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

Good morning, RVA: Chesterfield’s bizarre take on buses, Medicaid expansion is powerful, and show flyers from the past

Good morning, RVA! It's 37 °F, and, with highs in the upper 40s today, I think we did it! I think we’re officially outta the snozone. Looking at the extended forecast, we’ve got some rain in our future and temperatures consistently above freezing.

Water cooler

I know I constantly yammer on about public transportation in Chesterfield County, but, y’all, what we’re dealing with down there is so bizarre. County Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle said these actual sentences, via Mel Leonor at the RTD, as a reason not to provide bus service in her district: “Really, it was much easier, for those of us who didn’t have cars ... to find people who did have cars and pay them for gas to get you where you were going...I think we should try [bus service], but we really do need to drill down, and find out is this really an efficient form of transportation.” What. It’s all just...so exasperating! They’re hemming and hawing about efficiency when we’re talking about spending basically pennies—$200,000—to connect Chesterfield residents living in poverty, living with no car, to good jobs throughout the rest of the region. Meanwhile, they’re willing to drop $15.5 million dollars on a economic development project without blinking! Not to be outdone by his board, County Manager Joe Casey, took some shots at the Greater Washington Partnership’s recommendation that Chesterfield get involved in the regional public transit game, saying the County shouldn’t listen to “opinions from Washington, D.C., or the state capital or those that live and work far away from here.” Lol at “the state capital” which, you know, shares a border with Chesterfield. All of this is even more ridiculous when you remember that the County was totally than willing to throw in high-quality public transportation as part of it’s Amazon HQ2 bid. Why is is Chesterfield County willing to build light rail for the world’s richest man, but unwilling to pay for simple bus service for its residents living in poverty, folks without a car, and seniors?

Elsewhere in the region, Henrico’s County Manager uses his State of the County address to highlight the Pulse and expanded bus service.

I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how bad Virginia’s Medicaid rules were before the recent expansion. This piece from Michael Martz in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about local nonprofits getting involved to sign homeless folks up for health insurance—something most likely unavailable to them before expansion—really drives it home. One man, in recovery from heroin addiction, says “This is something grown-ups do—they get health insurance. I’ve never been much of a grown-up until 10 months ago, when I came into treatment.” Maybe that’s something grown-ups do now, but until very, very recently, Virginia cruelly denied health insurance to a huge number of people, but thankfully that’s starting to change. If you’re a person out there chilling without health insurance, you’ve got until December 15th to enroll over on the healthcare marketplace. With the subsidies involved, depending on how much money you make, it could be very affordable. You won’t know until you poke around for yourself!

I will always, always link to galleries of old show flyers from Twisters aka Nancy Raygun aka 929 aka Strange Matter. Does anyone else remember Pre-skool?

Here I was, reading this RTD editorial about homelessness, feeling pretty good despite the weird language about how, my heavens!, you can see homeless people from the train. And just when I thought they were going to suggest we spend more money to support local nonprofits and programs, they instead suggest committing homeless people against their will! I certainly did not see that coming.

This morning's longread

The Costs of the Confederacy

Spend some time reading this excellent report about how both state and federal government spends millions of dollars supporting dumb Lost Cause monuments and parks.

For our investigation, the most extensive effort to capture the scope of public spending on Confederate memorials and organizations, we submitted 175 open records requests to the states of the former Confederacy, plus Missouri and Kentucky, and to federal, county and municipal authorities. We also combed through scores of nonprofit tax filings and public reports. Though we undoubtedly missed some expenditures, we have identified significant public funding for Confederate sites and groups in Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. In addition, we visited dozens of sites, to document how they represent history and, in particular, slavery: After all, the Confederacy’s founding documents make clear that the Confederacy was established to defend and perpetuate that crime against humanity.

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

Good morning, RVA: East Marshall Street Well, an intent to rezone, and pipeline permits

Good morning, RVA: Snow Day 3, with a vengeance