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

Good morning, RVA: Confidentiality agreements, open communication, and marijuana

Good morning, RVA! It's 70 °F, and yesterday's incredible weather continues today. Expect highs in the mid 80s and a bit of clouds here or there.

Water cooler

Katy Burnell Evans at the RTD has the scoop on the confidentiality agreement members of the RPS superintendent search committee were asked to sign, which ticked off some of the members of school board. I dunno, y'all! I get the need to be sensitive with applicant information—especially for folks applying who have existing jobs—but the optics of this thing are suboptimal. It seems like another self-inflicted wound/story that could have been avoided with a proactive, transparent, upfront conversation about this process. There's also this Twitter thread from RTD reporter Patrick Wilson asking why folks like Dominion CEO Tom Farrell are even involved in the superintendent search in the first place. Hot take on why that's the case: 1) They've got access to lots of money that theoretically could end up with the schools, and 2) Inertia—they have always been involved in processes like this before. I'm with both Patrick Wilson and my good friend Sam Davies, just raise my taxes. Annnnnnyway, what I'm saying is, get ready for an exciting fall as the superintendent search really kicks off.

Speaking of self-inflicted wounds, here's another one from the City via Ned Oliver: "Raises for Richmond police, firefighters delayed; mayor blames council, union blames 'power struggle'"—the actual words used by the union president were "urination contest" which I think is awesome. Here's another example of a thing that would have been less of a deal with some proactive (and earlier) communication. I don't doubt that the Council's new budgetary oversight process makes it more time consuming to shift the money around to pay for these raises, but I also bet someone at the City knew they weren't going to hit the deadline before yesterday. Imagine how different this story reads (or even if it exists at all) if a month ago the City sent out a press release saying that they're working on police and firefighter raises but weren't going to hit their expected deadline and offered a new one.

Oh man, tough stuff coming out of the community meetings in Ashland about high-speed rail, Michael O'Connor reports for the RTD. You've got the town government against running trains through town, folks west of town against running the trains there, and, now, folks east of town against running the rails over that way. Citizens are tossing around an "underground tunnel" option, which...does not sound very realistic or cost effective. I guess the final, unspoken option is "giant overpass floating above Ashland?" After this whole thing settles down, I'd love to read about where and how community outreach went wrong to get us to this point.

Recently, the State commissioned a study on decriminalizing simple possession of small amounts of marijuana, and now they would like your thoughts and feelings. If you want to talk about criminal justice reform, this is an easy one for keeping folks out of jail (30 days for the first offense, up to a year for additional offenses). You can email your comments to vsccinfo@vscc.virginia.gov

Five women will challenge Rep. Dave Brat for his congressional seat. "It's grillin' time," says the Washington Post.

Health insurance annihilation in the Senate continues, but we're now in the parliamentary weeds part of the process. Late last night, they voted on and failed to pass a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Still ahead (no one knows for sure, but probably): a vote on a straight-up Obamacare repeal with no replacement; the "vote-a-rama," when Senators vote on a flurry of amendments; a few hours of debate; then a quick switcheroo to a completely new and never-before-seen thing that senators will vote upon.


  • Squirrels picked up another win against Harrisburg last night, 6-0, and will go for the sweep this afternoon at 12:05 PM. Tickets are available online.
  • Kickers head to Charlotte to take on the Independence tonight at 7:00PM.
  • Nats got blanked by the Brewers, 0-8, and will try to shake it off tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

The World of an ‘Armchair Treasure Hunter’

Let's all get really into this?!

A typical armchair treasure hunt usually begins with a book. “Masquarade was really the first one,” says Kile. Masquarade is a short, 32-page picture book by the author and illustrator Kit Williams, released in 1979. The book tells the story of a rabbit, Jack Hare, who loses his treasure, and at the end, the reader is encouraged to try and find it. The trick with Masquarade was that the treasure was real. As part of the release of the book, Williams buried an 18-carat gold rabbit pendant in a particular spot in England, and let it be known that the location could be found within the text and images of Masquarade. The complex solution involved drawing lines from the fingers and eyes of characters in the book. Those lines would connect with letters, and those letters would then spell out the location of the golden hare: a spot marked by the shadow of a cross at noon.

Good morning, RVA: New apartments, cool art, and community bike rides

Good morning, RVA: Pulse Corridor Plan, police PDF, and waffles