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

Good morning, RVA: East End time capsule, parking changes, and giving to classrooms

Good morning, RVA! It's 53 °F, and today highs will creep up to nearly 60 °F. The week ahead features a mixed bag of weather—warm, cool, sunshine, thunderstorms—a little bit of everything.

Water cooler

City Council will host their fourth budget work session today. On the agenda as it stands currently: The Commonwealth’s Attorney, Richmond Police Department, Fire and Emergency Services, Emergency Communications, and the Sheriff. Then Council will consider budget amendments relating to the previous session’s presentations. After listening to that third session from last week, I wish to award two more Ross’s Gold Stars for Exemplary Performance During a Budget Work Session! First, to the Director of Richmond Public Library Scott Firestine who seems like he’s doing an incredible job modernizing an urban library system while handling the challenges that come with that—one of which is that the Library is one of the only remaining welcoming, indoor, free public spaces we have. I love how he talks about his vision for a library for all of us. The second Gold Star goes to Councilmember Kim Gray for somehow always knowing when and which question to ask to make presenters feel uncomfortable. Some folks handle this well—the Department of Social Services and Richmond Public Schools come to mind—and some folks...do not. It’s very interesting to watch (well, hear) play out. I’ll get today’s budget session posted to The Boring Show podcast as soon as I can.

Patrick Wilson from the Richmond Times-Dispatch was at the opening of a 1952 time capsule from the old Armstrong High School and has some of the details of what was found inside. Sealed away just two years before Brown v. Board of Education, as Barbara Johns was in the midst of doing her work in Prince Edward County, the contents of this box are fascinating! I’d love it if the collection ended up online somewhere.

Speaking of the old Armstrong High School site, Dina Weinstein at Richmond Magazine has an update on the efforts to replace Creighton Court. After reading this piece I feel like while I know more, I’m still missing pieces of the big picture. Who knows the most about the past, present, and future of this project and wants to write (and update) a whole big thing about it? Does this exist somewhere already?

I forgot to cover this change in parking downtown last week—because, honestly, it doesn’t seem like that big of a change to me. The parking enforcement window, meaning when you need to feed the meter, will extend from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and the length of time you can stay in a space increases from two to three hours. This only applies on Broad Street from Belvidere to 4th, and those changes do begin today. The city says this will “reduce the amount of time long-term parkers occupy on-street spaces intended to support retail use.” Aka people who live in nearby apartments parking overnight in spots out front of retail and restaurants. I’m all for folks paying more for parking, regardless of where it is, so maybe this is a step in the right direction. However, if we really did want to encourage parking space turnover, wouldn’t we decrease the amount of time someone could put their car in a spot while also increasing the costs? I am not a parking expert, so this just makes me look forward even harder to the parking study due out in December of this year (PDF) as part of the Richmond 300 process.

Well I don’t like this news about how the understaffed and underfunded Library of Virginia takes years to properly catalogue all of the documents from governor’s administration—which puts those records and documents in a inaccessible FOIA purgatory. The RTD’s Robert Zullo has the details that should convince you why the Library of Virginia needs more staff and more state funding.

You may have seen the news that a massive donation funded every project on DonorsChoose.org—the site where teachers can post their classroom needs and get them funded, think a Kickstarter for schools instead of, like, bespoke sandwich bags. For a brief moment of time, there were zero projects to fund! That of course is no longer the case, and there are many, many needs worth funding just in the Richmond region. For example, John Marshall High School needs books about the Holocaust, the Richmond Technical Center South needs lab supplies to practice clinical skills, Thomas Jefferson High School needs new laptop batteries, and Chimborazo Elementary School needs basic supplies for guided reading instruction. There are a lot of folks on this email list and if we all gave a couple bucks—due to the amazing power of multiplication—it’d suddenly turn into a bunch of bucks with a significant, tangible, and local impact.


  • Kickers knocked off North Carolina FC, 2-1.
  • Nats beat the Reds, 6-5, and open a new series against the Braves tonight at 7:35 PM.

This morning's longread

The immaculate conception theory of your neighborhood’s origins

Time is a flat circle—even in discussions of zoning and affordable housing.

Critics accused new bungalow neighborhoods not just of being ugly, but of ripping apart the social fabric of the city. One writer argued that in new neighborhoods full of many separate houses, “each building is treated in isolation, nothing binds it to the next one,” and as a result they lacked an “essential” “togetherness.” Another pointed out that the rise of bungalow neighborhoods coincided with the rise of decentralized business districts, as these sprawling areas—bungalows took up much more space per person than either the more modest single family homes or apartment buildings that had come before—encouraged outlying commercial development and car ownership.

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Good morning, RVA: MLK, MAC, FOIA

Good morning, RVA: Police encounters, housing, and beer bummer