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

Good morning, RVA: Paratransit, mic drops, and the 17th Street Farmer's Market

Good morning, RVA! It's 62 °F, and today will be cooler than yesterday with highs around 70 °F. Expect thunderstorms later this morning, so please keep an eye and ear out for any severe weather alerts!

Water cooler

After a bunch of citizen complaints and a request from Council to their board, GRTC has cancelled the contract with the company that provides their paratransit service. You can read the full release here (PDF). Paratransit is very expensive and very difficult to do well, but many people rely on it as their only way of getting to the important bits of life—especially medical appointments. If you'd like to lean more about the current state of GRTC's paratransit service (before they made this switch), I recommend listening to Tim Barham's presentation at the last Land Use, House and Transportation committee meeting or at least checking out the slides (PDF).

Graham Moomaw at the RTD covered yesterday's veto session at the General Assembly, which included the surprise resignation of Del. David B. Albo who literally dropped a microphone onto the floor to signal his departure. Photographer Bob Brown caught that exact moment in an excellent picture that I'm in love with (also pictured: an extremely white and male room). Albo cites financial reasons for leaving the GA, and who can blame him? $17,640 per year is not enough money to do a job that sucks up the majority of your life. I know that the idea of regular folk taking time out of their regular lives to write the laws that impact regular people is a core part of the identity of Virginia politics, but it just seems like a broken system to me. Plus, it's a system that prevents regular people from running for office! When was the last time your employer let you take 80 days off each year?

The RTD Editorial Board unnecessarily comes to Chesterfield Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle's rescue in this new anonymous editorial. Jaeckle has had quite the month in the press, first doubting that the Census says the poverty rate is increasing in Chesterfield and then suggesting that the Day Without Immigrants was nice for teachers because there were fewer ESOL students in classrooms. After this week's layoffs at the RTD, reporter Graham Moomaw asked on Twitter what it would take to get folks to subscribe to the paper. A big take away for me from that fascinating thread (which Twitter has made impossible to read) is that people want a stronger local focus from their local paper. If that's the goal, then the editorial board needs to look and sound a lot more like Richmond.

Oh hey, look at this: The Final Location, Character and Extent Review of the 17th Street Farmer's Market Plaza Renovation Modifications (PDF) are on today's Urban Design Committee agenda. Looks like all of last year's bids on construction of the new market exceeded the budget, so some changes needed to be made to the design. Maybe in 2017 we'll finally see a new 17th Street Market!

Vox explains the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit's decision that the Civil Rights Act protects workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. This sentence is depressing / encouraging: "making it the first federal appeals court to conclude that gay people are protected under existing civil rights law."


  • Squirrels open their 2017 season against the Hartford Yard Goats tonight at 7:05 PM, and you can still get tickets online. Remember! The explosions you hear late this evening are just fireworks not some apocalyptic event.
  • Nats beat the Marlins 6-4 and finish up that series this afternoon at 4:05 PM.

This morning's longread

Creating a National Precinct Map

First of all, it's surprising that creating a national precinct map took so much work. Second, look at how awesome this thing is!

After spending most of my spare time in 2015 working on a global religion map, the 2016 Presidential Primaries rolled around, and I decided to go for it: I would do everything in my power to create a national precinct map. I didn’t have a team of researchers. I didn’t have aides. I didn’t have much extra money. I didn’t have connections. But for some reason, I thought I could do it anyway. Hundreds of emails and phone calls and months of work later, here’s what I came up with.

Good morning, RVA: Richmond Cycling Corps, Confederate monuments, and "abominates"

Good morning, RVA: The Fed, beer collectors, and a question about poverty