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

Good morning, RVA: Participatory budgeting, annexation, and a bike share expansion

Good morning, RVA! It's 41 °F, and, somehow, today you can expect highs near 60 °F! Sure! The sky might be a little cloudy, but, other than that, the weather looks great until Thursday when temperatures start to drop.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting that two people were murdered over the weekend. At 10:30 AM on Saturday officers arrived at the 1400 block of Bryan Street and found Danzall Seward, 24, shot. He would die at a hospital later in the evening. At 10:09 PM police were called to the 3400 block of Maury Street and found Demon Booker, 31, shot to death.

Late last week, the Mayor announced his key priorities for the proposed Coliseum redevelopment project. First, you need to keep in mind that all of these numbers are based on how much revenue the third-party analysis (PDF) says the proposed project will generate—which may or may not be accurate. Second, this particular news release is the first that I can remember which has cross-sectional, generally supportive quotes from local power players like Superintendent Kamras, Better Housing Coalition CEO Greta Harris, and Council President Chris Hilbert. The gist of the Mayor’s priorities is schools, schools, schools: The Mayor wants to dedicate 50% of the possible $1.2 billion surplus revenue from the BigTIF to schools; 15% to housing and homeless services; 1% to art, history, and cultural opportunities; and the rest to the general fund. Of course I wish that transportation were included on that list, but, more than that, I am deeply nervous about dedicating 50% of the revenue from one of the biggest revenue-generating centers in the city—for the next 30 years!—to anything! Schools included! Here’s a great idea that’s not my own: What if we got the community involved and set up some sort of participatory budgeting process (PDF) for all of the surplus TIF revenue? That would give us the flexibility to address future needs and a much needed focus on community involvement—which has been seriously lacking during important parts of this process. If, like a lot of folks think, this project is truly inevitable, shouldn’t we do everything we can to get the best, most beneficial results?

Not to be left out of the fun, City Council will host a special meeting today to consider creating a Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission and to announce their intent to hold public meetings about the proposed redevelopment. Of note for those of you tracking the timeline of this thing: Those public meetings would take place in January and February.

Oh snap! A guest column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about The Final Annexation! This is one of my favorite topics, and totally sounds super boring, I know. But the annexation of parts of Chesterfield in the 70s and the banning of future annexation at the state level has huge impacts on Richmond to this day.

From the ever interesting Superintendent’s weekly email, comes this FAQ about the transcript snafus. The District, which now has to double check every student’s transcript (augh!), says, that on first look, zero students will be kept from graduating because of these mistakes.

This is from a little while back, but Jack Cooksey at Richmond Magazine spent a couple of days with two area principals—one from Richmond and one from Henrico. Both, obviously, work a ton of hours, but they do have interesting differences in philosophy. Either way, it makes me want to write a thank you letter to my son’s principal.

Twitter user Doug Allen stopped by Monroe Park this weekend and snapped a picture of the new bike share station. This is the first new station we’ve had hit the streets in a long, long while—and still brings us nowhere near the 40 we were supposed to have almost a year ago, but I guess it’s something!

Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury says Virginians are stoked on Medicaid expansion and 375,000 folks are expected to enroll over the next year and a half. That’s 75,000 more than originally projected.

This morning's longread

I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.

Here’s what happens when your best-of list kills a family-owned burger joint that had been open since 1949.

The way Stanich sees it, he has two options: he can either partner with another restaurant operator to open it back up, or he can franchise. Both options are on the table, and he needs to decide what to do, but until that time, Stanich’s will likely not re-open. And no matter what happens, in all likelihood, the Stanich’s that had been open since 1949, the Stanich’s that I fell in love with, then clumsily broke like Lennie with the puppy in Of Mice and Men, will never be the same again. And that fact is the thing I can’t quite get past. That a decision I made for a list I put on the internet has impacted a family business and forever altered its future. That I have changed family dynamics and relationships. And it could very easily happen again.

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Good morning, RVA: A packed committee agenda, an open City Council race, and InLight photos

Good morning, RVA: Executive Order 25, a horrible crash, and InLight