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

Good morning, RVA: TIF talk, parental leave, and The Basketball Tournament

Good morning, RVA! It's 68 °F, and we’ve got a hot one on deck. Expect highs in the mid 90s and a clear blue sky.

Water cooler

Yesterday, I talked about the TIF (tax increment financing) that NH District had proposed to fund the redevelopment of the area around the Coliseum. Catherine Komp from WCVE has a good Twitter thread filled with more reading on (mostly the perils of) TIFs. I especially like this one which recommends requiring affordable housing, job creation, living wages, and a clawback clause that forces “developers to pay back all or part of the subsidy if they fail to meet their job, wage, and other responsibilities.” Maybe these things are included in the proposal? We won’t know until more information is made public. The RTD’s Editorial Board has some effusive praise for the proposal.

For someone who once said “the number one goal is to have a walkable, bikeable space,” Councilmember Kim Gray sure seems to go on the record against bike lanes a lot. Tracy Sears at WTVR has an article about the new (and awesome) Franklin Street bike lane and how emergency vehicles interact with it. While Councilmember Gray is concerned, the Richmond Ambulance Authority says “it hasn't seen a big impact on response times so far” and the Public Information Officer for the Richmond Fire Department says “he had not heard of any widespread problems” due to the new bike lane. So...sounds fine to me?

Mayor Stoney announced an expansion of the City’s parental leave policy from four to eight weeks. This is for parents of all stripes—mothers, fathers, adoptive parents, and everyone in between.

I’ve been watching a ton of Naked and Afraid lately, so I’m real into this article by Melissa Scott Sinclair in Richmond Magazine about Tracks & Roots, a local organization that’ll teach you how to survive in the wilderness of Richmond! Do you know which plants to eat and which to avoid when the zombie apocalypse comes to town? DO YOU?

Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh as his next nominee for the Supreme Court, and Dylan Matthews at Vox has an explainer.

A logistical note: I’m headed out of town for the next couple of days, so don’t expect to hear form me in this format until Monday! Will you survive? Only time will tell! With that in mind, here are a couple of things from later this week that I wanted to put on your radar...

Sen. Jennifer McClellan, my state senator and maybe yours, will host a town hall on Monday, July 16th at Sixth Mt. Zion Church (14 W. Duval Street). Do you have questions for the senator? You can submit them through this form ahead of time, if you’d like. Here are some to get you started: How will this year’s stack of laws impact Richmonders in their day to day? What can we do to help her inclusionary zoning legislation escape committee next year? What’s the deal with Kentucky’s work requirement for Medicaid and how will it impact Virginia? Face time with a state senator! Take advantage of the opportunity!

This weekend, The Basketball Tournament comes to Richmond. As you can guess from the no-nonsense name, this is a basketball tournament, but what you may not have guessed is that the teams are made up of (mostly) alums of your favorite college basketball programs. This is a neat idea and should instead be called The Neat Basketball Tournament. The 2-seed Ram Nation (you may recognize some of the folks on their roster) will play their first game on Saturday at 8:00 PM in the Siegel Center, but there’s plenty of basketball to be had before that. Tickets are just $20 for all four Saturday games.


  • Kickers beat Penn FC, on the road, 2-1.
  • Nats plopped against the Pirates, 3-6. That series continues at 7:05 PM.

This morning's patron longread

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Debt to Me

This had been on my reading list for a bit and then Patron Caitlyn sent it to me and oh man is that depressing.

I’ve spent a great deal of time in the last decade shifting the blame for my debt. Whose fault was it? My devoted parents, for encouraging me to attend a school they couldn’t afford? The banks, which should have never lent money to people who clearly couldn’t pay it back to begin with, continuously exploiting the hope of families like mine, and quick to exploit us further once that hope disappeared? Or was it my fault for not having the foresight to realize it was a mistake to spend roughly $200,000 on a school where, in order to get my degree, I kept a journal about reading Virginia Woolf? (Sample passage, which assuredly blew my mind at the time: “We are interested in facts because we are interested in myth. We are interested in myth insofar as myth constructs facts.”) The problem, I think, runs deeper than blame. The foundational myth of an entire generation of Americans was the false promise that education was priceless—that its value was above or beyond its cost. College was not a right or a privilege but an inevitability on the way to a meaningful adulthood. What an irony that the decisions I made about college when I was seventeen have derailed such a goal.

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Good morning, RVA: Bathroom blitz, two murals, and juice-tasting beers

Good morning, RVA: Bike lane update, Coliseum redevelopment, and a Supreme Court nomination