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

Good morning, RVA: Yearbooks, audits, and silver platters

Good morning, RVA! It's 61 °F, and that hot hot summertime weather is back. Today you should expect highs near 90 °F. Please remember to hydrate!

Water cooler

Eastern Virginia Medical School has concluded its investigation into Governor Northam’s racist yearbook, and, as expected, did not come up with anything conclusive. The full, 55-page report is available for you to read (PDF), but Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury has some of the more interesting the details. While the investigation ultimately did not uncover the identities of the men wearing blackface and KKK robes in the yearbook photo, it did reveal a lot of bad moves and chaos among the Governor’s staff as they put together his (real bad) response. The sentiment from Northam’s staff that folks across Virginia would accept the Governor’s admission of guilt and move right along is kinda of shocking, especially for people working in politics (and living in the world) in 2019. You can also read the Governor’s response to the report, in which he again denies appearing in the photo but recommits to spending the rest of his term working toward “meaningful progress on issues of equity.”

Often a report from the City Auditor signals Bad News for the Mayor and his administration. This time, however, the news is pretty good and encouraging: The City has implemented 55% (96) of the Auditor’s open recommendations, a huge increase over both last year’s 25% and the 10-year average of 37%. 76 recommendations remain open (but 11 of those haven’t reached their original due date), so there’s still work to do. But, progress! Hats off to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities; Budget and Strategic Planning; and the Department of Finance for closing out nearly all of their past-due audit recommendations. You can read the Auditor’s short annual report (PDF) or take a look at the list of open recommendations by department over on the Auditor’s website. Hooray for transparency and efficiency in government!

Sarah King at Richmond Magazine reports on the recent regional affordable housing framework meetings that have taken place around town over the past couple of weeks. After sorting through the all of the immense and complicated housing-related challenges facing the Richmond region, the Partnership for Housing Affordability will host another stack of meetings next month with the intent of developing actual regional housing strategies. This is much needed work, and, after this process wraps up later this year, I’m expecting to see a ton of housing ordinances introduced in jurisdictions across the region.

C. Suarez Rojas at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says that Hanover County has approved the rezoning necessary to move the ABC warehouse far, far away from the Diamond 💸. This was step number one in a long set of steps toward VCU and the City building a new baseball facility near Arthur Ashe Boulevard. There’s still a ton of time and a ton of ways for that proposal to go sideways, so don’t put your cleats on yet.

I like this organizing tactic from Chesterfield residents 💸: “About 20 people gathered shortly before the board’s meeting, holding silver-colored trays and plates. As supervisors walked by, the residents implored them to not give the county over to developers on a silver platter.”

This morning's longread

The chemistry of William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

For all my chemistry people out there! Honestly, this put my way out of my depth but was still an interesting read.

Apart from inventing the term “cyberspace” and predicting virtual reality long before it became commonplace, Neuromancer also contains some interesting tidbits of chemistry. Being a chemist myself, specifically one in the pharma industry, these little nuggets of scientific prose jump out at me, and quite pleasantly Gibson (for the most part) does a good job of using them appropriately. I wanted to examine the pharmaceutical elements of the book, which are almost entirely used by Case and Peter Riviera, its two biggest junkies

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Good morning, RVA: Long weekend, fare evasion, and a new app

Good morning, RVA: Graduation rates, bus news both good and bad, and a 5th District candidate