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

Good morning, RVA: Civility, a bad use of bus money, and dive bars

Good morning, RVA! It's 69 °F, and today looks pretty chill. Highs near 80 °F, maybe some clouds, and definitely some relief from the heat.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting a murder at the 1400 block of Drewry Street on the City’s Southside. Early yesterday morning, officers arrived to find Stephon B. Clarke, 33, shot to death.

Michael Paul Williams weighs in on Sarah Huckabee Sanders getting tossed from a restaurant in Lexington due to her role in enabling and defending Trump’s anti-LGBTQ policies 💸. I don’t know what to feel about this whole situation, y’all. It’s complicated. If, like me, you’re still thinking through this whole thing, here are some MPW quotes from the piece to get/keep your brain working: “You may not have noticed, but this administration wants to turn back the clock. The idea of any nondisruptive person being asked to leave an establishment disturbs me, because that could someday be me, as it was in the not-so-distant past.” and “When I heard about Sanders being asked to leave the Red Hen, my first thoughts were not of Sanders — a white woman of power and privilege — but of travelers who relied on _The Negro Motorist Green Book (PDF)_ to navigate around segregation back in the day.” At this moment in time, reserving the right to have my opinion changed, I don’t believe that serving Sanders is some sort of capitulation to oppression, but I also don’t believe we need to address hate and bigotry with meekness (which, by the way, is not what “civility” means but is how we’re using that word in this moment). March Cheatham at the Cheats Movement has a different, but also nuanced and thoughtful, take.

Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says City Council passed ORD. 2018-171 and will now spend $279,978 dollars on “parking and beautification-related programs” for businesses most likely to benefit now that the Pulse is open. A million things about this frustrate the pants off me. First, and mostly, there are hundreds of bus stops scattered throughout the City that desperately need a shelter, a bench, or, heck, a bit of concrete to stand on instead of a muddy trench. To spend ultra rare bus-related capital money on anything other than bus-related capital projects is misguided. But to spend that money power washing business’s sidewalks on Broad Street? Unacceptable. Here’s a picture of just one bus stop on the southern end of Hull Street. There are many, many like it. I think riders using this stop would be grateful for a sidewalk to even exist, let alone for the City to pay to power wash it and adorn it with flower planters. Additionally, I worry about this ordinance setting a bad precedent. Will the City hand out cash to any business—or at least any business with the right amount of access to decision makers—impacted in any way by any City project? What’s on deck for the restaurants adjacent to the 17th Street Farmers’ Market? What about all of the businesses surrounding the Coliseum redevelopment zone? Do paving and utility projects count? And, finally, I don’t understand how a quarter million bucks can whiz through on the Consent Agenda, after listening to the staggering amount of time City Council spent this past budget session arguing over amounts of money magnitudes smaller. It makes no sense! Anyway, I’m against this ordinance.

Amy George, writing for RVA Mag, has a fun piece about the Richmond region’s dive bars. To be clear, she means real dive bars, not, like, charmingly small bars in Fan that have been around for decades. No, in her words, and I agree, “Dive bars are not Nice Things.” She only gives Lakeside Tavern a ranking of 3.5 Jello Shooters—something that they do have there in abundance, stored in a small, fridge set atop the bar—and that makes me sad.

Breakaway RVA, my favorite group bike ride, hosts their June ride this Thursday at 6:00 PM. You can register over on their website—and why wouldn’t you? It’s free and always good, clean bike fun. This month they’ll head over to Ellwood Thompson’s with a special stop midway at an undisclosed location.

RVA Transit Week continues! Today, celebrate cheap and delicious public transit with cheap and delicious coffee at the Front Porch Cafe. The first 30 folks get their for-here coffee on RVA Rapid Transit, but consider paying it forward and buying someone else their next cup of coffee. The #7 bus will take you right to the Front Porch Cafe—and remember, today, and for the rest of this week, everyone rides the bus for free!


  • Squirrels were blanked by the Yard Goats and will try much harder tonight at 7:05 PM.
  • Nats got thumped by Tampa Bay, 0-11. They’ll try and score a point today at 12:10 PM.

This morning's longread

Disposable America

I think the blurb does a good job of introducing this piece: “A history of modern capitalism from the perspective of the straw. Seriously.”

The invention of American industrialism, the creation of urban life, changing gender relations, public-health reform, suburbia and its hamburger-loving teens, better living through plastics, and the financialization of the economy: The straw was there for all these things—rolled out of extrusion machines, dispensed, pushed through lids, bent, dropped into the abyss. You can learn a lot about this country, and the dilemmas of contemporary capitalism, by taking a straw-eyed view.

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

Good morning, RVA: Redistricting, HIV testing, and public bus art

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