Good morning, RVA! It's 68 °F, and while today's highs are in the 80s, there's a pretty good chance for rain throughout the day—maybe even some thunderstorms!
Michael Paul Williams's column today focuses on the violence in Mosby Court and the mayor's responsibility to work towards real change. With the death of the Virginia State Police officer last week, the number of people murdered in this tiny neighborhood, isolated by bad geometry, rises to seven. Here are their names: Donyell T. Patillo, 24; Deborah Walker, 55; Shaquenda Walker, 24; Kendall L. Coward, 34; Makkaisha D. Smoot, 16; Taliek K. Brown, 15; Michael T. Walker, 45. This is untenable. The residents, neighbors, the City, police, nonprofits, and whoever else need to get all hands on deck to start doing things differently.
Quasi-related is this column in the RTD from Marland Buckner about how Mayor Stoney's administration can continue to address poverty. The last sentence applies both general to poverty across the region and specifically to the previous paragraph: "By thinking more creatively, acting far more collaboratively, and executing decisively, we can tear down Richmond’s poverty-industrial complex and help all our citizens thrive."
Pair this piece in the Richmond Free Press about the city shifting around $800,000 to supplement the Monroe Park renovation budget with today's longread by Councilman Addison. I had a hard time following the money in this article, which says to me that I either need to drink more coffee, or that someone should start a good "Follow the Money" blog whose audience is people like me who have a hard time grokking budgets.
It's a little bit old news at this point, but the mayor's office released the audit of City Hall (PDF) that VCU's Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs has been busy working on for the last couple of months. Mark Robinson at Richmond Magazine has a brief summary and an immediate next action from the mayor. I haven't had a minute to read through it yet, but I'm really interested to see what happens as a result of this review. It was a large part of the mayor's electoral platform, and I expect (hope?) to see real change take place as a result.
Here's a cool opportunity if you've got some free time tomorrow: The Center for Civic Design will host some interviews downtown to figure out how the Department of Elections and the DMV can make voter registration easier. If you've got an hour to spare, hit them up!
John Reid Blackwell stopped by the old post office on Broad Street across from the Lowes and wrote a long piece about how it's no longer a crumbly post office at all! For the past couple of years the team at Mobelux has dutifully restored the 1937 New Deal-era building to house their technology-focused company, and the results are incredible. (JSYK, the new post office is down the street)
- Squirrels face the Hartford Yard Goats tonight at 7:05 PM.
- Kickers fell to Ottawa Fury FC, 3-5.
- Nats continue the series with the Giants at 10:15 PM. Bryce Harper also punched a guy in the face, and it seems like a lot of folks are more upset about how poorly he threw his helmet.
This morning's longread
Councilman Addison walks us through his thought process behind voting no on the budget a couple weeks back (taken from his 1st District newsletter).
In response to my inquiries about these topics, I was directed to City Council staff for more information. This was alarming to me as these questions should be vetted through the City Council procedures of public meeting deliberations. We have amazing and supportive City Council staff that assist us in understanding how to make policies and they provide great recommendations that we use to debate and discuss during our formal Council and Committee meetings. I am concerned that answers to these questions, from those who presented and supported this drastic change in budget format, were being defined and outlined by City Council staff, not by Council members. You elected us to publicly discuss and make decisions about the budget and government operations, not our staff.