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

Good morning, RVA: Bill picks, Council politics, and segregated schools

Good morning, RVA! It's 36 °F, which is totally above freezing. Expect highs near 50 °F today and plenty of sun.

As of this moment: Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond public schools are all opening two hours late.

Water cooler

We're just one day out from the start of the General Assembly's 2018 legislative session! Patrick Wilson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch picks a few of the pre-filed bills that interest him on topics ranging from animals to beer to bump stocks. You can, of course, look through the entire list of introduced bills yourself, but with so many bills its really an overwhelming task. GA time of the year is when I really feel our region's ultra limited press resources the most. With so few reporters, so many bills, and just a couple months to work through them all, the public never really gets a feel for what's happening down at the Capitol—let alone has the opportunity to get involved. P.S. Some wealthy benefactor could totally solve this by throwing couple hundred thousand bucks at General Assembly coverage, though!

Mark Robinson and Ned Oliver report that the RRHA knew that the heat was busted in Creighton back in October. Unacceptable.

I'm still working through what City Council's 8-1 vote against a day care expansion in the Fan means—in terms of intra-Council politics. Planning Commission had approved the expansion and 20-some people came out to speak in favor of the project, but, ultimately, the Fan District Association and concerns about parking (🙄) carried the day. As a smart Councilwatcher said to me last night, this shows you've got to clear a pretty dang high bar if you want Council (as a whole) to vote against a member when the issue impacts only their district. This was in Councilmember Gray's district and only Councilmember Jones voted for the project. Something to keep in mind when advocating for stuff in the future! Mark Robinson at the RTD has all the details.

Mallory Noe-Payne has an update on the status of the Children's Health Insurance Program over on Radio IQ. It sounds like Virginia has enough federal funding for CHIP to get through the end of February. I guess we just wait until then to see whether or not Congress will renew this super popular program that helps children?

And, finally at the paper (lots of good stuff in there today) Ned Oliver's video of the water pouring out of a cracked water main onto 95 is wild. People just drove right through it like it was no big deal, too!

Vox has a long and super interesting piece on how school zones create and maintain racial segregation—you can even select your local school district and some of the chartsandgraphs will update to show local data. You'll also see reference to Henrico County and Richmond's own Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, an expert on school segregation (because we have a ton of it here to study, y'all). You need to read this, think hard about it, and prepare yourself for when Richmond's School Board takes up rezoning—because it should be coming as part of any school facilities plan.


Alabama beat Georgia to win their 5th college football national title in nine years.

  • Rams host Duquesne tonight at 8:00 PM.
  • Spiders welcome Dayton at 7:00 PM.
  • Wahoos and Syracuse tip off at 8:00 PM in Charlottesville.

This morning's longread

Trump’s border wall through the eyes of an architecture critic

This was a good idea, and I want to high five whatever editor thought of it / approved it.

The opening line of his email reply to me had taken the form of a question: “What is an architecture critic?” I’d sent back a long and I’m sure insufferably earnest definition of my job, explaining that I see my beat as including nearly every part of the built environment. This corner, I added, is a whole lot more politically and symbolically potent than most. Yet as I climbed out of the SUV and began walking toward the eight sections of wall, each about 30 feet wide and 30 feet high, I wondered if he’d been right to be surprised by my interest. All of a sudden my critical instincts seemed divided against themselves. The slabs in front of me seemed at once the most and least architectural objects I’d ever seen. They were banal and startling, full and empty of meaning. Here were the techniques of Land Art, medieval construction, marketing and promotion, architectural exhibition and the new nativism rolled uncomfortably if somehow inevitably into one.

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Good morning, RVA: General Assembly!, auditor reports, and DACA

Good morning, RVA: Violence, the General Assembly awaits, and Oprah