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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 31 °F, and today’s looking sunny and chilly. Expect highs in the low 40s. There’s maybe a small chance for a little bit of snow tomorrow night—stay tuned. John Boyer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, as always, has a very detailed look at the upcoming forecast.

Water cooler

Today, at 11:00 AM, students, teachers, parents, and all sorts of folks who support more state funding for education will march from Monroe Park to the Capitol. This is part of the #RedforED campaign and is put on by Virginia Educators United. Wonder why I’m constantly talking about state funding for education and why we need more of it? Let former Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton convince you. Also, because the route takes marchers down Franklin, the Franklin Street bike lane is closed from 10:00 AM–1:00 PM. I think this is first time I’ve ever come across an official notice of a Richmond bike lane closure, and I feel seen.

Speaking of education, here’s the latest email from the Superintendent. One thing I appreciate is that when talking about the $13 million of cuts he plans on making to the District’s central office, he says “I want to reiterate that we have many dedicated individuals at the central office who give their all on behalf of our schools. It pains me to put forth a proposal that means some of them will lose their jobs.” It’s good (and hard) to say out loud what budget cuts actually mean and to not always ambiguously describe them as “cuts.”

City Council will meet today for their regularly scheduled meeting, and they have a PACKED agenda (PDF)—which, as always, can come out of the informal meeting looking nothing like it does at this moment. Legislation I’m keeping an eye on: The anti-Brook Road bike lane ordinance (ORD. 2018-194) is finally up for consideration, and I do think there are enough votes on Council to kill it dead; the scooter ordinance (ORD. 2018-288) is back on the regular agenda, but who knows what kind of mobility mood councilfolk will be in after dealing with the bike lane ordinance; ORD. 2019-004 is the one that allows the Mayor to do an annual or biennial budget, an ordinance that I still don’t really understand but is on the consent agenda; Councilmember Gray’s ordinance (ORD. 2019-005) to create a Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission; and legalizing six-packs of chickens (ORD. 2018-294)! Honestly, there is just so much on the regular agenda, I can’t seem them getting through it all tonight.

Jonathan Spiers at Richmond BizSense has news about Henrico County moving towards more mixed-use, denser development along Broad Street. It’s not mentioned in this piece, but the area around Broad and I-64 would mostly likely make for a good place to put a Pulse Station. I can imagine a world where, instead of figuring out the logistics to get the Pulse extended all the way out to Short Pump in one go, we just build the next two westward stations: Libbie and Dickens/Forest. I’d think that could be done fairly quickly.

This sentence, in a piece by BizSense’s J. Elias O’Neal, should barf you out and illustrate why a land value tax would be helpful: “Parkway’s plan to land bank the sites for the time being could pay dividends, as that section of Jackson Ward is becoming a magnet for development.” It should be financially painful for someone to sit on a surface-level parking lot in one of the most booming (when it comes to development) neighborhoods in Richmond.

Michael Martz at the RTD has a long piece about what state legislators are going to do with $300 million of new revenue due to changes in the federal tax code 💸. Mostly, I just want to quote this line from Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, “‘They can’t be totally left out of the equation,’ Norment said of those who would benefit from the governor’s plan, ‘but those who are paying the most ought to get greater relief.’” Dang, I can’t disagree with that more.

This morning's longread

Arborists Have Cloned Ancient Redwoods From Their Massive Stumps

Big trees are wild, and these folks are cloning and planting groves of them to help slow climate change. Fascinating!

A team of arborists has successfully cloned and grown saplings from the stumps of some of the world’s oldest and largest coast redwoods, some of which were 3,000 years old and measured 35 feet in diameter when they were cut down in the 19th and 20th centuries. Earlier this month, 75 of the cloned saplings were planted at the Presidio national park in San Francisco.

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Good morning, RVA: BIKE LANES!, other Council business, and big RTD editorial changes

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