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

Good morning, RVA: The restaurant industry, the Pulse construction, and the Rebel Craft Rumble

Good morning, RVA! It's 33 °F, and highs today will stick around in the mid 40s. Looks like seasonally appropriateish colder weather is back!

Water cooler

Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the early shortlist of supporters and opposition to Mayor Stoney’s proposed meals tax increase. We don’t have a ton of truly regional groups in town, mostly due to how Virginia’s independent cities system is weird, but the Chamber and the Realtors are two that we do have, and having their support early seems like a good sign for the Mayor’s plan. I know it’s literally only been a couple of days since he proposed the tax increase, but I’d love to start hearing about some of the things the City could do to make life as a restaurant easier.

Oh snap, now read this piece by Piet Jones in Richmond Magazine about how restaurants are having a hard time finding qualified staff. Whose job is it to noodle on how City policy can help with this?

Mark Robinson also has the news that another of the mayor’s senior policy advisors has left the Administration to move on to other things. There’s about to be gallons of new blood surrounding the mayor, and I’m suuuuuuper interested in who ends up taking these jobs. SUPER interested!

A Mark Robinson update trifecta! He was at Kim Gray’s BRT construction impact meeting yesterday and has some quotes that you can probably predict at this point. I cannot fathom a way we’d reliably calculate which businesses were negatively impacted by BRT construction and which were negatively impacted by, say, the increase in the cost of gasoline, pastry trends, or any old thing. Additionally, once the Pulse opens, a lot of these businesses will sit ultra adjacent to the best, most high-quality transit we have in the entire region. And finally, there’s a sentence in this article about taking operating funds from GRTC and giving them to business owners. GRTC is chronically underfunded. We spend less per capita on public transportation ($49.21) than many of our peers: Memphis, $49.64; Indianapolis, $57.34; Nashville, $78.43; Charlotte, $106.74 (data via the National Transit Database). Freaking Memphis funds public transit more than us! The thought of taking what little money we have to run bus service—service that provides folks with critical access to jobs, education, healthy food—and giving it to business owners does...not make me very happy. However, I’m not a totally cold and unfeeling monster: Maybe we can get that same person whose noodling on the restaurant industry to noodle on businesses in the Pulse Corridor? Here’s a free idea I stole from Indianapolis: small, low-interest loans. End transit rant!

The Rebel Craft Rumble sounds awesome and kind of like Junkyard Wars but with way less war and way more art. Paul Spencer has the details in Style Weekly. Teams can still sign up; the Rumble takes place this Saturday at Hardywood.


  • Spiders picked up a 77-73 overtime win against Duquesne. That makes four in a row for the Spiders.

This morning's longread

The Criminalization of Gentrifying Neighborhoods

Gentrification is complex, but there’s lots of ways to understand cultures you’re not familiar with that aren’t instantly calling the cops.

When low-income neighborhoods see an influx of higher-income residents, social dynamics and expectations change. One of those expectations has to do with the perception of safety and public order, and the role of the state in providing it. The theory goes that as demographics shift, activity that was previously considered normal becomes suspicious, and newcomers—many of whom are white—are more inclined to get law enforcement involved. Loitering, people hanging out in the street, and noise violations often get reported, especially in racially diverse neighborhoods.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: Annual crime report, the Lt. Gov, and spending the weekend at the movies

Good morning, RVA: The State of the City, the meals tax, and the insurance market