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

Good morning, RVA: Fiscal distress, street lights, and Dave Matthews

Good morning, RVA! It's 60 °F, and today you can expect sunny skies and really rad temperatures in mid-70s. Honestly, from now through the weekend looks pretty fantastic.

Water cooler

Michael Martz at the RTD sheds some light on this story about the state flagging Richmond as a locality in fiscal distress. The Commonwealth put this new scoring system in place as a result of the financial turmoil in Petersburg and as a way to alert everyone when a locality is going down the tubes. I’ll tell you what, I’m not sure they’ve got it nailed down yet. The auditor’s report shows Richmond’s score fell from 50 to 14 in two years but says that result is incorrect “because of a keyboard error by her office.” Apparently the score was always that low and the trend is “more of a flat line.” Then, there’s a bunch of different ways to interpret the score based on if your locality is rural or urban and how assets are managed. I am not an auditor and do not understand how money works in government, but this doesn’t seems like the clearest alert system?

You’ll think I’m kidding, but the application to the Urban Design Committee for street light expansion in Manchester (PDF) is really, really interesting and worth reading. City staff wanted to find lighting that’s aesthetic both matched the neighborhood’s original street lighting and its current contemporary vibes. Unfortunately, none of the original lighting remains and they could only find one single street pole with the original brackets intact. Luckily, we have an amazing resource in the Valentine, and staff were able to find two pictures of Manchester’s historical street lights in their collection. I think the resulting schematics of the new lights that recall the old lights are pretty great.

Dave Matthews has put together A Concert for Charlottesville: An Evening of Music and Unity. The set list is kind of bananas: Dave Matthews Band, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton, Ariana Grande, The Roots, Brittany Howard, and Cage the Elephant. Tickets will be prioritized to Charlottesville residents; UVA students, faculty, and staff; and residents of the adjacent counties. I think that might be us! You’ve got until September 11th at 12:00 PM to request your tickets, so hop to it.

Richmond has a new emergency notification system called CodeRED. You can sign up to receive notifications about “emergency situations” and weather alerts on your phone. VCU’s had a text-based campus alert system for a while now, and I find it really useful for when there are emergencies on campus or just when I forget they’re testing the siren system. Maybe this city-wide system will be similarly useful!

Style Weekly announced that they’ve hired Jack Cooksey to replace longtime editor Jason Roop. Congratulations, Jack!

Is the president “a master deal maker” or “a mercurial leader momentarily eager to poke his estranged allies,” the New York Times asks.

Finally, the WaPo’s Capital Weather Gang tracks Hurricane Irma’s progress through the Caribbean.


  • Kickers sneak down to Florida to take on the Orlando City B this afternoon at 4:30 PM.
  • Nats swept the Marlins with their 8-1 win. Tonight at 7:05 PM they’ll start a new series against the Phillies.

This morning's longread

Buses, Yes Buses, Are 'the Hottest Trend in Transit'

The below is true (for now) in Richmond, too. Our 1965 bus map looks suuuuuper similar to today’s current system map.

A few years ago, as the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) was marking the 40th anniversary of its bus service in the Columbus area, a new employee came into the office of Curtis Stitt, the agency’s president and CEO. She brought him a copy of a 1974 annual report that she had stumbled upon while going through the archives. As Stitt looked over the decades-old document, one thing stuck out at him. “The system map from 1974 looked very much like the system map for 2014,” Stitt says. “Forty years later, the routes looked pretty much the same. The question it naturally raised was: Does this system still work? The answer was no.”

Good morning, RVA: A bunch of stuff about racism, monuments, and white supremacy

Good morning, RVA: 7th District, Chesterfield transit, and DACA protests