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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 43 °F, which is probably close to today’s high, and we’ve got a break in the rain for most of the day. Tomorrow, though, woooo boy. NBC12’s Andrew Friedan says things could even kick off with a little sleet!

Water cooler

I’m sure y’all saw all the news yesterday that Amazon finally decided that the location of its new HQ2 would in fact be two locations for two HQs: Queens and Arlington. My entire feed filled very quickly with hot takes and stayed full for most of the day. The Governor recorded this pretty bland but on-brand announcement video. Internet Person Taber says we should expect the deal to sail smoothly through the General Assembly and also provided a link to the PDF of the MOUs with both the state and Arlington. Del. Carter points out that Amazon had beefier incentive options elsewhere but still ended up in NOVA, which maybe says something about their municipal Hunger Games. Michael Martz at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a run down of all of the incentives the state gave to the company owned by the literal richest man in the world, in which you’ll hear the familiar political economic development refrain of “there’s zero financial risk.” Plus there were 1,001 articles about how Amazon’s process was a sham, how cities shouldn’t need huge companies and their RFPs to craft better transportation and housing policies, and how Amazon Is A Really Bad Company. Honestly, it was a lot to sort through. If you’ve already done the sorting and a have a favorite Amazon-related read, send it my way!

City Council was a bit of a nothing burger last night. The Mayor chose not to introduce legislation related to the proposed Coliseum redevelopment, he withdrew the ordinance modifying the agreement with Stone Brewing about the Intermediate Terminal building, and he also withdrew the Scooter Ordinance. Working backwards from that list: I think we will see a new and improved Scooter Ordinance on the agenda in December—I should hope so, because, jeez, we’ve been talking about it for almost six months at this point. Next, I have no idea what is going on with the Stone Bistro situation, but wold love some insight / conspiracy theories. And finally, Council’s next scheduled meeting, and last one of the year, will take place on December 10th which is the next soonest date we could see a Coliseum-related legislative package.

This feels like big news: Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham will retire at the end of the year. The RTD’s Mark Robinson said on Twitter that he spoke with seven council members and all of them said that the Chief’s retirement came as a surprise. Durham’s replacement? The aforelinked press release says the City will conduct a national search.

Robert Zullo at the Virginia Mercury has an important update on Virginia’s Everlasting Redistricting Saga: It’s headed to the Supreme Court. The timelines here are pretty intense if we want to get new maps in place before the 2019 elections.

Over at Richmond BizSense, Jonathan Spiers brings the word on Henrico’s new aquatics center with this lovely headline: “Henrico, YMCA synchronize on swimming facility.” The Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, an elementary school, an in-progress library, and this new swim facility will all be located on a short stretch of Laburnum Avenue. Let’s get the pedestrian infrastructure cleaned up (because it’s nonexistent and terrifyingly dangerous) and the #91 bus increased to 30-minute frequency to serve all of these destinations!

This morning's longread

The Difference Between Being Broke and Being Poor

I really enjoyed this illustrated story/comic about the difference between being poor and broke and how it all comes back to food.

When you’re poor there’s no flow. There’s no wiggle. There’s no credit. There’s no extensions. There’s nothing. It’s all survival. It’s your manager at your café job bringing tears of relief to your eyes when at the end of a long shift they ask you if you want to take home the extra muffins...When you’re broke you have flow. You have credit. You know you just need to get by for a few days or a week, and you’ll budget better next paycheck.

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Good morning, RVA: Economic Development analysis, dead Birds, and bad framing

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