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

Good morning, RVA: Welcome back, a bizarre saga, and the Public Art Master Plan

Good morning, RVA! It's 70 °F, and yesterday’s brief rain really cooled things down. Expect highs in the low 80s for most of the day—so long, heat, for the rest of the week!

Water cooler

Fall classes begin today at VCU! I love when the students return, and the streets are filled with young people wandering around, exploring the city, and crossing the street without looking. Listen! It’s your responsibility to not kill them with your car, OK? Maybe just take a different route to your destination than driving straight through a college campus? Just a thought. Annnyway, welcome back Rams, I hope you have an excellent semester!

Mark Robinson at the RTD has more in the bizarre saga of Paul Goldman’s Ballot Referendum. Now the City Attorney says Council and the Mayor could challenge the referendum in court? I continue to be confused by this whole thing and have yet to read anything from Paul Goldman or anyone else that convinces me the ballot referendum actually does anything to help students. Does it force the state to pay their fair share to Richmond Public Schools? No. Does it acknowledge any of the existing and ongoing efforts to address school facilities issues? No. Does it diminish the Mayor—whose charter-defined job is not to run the school system—and set up a narrative for whomever runs against him in a couple of years? That sounds conspiratorial, but maybe! Ahhhhh I dunno dudes, I am pretty much mystified!

I am charmed by this piece by Holly Prestidge about an Iron Chef-style competition out of the Neighborhood Resource Center in Fulton. I agree a lot with the idea that access to healthy food is super important but so is the knowledge of what to do with it when you’ve got it. Programs like this address both!

You can read this front-page story in the RTD about a dude from a group literally called “The CSA II: Secret of the Ooze The New Confederate States of America” that claims not to be a white supremacist and wants to have a rally at the Lee Monument in Richmond. The State is, of course, denying him a permit for now. Eventually, though, the Governor’s executive order banning demonstrations at the monument will lapse and Richmond (both the City government and its residents) will need to have a plan in place for when a bunch of well-armed, flag-toting bozos show up in our town. Also, thumbs up to Patrick Wilson, the author of the piece, for this line: “Crompton falsely said the Confederate states seceded because of heavy taxation and ‘tyranny’ from the federal government, not slavery.” I still see both-sides journalism about THE CAUSE OF THE CIVIL WAR, and that’s dumb, so it’s nice to see it so plainly put here.

Oh snap, the Public Art Commission will meet today at 4:00 PM to approve the final draft of the Public Art Master Plan (PDF). The plan recommends a bunch of things, some of which include: updating the Percent for Art ordinance we’ve already got, restructuring and clarifying the roles of the Public Art Commission and the Public Art Coordinator, and formalizing the artist selection panel process. I’m really into some of the longer-range recommendations, too, like shifting art-related responsibilities away from the Planning Commission to the Public Art Commission.

RVA Mag’s Amy David talks to Richmond Mural Project founder Shane Pomajambo about the history of that project and gives us a little preview of this year’s mural work—which I am really excited about.


  • After two dominate performances, the Squirrels fell to Erie last night, 0-1. They move on to a series against Trenton tonight at 7:00 PM.
  • Nats couldn’t get it done against Houston, losing 1-6. That series wraps up tonight at 8:10 PM.

This morning's patron longread!

Mexico City Is Killing Parking Spaces. Pay Attention, America

From Patron Stephanie, comes his longread about parking! I love when people send me these kinds of articles, and this one pairs nicely with yesterday’s piece about road pricing.

Parking exacerbates this imbalance. The city's old rules said developers had to build a certain number of parking spots for every square foot they constructed. And you know where displaced people can't live? Parking spots. According to a report published by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, 251 Mexico City real estate projects dedicated 42 percent of construction between 2009 and 2013—about 172 million square feet—to parking, more than 250,000 spaces in all. That’s an awful lot of unbuilt bedrooms. The kicker: The cost of that infrastructure, about $10,000 per parking space, gets passed on to renters, whether they own a car or not. (About 70 percent of Mexico City residents don't.)

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This morning's longread

We Need to Talk About Online Harassment

Teen Vogue, Lauren Duca, required reading.

I’m often praised for being so tough, and that might be what needles me most of all. I am tough, and scrappy, and angry, and loud, but what about the people who aren’t? Harassment is guaranteed for women online, and a career hazard for female writers. Here’s a thought that haunts me: What about all of the young women who won’t become writers because of a fraction of what I’ve seen in my inbox this morning? I’m proud of being absurdly resilient, but I shouldn’t have to be.

Good morning, RVA: Vision Zero, Westhampton School, and Hurricane Harvey

Good morning, RVA: Bikeshare on Tuesday, permitting woes, and George Mason volunteers