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

Good morning, RVA: The first budget work session, clean energy fails, and a metalhead kazoo protest

Good morning, RVA! It's 41 °F, and, while not as nice as yesterday’s preview of spring, today still looks pretty OK. Expect lots of sunshine and highs in the mid 50s.

Water cooler

The Mayor will host four town hall meetings across the City to discuss his proposed budget—on March 19th, March 21st, March 27th, and April 2nd. While you’re welcome to discuss any aspect of the budget at these meetings, I’m pretty sure the focus will be on his much-needed proposal to roll back the Recession-era real estate tax cuts. These meetings are an opportunity for folks to get in there, ask him some questions, and show him (and, with any luck, City Council members in attendance) some support.

Speaking of the real estate tax, Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the early vote count for rolling back the tax cuts. Using my gut—which is based on absolutely nothing other than beer, and, lately, a lot of Chex mix—and interpreting the words in this article I’d say that the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th District are all gettable votes; the 2nd and 8th District are probably not; leaving one from the 1st, 3rd, or 4th District to get this thing to pass. You should definitely contact your Council person and let them know you support more revenue for basic, necessary services—especially if you’re represented by Councilmembers Addison, Hilbert, or Larson. But really, all Councilfolk, even those that support this bold budget from the Mayor, will need your support (and cover) if they’re going to vote for this to pass. Should Council choose not to go along with the Mayor, they’ll have to cut millions of dollars from his proposed budget. But, as Robinson notes, “Last year, this council didn’t make a single cut to the mayor’s proposed general fund budget after more than 40 hours spent in work sessions.” Now those would be interesting budget sessions.

Yesterday, City Council spent its first chunk of hours in a budget work session to hear presentations from a handful of departments. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but I’ve posted the audio to The Boring Show. A couple of folks who listened live—bless their hearts—did say that there are at least one or two moments worth your time, and that Council President Newbille kept the meetings running exactly on schedule. This is a big improvement over previous years! After I spend some time working my way through the fourish hours of audio (at 2x speed though!), I’ll let you know my thoughts and feelings. You can subscribe to the Boring Show here.

Ivy Main at the Virginia Mercury works through the clean energy bills that mostly all failed at the General Assembly this year. I like the framing of this article and how it presents what Virginia could have looked like should these bills have passed. Instead, the Republican legislators in Virginia continue to ignore climate change and continue to wait, I guess, until all of the 757 is washed out to sea before making any meaningful changes.

Yesterday, some of the grossos from Westboro Baptist Church held one of their demonstrations down at the Capitol in protest of Del. Danica Roem existence as a person. Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, friend of Roem and metal superstar, lead a counter kazoo-based protest— because metal is awesome. Ned Oliver from the Virginia Mercury has a recap, some photos, and a short video from Blythe’s Instagram.

A programming note: Tomorrow, due to an early and all-day meeting, I’ve got to take the day off from Good Morning, RVA. Things return to their normal schedule on Thursday!

This morning's patron longread

Today, learn the name of at least one influential woman you’ve never heard of. Here are 31 options.

Submitted by Patron Alexis. It’s Women’s History Month, which I don’t think I’ve mentioned. Learn about these 31 rad women, and then take a trip down to the Capitol to check out the Women’s Monument.

In honor of Women’s History Month, The Lily is looking back at 31 historical moments influenced by women. We revisit the women who pushed to liberalize abortion laws before Roe v. Wade, fought for the rights of Mexican women making less than $3 a week, helped desegregate bus travel and more. We explore what motivated these women, and we invite you to help us document the present by sharing the names of women who are continuing their legacy. If there’s a historical figure who you think deserves more recognition, share her name with us, too. We’ll do our best to keep telling their stories.

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

Good morning, RVA: A model legislative report, cemeteries, and bronze ladies

Good morning, RVA: Budgets for all, more bus money, and a sweet time lapse