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

Good morning, RVA (lite): Stop-and-frisk, vandalism, and unpleasant aesthetics

Good morning, RVA! It's 75 °F, and it looks like you’ve got a hot day ahead of you with highs near 90 °F and a small chance of thunderstorms this afternoon.

Water cooler

Ali Rockett has an interesting story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the New Virginia Majority trying to get stop-and-frisk data from the Richmond Police Department. RPD claims the data doesn’t even exist at the moment but a police spokesperson says, according to Rockett, that the department “plans to try to provide the information in the future.” Honestly, the data the New Virginia Majority is after doesn’t seem that intense or onerous to collect: total number of civilians stopped, how many of those resulted in frisks or searches, how many of those resulted in an arrest/summons/warning, and demographic data. Obviously, without data like this there’s no way to check in on who’s being stop-and-frisked and if the RPD’s policy is implemented in a racially inequitable way—intentional or otherwise. Related, just yesterday I was reading the latest email from local brilliant person Tressie McMillian Cottom, and came across this bit, which applies deeply to this exact situation: “We will not even keep track of police violence because to create a category for something - an ontological place holder says something is possible - undermines the entire enterprise. Not that data would help much beyond building some careers, perhaps. Still, I would like to have the data even if these kind of technocratic solutions are rarely tools for justice.” Data helps, but it doesn’t get us to justice by itself.

Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury has the drone photo you’re looking for of the red-paint vandalism at the Robert E. Lee Monument. Thumbs up to Oliver for a fantastic headline, with “Someone threw a lot of red paint on the Lee Monument in Richmond.” Here’s a thing I’m interested in: Who made the weekend call to get cleanup crews out there ASAP?

Now, from Melissa Scott Sinclair in Richmond Magazine, compare and contrast the immediacy with which Monument Avenue vandalism is cleaned up to the years-old, unrepaired damage over in Gilpin’s Shockoe Hill Cemetery. These are obviously two totally different situations, but, still. If you’ve never been, Shockoe Hill Cemetery is a beautiful and fascinating place to spend some time.

The Planning Commission will meet this afternoon and will hear a presentation on the Richmond 300 parking study, which you’ll remember from the ten thousand meetings I went on and on about a while back. The presentation isn’t yet on the City’s website, but, since parking is, like, a thing I obviously care a lot about, I’ll get the audio up on The Boring Show as soon as I can.

Over the weekend, DPU drained parts of Haxall Canal so they could perform an aerial survey to judge the amount of sediment that they need to dredge out of the thing (something they do every 10–15 years). I had a chuckle at their warning about the negative impacts draining the canal will have: “Unfortunately this is not a finite process and a small number of fish could be killed, odors from stagnant water may be present, and there will be unpleasant aesthetics as a result of an empty canal bed.“ You can decide on the unpleasant aesthetics yourself. My real questions, though, is what did they find after draining the canal? Surely people throw some interesting stuff in there??

Katie O’Connor, also at the Virginia Mercury, has a story about medical “autonomous practice rules.” In my mind, this was a story about about a small medical booth, like a phone booth, that you entered and were diagnosed and attended to by an autonomous first aid droid. Turns out, I was way off.

This morning's Instagram

Good morning, RVA (lite): Citizenship on the Census, where do monuments go, and the polar bear

Good morning, RVA: Homeless shelter follow up, bad behavior has consequences, and an art walk