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

Good morning, RVA: Budget equity, McAuliffe returns, and Planeteers!

Good morning, RVA! It's 51 °F, and, I don’t know about you, but I rode the snot out of my bike yesterday. With highs in the low 80s, I plan to do the same today. Join me!

Water cooler

Via Councilmember Jones, we finally have at least a partial list of budget cuts City Council will consider so they can avoid rolling back the Recession-era real estate tax cuts. First: These are only proposed amendments, and, even for the sponsors of these amendments, we don’t yet know their reasoning behind the cuts or how they will eventually vote. Keep that in mind. Second: These are cuts to the Mayor’s proposed budget, not from today’s level of funding. Third: There are some pretty intense cuts in here. From Councilmembers Hilbert, Addison, and Larson we have cuts to school funding in the amount of $6.1 million, $5.3 million, and $2.4 million, respectively. Hilbert is the only one of those three to also cut money for paving ($2.2 million). Nicholas Smith puts it really well on Twitter: “The parts of the city with the highest car ownership, highest vehicle miles travelled and most miles of roadway per capita in #rva are also the ones with the least kids in #RPS and least poverty. Cutting education for pothole repair is completely inequitable, #RVACouncil!” Hilbert and Addison are also proposing across-the-board cuts to all City departments of 1.5% and 1% ($7.5 million and $3.6 million respectively)—Hilbert excludes from that RPS and debt, while Addison excludes RPS, debt, the Sheriff, and non-departmental. Addison and Larson each cut about $3.5 million from vacancy funding, which is the pool of money set aside to hire folks into City positions that already exist. Larson also cuts the new $965,000 from GRTC and $900,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. I’m pretty sure Councilmembers have until close of business today to submit budget amendments, so we could see some a few more. Keep an eye out for amendments from Councilmembers Gray and Trammell who are on the record as opposing the Mayor’s proposed $1.29 real estate tax rate but don’t have any amendments on the above list. If you feel strongly about any of these cuts to critical city services you can and should contact your councilmember today!

Also, I have a procedural complaint! I am not in love with the public process and schedule as it relates to balancing this year’s budget. City Council’s one-and-only public hearing will take place this coming Monday, April 22nd at 6:00 PM. That very morning, Council will debate all of these massive cuts to services in a budget work session, and then, immediately following, they’ll hear from a ton of angry-in-various-ways constituents who will have absolutely zero idea what was discussed during that morning’s session. Did Council come to a consensus on what to cut? Did they toss out some of the more severe amendments? Did they decide to move forward on rolling back the real estate tax cuts? Councilmember Agelasto brought up similar concerns at Monday’s budget work session, and I totally agree with him. The public needs a little more time and information to voice intelligent and informed concerns to their elected officials.

The final budget-related item is that I got Monday’s budget work session posted over on The Boring Show. It’s long, but worth listening to as homework for this coming Monday’s session (and public hearing (which you should come to!)!).

Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a more in-depth piece about the 10 RPS schools that will have new principals at the start of next year. While principal turnover has been an issue for the past few years, I’m real into what certainly appears to be a thoughtful and structured plan to put talented and qualified leaders at the head of schools.

Local VCU prof, excellent writer, and Twitter famous person Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom spoke in front of Congress about the dangers of for-profit colleges. I learned about it via this tweet from none other than Elizabeth Warren! Whoa!

The RTD’s Mel Leonor watched CNN last night and says that former Governor Terry McAuliffe will not run for president in 2020 and “will instead focus his energy on turning the Virginia House and Senate blue in November.” Does that mean McAuliffe will plan to run for governor again? He wouldn’t say either way.

Science On Tap returns to the Science Museum of Virginia tonight from 6:00–10:00 PM. Tonight’s theme: The Planeteers, like, from Captain Planet! While we’re at it, take this very scientific poll to help me figure out who was the best Planeteer.

This morning's patron longread

The Pink Tax on Public Transportation (PDF)

Submitted by Patron Michael. Last week I read this study about the extra costs facing women who use public transportation, and I haven’t stopped thing about it since.

Approximately 13% of female respondents said they dress differently, and 29% do not take public transportation late at night as a result of a perceived safety threat. In comparison, only 3% of male respondents dress differently and 8% do not take public transportation late at night for the same reason. Conclusion: Women are more likely than men to change their behavior in order to avoid harassment. The results of the survey conclude that using alternative modes of transportation at night for safety reasons adds to monthly travel expenses for women. The median extra cost per month for men, due to safety reasons, is $0. On the other hand, the median extra cost per month for women is $26-$50.

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

Good morning, RVA: Severe weather on the way, some homework, and the Market @ 25th

Good morning, RVA: Violence, bus numbers, and music stories