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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 71 °F, and yesterday’s rain has cooled things down a bit. Expect highs in the upper 80s for the next little while.

Water cooler

Alright, my dudes, I went to yesterday’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation committee meeting so you wouldn’t have to. Here’s the update on the four bills that I’d prefer to never see on an agenda again:

  • WITHDRAWN: ORD. 2018-155, removes authority from GRTC for planning routes and stops on one single block bounded by Broad, N. Davis, W. Grace, and Robinson.
  • WITHDRAWN: ORD. 2018-154, prohibits bus stops on N. Davis Avenue.
  • CONTINUED: ORD. 2018-153, reinstates a left turn onto eastbound Broad coming southbound on Belvidere despite whatever the actual professional engineers at the Department of Public Works have to say about it.
  • CONTINUED: ORD. 2018-194, prohibits a bike lane that’s already planned, designed, and funded on Brook Road.

Two down, two to go; this is all good news. Alix Bryan at WTVR has an excellent piece of reporting on how the traffic levels on Brook Road make it a great candidate for a road diet, and, in the process, debunks a bucketful of bogus traffic-related claims made by Councilmembers Hilbert and Gray. But! There’s still work to be done to save this bike lane, and we’ve got until the September 19th Land Use, Housing and Transportation committee meeting to do it. So, if you want to learn how to advocate for things in the region—bike lanes or otherwise—you can and should sign up for Bike Walk RVA’s advocacy academy. It’s a no-joke time commitment, but, by the end of August, you’ll have all the tools you need to get out there and change the world.

Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a long update on Richmond Public Schools’ ongoing and much needed attempt at rezoning 💸. I don’t think anyone disagrees with the need to rezone, it’s just how and when and are school leaders willing to uncork an inevitable firehose of public feedback.

As a certified old person, I take much joy in exclaiming, “Young people!” There’s a lot of bad in the world right now, but it’s hard not to get excited by all the incredible things young people are doing in Richmond and everywhere else. An excellent example: Lara Ingles at Style Weekly looks at the work being done by Girls for Change, a nonprofit with the goal of “preparing black girls for the world and preparing the world for black girls.”

When the RTD chooses to run a pro-Confederate letter as the Correspondent of the Day, that still counts as an editorial decision and is still gross and disappointing.

Did you see Sasha Baron Cohen’s gun-related bit on his new show Who is America? Like most of his work, I found it hard to watch. It does, however, feature Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League, doing and saying some really disturbing things. Ned Oliver, now at the Virginia Mercury, has more on the local fallout of Cleave’s appearance on the show. If you can stomach it, watch the video and keep it in mind next time a state-level politician mentions the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League.

Also from Ned Oliver in the Virginia Mercury is this discussion of annexation in Virginia, one of my absolute favorite topics (I know! I’m a fun riot!). The end of annexation in 1979 is a huge moment in Richmond’s history and limits a lot of what we can do and how we can do it. For some context, in 1963, Nashville consolidated its city and county into a massive 525 square-mile behemoth. Richmond, by comparison, is just 62.5 square miles.


This morning's patron longread

“Life-Now”: James Tiptree, Joanna Russ, and the Queer Meaning of Archives

From Patron Erin comes this lovely and slightly academic essay about the intersection of queer life and archives.

Here, furthermore, is a certain suggestion that archives have a special meaning to queer people – a fundamental rhyme with our condition, and a tendency to work in our interests. Although archives have been turned to many social purposes besides queer liberation, I believe that they are powerful tools for that liberation, for a range of reasons that include the short jump between archival philosophy and queer culture, as well as archives’ practical relevance to people who must look for places outside the nuclear family to safeguard their memory.

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

Good morning, RVA: Coliseum chats, Pulse riders, and public apologies

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