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

Good morning, RVA: Chamber support, dead malls, and a Council meeting

Good morning, RVA! It's 71 °F, and those were some exciting early morning storms! The chance for more thunderstorms continues throughout the day and really picks up this evening. Stay dry out there!

Water cooler

The chamber of commerce has come out in support of the Coliseum redevelopment proposal with this piece co-written by both the ChamberRVA chair and president. They end their argument for the proposal with a bunch of questions, but none of them are the questions I’d start with. Honestly, it’d have been nice to have a public conversation about whether or not we even need a downtown arena. Assuming that we do (which, meh), I think we first have to ask whether taking on this project impacts our ability to fund our existing, critical schools, public housing, and transit needs over the next couple of decades. These are things that we know we need and we know will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to cover decades of underinvestment. We shouldn’t let an arena hold us back from our obligation to invest in the basic needs and infrastructure of our city. I’m not saying this particular proposal will do that, and I’m also not saying we can’t redevelop the Coliseum while also funding schools, public housing, and transit. We’ll just have to look at the financials details when they come out and let all of our elected officials know how we feel about them then.

Vanessa Remmers in the RTD has a long piece about the difference in how Chesterfield County has handled the old Cloverleaf Mall site compared to the entire Jeff Davis corridor 💸. I’m here for every quote from local advocate Kim Marble, especially this one: “...I will admit it has been discouraging when I go to meetings and hear about folks wanting funding to be set aside for dog parks, hear the price tag for turf for soccer fields, and hear about new schools that must be rushed through the system to keep new development cranking, while we continue to advocate for sidewalks because people are in danger as they walk on a busy four-lane highway to the grocery store or laundromat.” Remember, there’s still no public transportation to speak of in Chesterfield County, so folks are often forced to walk to the necessities of life. Back to Cloverleaf—it’s an easy connection to make between the financing of the new development on the grave of the failed Chesterfield mall and the proposed Coliseum redevelopment that’s partly situated on the grave of our own Failed Mall That Shall Not Be Named. Just two (of the probably one million) reasons these projects are different: the Coliseum proposal is waaaaay larger in scale, and, unfortunately, tons of the property surrounding the Coliseum downtown is tax exempt.

Sarah King at Richmond Magazine says the Farm Fresh on E. Main Street and 23rd has a new owner who will retain the current employees. This is good news as the East End lacks options for fresh, healthy food—at least until the new store under construction on 25th opens up. Also, King says a Blanchard’s coffee spot is expected to replace the in-store Starbucks!? Sounds like a perfect place to grab your morning coffee before hopping on the Pulse to get to work.

City Council meets tonight for their regularly scheduled meeting, and you can find the agenda as it stands here (PDF). You’ll find lots and lots of special use permits, just like most Council agendas, and that makes me think we could do with some serious—wait for it—rezonings! Also on the agenda is ORD. 2018-197 (PDF), a direct response to this year’s Capital Improvement Program Shenanigans. Remember when Council went to reallocate some CIP money only to find it had just been spent a couple days earlier? Stressful. This new ordinance requires quarterly reports from the CAO and notifications from the Mayor should he decided to shift around any unspent project funds (which is his right, btw). While you’ve got the agenda open in a tab, check out ORD. 2018-181 (PDF) which would redraw the White House of the Confederacy Old and Historic District. City staff is way against this ordinance ”on the basis that the original boundaries were established to protect and preserve the White House of the Confederacy building and environs. Further staff is extremely concerned about the precedent that may be established by this action to encourage or support the removal of buildings from City Old and Historic Districts.” It’d be less complicated if it were any other building, right?

Replacing virtual reality gaming with axe throwing is surely a sign of something, I just don’t know what.


  • Squirrels got swept by Akron over the weekend and move on to Erie tonight at 7:05 PM.
  • Kickers battled Atlanta United 2 to a 1-1 draw.
  • Nats split a couple with Atlanta, and start a new series with Milwaukee tonight at 8:10 PM.

This morning's longread

The SIM Hijackers

Two-factor authentication is good, and this article should not stop you from turning it on. But! Dang, maybe consider using an authenticator app instead of a text message? Also, I’d never have guessed that there’s a market for Instagram handles??

At first glance, OGUSERS looks like any other forum. There’s a “spam/joke” section and another for chatting on topics like music, entertainment, anime, and gaming. But the largest and most active section is the marketplace where users buy and sell social media and gaming handles—sometimes for thousands of dollars. In a recent post, someone sold the Instagram account @Bitcoin for $20,000, according to one of the forum’s administrators. In a listing that was still online as of June 13, a user was advertising the sale of @eternity on Instagram for $1,000.

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

Good morning, RVA: West End rezoning, bike lanes are good, and beer + BBQ

Good morning, RVA: Club closes, eviction data, and indie media