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

Good morning, RVA: The March for More, DSS, and Pickleball

Good morning, RVA! It's 56 °F, and today temperatures will wander up into the 60s. The real thing to keep an eye on is a possibility for snow this coming weekend! NBC12 says we’re still too far out to know for sure, though.

Water cooler

An important event for your calendar: The March for More! This coming Saturday, December 8th, at 10:00 AM, all sorts of folks will march from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School (1000 Mosby Street) to the Capitol to demand more state funding for public education. You can read the press release from the Mayor’s office (PDF), but a ton of folks are supportive of the effort: the Virginia Municipal League, Virginia First Cities, and a bunch of mayor-type folks from places like Alexandria, Arlington, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Norfolk, Pennington Gap, Portsmouth, Roanoke, and Staunton. There’s a good one-pager on the MoreBetterStronger website if you’re looking for background information.

J. Elias O’Neal at Richmond BizSense has the final details on the sales of the Quality Inn in Scott’s Addition to developer Louis Salomonsky. On the plus side: Dense development—a 12-story residential tower—adjacent to transit. On the negative side: Instead of affordable housing, we end up with 322 market-rate units and 550 parking spaces. Even with 100 of those planned for public parking, that seems like a lot of dang parking so, so close to the Pulse.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how the City will consider moving the Department of Social Services from directly behind City Hall to a building off Commerce Road. Technically, this is part of the Coliseum redevelopment proposal, but the existing Department of Social Services facilities are crap and they’ve been working on a move for a minute now. Regardless of how the optics of moving DSS to make way for shiny new buildings makes you feel, the proposed location deep on the Southside is, no matter how you look at it, a bad transit location. You could run 10 buses an hour out that way, and it would still be a hard spot for folks to get to. As Transit Genius Jarrett Walker said way back in 2009, you’ve got to locate these sorts of institutions on the way to somewhere. RVA Rapid Transit, my place of full-time employ, is looking to hear more from the City about this proposed location and how it impacts DSS clients and employees. If you’re with a nonprofit or organization that works with folks who spend any amount of time at DSS, please share your thoughts, feelings, and perspectives! Maybe an interesting group of folks from around town can start having a larger conversation about this proposed relocation?

Also on the Coliseum tip, City Council’s Organizational Development committee will meet today with a single thing on the agenda: Councilmember Gray’s paper to establish a Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission and set a few dates for a public hearing on the Coliseum redevelopment proposal (ORD. 2018-297). I’m interested in how this vote goes—it feels fairly non-controversial and a good way to CYA. OrgDev contains all nine members of Council, so it’s most likely a preview of how a possible final vote on the advisory commission could go later down the road.

Welp, that terrible editorial about autism from the RTD’s editorial board did not go over very well, and the Board has been forced to issue a public apology. Maybe if the Editorial Board would not have hired Yet Another White Man as its newest contributor and instead found someone with different lived experiences, they could have avoided offending half the region.

What is even happening?? There are two, count ‘em, two, pieces in the paper about how Chesterfield County needs bus service. In the first, Tom Farrell, Dominion CEO, says this sentence and my jaw plummets to the ocean floor: “The bus system has got to get into Chesterfield County.” The second, by Mel Leonor, is a public conversation about the history and the how and why of bringing transportation to the County. This is all very new and exciting, and I’m not sure how to feel about the region finally acknowledging that we should have a regional public transportation system?

The City’s Department of Parks and Recreation will celebrate the grand opening of...newly renovated Pickleball courts today. 10:30 AM at the Randolph Community Center, if you know what Pickleball is and if it is your thing.

Friends! I am on my way to Boston today. I anticipate that Good Morning, RVA will continue uninterrupted, but, if for some reason things seem brief (or mysteriously absent), that’s why!

This morning's longread

What You Should Know About Your Bus Driver

I enjoyed this first-person account from a Muni bus operator. The job is complex, and I’m thankful for those who have the right skill sets and choose to drive me around from place to place.

People at all income levels ride the bus, but serving our homeless and low-income passengers has shown me how disability, mental illness, addiction, and trauma intersect with a person’s housing status or lack of money. Muni trains us on inclusivity and diversity, and during one such training, the facilitator told us that early-onset schizophrenia often presents when a person is about 15 years old. “So that person on your bus screaming about God or the devil is somebody who never got to attend their high school prom,” she told us, “because their world became very frightening and hard to understand before their senior year.” I try not to forget that when a passenger with behavioral health issues is causing me problems.

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

Good morning, RVA: Snow day!

Good morning, RVA: Independent redistricting, a real bad editorial, and Big Christmas Weekend