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

Good morning, RVA: "Paucity of trust," fixing the glitch, and Murrayfest

Good morning, RVA! It's 50 °F and rainy. There's a chance of wet weather pretty much all day, so bring your rain gear and leave your sunglasses at home. Same goes for much of Saturday, but Sunday looks to be the start of a really pleasant week.

Water cooler

Michael Paul Williams's column today covers City Council's recent attempt to gain more control over the budgeting process. He's in the same boat I was in earlier this week: Seems like a lot of unnecessary micromanaging. That said! I still haven't had time to listen to Council's conversation on the matter and am only just now looking at exactly what they'll be voting on this coming Monday. Just so we're all on the same page, here's the text (PDF) that—assuming they pass it—gives Council control over program- and subprogram-level funding transfers in the budget:

That, as permitted by section 6.07 of the Charter of the City of Richmond (2010), as amended, this appropriation ordinance itemizes further than by departments. Appropriations are made at the program or subprogram level identified on the attachment to this ordinance entitled “FY 2018 Program Level Budget,” and no transfer of funds between any such programs or subprograms, even if within the same department or agency, shall be permitted except by means of an ordinance adopted in accordance with chapter 6 of the Charter of the City of Richmond (2010), as amended, amending the budget and appropriations adopted by this ordinance.

If you flip to page eight of the aforelinked PDF, you'll find what qualifies as a program or subprogram. It's stuff as large as Public Works's Leaf Collection budget ($6,164,437) and as small as Economic & Community Development's Workforce Development budget ($4,825). Most of the programs and sub programs are well over $100,000, though, so it's disingenuous to paint this as an attempt to oversee office supply budgets. Also, The Richmond Free Press says the amendment only applies to transfers greater than 5%, but in my quick scan of the PDF I couldn't find that language (maybe a diligent reader can help me out?). Without that language, though, it totally would require Council to pass an ordinance to move a couple bucks between programs.

Anyway, I have to think that all of this will have some real impacts on city business just due to the time lag between Council meetings—especially in the summer when they've got five total meetings scheduled between now and the middle of September. Regardless of how this all plays out next week, I agree with this sentence in Williams's piece: "What we are witnessing is a paucity of trust among the players in City Hall."

Blerg. 3,400 folks found an erroneous $20 charge on their City of Richmond property tax bill thanks to a Department of Finance glitch, says Melissa Hipolit of WTVR.

Charlotte Woods writes for RVA Mag about Virginia's (and Richmond's) film industry. Who among you is surprised that a growing number of folks really enjoy filming movies and TV here?!

My goal is to bring you the hottest Richmond animal-name voting contest news each and every day. To that end, the voting to choose a name for the Ospreys is now open. Unfortunately, my suggestion of Reva and Parker did not make the short list.

The Byrd will host Murrayfest this weekend—your chance to see 10 Bill Murray films in three days for just $25. Hat tip to Valerie Catrow for pointing this out and for also being dismayed that What About Bob? is not one of the featured films.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions loves mass incarceration. Speaking of, this cover of The New Yorker is brutal.


  • Squirrels fell to Bowie, 3-5, that series continues tonight at 7:05 PM.
  • Kickers host the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday at 7:00 PM. Get your tickets online—it's deli night!...?
  • Nats had their final game against Baltimore postponed. They'll open a series wth Philly tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

Going It Alone

What happens when a Black woman solo hikes the Appalachian Train?

He asks what many have asked before: “Where are you from?” I tell him Miami. He laughs and says, “No, but really. Where are you from from?” He mentions something about my features, my thin nose, and then trails off. I tell him my family is from Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa, next to Ethiopia. He looks relieved. “I knew it,” he says. “You’re not black.” I say that of course I am. “None more black,” I weakly joke. “Not really,” he says. “You’re African, not black-black. Blacks don’t hike.” I’m tired of this man. His from-froms and black-blacks. He wishes me good luck and leaves. He means it, too; he isn’t malicious. To him there’s nothing abnormal about our conversation. He has categorized me, and the world makes sense again. Not black-black. I hike the remaining miles back to my tent and don’t emerge for hours.

Good morning, RVA: Violence, budget proposals, and old fake news

Good morning, RVA: Frequency, The Workshop, and smelly bathrooms