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

Good morning, RVA: A correction, healthcare, and skateparks

Good morning, RVA! It's 64 °F, and you can expect today to be a bit cooler than yesterday with highs in the low 80s. Enjoy it for the next day or so, because then the temperatures crank back up into the 90s!

Water cooler

An important correction on yesterday's huge crappy billboard news! My dreams of the City tearing down the huge crappy billboard that obscures a great view of the skyline have been dashed. That particularly billboard is not on Vauxhall Island at all, but on Mayo's Island. Bummer.

As you're no doubt aware, this week the Senate will consider deleting Obamacare and leaving 22 million people—the poor, the elderly, children—without healthcare. Michael Martz at the RTD has a look at how that bill would impact Virginia to the tune of losing $1.4 billion in federal funds over seven years. Good luck trying to squeeze additional funding out of the state for things like schools or transportation infrastructure when they suddenly have a billion dollar hole to fill. But, all is not lost (yet). Read this Twitter thread from Ben Wikler, the Washington Director of MoveOn, about a spontaneous protest that started with Senator Corey Booker and Representative John Lewis sitting on the steps of the Capitol Building talking to folks. If you've got time, skip through the video on Facebook to watch the group grow and grow.

Ned Oliver was at yesterday's combined Mayor, City Council, and School Board meeting to hear them talk about the Education Compact. I haven't seen the new draft of the Compact, but, according to Ned, it looks like the Mayor has stripped out a lot of the specific metrics/goals in the document. I encourage you to read through the previous draft of the Compact yourself, and look at what sorts of metrics we're talking about here: Stuff like "3rd grade math/read - match or exceed VA benchmark" and "parents engaged in continuing education." Most of them seem fairly generic to me. In my view, as a total education neophyte, the goal of the Compact has always been to get everyone around the table to talk about improving schools in the City. I don't see how that aim leads to the two major complaints I've heard about the Compact: that we need to hire a superintendent first and that inclusion of those metrics would lead to an infestation of charter schools (I think that last complaint is related specifically to this metric: "Explore cross-sector funding strategies"). Is this about turf and egos? I still don't grok why there's so much energy against this thing.

Paul Spencer at Style Weekly has this wonderful piece about the skateboarders building a skatepark near Texas Beach. Read it and be amazed at how the City, neighbors, and nonprofits were all...supportive of skateboarders? Since when has that ever happened?? Also, ten thumbs up to Paul for the Endless Summer reference.

Richmond BizSense's Michael Schwartz says there's rumors floating around that some business bigwigs are pushing for a new Coliseum replacement. Hmmmmm. Keep an eye on this.


  • Squirrels topped Trenton, 3-2. Game two of the four game series begins tonight at 7:00 PM.
  • Nats lost to the Cubs, 4-5, and will continue the series tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

How to Spot Visualization Lies

Important info for the chart-consuming public!

Of course, lying with statistics has been a thing for a long time, but charts tend to spread far and wide these days. There’s a lot of them. Some don’t tell the truth. Maybe you glance at it and that’s it, but a simple message sticks and builds. Before you know it, Leonardo DiCaprio spins a top on a table and no one cares if it falls or continues to rotate. So it’s all the more important now to quickly decide if a graph is telling the truth. This a guide to help you spot the visualization lies.

Good morning, RVA: The Coliseum, analog happy hour, and hotdogs

Good morning, RVA: Monument Avenue Commission, violence in public housing, and City Council