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

Good morning, RVA: Hands-free driving, State of the Schools, and #govwatch day...5? 6? idk

Good morning, RVA! It's 45 °F, and another beautiful day with highs back near 70 °F awaits. Certainly a day not to wear socks.

Water cooler

Ralph Northam continues to dominate the local news. By my count there are nine stories on the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s front page about or related to Northam—including this one about a classic plaid pants mixup situation. I don’t think there’s any new news, but the longer Northam stays silent, the more likely, IMHO, that things stay exactly as they are (which, I guess, is what he’s hoping for). As for Fairfax, I think this statement from the Virginia Democrats, acknowledging the seriousness of a sexual assault allegation, is a step in the right direction. I tired, and failed, to communicate that yesterday, so here’s a short Twitter thread about how I could have done a better job.

Justing Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a short recap of Superintendent Kamras’s first State of the Schools address. I can’t find the full text of the speech on the internet yet, so, if you stumble across it in your wanderings, please send it my way. From, the RTD, it sounds like Kamras spent most of the evening on the Dreams4RPS strategic plan and funding this year’s chunk of it (PDF). I love when folks spend solid time and effort on a strategic plan then actually use the dang thing to plan strategically!

The Education Compact team will have their regularly-scheduled, quarterly meet today at 6:00 PM at the Main Library. This, you’ll remember, is one of the few times when the Mayor, Superintendent, City Council, and School Board all get together, hangout, and interact with each other like people. You can find the short agenda here (PDF), which makes me think they’ll spend most of their time tonight discussing RPS’s budget.

HEY OH! Both sides of the General Assembly have passed the hands-free driving bill and it will now head to the governor (assuming we still have one of those signing bills). The new bill prohibits while driving “all uses unless the device is specifically designed to allow hands-free and voice operation and the device is being used in that manner.” This means you can’t hold and interact with your phone. Time to get familiar with Siri.

The Richmond City Health District is conducting a community health needs assessment of folks in the region, and the results will help “shape the future work of local health organizations and the kinds of resources and services that may be available in our community.” The survey takes just a few minutes to fill out and asks about what you view as the top issues facing health in your community. It also gets at the social determinates of health—the parts of everyday life that contribute to a person’s ability to thrive—one of which is access to transportation! This is an easy and low-stakes way to get involved, you should take the time to participate, and the survey is available in both English and Spanish.

FYI, tonight, the City will host the first of several community town halls to ask folks what they’re looking for in the next Chief of Police (Southside Community Services Center, 5:30–6:30 PM). If you can’t make tonight’s meeting, you’ve got three more chances elsewhere in the City, or you can give the City your input via this online survey. So many surveys! Where’s the survey I can fill out to let the Governor know what I think about his recent actions and current plans?

This morning's longread

In an Unequal America, Getting to Work Can Be Hell

On a smaller scale, almost everything in this article exists in Richmond, too.

Consider: In 2005, according to statistics, some 3.1 million workers nationwide commuted for 90 minutes or more one way, as Blough does, but that number had nudged up to 4 million by 2016. That’s at least in part because, as gentrification has jacked up housing prices in desirable areas like Washington—regularly listed as one of nation’s most expensive cities in which to live—low- and middle-income households have retreated further into the suburbs and urban periphery. And that, in turn, has caused them to spend more time and money on getting to and from work.

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Good morning, RVA: Executive branch crisis, Slave Trail improvements, and saws

Good morning, RVA: Northam should resign, State of the Schools, and canal dredging