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

Good morning, RVA: Heat wave, monuments, and parking PDFs

Good morning, RVA! It's 79 °F, and the heat advisory continues today from 12:00–8:00 PM. Watch out for a heat index up to 107!

Water cooler

Dun dun dunnnnn...The Monument Avenue Commission’s final report is out for you to download and read (PDF). The recommendations begin on page 32, but, to summarize: remove the Jefferson Davis monument, add signage/context to the rest of them, and install some new artwork along the avenue. These recommendations are not nearly as bold as they could have been but are slightly bolder than I thought they’d be. So that’s something? I guess?

Setting aside removing Jefferson Davis, which may involve sussing out some state-level legal issues, I’m fascinated by what the process will look like to design signage that “reflect[s] the historic, biographical, artistic, and changing meaning over time for each” monument. Will we equivocate in the language on these signs, writing that only some people say these men fought to oppress and own other humans? Will the signage be of significant scale so that when you look down Monument Avenue and see these tremendous White men towering on their literal pedestals you also see monumental reminders that they were white supremacists? Or will we end up with tiny brown plaques filled with tiny writing that no one will read and no one will see that quietly points out the reality that these monuments should have been removed? I do have a bit of hope, since the report recommends that the Public Art Commission could possibly be involved, that if we are limited to providing context to these monuments that we can do it in an interesting way and at an appropriate scale. Stay tuned for a public presentation of the report later this summer.

Garet Prior, aka the man behind Richmond Forward, is leaving Richmond for the rainy environs of Portland. This is both a huge bummer for me personally and a big loss for our education advocacy scene. Read his parting thoughts on how to transform education in Richmond. Also, if education policy and advocacy is your thing, think about getting involved in Richmond Forward to pick up where Garet left off!

One million years ago (last month), I talked about all of those parking meetings that were part of the Richmond 300 master planning process. At some point, the materials and maps from those meetings showed up on the website. For each area of the study there’s a presentation and a set of maps describing that area’s existing conditions. You’ll learn all sorts of things, some of which are obvious: Shockoe Bottom doesn’t have a lot of parking but has a lot of people; Scott’s Addition is mostly parking lots. After you’ve spent some time with the maps, you can fill out this survey, but, honestly, it’s a pretty pro-parking survey. You’ll have to write in stuff like “parking should not be free in Carytown” or “if space is limited, public transit should have priority over parking.”

Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has an update on rezoning the Westhampton School property. It has passed through the crucible of the Planning Commission and will now head to City Council for its final showdown later this month.

Logistical note: I’ll be taking July 4th off so you won’t hear from me until Thursday. Until then, check out this massive thread on the /r/rva subreddit for a ton of local spots to watch fireworks. And here’s a neat thing: While GRTC will run infrequent, Sunday service on Wednesday, that evening they’re throwing some more Pulses into action for folks trying get home after fireworks. Hey! That sounds an awful lot like something a City with a Grown Up Transportation System would do!


  • Squirrels couldn’t hold on against Harrisburg, losing 6-7. That series continues tonight at 6:30 PM.
  • Nats got beat by Boston, 3-4, and will try again tonight at 6:05 PM.

This morning's longread

Dear Grandpa Massa: An Open Letter to my White Ancestor for Confederate Memorial Day

I first came across Michael Twitty when he was a guest on the 18th Century Cooking YouTube channel. Now, I need to read his book ASAP.

The best thing I can do to honor your memory is to resist everything you stood for including the movement to idolize people like yourself through statues and the flying of an eastern theater battle flag. Honoring history is one thing, having a personal relationship to a specific history and recalling it is another, but using symbols of history as a means of maintaining and perpetuating discrimination, hatred, unproductive separatism, and values that are not in keeping with the best of America’s ideals are not.

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Good morning, RVA: Education funding, City deals, and monumental updates

Good morning, RVA: Heat wave, Pulse ridership, and Council spending