Good morning, RVA! It's 45 °F, the rain has stopped, and highs today will hit the mid 50s. The sun should stick around for the weekend and we might even see temperatures in the 60 before Monday shows up.
Have you seen The Chart floating around? You know the one, it’s blue and purportedly shows that the City spends a jillion times more on “general government administration costs” per capita than a whole list of other localities—neighbors, peers, and far-flung places you’ve never even heard of, like Loudon and Stafford. Generated with actual state data, The Chart has been used as Exhibit #1 by folks against the Mayor’s proposal to roll back the Recession-era cuts to the real estate tax. It is, of course, a deeply misleading chart in this context. “Look at all that waste and incompetence!” they say while proposing more and more cuts to City services that are already hanging on by a thread. Thad Williamson has a very thorough dunking on that chart in Style Weekly, if you want to dig in, but the tl;dr is that the City categorizes expenses differently than other localities. Ultimately, and you know this, we’re not going to find the amount of money needed to reverse decades of disinvestment in our streets, schools, housing, and transportation in the couch cushions. P.S. Williamson links to this City Auditor’s report (PDF) from August that compares per-capita costs of functional areas of government across localities. It’s a quick and interesting read.
The Governor signed a couple bills that make it easier for folks with autism to get health insurance regardless of their age. Michael Martz at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a neat, human story about how these new laws made their way through the long and arduous legislative process to the governor’s desk.
Governor Northam also attended a round table with Black leaders from Danville; the Governor said he was there to listen. Listening is good. Still, I want more and better out of my Governor. Call me cynical and nit-picky, but look at the passive voice in his opening remarks: “The last few weeks, the events that we have witnessed in the commonwealth of Virginia and this country have been very hurtful...And I regret that.” And look at how he seems surprised that our standardized testing is steeped and tinged with the legacy of White supremacy: “Northam added that he’s noticed that after speaking with high school students over the past few weeks that some of the information being taught to students about African-American history is ‘inadequate and often times inaccurate’.” This seems like basic-level, duh kind of stuff. It’s not like any of this is a secret, I mean check out the Virginia Studies SOL document for a look at how it talks about Jamestown, Africans, and how “Virginia became a more diverse colony by 1620” (Standard VS3.e). We’ve got some work to do, for sure.
Sports! #8 VCU is back in the NCAA tournament tonight! They’ll take on #9 UCF around 9:30 PM, and you can watch on CBS. Should the Rams advance, they’ll face the winners of (overall) #1 Duke 😳 and #16 North Dakota State.
Also sports! Here’s a look at NCAA tournament teams by...Federal Reserve District? The Richmond District has 11 teams, more than any other. Go us? I guess?
This morning's patron longread
Submitted by Patron Callie. This type of story is so incredibly up my alley—I wish it were twice as long, like that glitter article.
The sticky, white fluid and its chief rival, Liquid Paper, are peculiar anachronisms, throwbacks to the era of big hair, big cars, and big office stationery budgets. They were designed to help workers correct errors they made on typewriters without having to retype documents from the start. But typewriters have disappeared from the modern office, relegated to attics and museums. Even paper is disappearing from the modern office, as more and more functions are digitized. But correction fluids are not only surviving—they appear to be thriving, with Wite-Out sales climbing nearly 10 percent in 2017, according to the most recent public numbers. It’s a mystery of the digital age.
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