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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 36 °F and cold again! Clouds will dominate the sky, while temperatures will stay right about where they are now.

Water cooler

It’s Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday aka Shrove Tuesday! Wikipedia has informed me that, in Ireland, it’s called Pancake Tuesday which is charming. Never one to miss out on a holiday theme, Sugar Shack has King Cake doughnuts in the case today.

After about five hours of public comment, debate, and more debate, City Council voted 7–2 in favor of increasing the meals tax 1.5 percent to fund Richmond Public School facilities. The vote tally: YES — Addison, Hilbert, Agelasto, Robertson, Newbille, Trammell, Jones; NO — Gray, Larson. You can read the Mayor’s statement in which he celebrates the current victory and acknowledges the funding challenges that still lie ahead. Solid work, everyone who took the time to email their councilmember, attend a public meeting, or give a public comment! Participating in local government is kind of awesome, right? I’ve got two things I’m still turning over in my head. First, the only NO votes last night came from two former school board members—members who chaired a facilities committee. Neither of those members, in the past 13 months since they took office, had put forth an alternate plan to fund facilities, despite, you’d think, a more intimate knowledge of the problem and the tools available to solve it. Second, Councilmember Agelasto introduced a cigarette tax ordinance last night, and I am very excited to read it whenever it hits the City’s website.

In some kind of bizarro, parallel universe, Paul Goldman’s ballot referendum continues to work its way through the General Assembly. Justin Mattingly in the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Senate just voted 40–0 in favor of it, while, across the street, members of City Council voted to, you know, do something to actually help with the school facilities crisis. It is not lost on me that the state government demands we fix a decades-long funding problem, a funding problem created in part by decades of state underfunding, with no new revenue.

One final schools update, also from Justin Mattingly in the RTD: Superintendent Kamras said we should change the name of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School! Not only that, but School Board Chair Dawn Page said the district is exploring how to get that done! What is even happening??

Just kidding, here’s another schools thing. Yesterday, I screwed up the link to the profile of Superintendent Kamras, and I really think you should read it. So here’s the correct link for you to tap on.

That Topgolf situation, which golfbros in my life continue to be excited about, heads to a final vote at the Henrico Board of Supervisors tonight says Michael Schwartz in Richmond BizSense.

Important safety note! The river is flooded like whoa! If that sciencegraph does not convince you to stay away, maybe this pic of the T-Pot bridge stairs disappearing into the murky depths of the James will? Or this one wherein the river looks like it’s trying to smash the photographer to pieces?


  • Spidershead up to take on the Rhode Island Rams tonight at 8:30 PM.
  • Wahoos head down to take on the Miami Hurricanes at 9:00 PM.

This morning's longread

Stroller bloat on the subways

I really enjoy the level of crankiness in this piece.

I mean, people do use umbrella strollers. I just saw one a few minutes ago. What I don’t understand is why so many people assume that you only need one stroller, and the standard suburban models are fine for the city. Why aren’t there periodic articles in Queens Parent and Time Out Kids about the Best Subway Strollers? Why don’t people get schooled in umbrella strollers in the cafés of Park Slope and Sunnyside the way they get schooled in bike seats and breast pumps? When someone complains about being asked to fold their stroller on the subway, why isn’t the first response simply, “Have you tried an umbrella stroller?”

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Good morning, RVA: Hearts, ashes, and cigarettes

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