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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 77 °F, and highs will hit the low 90s today, but it’ll feel hotter. Tomorrow, some rain should come our way and cool things down.

Water cooler

Justin Mattingly at the Richmond-Times Dispatch says State Senator Bill Stanley has sent Mayor Stoney a letter asking: “Do you believe failing to provide the funding necessary to do basic maintenance to avoid conditions the School Superintendent called “heartbreaking” is consistent with _Brown II_ and Article VIII, Section 1 of the Virginia Constitution?” This, my friends, is political garbage. One of the main reasons Richmond is so far in the hole when it comes to schools is that the state government refuses to fund education at appropriate levels. The Mayor calls this out in his response, naming “the General Assembly’s negligence in adequately funding public education.” For a state senator to condescendingly lecture Richmond about money for schools while he sits there with the power to actually do something about it is infuriating. I’m amazed that the Mayor responded in such a measured way; I would not have. The RTD has PDFs of both Stanley’s letter and the Mayor’s response.

It seems like Paul Goldman is out there blasting the mayor from every direction at all times. He’s the one behind last year’s eyerolly “school funding” ballot referendum and is mentioned by name in Sen. Stanley’s letter linked above. He’s also penned this long Back Page article in Style Weekly about how he’s singlehandedly worked to expose corruption related to the current Stone Brewing/Intermediate Terminal situation. I don’t know about all that, but I still don’t feel super great about the City abiding by the terms of the agreement if Stone can’t (or won’t). Also, possibly unpopular opinion, I don’t think I care a ton if the Intermediate Terminal stays or goes! I’m willing to be convinced either way, though.

Mark Robinson, at the RTD, has a few folks’ takes on the Monument Avenue Commission’s report. Most everyone he talked to says all of the monuments, not just Jeff Davis, should come down. Sounds good to me! In other monument news, 9th District Councilmember Mike Jones will soon submit a resolution to Council requesting “from the General Assembly the right to have the autonomy as a local body as it pertains to the #RVAMonuments.” Marc Cheatham, over on the Cheats Movement, has a thoughtful take on the Commission’s report and a little prognosticating about what the future holds. And, finally, the Storefront for Community Design and mObstudiO at VCU are hosting an international design competition to redesign the entire avenue. A neat part of that competition is focused on having high school youth from the Richmond region create proposals for the next monument on Monument Avenue.

A little while back, I mentioned that Art180 has, for the rest of the summer, stacked 160 buses with art from local artists. They’ve put all the pieces up on their website for you to scroll through and, I have to say, they’re a welcome addition to the typical advertising that runs inside of a bus.


  • Squirrels acquiesced to Akron, 0-8, but will try again tonight at 6:35 PM.
  • Nats got beat by Boston, 0-3. They’ll start a new series with Miami tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

The best Mario Kart character according to data science

I hesitate to share this as I don’t want to be responsible for familial Mario Kart-related conflict.

We’ll start by examining the stats of each character, kart, and tire independently using some fan-compiled data. One particular quirk of Mario Kart is that while there are a couple dozen characters, many of them have identical stats. From here on out, I’ll refer to the character (or kart, or tire) class by the name of one of its members. For example, in the heatmap below the row labelled ‘Peach’ also describes the stats for Daisy and Yoshi. The complete class memberships are listed at the end of the post in case you want to see where your favorite character lands. There are seven classes of characters. Let’s have a look at how their stats compare.

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Good morning, RVA: Miss Confederacy, East End Landfill, and rib tips

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