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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 30 °F, and today looks a lot like yesterday. Expect temperatures to warm up a bit on Saturday and then some rain to move in on Sunday.

Water cooler

Ali Rocket at the Richmond Times-Dispatch attended Police Chief Durham’s annual crime update and has all the details. Of note: Chief Durham said the police department will post a roundup of crime statistics and internal affairs reports on their website weekly beginning February 1st. I love the move to more transparency but hope that the data will be posted in a more useable format than a PDF of presentation slides. Speaking of, here are the slides from Chief Durham’s presentation (PDF) which include many 2017 year-end chartsandgraphs for you to contemplate. Specifically, the crime-per-capita table is interesting, and I’d never really thought about controlling for Richmond’s growth—the city has added about 24,000 people since 2008 when the murder count was at its lowest. The violent crime rate per 1000 from ten years ago was still higher (7.88) than it is today (5.65).

Patrick Wilson, also at the RTD, reports that Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax continues his quiet protests of speeches honoring White supremacists on the floor of the General Assembly. This particular speech, given by Senator Richard Stuart, continued the Lost Cause narrative that Lee was an opponent of slavery—despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Twice now this year, elected legislators have given speeches venerating Confederate generals while glossing over that whole part about how those generals were willing to risk their lives and the lives of their families to preserve the institution of slavery. I feel like its important to say that last part out loud otherwise it’s easy to think that praising Confederate generals is just a normal, OK thing we do in Virginia. Wilson also says Senator Louise Lucas walked out during the speech and has in previous years. Kudos to the paper for calling out Senator Stuart in both the headline and body of this story.

An out-of-town developer has bought a property on the southern side of Broad Street—in the newly-rezoned Pulse Corridor just one block away from the Cleveland Station—and wants to bring more density to the neighborhood! My heart sings with gladness! If you’re keeping a spreadsheet of Pulse-induced, transit-oriented development, please add a row for this (note to self: start keeping this spreadsheet). J. Elias O’Neal at Richmond BizSense has the details.

Georgia Green writing for Richmond Magazine lets me know about Leimert Park, a new web series by Richmond native and Hermitage High School graduate Mel Jones. Richmonders doing cool things out in the world is my favorite.

Dang, you’ve got to go to all the way out to Short Pump, but this is a fantastic deal: For $35 you can watch every one of the 2018 Best Picture nominees at the Regal theatre out there. Someone handle all of my responsibilities for an entire weekend so I can disappear into the movie theatre and sit quietly for 27 hours.

The NYT has the big story about Trump wanting to fire Robert Mueller back in June. What’s the emoji for being both totally surprised and totally unsurprised simultaneously?


  • Rams head up to George Mason for a 2:00 PM tipoff on Saturday
  • Spiders take on Davidson at 2:00 PM on Sunday.
  • Hokies face Notre Dame at 8:00 PM on Saturday.
  • Wahoos travel to Durham to deal with Duke on Saturday at 2:00 PM.

This morning's patron longread

Mexico and Hungary tried junk food taxes — and they seem to be working

From Patron Brantley comes this extremely timely article about junk food taxes. One thought: I’m into this, but we’d need to make sure all Richmonders have access to healthy food first, which, unfortunately, isn’t the case at the moment.

More specifically, they argue, a junk food tax — on “non-essential” foods like candy, soda, and potato chips — should be the next frontier in public health. According to their review of the scientific literature on junk food tax bills and laws, a federal tax on unhealthy foods would be both legally and administratively feasible in the US. Instead of a sales tax that would show up at the point of purchase, the researchers argue for an excise tax on junk food manufacturers. That should increase the shelf price of junk foods and beverages, and deter consumers from bringing unhealthy food choices to the checkout counter in the first place.

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

Good morning, RVA: Public housing thoughts, PILOTS, and pizza

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