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

Good morning, RVA: Overcrowding, budgets dropping, and the ICA

Good morning, RVA! It's 32 °F, and highs today should reach up near 50 °F with plenty of sun. Whatever snow remains on the ground should slush itself away.

As of this moment: Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond Public Schools are all operating under a 2-hour delay. VUU and UR will open at 10:00 AM.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting that one of the 17-year-old kids shot this past Wednesday has died of his injuries.

Here’s an article about Fox Elementary in the Fan getting a couple trailer classrooms due to accidental overcrowding, via Justin Mattingly at the RTD. You’ve got to skip all the way down to the 18th paragraph for the one and only mention of a school on the City’s South Side, Broad Rock Elementary, which has 20 modular classrooms. 20! Sure, overcrowding at Fox is an issue that needs to be addressed, but it’s also a huge problem elsewhere in the District and at schools without a sizable White student population. At some point, we’re going to need to have a real and serious conversation about school rezoning, and stories like this, that focus almost exclusively on some of the City’s most well-off, are not going to make that conversation any easier.

On snap! Councilmember Parker Agelasto has an editorial in the paper about his proposed cigarette tax for maintenance and renovations of public school facilities. I agree strongly with this sentence: “Implementing a cigarette tax now is more critical, given that the additional 1.5 percent meals tax approved in February is being dedicated solely to new construction of four schools and is not funding maintenance of the remaining 40 properties.” Those long-deferred maintenance needs still exist and aren’t going anywhere—in fact they’re getting worse with every passing year.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Mark Robinson has the thankless task of covering City Council’s budget work sessions. Don’t get me wrong, I love to listen to these things, they’re fascinating, but I would not want to be trapped in Council Chambers for hours upon hours with no end in sight. As soon the audio for this meeting shows up on the City’s website, I’ll upload it as a new episode to The Boring Show podcast, so you can listen to it while you do the dishes...ten thousand times. Subscribe now!

In other regional budget news, Henrico County will introduce its budget at tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting. I’m incredibly interested to see what they’ve decided to include as far as public transportation goes. We already know that three of the five supervisors support taking a bus out to Short Pump and that the county Manager said he’d put the money for that bus in his budget. But under what terms and what are the specifics? A bus that runs four or five times a day is...not super useful. More on this tomorrow!

The New York Times reviews the ICA, and, of course because they can’t help themselves, note that Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy in the opening paragraph. We can give them a pass, I guess, as the ICA’s first exhibit will focus on “pressing social issues”—of which racism and segregation certainly are.

This morning's longread

Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle

Ostensibly a theatre review, this is some excellent and entertaining writing.

Because that, in a coconut shell, was the problem. Jimmy Buffett is not really Jimmy Buffett anymore. He hasn’t been for a while. Jimmy Buffett — the nibbling on sponge cake, watching the sun bake, getting drunk and screwing, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere Jimmy Buffett — has been replaced with a well-preserved businessman who is leveraging the Jimmy Buffett of yore in order to keep the Jimmy Buffett of now in the manner to which the old Jimmy Buffett never dreamed he could become accustomed. And therein lies the Margaritaville® Mesquite BBQ Rub: The more successful you become at selling the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle, the less you are seen as believably living the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle.

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Good morning, RVA: Henrico bus magic, public school choices, and #NationalSchoolWalkout

Good morning, RVA: Budget work sessions, national media exposure, and high school basketball