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

Good morning, RVA: Cold weather shelter, racial disparities in Henrico schools, Chamberlayne housing

Good morning, RVA! It's 61 °F, and highs today will top out around 80 °F. Keep an eye out for some brief rain, but expect a mostly cooler and cloudy day.

Water cooler

The Mayor has announced that the Conrad Center, over on Oliver Hill Way, will serve as the City’s Cold Weather Shelter for 2018–2019. This is a nice and fairly new facility and definitely an improvement over the deteriorating Public Safety Building. Unfortunately, the Conrad Center is in a public transit wasteland and you’ve got to walk about 15-20 minutes to get there depending on which direction you’re coming from. With any luck, next year the City will find a partner organization to work with that has a good location that’s easily accessible by folks of all mobility levels.

C. Suarez Rojas at the Richmond Times-Dispatch was at the Henrico County School Board meeting and has the details on a new report about racial disparities in the district’s disciplining of students with disabilities. For example, Black students with disabilities are 3.48 times more likely to receive a short-term out-of-school suspension compared to White students with disabilities. You can look through the presentation given to the Board (PDF) or dig into the full report (PDF).

Scooter update! Ned Oliver says Lime is unhappy about the Mayor’s proposed scooter ordinance—specifically the $40,000 permit fee and low cap on the number of vehicles (which I still think may be human error in the ordinance (PDF), but maybe not). Bird, on the other hand, is just out there dropping dozens and dozens of scooters on the sidewalks every day. Tangentially related: I was at VCU last night awkwardly stuck between arrival times of infrequent buses, and, instead, decided to take a scooter alllllll the way home to the tippy top of the Northside (about a 3.5 mile trip). Total cost: $4.20. This blew my mind and made me realize that scooters are definitely competing for Uber and Lyft trips—which is maybe obvious? And these little things have got to be ridiculously profitable, since, as with public transportation, the majority of the cost for Uber/Lyft is the driver, which, for a scooter the driver is you! So, back to the permit fee: It is a lot of money (I’m not sure I’ve seen a more expensive one), but if the vehicle cap were higher, I think I’d still have a hard time mustering up sympathy for these companies awash in venture capital money. However, if the fee is untenable and prevents more scooters from hitting our streets, it’ll need to be looked at.

The Governor looked at the Republicans’ new redistricting map, which passed the Privileges and Elections Committee along a party-line vote, and was displeased. His statement: “I was hopeful the General Assembly would be able to engage in a nonpartisan process to satisfy the court’s requirements and to produce a constitutional remedy, but I am left disappointed by today’s party-line vote to pass the majority’s partisan map. I’m convinced now more than ever that a nonpartisan process is necessary to draw a map that is fair and meets the court’s requirements.”

Remember yesterday when I talked about the future promise of affordable housing along Chamberlayne Avenue? Well, there’s a ton of work that needs to be done right now, in the present, before we even start thinking about the future. WTVR’s Melissa Hipolit says 50 folks had their apartments condemned and have 30 days to find somewhere else to live (originally they were given just 24 hours?!). If the “plan” is to condemn all these units without building or renovating anything to replace them, we’re moving in the wrong direction on our affordable housing goals. I haven’t looked up what the zoning supports, but I still think the corridor could be an excellent spot to build lots of dense, affordable, transit-accessible housing. It’s already that now! It’s just falling apart, and we need to do something about that.

Hardywood has plans to launch a new cider company called West Creek Cider Co., says Mike Platania at a Richmond BizSense. Capital One employees are gonna be so stoked to have an entire cider brand named after their company’s...area? Neighborhood? Zone?

This morning's longread

Why You Should Run Without Music

I’ve been thinking a lot about attention lately, mostly because of this video titled “Thinking About Attention.” This piece about filling up your brain while running hits some of the same notes.

Since the sport is largely an activity that your body does automatically and it doesn’t require much mental energy, the available “cognitive space,” as Friesen puts it, coupled with the release of dopamine and serotonin renders you extra receptive to new ideas and information. What better time to listen to smart people talk? “I feel like I’m killing two birds with one stone when I’m getting knowledge and motivation from informational podcasts or books while I’m exercising,” Friesen said. Killing two birds with one stone. Getting knowledge and motivation. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we always need to be ticking off the boxes of some invisible checklist of life improvement—especially when engaged in an activity that is fruitful in and of itself.

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Good morning, RVA: A correction, schools audits, and solar power

Good morning, RVA: Goodbye museum, Chamberlayne apartments, and beards