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

Good morning, RVA: School funding, beer, and redeveloping the Coliseum

Good morning, RVA! It's 12 °F, and today will see temperatures slightly above freezing, which is nice. There's a decent chance for some snow tonight, so keep an eye out and read this John Boyer piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch to answer all of your Will It Snow questions (including: "Is it even going to get above freezing soon?").

Water cooler

1st District School Board rep Liz Doerr wrote up and published a letter to the editor on Medium after the Richmond Times-Dispatch decided not to run it. First, the State must get serious and fund public schools. Per-student funding from the state has fallen 16% since 2009 (PDF), and Richmond City is forced to make up that difference as best it can—I'm not sure if you've heard, but there's not a ton of extra cash floating around in the City's budget lately. Second, I love when public officials have their own channels to communicate directly with the public! Two other examples of this that I really enjoy: Councilman Addison's 1st District Newlsetter and Delegate-elect Danica Roem's twitter account. Both of these are informative, conversational, and give citizens a type of access they wouldn't otherwise have. Don't get me wrong: We still (desperately) need (way) more local reporters to work on the (very) important stories that elected officials would never put in their district newsletters, but not all communications with our elected leaders needs The Media to act as a gatekeeper.

I enjoyed this piece from the RTD's Jeff Schapiro laying out the state-level political calendar for 2018. There's a lot going on, and it all starts on January 10th when the General Assembly begins its 2018 legislative session—which may be slightly chiller than normal? I hadn't thought about this, but Taber Bain on Twitter points out that due to the uncertainty of who controls the House of Delegates, legislators have filed way fewer off-the-wall bills. Reminder: The game of chance to decide the 94th District winner takes place tomorrow, but expect the loser to sue for an additional recount. #filmcanisters

Robey Martin, also in the RTD, has written a crash course in the Richmond beer scene. She reminds me that since the General Assembly passed SB 604 in 2012—which allowed breweries to offer beer without serving food—Richmond has gone from two breweries to over 30! That's a lot of businesses, a lot of jobs, and a lot of investment in RVA. Now imagine what would happen if we dropped the food requirement for selling liquor and Virginia could have actual bars? I know, I know. Keep dreaming, Ross.

Oh snap, Edwin Slipek at Style Weekly continues to weigh in on the Mayor's plan for redeveloping the area around the Coliseum! I can't agree more with his call to tear down the Public Safety Building, reconnect Clay Street, and unsink Leigh Street. And while I'm not strictly against his idea to instead build the new arena over on the Boulevard, it does seems like that area's become a trendy place just to dump stuff we don't know what else to do with.

FYI, there's a special City Council meeting tonight at 5:00 PM (PDF) to appoint the new City Auditor.

This Vox explainer on what California's marijuana legalization means for the rest of us is fascinating. California is the most populous state in the country, and analysts predict that they've just created a multibillion-dollar industry within their state.


  • Rams visit Saint Joseph's tonight at 7:00 PM.
  • Spiders head north to take on Fordham at 7:00 PM.
  • Hokies and Wahoos battle at 9:00 PM tonight in Blacksburg.

This morning's longread

Why Can't Uber Make Money?

Maybe don't base any of your long-range municipal transportation plans on a private company that lost $3.2 BILLION DOLLARS in the first three quarters of 2017.

By any measure, Uber’s seven-year entrepreneurial journey has been extraordinary. No venture has ever raised more capital, grown as fast, operated more globally, reached as lofty a valuation -- or lost as much money as Uber. Last month, Uber reported a third-quarter loss of nearly $1.5 billion, bringing its 2017 year-to-date red ink to $3.2 billion. Losses of this magnitude are clearly not sustainable, and call for an explanation of why Uber has been unable to rein in ballooning costs and what it will need to do to survive, let alone prosper.

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

Good morning, RVA: The Game of Chance, Creighton Court, and a Coliseum survey

Good morning, RVA: Vision zero, mayoral promises, and predictions from the past