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

Good morning, RVA: A disgusting cartoon, some more Blackwell thoughts, and the Pulse!

Good morning, RVA! It's 74 °F, and temperatures should be a bit cooler than the last couple of days with highs around 80 °F. Unfortunately, there’s a decent chance for storms from now until tomorrow.

Water cooler

Yesterday, the Richmond Times Dispatch’s editorial team ran this disgusting cartoon about immigration. First: “Stay away” is a heartless and cruel take on immigration that has no basis in reality and only serves to normalizes our current president’s push for more xenophobic and white-nationalist policies. Running it was irresponsible. Second: The reaction to this cartoon has come quick and from a few folks I would not have expected. First, the Editorial Board claimed that “We love balance!” and included a condescending exclamation point to make sure you really felt gross. Reporter Graham Moomaw, who at this point must be exhausted from tweeting this same thing over and over again, reminded us that the newsroom has zero control over whatever disturbing thing editorial chooses to run. The Mayor called the cartoon “shameful” and threw in a #ThisisAmerica, too, while Delegate Jeff Bourne said it was “disgusting.” VCU prof and national thinker on inequity Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom wrote up a great thread comparing this sort of garbage to role the RTD played in massive resistance. Finally, Publisher Tom Silvestri weighed in and said that while he disagreed with the cartoon, “it represents a viewpoint that invites discourse and debate.” Nope. The current editorial side of the paper is a liability to the newsroom and, in my opinion, diminishes the hard work of the reporters out there keeping all of us informed. While it is true that these two things, editorial and news, are functionally separated, they both sit under the same leadership and are paid for by the same advertisers and the same subscribers. When one side vomits up racist garbage under the guise of “balance” it can’t not hurt the long-term future of the other side.

I keep thinking and reading about the stuff going on in Blackwell, the expansion of the Manchester Historic District, and how public engagement works (or doesn’t) in Richmond. Somehow I missed this thoughtful piece by Barrett Hardiman from over the weekend. Here’s something that I don’t often read: “I am a white gentrifier, a colonizer. That’s not a title I want, but it is the one I deserve. We moved here with good intentions. We want to be a part of the history of this neighborhood, celebrate it, and tell its story. However, despite our best intentions and efforts, we are still contributing to the erasure of that history. We both cause and benefit from rising home values, increased rents for businesses, and the replacement of the historic barbershop with the hipster coffee joint.” Additionally, RVADirt wrote up a thread on Twitter about the timeline of this whole thing, and, while it feels medium conspiratorial, brings up some heckin’ good points. Meanwhile, since I’ve been writing about this over the past couple of days, I’ve received a bunch of really thoughtful comments from folks who are genuinely disappointed and hurt that this part of the Southside is possibly missing out on a major influx of cash and development. All of that to say: This is a real complex and sensitive issue only made more so by the lack of strong affordable housing policy in the City (and in the State—if we want to get technical, we’ve got to change some state-level policy before we can take big steps on affordable housing).

Michael O’Connor in the RTD says that Henrico has added $1.06 million to their budget to hire 17 new teachers. This will address class size and is a direct result of the conversation stressfully stared by soon-to-be-resigned Henrico Supervisor Courtney Lynch. That conversation, you’ll remember, was very much against The Henrico Way, but ended up getting some results regardless. A lesson for future supervisors?

Michael Paul Williams, also in the RTD, says we’ve still got work to do in getting rid of schools named after Confederates 💸. More and more we’re going to look around and realize/remember that a whole lot of stuff in Richmond is named after dead Confederates.

The Pulse and allllll of the newly redesigned bus routes launch in just TWO DAYS. The next time we speak you’ll have had the opportunity to ride around on the region’s first bus rapid transit line, heck, maybe you’ll even be reading Monday’s email ON THE PULSE ITSELF. Sarah King at Richmond Magazine has a delightfully positive piece looking forward to the new changes.

Scott Castro at RVAHub has your Friday Cheers preview, and, dang, it sounds interesting. Tickets are just $5 and you can pick them up online or onisland.


  • Squirrels beat Altoona, 2-1, and welcome Bowie to the diamond tonight at 7:05 PM—assuming the weather holds.
  • Kickers host the Charlotte Independence on Saturday at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available online.
  • Nats beat the Orioles, 4-2, and take that series. They’ll meet up with the Phils tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

How I Broke, and Botched, the Brandon Teena Story

Here’s a great article about the evolution of one reporter’s feelings—and most of us, too, really—on trans rights.

Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce told me in a recent interview that my article had been the major inspiration for her film about Brandon’s life and murder: “Your article was on fire. I read it and I fell in love with Brandon. It made me love his vulnerability, his daring, his innocence, the way that he gave pleasure sexually. I was in love with this person who had shaped himself.” It also proved to be the most insensitive and inaccurate piece of journalism I have ever written.

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

Good morning, RVA: So much rain, a bunch of new buses, and independent media

Good morning, RVA: Sanctuary, Historic District drama, and an Executive Order explained