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

Good morning, RVA: Civil Rights, Black Restaurant Experience, and Byrd Theatre .gifs

Good morning, RVA! It's 34 °F, and highs today will hit the mid 40s. With any luck, we should see the sun a bit, while avoiding anymore rain. In fact, the weekly forecast looks pretty rain-free.

Water cooler

Heather Mullins Crislip, president and CEO of Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, has a column from this past weekend’s paper about how housing policy can help address the years of systemic racism, intentional discrimination, and decades long disinvestment in our City. Actually, I should just quote her directly: “Our segregated communities are not accidents of history or preference, they are the legacy of systemic pressures, institutionalized discrimination, and regulations that advantaged one group and disinvested and stripped another of wealth.“

City Council’s Organizational Development Committee will meet today. The best part about that committee is that folks give them presentations, and then we get to download those presentations as PDFs. First, have look through this presentation from the folks running Richmond 300, the City’s master planning process (PDF). The back half of the slide deck goes through the results of the first “community consultation process,” which involved over 1,000 surveys and a bunch of public meetings. Of note, check what categories people’s responses fall into when asked about “big ideas” for Richmond. Spoiler: The first four categories, in order, are Transportation, housing, parks & rec, and urban design & land use—this PDF digs a bit further into those big ideas. Those are, like, my top four favorite things to have big ideas about, so great job, Richmonders. The second presentation OrgDev will hear focuses on housing and the “Regional Housing Framework” (PDF). I think, and I’ll have to listen to the audio to be sure, that this is the regional housing plan we’ve all been looking forward to. It’s a short presentation, but the list of folks involved includes Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, and Richmond. Sounds pretty regional to me!

I should have mentioned this last week, but I didn’t (and still don’t) know what to think so I let it simmer for a bit. Local transit/housing/food-access advocate, Omari Al-Qadaffi, filed a complaint with “the Federal Transit Administration’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate GRTC’s redesign that took effect in June.” Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the details. I haven’t seen the actual complaint myself, so I don’t feel comfortable shooting my mouth off about it either in support or opposition. I do, however, feel comfortable linking to a couple related PDFs. First, you can read through GRTC’s Title VI Major Change and Service Equity Analysis relating to the June redesign (PDF). It’s a dry, but important document that’ll give you the context you need to understand the basis for the complaint, should you ever get your hands on it. Note the conclusion: “The results of the analysis determined that the planned April 2018 changes would not trigger the 20% thresholds for both minority and low-income populations. They are both within the acceptable change limits resulting in an equitable distribution of service.” Now, for context on that document, you’ll want to read GRTC’s Title VI Program Update from February 13th, 2017 (PDF). This document details changes to the thresholds mentioned in the previous document, made a year before the bus system redesign. I definitely do not know enough about Title VI and disproportionate impact to even have the beginnings of an opinion on those threshold changes, but it’s important to know when they happened and that they exist. Third, as a piece of general bonus context, this report from the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration about our regional transportation planning body (PDF) highlights some of the existing Title VI issues at the regional level. Finally, do I think our existing transportation system is inequitable? Yes. Is that inequity a direct result of racism? Yes. By investing deeply in highways and ignoring public transportation for decades, have we built a segregated transportation system that intentionally favors White people living in the suburbs over Black people living in the City? Yes. Is this intentional, racist disinvestment worse in Richmond than in almost any of our peer cities anywhere across the nation? Yes. Do I think that the new system is an improvement? Yes. Can we do better? Absolutely.

The Richmond Black Restaurant Experience kicked off yesterday and runs through Sunday, March 10th. The list of participants (PDF) is vast, looks delicious, and surely contains a few spots you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to yet. This week, be intentional about supporting black-owned businesses and restaurants!

Redditor CMbrunch has done us all a solid and taken the great parts of the Byrd Theatre intro and made them into .gifs. It’s pretty gross!

Episode 64 of the Sam and Ross Like Things Podcast hit the airwaves a couple days back, and I’m excited to link y’all to it. I feel like I always say this, but I had a ton of fun recording this episode.

This morning's longread

All hands on deck: Behind the scenes of a Survivor marooning

My family is currently in a state of high Real Into Survivor, and I just couldn’t get enough of this this play-by-play of the 12 hours before a new season begins.

Meanwhile, cameras are placed everywhere. Fourteen cameras are being positioned, as well as another remote camera on the mast head, two on follow boats, two underwater, various GoPros, and the ever-present drone. And wherever there are cameras, there are microphones, including two that will be placed on Probst, 18 for the contestants, three boom mics, and seven mics planted throughout the boat for a total of 30. Normally the Survivor audio team has two hours to prep the ship with various microphones, but with rough ocean conditions delaying the arrival of the ship and their ability to board, that time has been cut to a mere 20 minutes.

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Good morning, RVA: Mardi Gras, a housing framework, and signed editorials

Good morning, RVA: Policy Jammed, eviction laws, and conversations about racism