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

Good morning, RVA: Training camp, schools budget, and a surprising Black Panther fan

Good morning, RVA! It's 54 °F, and today’s highs are back in the 70s. What is haaaaappening? I don’t know, but whatever it is sure is warm.

Water cooler

The RTD editorial board is disappointed in the Washington Training Facility—I think we all are! They point me to a piece by Ned Oliver from this past weekend about the “looming” deadline to decide whether or not we want to keep the team in town and some more conversation about municipal bonds. I swear, I have thought more about municipal bonds in the past month than I have in my entire life combined. While I don’t believe any of the extra costs related to refinancing those bonds is a surprise—this seems like something the City’s finance team has been working on for a minute—it’s still a kick in the teeth to read that the City raided a school construction fund for the original cash to build the facility (by the way, is this new news or something I’d forgotten?). Reminder: I continue to freely confess ignorance about municipal finance. Anyway, I’m less interested in angry comments about the previous administration and more interested in what we’ll do with the team and the Facility moving forward. I agree with the editorial board (gasp!), the sunk costs we’ve got in the Training Facility should not pressure us into continuing to pay a super rich professional football team a couple hundred thousand dollars to come to Richmond for a few weeks each summer. Now, if they want to pay us for the privilege, we’re listening...

I wondered about how the timing of hiring Superintendent Jason Kamras would work out with this year’s RPS budget. Kamras officially started on February 1st and, for schools, budget season started a couple months back. Well, talk about threading the needle: The Superintendent presented his own, tweaked version of the budget yesterday at the last budget meeting before the School Board will vote tonight. Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch lists out the changes from the existing budget that’s been floating around, and here’s an article from back in January that Mattingly wrote discussing the original budget which will help you compare and contrast a little. The mayor’s budget is due to Council on March 6th, so we’ll see how much of this $9.3 million increase over last year makes it in there. To be continued!

Y’all. Michael Paul Williams has a piece in the RTD about seeing Black Panther with super fan...GRTC Board Member George Braxton?! Who knew! Braxton even rented out a theatre for a private showing and made everyone Wakandan passports?? This dude has been reading Black Panther comics for 40 years! Be warned: This article has a few, very small spoilers.

The City’s Planning Commission meets today and will consider the new walled bus stop shelters (PDF). They’ll also, and this is something I’ve been waiting for, hear a presentation about the ongoing parking study. With any luck, we’ll finally have a real answer for people when they say “But, but we need more parking downtown!” (fingers crossed that the answer is a strong “Nah”).

Jonathan Spiers says VCU will buy Mansion 534 on Harrison. As VCU absorbs more and more of downtown you can just hear the property tax revenue drying up.

This morning's longread

Every Parent Wants to Protect Their Child. I Never Got the Chance.

From Patron Julie comes this well-written, heartbreaking piece that’s really hard to read.

It’s one thing to watch a loved one suffer. It’s another to watch and know it’s your fault, even if only because of the way your body is made. And it’s something almost beyond me to imagine, looking into Dudley’s eyes and saying, I’m sorry I didn’t save you, from your own life.

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

Good morning, RVA: School budget sequel, newspaper industry woes, and pedestrian improvements

Good morning, RVA: Presidents Day, RFPs, and master plans