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

Good morning, RVA: Evictions, Obama shirts, and new media

Good morning, RVA! It's 76 °F, and we’ve got highs in the 90s with a reasonable chance of thunderstorms after lunch. ‘Twould be nice to cool things off a bit.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting that a 19-year-old shot last month has died from his injuries. Andrew K. Hensley was fatally shot on June 29th on the 5800 block of Willow Oaks Drive.

Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch got to fly-on-the-wall a meeting yesterday focused on evictions with Mayor Stoney, Lt. Governor Fairfax, and a bunch of Richmond’s affordable housing advocates. It’s great seeing local and state-level leaders listening to local and state-level advocates before charging ahead with policy. Kind of unrelated, but something I keep wanting to say out loud: Near the bottom of the article, Robinson talks about affordable housing policies the Mayor is exploring, one of which is “a way to protect longtime property owners from rising property assessments.” A very smart person continually reminds me that Richmond already has both an existing Tax Relief and Tax Freeze program available to low-income seniors which could be expanded, but it’s often home repair costs that displace low-income home owners. Keep in mind that longtime home owners are not necessarily low-income home owners. Which brings us back to the article: I’m too lazy to look it up, but I assume the majority of Richmonders with low incomes are renters, so the work to reduce evictions in town is a critical part of the discussion around displacement and affordable housing.

Hey, this is a great idea: To fund the renaming of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary to Barack Obama Elementary, Richmond Public Schools will sell T-shirts through Bonfire, a local shirt-related fundraising group. At this exact moment, they’ve sold 461 shirts and hope to sell 3,000 to help cover the costs of a new marquee, banners, notebooks, stationery, and floor mats. Bonfire works in a sort of Kickstartery way, where you’ve got to buy your shirt within a designated window of time—12 days in this case, so don’t put it off too long. For some context, it cost the City of Petersburg around $18,000 to rename their J.E.B. Stuart Elementary. Superintendent Kamras says you can also give directly to the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation.

City Council’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation committee meets today at 1:00 PM in Council Chambers (900 E. Broad Street). On the agenda: All kinds of things that frustrate me. We’ve got ordinances to ban bus stops on N. Davis Avenue, revoke control of bus routes from GRTC on that same block, and prohibit a bike lane on Brook Road (one that’s already planned, designed, and funded). I didn’t even mention the ordinance to force the City’s traffic engineers to reinstate a left turn lane on Belvidere that they’ve already decided is unnecessary. Because reasons, we don’t know which of these ordinances will be continued or withdrawn ahead of the meeting, but none of them are great. All of these ordinances are patroned or co-patroned by Councilmember Gray, if you’re a 2nd District resident and feeling emaily this morning.

Marc Cheatham reminds me that the quadruple shooting in Scott’s Addition last week happened near a hip-hop club and that we should be very aware of any sort of coded—or outright—racism as the neighborhood rallies and moves forward.

Michael Paul Williams weighs in on the Coliseum redevelopment proposal 💸. I absolutely love these quotes from Councilmember Larson about Richmond: “Over the years...we’ve positioned Richmond as sort of a city desperate for investment. And I just don’t think that’s where we are right now.” Yes! Richmond is rad! (That would be my official Economic Development slogan if I were in charge, by the way.) We don’t need to beg folks to do great things in town—they should be begging us for the opportunity! Hashtag Richmond is rad, am I right?? As for a new arena, MPW wants to take it slow—and I agree.

At some point today, Virginia gets a new, independent, non-profit news outlet: the Virginia Mercury. This, you’ll remember, is the new jam started by former RTD reporters Robert Zullo, Ned Oliver, Katie O’Connor, and Mechelle Hankerson from the Virginian-Pilot. You can follow them on Twitter, too. I’m excited to see what comes!

I don’t know how yet to process Trump’s meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, but Vox has put together a half dozen or so links to get you started.


This morning's longread

The rock that fell to Earth

Wait, what? I thought this was about meteorites.

Reed figured that Curry would just blow away like so much cosmic dust. Instead, Reed’s rejection of Curry’s treasure would become the opening move in a twisted game that transformed Curry in ways neither of them could have imagined. Over the next eight years, Curry went from a passionate rockhound with a corny sense of humor to a disturbed man trapped inside a distorted universe of his own making. He rejected not only the standards of scientific evidence but also the most fundamental principles of our legal system. This unlikely trajectory would ultimately leave Reed in desperate fear for his safety and Curry sitting in a jail cell in the desert, facing the rest of his life locked up.

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Good morning, RVA: Ordinance updates, dumb guns, and annexation

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