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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 64 °F, and today could see highs in the...upper 70s? There may be some clouds and a teeny chance of rain this afternoon, but, other than that, it’s another perfect February day to put on your shorts and ride a bike around town.

Water cooler

The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Justin Mattingly was at the Richmond School Board meeting last night where they worked into the night to approve a budget. Mattingly says that RPS has asked for an additional $11 million on top of last year’s budget, an increase of 3.7 percent. Jessee from @RVAdirt was also at the meeting and captured Kamras’s vibe about this year’s budget really well, saying “Kamras is happy to add anything the board is passionate about advocating for because our kids deserves it” and that “he recognizes that a high ask won’t be realistic for them to get.” Also, high fives to the Superintendent for planting the seed that RPS’s budget request in future years will be much larger. By the way, if this kind of stuff is your jam—which, as a subscriber to Richmond’s premier daily zoning and municipal bond email, totally should be—check out @rvadirt’s new radio show MUNICIPAL MANIA which premiers at today 11:00 AM on WRIR (that’s 97.3 FM).

The Mayor’s Monument Avenue Commission is back! Kind of! Members of the Commission will meet with five organizations over the next month or so. They are: Historic Richmond Foundation (February 21st), Leadership Metro Richmond (February 27th), Peace Education Center and several partners (March 2nd), Monument Avenue Preservation Society (March 5th), and Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond (March 22nd). From looking at this list, I would guess that some of these meetings will be open to the public and others will not. So don’t go, like, busting into these places shouting about dead Confederates at the top of you lungs, OK? You can, as always, send the Commission your own thoughts, feelings, and opinions via the form on their website.

The RTD’s publisher, Tom Silvestri, has a letter in the paper today about layoffs, declines in revenue, increases in subscription prices, and other terrifying things lately commonplace for folks in the newspaper industry. Three unconnected thoughts: 1) I’m excited to see a continued focus on local reporting, which is something incredibly important to our region and something that is very difficult (although not impossible) for smaller, less established media to provide. 2) I’m interested to see how this plays out: “We are shifting from a predominantly advertising-supported business to an operation that relies more on subscription revenue.” Yes! At this point, I am personally unwilling to get involved in an ad-supported project—but I don’t have a giant printing press in Hanover to pay for. 3) My longstanding complaints about the editorial side of the paper aside, we’d be worse off if the paper suddenly vanished, so I hope they can get things sorted out over there...before it’s too late.

Score one for the public relations folks at Lyft for coming up with this idea and getting it into the paper: “Lyft to offer discounted fares to help businesses affected by Pulse construction. The venture capital subsidized rider-sharing company is offering $5 off of rides that end on Broad Street between Thompson and 9th. Guess what, though? For $1.50 you can ride the bus to any point on Broad Street. For a whopping $3.50 you can ride the bus, all day long, to almost anywhere within the city limits, including Broad Street between Thompson and 9th. While we’re talking about it, here’s a story in BoingBoing you should read: “Debullshitifying Uber’s financial statement reveals a hemorrhaging fountain of red ink with no path to profitability.”

Alix Bryan at WTVR says VDOT is about to start $2 million of pedestrian improvements on Broad Street—and not the downtown parts! We’re talking five intersections west of the City line! I’m excited for this, and for future investment in pedestrian safety, so that we can reduce the amount of deadly, real-life Frogger folks need to play once we extend bus service out there.

Well this piece about a day at the General Assembly by 7th grader Henry Haggard is all sorts of charming. Come for the part about getting paid in chips and juice, stay for when he pulls out a copy of the Constitution from his pocket.

Looking for something to do tonight? How about a hot discussion about climate change at the Science Museum led by Dr. Jeremy S. Hoffman? Bonus points for folks who find emissions-free ways to get there like walking, biking, or using bike share.


  • Rams make their way to Massachusetts. They’ll tip off at 7:00 PM.
  • Spiders sneak up the road to take on George Washington at 7:00 PM.
  • Hokies host Clemson tonight also at 7:00 PM.
  • Wahoos welcome Georgia Tech at, you guessed it, 7:00 PM tonight.

This morning's longread

Here’s What It’s Like At The Headquarters Of The Teens Working To Stop Mass Shootings

So impressive. Pair it with this piece in the WaPo about how those same teens are dealing with and processing the trauma of last week.

The week ahead is mapped out on whiteboards that were purchased at Target. On the boards are the names of the organizers, with their commitments for the week, and green tape dividing the days in makeshift fashion. Major news network appointments are mixed in with the times of funerals. As others answered phone calls, Jaclyn Corin, the 17-year-old in charge of logistics for the Tallahassee event on Wednesday, worked on a press release about the event — although she referred to it as “an essay.” The teens are planning to meet with Florida’s attorney general, House speaker, and Senate president.

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Good morning, RVA: Supervisor Lynch, Black-owned restaurants, and a programming note

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