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

Good morning, RVA: Volunteer opportunities, distracted driving laws, and micromobility explainer

Good morning, RVA! It's 30 °F, and today you can expect highs around 40 and plenty of clouds. Seems glum.

Water cooler

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national day of service, and there are lots of ways for you to get involved and give back. The Community Foundation has a post up highlighting a couple of easy ways to do exactly that—if you’re paralyzed by the number of choices, participating in the RPS School Supply Drive is probably the easiest of the group. Since I’ve talked about it in this space recently, on Monday you can also head over to Evergreen Cemetery and help clear weeds and record grave information. Bonus for volunteers that speaks directly to my heart: You can ride GRTC to the cleanup for free! Of course you don’t need to let the Community Foundation’s list or even MLK Day constrain your volunteerism. HandsOn maintains an enormous database of volunteer opportunities in and around town with incredible variety on basically any day you should wish to volunteer.

This article by Graham Moomaw in the Richmond Times-Dispatch makes me think we’re pretty close to the General Assembly passing a solid distracted driving bill (that’d be HB 1811 and SB 1341). The current law only prohibits reading email or text messages while driving, not, say, posting to your Instastories or selling your Magic: The Gathering cards on eBay. Sen. McClellan sits on the Senate Transportation Committee which could tackle their version of the bill next week, if you wanted to let her know how you feel about it.

Jonathan Spiers at Richmond BizSense has the most comprehensive look at Richmond’s current bike share system, the status of local and state dockless scooter legislation, and where Richmond is headed in the brave new world of micromobility. There’s a ton in here I want to highlight, so just go read the thing, but: 1) Mayor Stoney says the embarrassingly-late second phase of RVA Bike Share may exist “in the coming weeks” (at which time I may renew my membership), and 2) Councilmember Gray says we should relocate the Abner Clay Park bike share station closer to the Pulse, and couldn’t I agree with that more.

City Council’s Finance and Economic Development committee meets today and will consider a few things, one of which is ORD. 2019-004 which would, I think, allow the Mayor to decide whether on a given year to submit an annual or biennial budget. Currently, he’s required by law to do one thing on odd years and another thing on even years. I’m dumb about, but interested in, municipal finance, so I can’t really think of why the Mayor is requesting this change but am intrigued by it! I’m sure someone will tell me know, though!

Here’s an interesting job opportunity: The Monroe Park Conservancy is looking for their first Director (PDF). Be aware: It is a part-time job, and seems like a lot for a part-time job, but maybe it’s a good fit for someone out there? Holler at if you’re interested.

I mean, I guess the gist of this editorial from the RTD Editorial Board about affordable housing is OK? Like, yes: “Central Virginia, like most of the rest of the country, is knee-deep into a housing shortage that shows no signs of letting up. Part of the solution involves efforts to encourage more affordable housing...” But...no: “Second, ‘gentrification’ is part of the group of words that also includes ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ and is used to elicit a particular response.“ And, what?: “People aren’t getting pushed out so much as they are struggling to find places to push in.” Plus, with no mention of race, red lining, white flight, or zoning, the editorial present a way incomplete picture of what’s happening in the region. This piece would be more helpful if they cut the 200 words arguing about the semantics of “gentrification” and instead argued for a $10 million affordable housing trust fund.

It’s Thursday, and that means the final Richmond 300 parking meeting. Hit up the Main Library tonight from 6:00–7:30 PM for a look at the parking recommendations for Downtown. This definitely won’t be the last we speak of this parking study (sorry). I’m sure once I read through all of the PDFs I’ll have some more thoughts, and there are ongoing surveys to collect feedback on the recommendations that I haven’t even mentioned!

Y’all. Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery premieres tonight. I thought it important you know that.

This morning's longread

The 2-year-old Instagram influencers who make more than you

After reading this, I have a vague and persistent feeling of uncomfortableness.

Bennett, who used to work as a recruiter, now spends all her time managing Stella and Blaise’s Instagram account, as well as managing their conventional modeling careers. She has worked with brands like Target, Gap, and DSW, and recently did a Got Milk? ad. But her kids don’t see much of this behind-the-scenes work. Instead, she manages shooting photos around school and sports practice. Fisher, the mom of twins Taytum and Oakley, takes all the photos herself and tries to post consistently, as she’s learned that constantly producing “content” helps to grow their audience. With such young kids, that’s a bigger challenge than she expected. “It’s hard, because they’re wriggly, and they get away,” she says.

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Good morning, RVA: Guns, Massive Resistance, and trail building

Good morning, RVA: Council committees, ERA progress, and a gluten-free pizza crawl.