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

Good morning, RVA: School impact statements, Capitol Police taxis, and travel plans

Good morning, RVA! It's 51 °F, and rain is here this morning. Expect temperatures to top out in the mid 60s and for the rain to dry up sometime this afternoon.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting that two people were murdered last week in the city. On Wednesday night, officers responded to a hospital for reports that a toddler had been fatally assaulted on the 6400 block of Midlothian Turnpike. On Thursday, Suzanne A. Fairman, 53, was found dead in her residence on the 7400 block of Tanglewood Road.

City Council meets tonight for their regularly-scheduled meeting and will officially pass the budget—which probably means this is the last budgetchat you’ll hear out of me for the next several months. Sad, I know. The non-budget agenda for tonight (PDF) holds a bunch of Special Use Permits, a few other papers, and Councilmembers Gray and Larson’s resolution to ask that the Department of Planning and Development Review put together a “school impact statement” for all new developments in the city (PDF). The statement should include how the new development will impact a bunch of things like school enrollment, bus stop and pedestrian infrastructure needs (!), traffic (🙄), and “school safety” (whatever that means). I have a strong feeling that these statements—combined with a mostly-full school system that’s already strapped for capital cash to build new schools—will become a tool for NIMBYs to use in arguing against any new development anywhere in the city. On the other hand, depending on how they’re put together, maybe urbanists can use them to get more pedestrian and bike infrastructure built in our neighborhoods. Also to keep in mind as Council requests more information out of the planning department: Council cut 2.5 vacant positions from that very department to balance this year’s budget.

Patrick Wilson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a bananas article about State Senator Amanda Chase using the Capitol Police as her own personal taxi 💸—sometimes for trips from one side of the Capitol to the other. First, I didn’t know that legislators are allowed to use the Capitol Police to ferry them back and forth between their session residence and the Capitol. Seems like a waste of resources. Second, the Senate Clerk had this statement about how the Capitol Police “are not allowed to transport you to restaurants, receptions or buildings other than the Capitol and the Pocahontas Building. If you need motorized transportation for these purposes, please use Uber or Lyft.” What if instead of pushing legislators to use rideshare, we gave all of them and their staff unlimited bus passes for the duration of the General Assembly session? What would getting all of these folks on the bus—even just for a couple of months—do for public transportation systems across the Commonwealth?

Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury has a disturbing look at Dean Parsons, a racist landlord who “oversees a portfolio of 375 apartments and rental houses in the Richmond area,” and how this sort of bad-landlord garbage exacerbates Richmond’s nation-leading eviction problem.

Have we talked about how the City will take over programming for the 17th Street Market? Colleen Curran has the details in the RTD 💸. I wonder what this means, exactly, and who will end up in charge of what goes on in the new pedestrian-friendly plaza. Getting the Parks Department to handle thing would make a ton of sense, but that department did just have their vacancies cut by 9.5 positions to balance this year’s budget, so I don’t know what kind of resources they have available for this sort of thing. If it were me, I’d worry less about bringing in the next Chicken Wing Festival or Brussels Sprout Show Down and focus on making the space more comfortable and attractive to humans. The addition of tables and chairs was a good first step, now, if I were in charge, I’d double the amount of tables and chairs and bring in some sort of cool-looking shade canopies. I’d also get as many of the restaurants in the area working on sidewalk cafe permits and do my best to expedite that process for them.

Via r/rva, did you know VCU registered an official tartan back in 2014? Now, the important question: How do I get some Rams merch in this tartan??

Bad news! I’m out of town the next couple of days and that means a Good Morning, RVA! hiatus until at least Thursday and perhaps Friday. There’s still a ton of things you need to know about while I’m gone, so here’s an incomplete but important list:

  • This Wednesday and Thursday the Partnership for Housing Affordability will host two meetings on the Regional Housing Framework—one in Hanover (Wednesday, 6:30 PM, 8460 Times Dispatch Boulevard, Mechanicsville) and one downtown (Thursday, 6:30 PM, 907 Floyd Avenue). At these meetings, “residents will discuss the vision and values for their communities and what housing challenges residents face.”
  • On Thursday evening, as part of RVA Bike Month, stop by Champion Brewing (401 E. Grace Street) for the Bike and Urbanism Happy Hour. Jakob Helmboldt, the City’s Bike Person will be on hand to discuss the planned and existing bike infrastructure. Also, beers will be on hand!
  • Know that Friday is Bike to Work Day. I’m pretty sure there is a group ride planned downtown somewhere, I just can’t find the details for it at this exact moment. Put it on your calendar and prepare yourself in whatever way is necessary to get to work under your own pedal power.

This morning's longread

Women Did Everything Right. Then Work Got ‘Greedy.’

Happy Mother’s Day! Please, if you haven’t read it yet, pair this with the lazy dad article from last week.

Just as more women earned degrees, the jobs that require those degrees started paying disproportionately more to people with round-the-clock availability. At the same time, more highly educated women began to marry men with similar educations, and to have children. But parents can be on call at work only if someone is on call at home. Usually, that person is the mother. This is not about educated women opting out of work (they are the least likely to stop working after having children, even if they move to less demanding jobs). It’s about how the nature of work has changed in ways that push couples who have equal career potential to take on unequal roles.

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Good morning, RVA: Schools rezoning, Bike to Work Day, and two cool festivals

Good morning, RVA: RPS rezoning, golf course dreams, and monastery cheese