Good morning, RVA! It's 39 °F, the rain has moved on, and, today, sunshine will take its place. Expect highs in the 50s and similar weather over the weekend.
Yesterday, the governor signed Executive Order Twenty Five (PDF), which “establishes new state housing policy priorities designed to enhance the quality, availability, and affordability of housing in the Commonwealth.” I continue to not know a ton about how state government works, but this executive order doesn’t seem to do a whole lot of anything—other than some virtue signaling. Which is something? I guess? There are 1,001 housing policy experts in the Commonwealth, and we could ask them today for a very short list of housing policies that would meet the governor’s goals. I bet those lists even already exist on several of their websites! Anyway, we’ll see what the General Assembly feels like doing come spring. I’ve got my housing hopes pinned on Senator McClellan‘s inclusionary zoning bill from last session. Related: The City’s slow and reactive response to scooters makes me wonder what we could be doing now to make sure we have the pieces in place for good local inclusionary zoning legislation if/when it passes at the state level.
I’m always looking for glimmers of regionalism shining through the ossified cracks of Virginia’s bizarro independent city system. The merging of the leadership of the Richmond City Health District and the Henrico Health Department is, I think, a pretty big glimmer. Bridget Balch at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says citizens shouldn’t expect a change in services, but I would imagine smooshing these two agencies closer together will allow for some interesting regional collaboration.
WTVR has this truly awful story about a 14-year-old who was hit by a driver—while in the crosswalk—at 43rd and Forest Hill. The child survived but has severe brain injuries. That Councilmember Larson and the police will “evaluate the area” is a good first step, but that group must include someone from the Department of Public Works. Enforcement of existing laws by the police is good, but changing the physical shape of the street and slowing traffic down is the only way to make that intersection permanently safer.
Michael Paul Williams at the RTD writes about the SisterFund and the women behind it 💸, and, dang, what a group of folks! I’m interested in the giving circle model: “SisterFund now has 46 members who commit to giving $1,100 each year with $100 going toward educational, recruitment and administrative expenses and $1,000 going toward a grant that supports area nonprofit organizations that lift up the lives of black women and girls residing in our region.” Seems like a rad way for likeminded people to make a serious impact locally.
This seems suboptimal: Michelle Hankerson at the Virginia Mercury says the Governor will replace two members of the State Air Pollution Control Board “a week after the board delayed a vote on a permit for a contentious pipeline compressor station for Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline.” Both of the members’ terms had expired months ago, but the timing sure doesn’t look great. I think that this is probably a case of incompetence rather than malice, but, dang dudes! You need to sit down and think for a hot second about the optics of your actions before just going out there and removing folks from boards! Actually, “Think for a hot second before XYZ” is my best and most useful advice for government officials—for all humans, really.
InLight, one of my favorite Weird Richmond Art Things returns! This year head to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to see performances, sculptures, and all sorts of other out-of-sight light-based art tonight and tomorrow starting at 7:00 PM.
This morning's longread
My good pal Susan has written an excellent piece for Quartz reflecting on Stan Lee, nerds, and how the comics takeover of, well, just about everything, still leaves us with a bunch of gross boys in charge of pop culture.
If girl nerds had taken over, costume stores would sell out of mass-produced Ramona Quimby wigs on Halloween, instead of male-superhero muscle suits and skimpy girl-superhero bustiers. A girl-nerd-dominated world would still have the survivalist movement, but preppers would be called Little Housers. They’d do a lot more butter churning, and a lot less gear-collecting. “Sorry to nerd out,” is what a collector would say as he showed off the vintage Beatrix Potter figurine, still sealed in the box, that he scored on eBay. The Judy Blume cinematic universe would be a thing.
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