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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 30 °F, which sounds cold, but highs today could reach upwards of 50 °F, which sounds not-so-bad. Enjoy today’s sunshine, because storms roll in tomorrow and stick around for a while.

Water cooler

The Richmond Police department have reclassified a shooting death the occurred on January 6th as a homicide. Officers arrived at the 1600 block of Rosecrest Avenue and found Javon I. Patron, 23, shot to death. According to the RPD website, this update puts the City at five murders—half the number as of this time last year.

A while back, I mentioned that the Urban Land Institute had awarded the mayor with a Daniel Rose Fellowship that focuses on bringing experts to town to tackle a single, specific land-use issue. He chose Shockoe—specifically he chose to address “How can Richmond leverage the assets and investments in Shockoe Bottom to create a destination that protects its cultural and historic heritage, encourages economic development, and is sustainable?” The experts have completed their work, and the report they created is now available (PDF). You can also watch the presentation of this report on YouTube. The penultimate slide of the presentation gives the City its homework, due by May 1st. The very first item is “Hire/designate a full-time project manager for Shockoe Bottom.” I love this idea and don’t think it’s too much to ask that our philanthropic community come up with the funds to create this position. Additionally, I’m into the recommendation to create a city-wide office of inclusion and equity (and, as an aside, I’m starting to wondering if a medium-sized restructuring of City Hall is in our future). Michael Paul Williams was at the presentation and has a few more thoughts on how this plan matches up with all the previous work done in and around Shockoe.

On Monday, pending agenda shenanigans, City Council will vote on the mayor’s proposal to increase the meals tax to fund public school facilities. So, where do the votes stand at the moment? We’ve got the three strong YESes: Jones, Newbille, and Robertson; we’ve got the folks who voted for approval at the committee meeting in a slightly surprising way: Addison and Hilbert; we’ve got Councilwoman Trammell who says she’s voting YES after speaking with the mayor. That leaves the NOs as: Agelasto, Gray, and Larson. My personal opinion, based on absolutely nothing, is that at least two of those NO votes are gettable. Anyone on the fence is likely to make up their mind over the weekend, so if you have not yet contacted your councilmember to express your support, take two minutes and write them a kindly-worded email.

If you yourself are on the fence, Richmond Forward’s Garet Prior has put together a wonderful Meals Tax FAQ (PDF) that will give you everything you need to move yourself off of that fence.

Governor Northam announced that everyone finally got on the same page and has agreed to raise Virginia’s felony larceny threshold from $200 to $500. This is progress! Virginia’s embarrassingly low threshold makes a felon out of just about anyone who steals anything—phones, bikes, shoes, lawnmowers, all kinds of stuff. If it were me, I’d raise the threshold to $1,000 (or at least $634, which would track with inflation), but I’m just a weak-on-crime liberal I guess.

JK about the proposed tax on Uber and Lyft to support public transportation capital expenses, Michael Martz at the RTD reports. I can’t roll my eyes hard enough at this quote: “Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk, branded it as a Democratic tax that would ‘disproportionately affect millennials,’ such as herself, who rely on ride-hailing services.” Yeah? And what of the folks—many of whom happen to be in their 20s and 30s—who rely on public transportation? What exactly does she mean when she says the word “millennial?”

Brad Kutner at Radio IQ has a story about the Curling Club of Virginia. CURLING! In Richmond!

Y’all! The 2018 Winter Olympics are HERE. Technically, if you’re really into the Olympics you could be watching the opening ceremonies as we speak. For those of us that are still very excited but not quite that intense, there’s a produced broadcast on NBC tonight at 8:00 PM. I will see you there (and by there, I mean on Twitter probably).


  • Rams host Dayton at 6:00 PM on Saturday.
  • Spiders head to New York to take on the Bonnies at 4:00 PM on Saturday.
  • Wahoos welcome the Hokies to Charlottesville at 6:15 PM on Saturday.

This morning's longread

I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories

Whoa, important work for reporters to read about and think about.

I found that ratio in my work, too. Shortly after Adrienne published her analysis, I looked back at the pieces that I had published in 2016 thus far. Across all 23 of them, 24 percent of the quoted sources were women. And of those stories, 35 percent featured no female voices at all. That surprised me. I knew it wasn’t going to be 50 percent, but I didn’t think it would be that low, either. I knew that I care about equality, so I deluded myself into thinking that I wasn’t part of the problem. I assumed that my passive concern would be enough. Passive concern never is. I’ve since been trying to actively redress the balance, by spending more time searching for women to interview.

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

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

Good morning, RVA: Change the names, transit funding, and Goldblum BBQ