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

Good morning, RVA: Intense questionnaire, a 300-year-old tree, and the Folk Festival


Good morning, RVA! It's 53 °F, and we’ve got yet another beautiful day queued up. Expect exceedingly temperate highs around 73 °F and just a ton of sun. The weekend looks pretty great, too.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting that Isaiah R. Baker, 27, was shot to death on the 100 block of W. Hill Street Wednesday afternoon.

I thought the 5th District candidate forum last night went really, really well. We had a great turnout and asked some substantive policy questions—someone from the audience even asked Jer’Mykeal McCoy a question about the Neighborhood Mixed-Use land use category that’s being used as part of Richmond 300. McCoy then explained the difference between land use and zoning to the crowd, which I thought was just great. Important: You can read the candidates’ FULL RESPONSES to our kind of intense questionnaire over on the Richmond Mayorathon website. We’re still working on getting Chuck Richardson’s responses. Mamie Taylor and Graham Sturm chose not to participate.

I want to thank Councilmember Kristen Larson for being the only member of City Council to attend last night’s Education Compact meeting 💸, according to Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. These meetings exist to humanize School Board, City Council, the Mayor, and the Superintendent to each other—they otherwise are almost never in the same room together. It just feels like a huge miss to skip out on a scheduled opportunity to spend an hour talking about one of the City’s top priorities with the other folks who have the power to actually do something about it. Disappointing.

Over on StreetsCred, I wrote something kind of different about the GRTC Pulse driver who hit and killed a pedestrian. How do we/the City learn from what happened and how do we build a place where someone can make a catastrophic mistake and not die as a result? I’m not sure, but we’ve got so much work left to do.

Yesterday, Mayor Stoney announced that the City of Richmond will recognize Monday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. To the federal government, Monday is Columbus Day, but that’s never been the case here in the City. As you’d expect, the State still recognizes it as Columbus Day, too, but did you know that it is also Yorktown Victory Day?

Mike Bergazzi at WTVR has this charming story about a 300-year-old magnolia tree in Colonial Heights. The tree predates Thomas Jefferson, was around to chill with Lafayette, and looks like it’ll be here for at least another couple generations of famous people. Trees!

The RTD continues to run garbage columns from Walter Williams. In 2017 the paper ran this racist and misogynistic column (PDF), apologized, and pledged to reevaluate “Williams’ place in our stable of syndicated columnists.” Today, they’ve decide to run a climate change denial piece by Williams, which I think is just so dangerous. In fact, it’s anathema to the very creed the Editorial Board publishes each year, which includes these two core beliefs: “We believe in truth, facts and objectivity” and “We believe in right reason.” It’s hard to take those seriously when, on the regular, readers see pieces from a garbage charlatan like Williams who writes solely to mislead and misdirect.

The first performance of the Richmond Folks Festival—probably the biggest thing we do in town, right?—begins tonight at 6:00 PM. You can see the full artist schedule here. Remember, if you’re headed out that way you can take the #5 or #87 bus and walk down the hill, or grab a free shuttle at City Stadium. They’ve also got free bike parking (BYOLock) near 2nd and Byrd Street.

This morning's longread

The Most Detailed Map of Auto Emissions in America

The New York Times has some pretty neat maps and graphs of transportation-related CO2 emission from across America. Since 1990, the Richmond region has seen a 62% increase in emissions from passenger and freight traffic and a 15% increase per person. In fact, the per capita on-road emissions of Richmond are some of the worst in the nation. We can do better! We should think about how we can reduce the amount we depend on driving—both individually and as a region. What would it take to get you to drive just 10% less?

Even as the United States has reduced carbon dioxide emissions from its electric grid, largely by switching from coal power to less-polluting natural gas, emissions from transportation have remained stubbornly high. The bulk of those emissions, nearly 60 percent, come from the country’s 250 million passenger cars, S.U.V.s and pickup trucks, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Freight trucks contribute an additional 23 percent.

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Good morning, RVA: Great weather, register to vote, statues of women

Good morning, RVA: Distracted driving, a competitive race, and A Focus on the 5th