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

Good morning, RVA: Violence, RRHA resignation, and government shutdown.

Good morning, RVA! It's 52 °F, and we’ll see highs in the mid 60s today. Keep an eye out from some rain tonight.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting a murder that occurred early in the morning this past Thursday. Officers arrived to the 200 block of Larne Avenue on the City’s Southside and found Thomas E. Bradley, III, 24, shot to death. This is the third murder of 2018.

Big, big news: RRHA CEO T.K. Somanath has resigned, Ned Oliver reports. The story of his resignation dropped late last night, a day after this past Saturday’s article (also by Ned Oliver) that showed the agency knew about heat failure in Creighton Court for a couple months. It also included this comment from Somanath about performing short-term maintenance on some of the decaying RRHA properties: “Taxpayers’ good money should not be wasted — put into a sinkhole...It’s not worth the investment.” This, as you can imagine, pissed some people off, including 9th District Councilmember Jones. Look, Somanath came from the Better Housing Coalition where his whole thing was building better housing—it’s right there in the name! I am totally unsurprised that he was laser focused on long-term redevelopment, and that, to him, doing in-depth HVAC work on housing that needs total replacement was a bad investment. It probably is! But, you can’t call the place people live a “sinkhole,” especially when you’re the one in charge of those sinkholes. Additionally, and in my opinion, this short paragraph in the middle of Oliver’s story is more damning: “Somanath has also cited communication issues between maintenance staff and administrators and a two-month lapse between the departure of the agency’s director of procurement and the hiring of a replacement.” The procurement process was cited as a major cause for the repair delays. Regardless, now the RRHA is leaderless, and the position will not be an easy one to fill. I’m interested in how tonight’s informal City Council meeting will go (where Somanath was scheduled to give an update), and I’d expect to hear more from the Mayor on what he’s looking for in a replacement at tomorrow’s State of the City address.

City Council meets tonight at 6:00 PM for their regularly scheduled meeting. You can read the agenda (PDF), which is, as always, subject to change up until the very moments before the meeting. Of note: a couple ordinances related to the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust and the Larus Park deal with Chesterfield. Mark Robinson at the RTD has more on the latter. If you’ve never heard about the former, I really recommend reading the about page—land trusts are a neat idea and one tool we should definitely have in our tool box to fight for affordable housing in the Richmond region.

Sarah Honosky at RVA Mag talked to a handful of the participants at this past weekend’s Women’s March in Carytown, and photographers Landon Shroder and Allison MacEwen grabbed some good pics.

The government is still shutdown. WaPo says that the Senate could vote on something—no one’s really sure what—as soon as 12:00 PM today. Also on the Washington Post has this handy “What closes when the government shuts down” piece.


The Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII (that’s 52) on February 4th at 6:30 PM.

  • Rams picked up a win against George Washington, 87-63.
  • Spiders beat La Salle, 81-74, for their third straight win.
  • Hokies fell to Florida State, 82-91, and will take on North Carolina tonight at 7:00 PM.
  • Wahoos took care of Wake Forest, 59-49.

This morning's longread

I Made the Pizza Cinnamon Rolls from Mario Batali’s Sexual Misconduct Apology Letter

From Patron Susan comes this piece. Alert: Excellent writing ahead!

Last night, I made cinnamon rolls. I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon rolls, per se, but this recipe was included in Mario Batali’s sexual misconduct apology letter, and so I feel compelled to make them. Batali is not the first powerful man to request forgiveness for “inappropriate actions” towards his coworkers and employees. He is not the most high profile, and he is ostensibly not even the worst offender. But he is the only one who included a recipe. And of course, the glaring question is why? Was his PR team drunk? Is life suddenly a really long, depressing SNL sketch? Do these cinnamon rolls somehow destroy the patriarchy? Does the icing advocate for equal pay? I figure the only way to answer these questions is to make the damn rolls.

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Good morning, RVA: Meals tax, State of the City, and more on the RRHA

Good morning, RVA: Amazon HQ2, Creighton, and a government shutdown