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

Good morning, RVA: City Council, Social Services, and Claire Danes

Good morning, RVA! It's 46 °F, and today you can expect highs to juuuuust creep into the 50s. Later this afternoon we may see some rain and other general crumminess. Things dry out for good this weekend, though.

Water cooler

Tonight at 6:00 PM City Council will meet for their regularly scheduled meeting—one day later than regular due to Veterans Day—and the agenda is long and arduous (PDF). I wish there were some way to track this, but at 43 items, this feels like one of the longest agendas I’ve seen. Only 23 items out of 43 remain active at this moment, and surely more will be continued at today’s informal meeting. I wonder what it means—if anything—that items keep on stacking up rather than making their way to a final vote? Anyway! Of note on tonight’s massive agenda: preventing the state-induced automatic reduction of real estate tax (but still keeping the tax at a much-too-low rate of $1.20), the modified Stone Brewing agreement (which will probably be continued), and a couple ordinances related to dogs and animal bites. Tonight’s show stopper, however, comes at the end of the meeting when the Mayor may introduce a package of ordinances to move the proposed Coliseum redevelopment project forward. Keep your eye on Mark Robinson’s Twitter account as he’ll most likely be in Council Chambers with a first look (assuming anything gets introduced at all).

Michael Paul Williams weighs in on the City’s proposal to move the Department of Social Services from behind City Hall to a deeply inaccessible spot on the Southside. He is not pleased. Neither is locally-famous urban planning professional and professor John Moeser who says, “In a city known for its history, it’s bewildering how often we act as if we had no history at all.” Scudder Wagg, who helped redesign Richmond’s bus system and now works for international public transit expert Jarrett Walker, weighs in on Twitter with “There is no increase in bus service that could address this terrible location choice. This would dramatically increase the time it takes for people to reach the SS office and I would hope that @LevarStoney would reconsider.” I agree. Even with more of the folks served by Social Services living on the Southside, the proposed location is still harder to get to than Downtown—a lot of that has to do with land use and how southern Richmond is very dang spread out and poorly connected. For example, look at this hilarious trip from Walmsley and Route 1 to the proposed location that’s ostensibly also on Walmsley.

The RTD’s Justing Mattingly has dug into the Virginia Department of Education’s rejection of transcript waivers I wrote about yesterday. School Board Chair Dawn Page says the transcript shenanigans were “unacceptable” and that “our students deserve better.” This is a familiar refrain from our School Board members of late, and I’m glad our new Superintendent is willing to work through what seems like, in the present moment, an endless number of skeletons in an infinitely deep closet.

A reader pointed me toward the Monument Lab’s fellow program. Doesn’t this sound custom made for a Richmonder: “Our goal is to critically engage the monuments we have inherited and unearth the next generation of monuments through stories of social justice and solidarity.” Almost anyone can apply (especially high school students!), but those applications are due on November 18th. Someone in town should definitely do this!

Claire Danes loves Richmond and says so in this video!

This morning's longread

Preindustrial workers worked fewer hours than today's

I have no idea where I found this article, but, yes! Everyone works too much, and we all need to chill out, take a breather, and spend more time taking mid-day naps.

One of capitalism's most durable myths is that it has reduced human toil. This myth is typically defended by a comparison of the modern forty-hour week with its seventy- or eighty-hour counterpart in the nineteenth century. The implicit -- but rarely articulated -- assumption is that the eighty-hour standard has prevailed for centuries. The comparison conjures up the dreary life of medieval peasants, toiling steadily from dawn to dusk. We are asked to imagine the journeyman artisan in a cold, damp garret, rising even before the sun, laboring by candlelight late into the night. These images are backward projections of modern work patterns. And they are false.

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Good morning, RVA: HQ2s, Council bust, and so long Chief

Good morning, RVA: VDOE denial, Chamberlayne Avenue renovations, and goodbye Strange Matter