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

Good morning, RVA: Meals tax vote tonight, learn about the land trust, and emotional labor

Good morning, RVA! It's 64 °F, which seems unseasonable. As the rain tapers off this morning, temperatures will drop to the mid 40s where they belong.

Water cooler

Tonight at 6:00 PM, City Council will have their regularly scheduled meeting. On the agenda (PDF): the Mayor’s appointments to the Education Compact Team and, of course, his proposed meals tax increase to fund public school facilities. There will be public comment on the proposal (ORD. 2018-017), so you may want to make it your business to head down to the second floor of City Hall and either look supportive or tell the members of Council why our kids can’t wait. I think the mayor’s got six YES votes—either by folks who voted yes at last week’s committee meeting or have said they’ve changed their mind since then: Addison, Hilbert, Jones, Newbille, Robertson, and Trammell. Councilman Addison, who represents one of the more conservative districts in the City and even had horrendously misleading opposition flyers distributed against him, has a good post up on his Medium about why he originally came out against the meals tax increase but has since changed his mind. This quote sums it up: “I am, however, not willing to risk inaction when I was elected to solve significant challenges, such as our crumbling school infrastructure.” Yes!

While you’re making room in your schedule for tonight’s City Council meeting, read this, the (thus far) definitive bio of Superintendent Kamras, by Justin Mattingly in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Speaking of definitive things, here’s an excellent look at how the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust works by Jessica Ronky Haddad (expect this piece to show up again in my forthcoming Affordable Housing Reading List). If you don’t feel like reading words this morning, scroll down to the handy illustration at the bottom of the article. Also note that there’s a land trust and a land bank, two different things, and that the legislation to designate the trust as the bank (ORD. 2017-196) has been continued to the February 26th City Council meeting. Housing policy is complicated.

This article in the RTD about no-show jurors opens with a guy complaining about how he got fined for missing jury duty because his wife filled out his form incorrectly. Guess what, guy, maybe fill out your own dang form next time? I have no sympathy for folks who skip jury duty, and doubly no sympathy for those who blame the women in their life for doing work they themselves should handle.

The Olympics are sweet, and Richmond Magazine’s SaraRose Martin and Mandy Loy have a story about Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, Powhatan High School graduate and member of the U.S. mens bobsled team. Both the official Olympics site and NBC’s site are incredibly confusing, but after much tapping around, I think Abdul-Saboor will compete for medals on the 18th/19th and 24th/25th.


  • Rams held on against Dayton in overtime, 88-84.
  • Spiders fell to the Bonnies, 88-97.
  • Hokies hung around and beat the Wahoos in overtime, 61-60.

This morning's longread

How Facebook Is Killing Comedy

Here’s a really fascinating discussion about how Facebook’s algorithm impacts comedy writing.

Right now it’s memes. I think memes are great, but it’s literally the smallest unit of an idea. And they are being made by individual people for free. I made a platform, Pitch, where the whole point of it is to pay people for jokes because I hated seeing people just giving work away for free. You may be getting traction as a young meme maker who is part of the new internet, but without this middle layer of digital comedy, there aren’t places to see you and hire you up for something bigger. There are just fewer and fewer opportunities that will be there for you if you do something cool.

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

Good morning, RVA: Mardi Gras, schools stuff, and a reminder to stay out of the river

Good morning, RVA: Shockoe, felony larceny threshold, and the Olympics