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

Good morning, RVA: Get ready for voting, gun violence laws, and billboards

Good morning, RVA! It's 70 °F, and, today, you can expect both highs in the 80s and rain—rain this morning, rain this afternoon, and rain this evening.

Water cooler

Tomorrow, depending on where you live, you’ve got the opportunity to vote in a primary! Democrats have options in the following Senate Districts: 10th (Eileen Bedell, Ghazala Hashmi, Zachary Brown), 11th (Amanda Pohl and Wayne Powell), 12th (Veena Lothe and Debra Rodman), and 16th (Rosalyn Dance and Joe Morrissey), plus the 62nd House District (Lindsey Doughtery and Tavorise Marks). I’ll leave you to Google their websites! If you don’t know, you can check which districts you live in here. For some background, Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury has a look at some of the hot primary issues across the state—basically guns, racism, and abortion.

City Council meets for their regularly scheduled meeting tonight at 6:00 PM. On the docket tonight (at least as the evershifting agenda stands at this moment): An amendment to Councilmember Gray’s ordinance to create the Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission (ORD. 2019-119) which sets relative due dates for their final report since no one knows when we’ll hear the next thing about the Mayor’s proposed downtown arena; some special use permits, including one for converting an old, vacant Urban Farmhouse into an apartment at 310 N. 33rd Street (ORD. 2019-133); and Councilmember Agelasto’s resolution to require some more oversight during the zoning compliance process (RES. 2018-R092) which has floated around on various agendas since last October. Overall, it sounds like an uncontroversial meeting—although the list of folks giving citizen comment (PDF) looks like it could touch on some interesting topics.

The Governor has set July 9th as the date for the General Assembly’s Special Session at which they’ll (theoretically) consider a bunch of gun violence laws. Mechelle Hankerson at the Virginia Mercury has an interesting article about how the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, the impetus for the Special Session, will impact that area’s typically Republican legislators.

Sean Gorman at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says Chesterfield’s Planning Commission will consider lifting the County’s ban on new billboards with an update to their signage ordinance. I had no idea this ban existed! Ostensibly, billboard supporters want to allow for the replacement of old analog signs with new digital ones—not a mass proliferation of new and ugly billboards. To that end, they’ve capped the total number of legal billboards at 81, an oddly specific choice. Huge, bulky advertising is one of the things I’m pretty NIMBY about, especially since these things typically get built exclusively in lower-income neighborhoods. Maybe, as a region, we should just Marie Kondo them all into the garbage? Would the state government even let us do that?

This morning's longread

In the age of Uber and Snapchat, how do you get teens excited to drive?

I don’t often offer something for folks to hate read, but this piece about a dad trying to get his daughter to drive a car is wild. Turns out, driving is terrible, most folks don’t like to do it (especially younger people), and it’s a dang shame we’ve built almost all of America in such a way that this terrible thing is necessary just for most people to live their lives.

“I don’t know how to drive,” Molly had said. So I drive while she escapes to Snapchat with the girlfriends she saw in the gym moments ago. On rare occasions I’ve taken that demon iPhone from her, but only with great difficulty. She’s a gymnast, solid as a rock and possessed of an iron grip. Molly, born in 2000, is at the epicenter of our present revolution. She is the bull’s-eye of the target market for Uber, robo-electric cars, and Brooklyn. And she’s scaring car companies to death. There has been a precipitous and steady drop in the percentage of young people getting their licenses: a drop by half for 16-year-olds, a third for 17, a quarter for 18, a fifth for 19. Detroit needs to figure out whether kids don’t like driving, don’t like shopping for cars, don’t care about cars, or simply don’t need cars.

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Good morning, RVA: Primary Day!, pot holes, and a new side project

Good morning, RVA: Bolts, too much parking, and a side hustle opportunity