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

Good morning, RVA: Sleep > daylight, more budget thoughts, and the tampon tax

Good morning, RVA! It's 30 °F, the clouds are back, and with them maybe some rain later this evening. The chance for rain continue through the weekend, unfortunately, but warm weather returns in a big way on Sunday.

Water cooler

FYI, Sunday is the “Spring Forward” portion of our relentless commitment to the oppressive regime of Daylight Saving Time and when we enter Eastern Daylight Time. I’ll value an hour of sleep over an hour of daylight any day of the week, including this Sunday.

I can’t stop thinking about the Mayor’s proposed budget and the much-needed rolling back of the Recession-era real estate tax cuts. So I’m glad Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch looks at the Capital Improvement Program 💸, which I didn’t really get around to mentioning yesterday. The CIP makes up the non-recurring, stuff-you-build-or-buy part of the budget. In some ways, it’s more exciting than the other parts of the budget because it means money dedicated to stuff you’ll be able to see and touch. For example, we’ve got $1 million for a new connection between the Capital Trail and the Canal Walk; $800,000 for pedestrian safety improvements on Semmes and Forest Hill Avenues; and $366,000 for “transit stop access improvements”—and that’s just from the transportation section. You should download a copy of the CIP PDF and flip through it; it’s an incredibly readable document, all things considered. Each project gets its own page and includes a human-readable description (check out page 70 for the Capital Trail / Canal Walk project as an example).

Related, new leadership (and signed editorials) at the RTD Editorial Board continue to be a good thing. Read this editorial by Pamela Stallsmith and Robin Beres about the Mayor’s budget plans in which they too point out that this is a rolling back of Recession-era tax cuts. Maybe more surprising than that levelheaded take, the editorial completely refrains form calling the City government corrupt, inept, or incompetent.

The Richmond branch of the NAACP shares my feelings about Councilmember Trammell’s exchange with the Mayor immediately following his budget presentation.

I didn’t know about Virginians for Reconciliation until reading this piece in the RTD by Mel Leonor 💸. The list of members on their About page is quite a diverse list of folks with some surprising names on there—at least surprising to me when I think about people who’d be interested in racial reconciliation. Governor Northam stopped by their first meeting earlier this year to listen and learn. I like this quote from the Rev. Ben Campbell about what people now want to see from the Governor: “However it happened, the scab has been ripped off, and they really want to get at some of the deeper inequities and hypocrisies. They’d love for the governor to, if he’s going to stay in office, to do something good.”

Katie O’Connor has the update on Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s mission to repeal the state’s tampon tax. This year she got “the sales tax on personal hygiene products — including items ranging from tampons and sanitary napkins to diapers and disposable undergarments — to 1.5 percent, matching Virginia’s tax on food, starting in 2020.” Boysko wanted a full repeal, but Del. Kathy Byron said that would be discriminatory—a position I would like to learn more about.

Earlier this week, President Trump called Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, “Tim Apple,” and I just find that endlessly amusing. Friend of the email Sam wonders “Existential question of the day: if President Trump called you by the wrong name, what singular word would he know you by?” I think I would be Ross Emails, unfortunately.

This morning's longread

Do You Even Bake, Bro?

Read this look into the stupidly gendered nature of contemporary bread making, especially if, like me, you own the Tartine bread book and have a sourdough starter in your fridge as we speak.

The sourdough bread boom is extremely close to home for me. As in, it lives in my home. His name is Sam, we’re getting married next year, and he’s a bread-baking computer nerd, too. Sam is a UX designer at a startup valued at several billion dollars. Since he started baking bread, Sam has taken extensive notes about each bake in several different apps: first Evernote, then Google Keep, and now Bear. He went into it “trying to find as many ways as possible to get better ... by buying a rising basket, a proofing box, taking the temperature of the dough, wanting to control for variables,” he told me. “You get better through repetition but you also get better if you’re more methodical about it, in my experience.” His bread is extremely good.

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

Good morning, RVA: The Mayor’s budget is bold, homelessness in Richmond, and the Byrd Park Reservoir