked off last night, but brackets are due tomorrow! If you want to get involved in bracketology but don't care about basketball, you can fill out RVA Mag's Beer Madness bracket.
I would not have known that there is a Richmonder on The Voice without Marc at the Cheats Movement. Good luck TSoul!
- Spiders beat 'Bama, 71-64 in the NIT and advance to the next round.
This morning's longread
"Having cars inside a dense city center is the equivalent of putting a large dinner table in a small studio apartment," White says. "In the space it takes to park a car, you can park 15 bicycles." White predicts large car-free zones will eventually happen in the U.S. "Because Oslo is moving forward on such an aggressive time table, the world will be watching and seeing how it goes," he says. To follow Oslo's lead, White says other cities need to provide more bike lanes, sidewalks, buses, and subway