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

Good morning, RVA: Surplus cash, Azalea Mall, and Cary Street Cafe

Good morning, RVA! It's 24 °F, which is still cold! Today, expect highs around 50 °F with plenty of wind to keep you hunched over, withdrawn into your coat and scarf.

Water cooler

I don't know enough about commonly accepted budgeting practice to know if this business of the school district stashing away it's surplus cash each year is a good idea or not. Ned Oliver reports that over the last couple years they've accrued $8 million! I do know, however, that I'm not super into "gentleman's agreements" when it comes to city budgets, though. I'll be interested to see how/if that $8 million is spent, and if the current amount given to schools in the mayor's budget will take a hit—certainly seems like it could fund some capital needs, right?

If you'd like to listen to Richmond Public Schools present their budget to City Council yourself, you can do so by subscribing to The Boring Show. Why would you listen to something so boring? Well, it's a podcast of audio from Richmond's public meetings, and, despite the show's title, is incredibly interesting—especially during budget season. Listen over the next couple months to hear every department in the City justify its existence. It's also a great way to get a feel for what's important to each member of council (that's useful stuff if you ever plan on asking them for anything!).

Patrick Wilson at the RTD covers the final day of one of two Virginia redistricting trials. He says that whatever the results, things are headed towards appeal.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in town yesterday, and local elected officials are miffed they weren't invited to the event. I'm miffed that we got Jeff Sessions instead of Kate McKinnon. Scott Elmquist at Style Weekly has some photos from the accompanying protest.

Brad Kutner at RVA Mag writes this really nice profile of Robyn Chandler, the owner of Cary Street Cafe. Only tangentially related, if you want to run a chill, neighborhood bar for several decades it sure helps to own the building.

Style Weekly's Brent Baldwin has an interview with the Zombies lead singer Colin Blunstone, and it's super interesting. After reading that, listen to Odessey and Oracle which is almost 50 years old!

Could something be coming to the former Azalea Mall site? Probably not, but I feel like I should link to this BizSense piece anyway.

It's not only local budget season, but federal budget season, too. Trump released his preliminary budget which includes a ton of cuts to programs to pay for military spending, a border wall, and school choice vouchers. The Washington Post has an excellent piece on the big picture as well as departmental details. Say goodbye to all sorts of things like the entirety of the National Endowment for the Arts, climate change research, and TIGER grants. Say hello to...fighter jets?


March Madness begins in earnest today, with Michigan and Oklahoma State tipping off at 12:15 PM. Goodbye productivity, hello basketball (better than fighter jets, for sure)!

  • #10 Rams take on #7 St. Mary's tonight at 7:20 PM on TBS.
  • #9 Hokies face #8 Wisconsin at 9:40 PM on CBS.
  • #5 Hoos battle #12 UNCW at 12:40 PM on tru TV.

This morning's longread

Slavery, the Constitution, and a Lasting Legacy

I stumbled across this great article on the Constitution's response to slavery over the history of our country and learned a bunch.

The absence of of slavery in the Constitution is one of the great paradoxes of our Founding Era. The framers were revolutionary thinkers who created what would become the first successfully functioning government by the people. Their ideas of fairness, justice, and individual rights are what many world leaders emulate today. Why, then, did so many brilliant minds pledge to be champions of individual rights on one hand, then, on another, allow human beings to be reduced to chattel?

Good morning, RVA: Whole Foods, audits, and old toys

Good morning, RVA: Redistricting, budgetzzz, and The Voice