Good morning, RVA! It's 35 °F now, but later today the sun will come out and temperatures will shoot all the way up into the 50s.
As of this moment: Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond Public Schools are all operating under a 2-hour delay.
Today, City Council’s GovOps Committee (Governmental Operations if you’re nasty) will consider a resolution I am very excited about: RES. 2018-R025 (PDF). This resolution asks the CAO to come up with regulations to require “that temporary sidewalks be provided within the city of Richmond whenever a sidewalk is closed due to construction or demolition.” Specifically, it requires that if a sidewalk were closed for whatever reason, a temporary sidewalk be provided that is wide enough for folks with disabilities, protected from construction debris and motor vehicle traffic, and clearly marked. Randomly and unnecessarily closed sidewalks that force me to walk in the street is definitely One of My Issues, and I’m so glad to see an attempt at fixing it. Just this past weekend I was in Cleveland for a bachelor party and we came across this disaster of a sidewalk and folks not even from Richmond were like “Oh man, I bet this really makes you mad!” Heck yeah it does—humans, not cars, deserve priority when it comes to moving safely on our streets. Many thanks to Councilmembers Agelasto and Addison for introducing this resolution.
Michael O’Connor has a story in the paper today that perfectly illustrates The Henrico Way and how new supervisor Courtney Lynch is kind of blowing up that paradigm. I understand that getting all your ducks in a row behind closed doors via one-on-one meetings is a very efficient way of doing things and doesn’t create stories in the paper like this one (while also avoiding public meeting law). But I like hearing where my elected officials stand on issues, what got them there, and why. It’s OK to disagree in public, no one will perish or burst into flames!
Also in the RTD, Bill Lohmann and Gregory Gilligan have the sad news that the eponymous Sally of Sally Bell’s Kitchen has died.
Remember how the City Treasurer doesn’t really have a job description but is a state-mandated and funded position? Well, it looks like the new treasure will try and change that a bit by creating a Financial Empowerment Board which will “meet collectively to identify ways to service our community and provide financial solutions through tools, education and resources.” If you’re financially-oriented you can apply to join the Board by filling out this form and submitting it to the City Treasurer’s Office (PDF).
Governor Northam unveiled the budget that the General Assembly will consider at their April 11th special session...and its the same as the one McAuliffe introduced last December. One change, though, the current governor will also introduce an amendment that invests any extra revenue into a reserve fund, which I assume is to help placate fiscal conservatives. If you want, you can dig into the actual budget over on the state’s Department of Planning and Budget’s website.
Local awesome person Natalie Prass, who I keep talking about in this space, was on Conan a couple days ago! You can watch her perform her new track “Short Court Style” over on The Tubes.
This morning's longread
This piece about housing advocates in California is really interesting. The housing crisis there brings together and separates folks in fascinating ways.
As the YIMBYs see it, tight zoning that blocks private construction suppresses the housing supply and pushes up prices. Rent control and public housing protect some tenants, but the majority—including newcomers and first-time homebuyers—are hard hit. Scarcity of housing near transit multiplies the pain, pushing the less affluent out into unwalkable suburbs where they are forced to bear the heavy cost of car ownership. Hostility to new construction on the left may slow the pace of gentrification in a few localities, but it only sends demand elsewhere and worsens the overall shortage. Anti-development progressives disagree, contending that supply-and-demand economics cannot explain urban rents. Activists turn instead to a version of academic neo-Marxism. The determining factor in setting housing prices is investment decisions made by real-estate interests and the city governments they dominate. Urban neighborhoods are impoverished by systematic disinvestment in order to prepare for gentrification. As Peter Moskowitz summarizes the theory in How to Kill a City, “the more disinvested a space becomes, the more profitable it is to gentrify.”
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