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

Good morning, RVA: The budget!, student rights, and a T-Pot bummer

Good morning, RVA! It's 34 °F, and today you can expect highs in the mid 40s plus a chance of rain after lunch. After today, we should be all set for a pleasantly dry and sunny week.

Water cooler

The mayor will present his budget to City Council at 3:00 PM today in Council Chambers. I wish there were a fun PDF I could link to, but I imagine the mayor and his staff are working on this thing right up until the very last minute. I do, however, have this presentation about the Capital Improvement Program (PDF)—aka the short-term plan for capital projects, things to build and buy—which was given to the Planning Commission yesterday. This PDF is not the actual CIP and it’s light on details, but it may sustain you until the good stuff drops this afternoon.

Tracy Sears at WTVR talked to students and the principal at Richmond Community High School as they prepare for the National School Walkout on March 14th. There are several national gun violence protests scheduled in the near future, and I’m really interested to see how local folks—students and otherwise—get involved. The ACLU of Virginia has some thoughts for principals and superintendents (PDF) and some advice for students as well (PDF). I like this quote: “Virginia public schools and school divisions would be well-advised, under all the circumstances, to adopt an educational rather than a disciplinary approach to these activities. Just because you can argue that you have the power to discipline students for protesting or walking out doesn’t mean you should choose to do so.”

Justin Mattingly was on hand yesterday at a mayoral press conference in support of the House of Delegates version of the state budget. The House version allocates more cash per student than the Senate version, and is, overall, a more spendy budget that also includes expansion of Medicaid. I don’t know enough about state-level politics to speculate about whether there’s a chance at getting local education funding crammed into the Senate version at this point or if its the House version or bust.

This is a huge bummer: Police are looking for suspects who ripped out 90 LED lighting elements on the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge sometime before March 3rd. If you’ve got any information for police, you can call First Precinct Lieutenant Anthony Papaleo (804.646.0572) or Crime Stoppers (804.780.1000 / 7801000.com). The RPD also reminds us that this is likely over the $1,000 threshold for felony property damage.

Nationally, Congressional Republicans are not stoked on the President’s proposed tariffs, and a former Trump aide spent a few bizarre hours on TV doing very intense and disturbing interviews.

This morning's longread

Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier

This is an epically long, really well-written summary of Christopher Steele, his dossier, and basically all of the Russia stuff up until this point (plus a few new things). Totally worth your time.

Tellingly, none of Steele’s old friends seem to remember the first time they met him. Of average height and build, with pleasant features, a clean-cut style of dress, and a cool, neutral gaze, he didn’t draw attention to himself. He was a natural candidate to become professionally unnoticeable. Davies, who dines several times a year with Steele and other schoolmates, said, “He’s more low-key than Smiley”—the John le Carré character. But, he noted, whenever Steele took on a task “he was like a terrier with a bone—when something needs investigating, he applies the most intense intellect I’ve ever seen.”

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

Good morning, RVA: Budget, budget, budget (and a podcast)

Good morning, RVA: Violence, ballpark chats, and inclusion riders