Good morning, RVA! It's 50 °F, and, after yesterday’s most beautiful weather, today we’ve got a bit cooler temperatures and rain probably lasting the entire day. This weekend’s weather looks great, though.
Today, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a column by Omari Al-Qadaffi, Takein Cooper, and Amy Wentz focused on how the Mayor’s proposed budget addresses some of the historical and systemic inequities and racism built into our City’s very infrastructure. Here’s the truth, in their words: “Now is the time for Richmond, with more than a quarter of its residents living beneath the poverty line, not only to attempt to build wealth for its historically marginalized residents, but to give to its youth, families and the city as a whole the justice they so rightfully deserve.”
Richmond Magazine has a series of stories by Tharon Giddens about transgender and nonbinary folks that you should take the time to read. I especially like this piece on gender etiquette and terms, which reminds me of the GLAAD media reference guide (PDF), one of my absolute favorite style guides. It’s just so incredibly helpful if you’re writing or speaking about anything related to the LGTBQ community.
Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury picks up what I was putting down the other day about Richmond’s lack of regional transportation funding. You should read this piece to get a quick overview on the history of and details about how Richmond was left standing, sad and forlorn, outside of Virginia’s regional transportation funding party. Spoiler: Basically we, as a region, couldn’t get our collective acts together. But that’s changing! And as we move towards finding a dedicated funding stream for transportation, we must make sure that some of that funding goes towards public transportation. If we raise new revenue and dedicate it all towards building and widening roads, we’ll have scored a serious, and maybe irrecoverable, own-goal on our region’s future.
It’s official: Virginians will no longer have their driver’s licenses suspended due to outstanding court fees. Not only that, but over 600,000 people will have their driver’s licenses reinstated. Also, and this is fascinating, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Michael Martz digs in to an unintentional error in the specific budget amendment language 💸, one that Sen. Bill Stanley charmingly calls “a scrivener’s error.”
Tonight at 7:05 PM (pending weather) the Flying Squirrels will, for the first time, take the field as the Ardillas Voladoras. You can get your tickets online. Related: I did, in fact, buy a hat featuring the sweet alternate logo, and I do get compliments on it everywhere I go. So, good work, Marketing and Branding Team.
This seems cool: Friends of the Pump House are hosting folks this coming Saturday for a Pumphouse Springest, Richard Hayes at RVAHub has the details. $5 gets you a hard hat tour of the (spooky) building!
The newest episode of the Sam and Ross Like Things podcast just dropped. This time around, Sam and I talk about how much we like nacho cheese sauce and family game night—both very good things! I had a lot of fun recording this episode, and you should give it a listen.
This morning's longread
A story about awful terrible leaf blowers that’s, surprisingly, also a story about civic success.
But you won’t see as many of them in those cities anymore, because governments in Asia and elsewhere have been banning and phasing out two-stroke engines on antipollution grounds. In 2014 a study published in Nature Communications found that VOC emissions (a variety of carbon gases that can produce smog and harm human beings) were on average 124 times higher from an idling two-stroke scooter than from a truck or a car. With respect to benzene, a carcinogenic pollutant, the group found that each cubic meter of exhaust from an idling two-stroke scooter contained 60,000 times the safe level of exposure. Two-stroke engines have largely disappeared from the scooter, moped, and trail-bike markets in America. Regulators around the world are pushing older two-stroke engines toward extinction. Yet they remain the propulsive force behind the 200-mph winds coming out of many backpack leaf blowers
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