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

Good morning, RVA: Mayorathon returns, as does The Boring Show, and a portal in the park

Good morning, RVA! It's 29 °F, and today you can expect a bit of wind, a bit colder temperatures, and a bit more sunshine. Highs will top out in the mid 40s, but the sky looks dry!

Water cooler

Two people were murdered in Richmond earlier this week, police report. On Tuesday Johnathan R. Holloman, 33, was found dead in his home on the 5500 block of Westower Drive. Yesterday, on the 3400 block of Decatur Street, “emergency crews were responding to an unrelated medical call in the same block and were treating a patient in the back of the ambulance, when they heard shots fired. Moments later, they found [Charleston B. Scott, 27,] in the driver’s seat of the ambulance with apparent gunshot wounds. “ Scott would die of his wounds at the hospital.

Exciting news! As part of my full-time job, I’ve been working with a group of really excellent folks to organize Mayorathon: Policy Jam. Waaaaay back in 2016 we put on a fun, policy-focused mayoral forum—remember how there were a million and one mayoral candidates? Now, two years into Mayor Stoney’s term, we’re going to check in with that guy, look at what he’s accomplished (or not accomplished) and talk about what opportunities lie ahead over the next two years. We’re keeping the policy focus and informal tone—which is totally my vibe—and it should be a blast. Mark your calendars for February 28th, from 6:30–8:00 PM. The event is free due, in part, to the generosity of our media partner, Richmond Magazine, but you should RSVP here.

Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the early news about where Richmond Public Schools will cut $13 million from their central office budget 💸 (related question: What even is the current central office budget?). You can find some details on the non-personnel cuts in this PDF, but the vast majority of that $13 million is personnel-related and, as such, was discussed by the School Board in a private, closed session. I have a hard time getting upset at that decision. If I were an RPS employee, I would not want to have the future of my specific employment discussed in the newspaper. That said, I do hope the Superintendent sticks to his plan to “do whatever we can to make [the budget process] as transparent as possible.”

I posted the audio from this week’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation committee meeting over on The Boring Show so you can listen to the conversations regarding the Brook Road bike lane and renaming the Boulevard after Arthur Ashe. Some background on The Boring Show: (Mostly) during City Council’s budget season, I will take the audio from the budget meetings off of the City’s website and upload it as a podcast. That way folks can subscribe and listen to these really interesting and important meetings in a more convenient way. I wish I had the time to make that happen for every public meeting!

Related, MPW‘s new column focuses on renaming the Boulevard 💸 and does a good job at calling out the street’s existing White Supremacist history and pointing out why an “honorary designation” for Ashe is insulting. If you’re not an RTD subscriber, just listen to the second half of that LUHT committee meeting and you’ll get the gist.

Well this is crap news: Due to Virginia’s arcane and inscrutable ABC laws, Bell’s Two Hearted—and all of Bell’s beer—is now unavailable in Richmond for an unknown amount of time. Karri Peifer at the RTD has a good and thorough look at what exactly is going on 💸.

A driver crashed his car into a Pulse bus yesterday and sent six people to the hospital. That driver has been charged with reckless driving, WTVR reports. From the pictures and some bystander comments on /r/rva, it sounds like this person tried to pull an illegal U-turn in the middle of Broad street and, instead, hit a bus full of people. The entitlement of some drivers is astounding—and it’s always been this way. Here’s a quote from our local paper in 1923: “The fault is in wanton or thoughtless disregard of the safety of others on the part of innumerable automobile operators. They are in a hurry—frequently about nothing; they have means to make haste; they assume, many of them, that the streets were built and are maintained for their use alone, and they take the attitude of telling the world to get out of the way.”

Every once in a while, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation hosts these workshops to teach people how to grow and plant underwater grass (wild celery, Vallisneria americana) in their local rivers to help with the overall health of the Bay. We’ve got a workshop in our area on January 29th, out at REI, that you can register for right now, and I think you should, because it seems like a ton of fun.

There is a portal in Monroe Park. A PORTAL.

This morning's longread

Here’s an entire set of things I’d never thought about. I am grateful that I have people around me who do think about them, though!

We’ve long been concerned about how technology impacts student privacy. As schools and classrooms become increasingly wired, and as schools put more digital devices and services in the hands of students, we’ve been contacted by a large number of concerned students, parents, teachers, and even administrators. They want to know: What data are ed tech providers collecting about our kids? How are they using it? How well do they disclose (if at all) the scope of their data collection? How much control (if any) do they give to schools and parents over the retention and use of the data they collect? Do they even attempt to obtain parental consent before collecting and using incredibly sensitive student data?

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: #RedforED, a packed council agenda, and a denser Henrico

Good morning, RVA: Teacher of the Year, redistricting, and happy hour specifics