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

Good morning, RVA: Property tax takes, big huge pipes, and gingerbread beer

Good morning, RVA! It's 47 °F and highs today should stay in the mid 60s. Expect some rain tomorrow and then a chilly but sunny weekend.

Water cooler

Today, the paper is FULL of thoughts and opinions on Superintendent Kamras’s announcement that he’d like to see the cuts to property taxes in the City rolled back to pre-recession levels. Everyone’s got a take! Important context before you dig in: If you own a home, your annual tax bill would increase by its assessed value divide by 1,000—aka just take off the last three zeros. For example, my family would pay $288 more each year to help generate the roughly $24 million budget increase. OK, with that in mind, first, Justin Mattingly and Mark Robinson talked to every member of City Council 💸, and, as you’d probably guess, most of them are not stoked on the idea. However, two Councilmembers didn’t instantly dismiss any sort of tax increase, which, I guess, is as close as we’re gonna get to elected folks supporting new revenue to pay for the many systemically underinvested City services. Those two were: Cynthia Newbille and Mike Jones from the 7th and 9th Districts, respectively. Second, Michael Paul Williams tells Kamras to stay in his lane 💸, but includes some pretty good, pro-tax quotes from UR associate proffesor Julian Hayter. And third, the Editorial board runs simultaneous, contradictory editorials with the first saying, “For decades, elected officials in Richmond treated school upkeep and maintenance like a political hot potato, passing it off as fast as possible. The city now owns a collection of school buildings that are literally in tatters.” and the second saying, “We understand Richmond city schools face greater socioeconomic challenges than either Chesterfield or Henrico, and we recognize that meeting those challenges might require extra funding — but how much more? As it stands, RPS spends about 40 percent more per student than adjoining counties and about 20 percent more than Norfolk. Those extra dollars certainly aren’t correlating to student achievement. What will spending more money accomplish?” Idk, maybe the District could spend the extra money on the school buildings that are literally in tatters? Overall, I am unsurprised yet disappointed that very few of our leaders will acknowledge (at least publicly) that to get better schools, affordable housing, and transportation we’re going to have to pay for it—and the property tax is 100% the way we do that. I realize that not everyone can afford to do so, but I am able, willing, and excited to pay a couple hundred more dollars each year to begin undoing the decades of disinvestment and start building a better Richmond. Are you?

Michelle Hankerson at the Virginia Mercury says the State has picked a redistricting nerd to redraw Virginia’s racially gerrymandered districts. Bernard Grofman redrew Virginia’s 3rd District back in 2015.

This piece, also in the Virginia Mercury, is Ned Oliver at his best. A couple of the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s big huge pipes washed into a nearby farm owned by someone peeved about how construction had impacted his property. Will he let the Pipeline folks retrieve their huge pipes? Does he even have to? Ned Oliver reports!

I love predictions, and this thread on /r/rva has all sorts of interesting thoughts about our region’s future.

This Saturday, from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, you can lug all the old electronics taking up space in your closet over to 1710 Robin Hood Road and get them safely recycled at the City’s E-Cycle Day. They’ll also shred up to five boxes of documents and give out biodegradable leaf bags while you’re there. Do your part!

It’s easier to find now than it was a couple years back, but the annual race to snag a bottle or two of Hardywood’s Gingerbread Stout is definitely a Sign of the Season. Style Weekly says the time has nearly arrived.

This morning's longread

Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says

Climate longreads continue! While this piece should depress you a ton, it should not prevent you from taking personal action in preventing climate change—just make sure some of that personal action includes voting for politicians that support policies to clean up these dirty corporations.

Traditionally, large scale greenhouse gas emissions data is collected at a national level but this report focuses on fossil fuel producers. Compiled from a database of publicly available emissions figures, it is intended as the first in a series of publications to highlight the role companies and their investors could play in tackling climate change. The report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 – the year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established – can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. The scale of historical emissions associated with these fossil fuel producers is large enough to have contributed significantly to climate change, according to the report.

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

Good morning, RVA: Pittsburgh, endorsements, and stairs

Good morning, RVA: Property tax, panel chats, and a place for new rockets