Good morning, RVA! It's 60 °F, and, other than a chance for some evening thunderstorms, we’ve got another banger queued up. Expect highs near 90 °F today!
We’ve talked a lot about affordable housing in the past couple of months—and we should talk about it more. For example, something I didn’t say earlier this week that I should have: That Carytown Exchange development is the perfect spot to increase the height of the buildings fronting W. Cary Street and include housing. While we’ve got to take every opportunity we can to encourage private developers to build more housing, we also need to use City-owned resources to unabashedly build affordable housing whenever possible. This tweet from Councilmember Addison expressing support for Seattle’s 80-80-80 policy would be a great step in that direction. You can read more about 80-80-80, but the quick and dirty is that Seattle’s transit authority must “offer 80 percent of suitable surplus property to affordable housing developers that make at least 80 percent of units on site affordable to people earning 80 percent or less of area median income (AMI).” GRTC, unfortunately, doesn’t own a ton of land, but other departments in the city do. A policy like this directed at City-owned land and coupled with other affordable housing strategies like the affordable housing trust fund and the land bank, as the Addison mentions, would be excellent. It’d certainly be stronger than existing the 10% affordable units resolution (RES. 2017-R086) that’s been treading water in committee for months.
I don’t want to continue focusing on a handful of folks upset at some of the proposed changes to Richmond’s bus system—they’re such a tiny, tiny number of people compared to the total number of bus riders in the region. But! I must point out this article by WTVR’s Alix Bryan who takes the time to point out just how wrong some of the arguments against the proposed bus service on Grace Street are. Really great work by Bryan that is worth your time to read.
Carol A.O. Wolf has a long piece in Style Weekly that’s equal parts profile of RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras and Where Are We Now With Schools piece. I’m kind of exhausted just from reading it—that guy’s got a lot of work in font of him.
Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says the first public meeting ahead of changing the name of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary went just fine. Unlike at Hanover County’s recent meeting, none of Richmond’s School Board members were quoted defending J.E.B. Stuart’s feelings or legacy. (At this point, I feel like I am honor-bound to repeat Hanover County School Board Chair Sue Dibble’s quote about Robert E. Lee, just so we don’t forget: “It seems that we are taking him and viewing him in the single lens as if all he ever was in all the days he walked this earth that all he ever did was lead that army in defense of slavery and forget about all the greatness that he did in addition to that. It seems somewhat disrespectful to him that we would name something and then rescind it. That whole concept to me is bothersome.”)
Related reminder: The Monument Avenue Commission will hold their first public meeting in a while tonight at the Main Library from 6:00 – 8:30 PM. If you can’t make it, or just don’t want to leave the comfort of your own couch, the City will stream the meeting on their Facebook page. After tonight, there’s another public meeting on the 19th followed by a Commission work session that evening.
Richmonders doing national things is one of my favorite genres of news! Estella Obi-Talbot in Richmond Magazine says local Jay Ell Alexander is the new CEO of Black Girls Run.
- Squirrels downed Akron, 1-0, and move on to face Trenton tonight at 6:35 PM. Tickets are available online.
- Nats missed out on the sweep with a 1-2 loss to San Diego. A new series against Arizona begins tonight at 9:40 PM.
This morning's patron longread
Math Can’t Solve Everything: Questions We Need To Be Asking Before Deciding an Algorithm is the Answer
From Patron Sam comes this look at the ethics of algorithms.
Eubanks explains that algorithms can provide “emotional distance” from difficult societal problems by allowing machines to make difficult policy decisions for us—so we don’t have to. But some decisions cannot, and should not, be delegated to machines. We must not use algorithms to avoid making difficult policy decisions or to shirk our responsibility to care for one another. In those contexts, an algorithm is not the answer. Math alone cannot solve deeply-rooted societal problems, and attempting to rely on it will only reinforce inequalities that already exist in the system.
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