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

Good morning, RVA: New Council prez, coal ash update, and a fun legislator database

Good morning, RVA! It's 40 °F, and we’ve got highs in the mid 40s—much chillier than yesterday—and a bunch of clouds in the forecast. After a warm tomorrow, temperatures will drop for the rest of the week which could even end with some snow!

Water cooler

Reminder! City Council will meet today at 5:00 PM for a special meeting to elect a new president and vice president! This is terribly exciting for all councilwatchers and probably of not much interest to normal people. But! Council president does serve an important role in that they appoint committee members and run meetings—I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but recently Council meetings have had a tendency to spin out of control and stretch deep into the night. I’m hoping new leadership from the dais will lead to more sensible meetings which will lead to more predictable ways for Richmonders to get involved in the legislative part of their government.

Coal ash disposal continues to dominate coverage leading up to this year’s General Assembly session. Mel Leonor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a long and informative piece about where we are and what’s next. I know I’m late to the coal ash party, but I do wish I knew more about both coal ash and the state laws pertaining to Dominion. Like, it seems that we’re all just resigned to the fact that rate payers will have to pick up the bill for Dominion to clean up Dominion’s own mess? Leonor’s piece says state law does indeed allow the energy monopoly to pass the cost of the billions-of-dollars cleanup project on to Virginians, but is that something that the GA can change? I feel like I have a billion questions—one question for every dollar of cleanup cost. Someone write me an intensely nerdy email and let me know what the deal is.

VCU President Dr. Michael Rao has a column in the paper pledging the University’s support to the proposed coliseum redevelopment plan. Not much new in here, but I can’t remember VCU giving such strong public praise to the project before now. Also, while it is nice to hear the president of VCU talk about public transportation, I’m still not sold on the need for a massive transfer center as part of this whole project. Certainly both of VCU’s campuses are currently served by very high quality bus service and that’s something a new transfer center wouldn’t change one way or the other.

Mechelle Hankerson at the Virginia Mercury tips me off to a new database of every Virginia legislator since Jamestown. It’s called the Database of House Members (DOME), and it’s full of interesting information that you can search through and download. For instance, did you know that 1,237 white men named John have served as legislators at some point in the Commonwealth’s history? And that only 91 women have ever served?

If you or someone you know is a girl in high school that loves to write, you should check out the Virginia Council on Women’s STEM essay contest. Write 700–1,000 words about pretty much anything STEM / women related and you could land a scholarship to a higher education institution of your choice. Writing is literally the most important skill, and you should take advantage of opportunities like this to flex and build your writing muscle. As an incentive to flex and build, I’ll provide feedback on essay drafts—assuming that’s not against the rules and that anyone wants it—for girls in the region who are applying.

This morning's longread

How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation

From Patron Phil, this depressing-because-it’s-true piece about burnout. I related to a ton of this.

This is why the fundamental criticism of millennials — that we’re lazy and entitled — is so frustrating: We hustle so hard that we’ve figured out how to avoid wasting time eating meals and are called entitled for asking for fair compensation and benefits like working remotely (so we can live in affordable cities), adequate health care, or 401(k)s (so we can theoretically stop working at some point before the day we die). We’re called whiny for talking frankly about just how much we do work, or how exhausted we are by it. But because overworking for less money isn’t always visible — because job hunting now means trawling LinkedIn, because “overtime” now means replying to emails in bed — the extent of our labor is often ignored, or degraded.

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Good morning, RVA: New prez, confusing numbers, and Transit app

Good morning, RVA: New Council president, an election report, and campaign contributions