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

Good morning, RVA: A City Hall feast, violin Olympics, and international films

Good morning, RVA! It's 49 °F, and highs today are back in the low 70s! There’s a real small chance of rain after lunch, but maybe just live dangerously and leave the rain gear at home.

Water cooler

Police are reporting a murder on the City’s Southside. This past Friday, officers were called to the 300 block of Melmark Court and found Malcolm T. Alexander, 35, shot to death.

There’s a lot going on down at City Hall today, so hold on to your butts and get excited.

First, beginning at 9:00 AM, Council will dig in to Yet Another Budget Work Session. I finished listening to their previous work session late last week and it was...not great. If you’ve got the time, I really recommended listening from 05:45:00 on (yes, that’s the fifth hour—it’s, like, an eight-hour-long meeting). Things were trucking right along until they got to making amendments to the Capital Improvement Program—which is totally Council’s prerogative. However, when a couple councilmembers tried to reallocate funds from projects that were marked as completed with an excess fund balance, they were told that the Mayor’s administration had already earmarked those excess funds for other projects—which is totally the Administration’s prerogative. Council was not super pleased about this, and I can totally understand. Who wants to get a huge PDF (166 MBs!), spend a ton of time combing through it, only to be suddenly told that it’s incorrect and out of date? This brings us up to today’s budget session, at which I’ve heard rumors and rumblings that council will consider, line-by-line, each new expenditure in the Mayor’s proposed operating budget (aside: Wouldn’t it be great if the agenda for today’s session were posted online and we could know for sure exactly what they’ll be discussing?). This does not seem like a great or efficient use of time, and points to further/continued dysfunction in the working relationship between the Mayor’s Administration and City Council—and School Board if we want to be holistic.

And, jeez, that’s just the first thing Council will work through today. As part of their regularly scheduled meeting, they’ll vote on ORD. 2018-031 aka the cigarette tax. Garet Prior of Richmond Forward has a column in today’s paper addressing some of the reasons why Council should pass this tax tonight. Make sure you tune in for what’s sure to be an interesting conversation on the future funding of school maintenance.

Also, Council might could vote on modifying their agreement with Stone Brewing to allow the latter to tear down the Intermediate Terminal building to make way for their restaurant and beer garden. Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense has more details on that one.

Finally, AS PART OF THEIR DANG CONSENT AGENDA (!?), Council will consider RES. 2018-R029 (PDF) which would request that the Mayor take operating funding from GRTC and give it to businesses “adversely affected by the construction” of the Pulse. Personally, I think the Mayor should take this resolution and throw it in the garbage, but I’m sure he’ll deal with it in a more diplomatic way. I mean, for heck’s sake! City Council JUST had a huge, long conversation during one of their budget session about the non departmental budget and how the City should not give away money to outside entities before providing for its own needs. There are a lot of pressing needs within the City, and our systemically underfunded transit system certainly makes that list. We do not need to take money from this critical public service and give it to private businesses who now have access to the highest quality transit in Central Virginia. Augh! End of rant.

The City announced that Richmond will host the 2020 International Menuhin Competition, which has been pitched to me as the Olympics of the Violin. What does that mean??? You can check out this year’s Menuhin Competition website to get a feel for the scope and type of events that take place.

Laura Ingles at Style Weekly went to the student protest against gun violence this past Friday and talked to a few of the youth. Young people! Always inspiring me to do better!

Love this, from WTVR: “How ‘Black Girls Do Bike’ group inspires women.”

The Richmond International Film Festival begins today, and I’m a big fan. Georgia Green at Richmond Magazine has an overview of what to expect, and you can get your tickets—or passes for the entire week—online.

Lol, this is great / terrible.


  • Squirrels won two out of three against Altoona and will head to Bowie for a three-game series before heading home on Friday.
  • Nats went 1-2 against the Dodgers over the weekend and start a new series against the Giants tonight at 10:15 PM.

This morning's longread

O Moldy Night

Here’s a photo essay of “food” made with gelatin and Jell-O molds. So weird.

As for the three of us, our relationship with molds began with the campy — ’70s recipes and good “mold-fashioned” wordplay: A birthday cake with the slogan "I'm old" started our endeavour. But our obsession with the molded eventually expanded to reflect our combined careers in art and food. We wondered about the rise and demise of shaped and gelatinous foods and became enamored by their aesthetics. So, what began as a years-long joke to elevate aspic to a pedestal eventually solidified (as gelatin is wont to do) into a pop-up museum project deemed "O Moldy Night," which displayed the works of some 40 chefs, home cooks, grandmas, and artists at The Durham Hotel in our North Carolina town. Materials ranged from tomatoes and carrots to pig’s feet, chicken tenders, and crushed pineapple.

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Good morning, RVA: No cigarette tax, cash bail changes, and community art projects

Good morning, RVA: Cigarette tax action, ICA opening, and school walkout