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

Good morning, RVA: George Mason, housing opportunities, and a master plan

Good morning, RVA! It's 75 °F, and today you know what to expect: highs in the 90s, humidity, and sunshine. Keep an eye on the forecast for this weekend though, because the current outlook says we'll see temperatures over 100 °F!

Water cooler

Fascinating PDFs out of the Richmond School Board last night: A set of proposals for dealing with George Mason Elementary School (PDF). George Mason has risen to the top of the stack (fallen to the bottom of the rubble pile?) of our crumbling school facilities, and School Board members Liz Doerr and Cindy Menz-Erb have put together some recommendations to get students, teachers, and staff out of the unsafe environment immediately—like, for the 2017-2018 school year. Should you doubt the need for immediate action, here's what they (and Interim Superintendent Tommy Kranz) observed on a recent visit to Mason: "boiler is emitting natural gas across from in-use classrooms, one boiler is broken so only 1⁄2 the school receives air conditioning or heating at a time, paint (lead paint?) is flaking from pipes at various places in the building, water is leaking and creating water spots on the ceiling in various locations, bathrooms smell of urine and are in disrepair...the computer lab had flooded the day we visited, and some rooms had broken air conditioning." My uninformed hot take on the list of options in the aforelinked PDF would be to go with option #3. That moves George Mason to Franklin Military and then moves Franklin Military to Community, which seems less disruptive than rezoning Mason students across Woodville, Fairfield, Chimborazo, and Bellevue. The wild thing is that either of those plans costs WAY less ($100k) than just fixing George Mason ($5 million). And remember: This is just one of the major issues facing the school district! Katy Burnell Evans has notes from last night's School Board meeting and some updates on the Memorandum of Understanding with the State (one of the other major issues facing the district). Stay tuned, it's going to be a really interesting year for the new School Board.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal, a really rad group that works for fair housing in Virginia, announced that they've created a $4 million partnership with Wells Fargo to increase homeownership and mortgage lending to African Americans and African-American neighborhoods (PDF). This partnership is the result of their investigation into the state of mortgage lending in the Richmond region (highly-recommended PDF!), in which they found, among other things, that "borrower income does not account for the disparities in loan outcomes exhibited by applicant race/ethnicity." Aka if you are a person of color and living in the City of Richmond you are less likely to get approved for a loan, regardless of how much money you make. There's a TON more info in the study, and I really, really recommend at least scrolling through and looking at the maps.

Well, the City Auditor resigned last night, and City Council accepted his resignation—Ned Oliver at the RTD has the details. Michael Paul Williams says his loss is "another case of City Hall waste." I'm excited/interested to see who City Council hires as his replacement.

Reminder: The City wil launch its shiny new Master Plan process this morning at 10:00 AM at the top of City Hall. If you can't make the kickoff, they're hosting an activity open to the public until 5:00 PM. Stop by if you're in the area!

Whichever attempt Senate Republicans are on at taking health insurance away from millions of Americans failed last night. It seems like the newest plan on the table is just a straight up repeal of Obamacare followed by copy-pasting a shrug emoji for two years.


  • Squirrels blanked Erie, 4-0, and will continue that series tonight at 7:05 PM.
  • Nats swept Cincinnati with a 6-1 win and begin a series against the Angels tonight at 10:07 PM.

This morning's longread

History of the typewriter recited by Michael Winslow

This is a 20-minute video of the sound effect guy from Police Academy replicating the sounds of dozens of typewriters. Seriously!

Good morning, RVA: Get involved, watch for rogue curbs, and stay hydrated

Good morning, RVA: Unveiled, overviewed, and rezoned