Good morning, RVA! It's 66 °F, and the rain is on its way out. Today, expect highs around 80 °F and sunshine eventually.
It is (Primary) Election Day for some of you! Who is even on your ballot?? I dunno, that’s personal, but rather than slog through some PDFs on the Department of Elections website, which is what I did yesterday, you can go to the Virginia Public Access Project’s website, type in your address, and see what your own ballot situation is. Thanks to Twitter user @SmithNicholas for pointing this out to me. Today it is important for you to get out there and vote for folks who will work hard for a progressive future of our region—that means folks who want stronger gun violence laws, more school and transportation funding, plans to address climate change, and who will respect/are women.
Mayor Stoney announced that the City has hired Leonard Sledge as the new director of Economic Development. Sledge comes to Richmond by way of Henry County near Atlanta and, before that, Hampton. To be honest, I’d forgotten we didn’t have a director of ED, and, I think, with this hire, the City’s Economic and Community Development section of the org chart is all filled out (at least at the executive level). It’d be nice to have an up-to-date version of that org chart on the City’s website somewhere, and not just this one which lumps all of the departments under the CAO (PDF).
Roberto Roldan at WCVE has a nice piece up about pot holes in Richmond and does a good job of pointing the finger squarely at the State which, unsurprisingly, cheaps out on road maintenance funding for cities. As with tons of things in the Commonwealth, rural, suburban, and mostly-white counties hold tons of power in setting these funding formulas leaving cities to make up the often seven-figure difference. I also have zero sympathy for VDOT over this sentence: “They also have their own gap in basic maintenance funding. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, VDOT had to transfer more than $182 million from new road construction to their maintenance fund.” Good! Let’s stop building new roads, maintain what we’ve got, and fairly fund streets in cities.
My pal Max and I recently launched a new side project called Streets Cred, a place for us to talk about how cities like Richmond work and what makes them better. You can read our several-days-late introduction post here. I’m excited about a few aspects of this project! First, we’re going to focus on Richmond and other mid-sized American cities. There are lots of amazing (and amazingly expensive) things going on in places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or even D.C., but often those things are at a different scale and don’t apply to smaller places like Richmond. We need to talk about and learn from places like Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Salt Lake City. Second, Streets Cred will live on it’s own website (streetscred.com) and on Twitter (@streetscred), and you should find almost all of the content on both of those platforms. Social media is a cool and good tool to expand our reach, but our content shouldn’t live only there. Third, there are no comments on the blog, and I’ve already muted a person on Twitter! Clearly I have some thoughts and opinions after running a internet news site for several years. Anyway! Subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, and, if you’d like to contribute, please send us an email (
This morning's longread
This is a story about a bear attack, but also a story about local news and what happens when local news becomes international news.
Maybe that’s why the response to this one bothered me so much. In the aftermath, I found myself surprised and disturbed by the amount of attention the attack received. I felt intensely protective of my grieving friends and my shocked, horrified community—I wanted to shield them from the intrusive phone calls, the strangers creeping into their social-media profiles, the awful, cruel comments appended to every news story. When a reporter for The New York Times called the Yukon “desolate,” I wanted to reach through my laptop screen and shake him, to try to make him understand a place he wasn’t describing properly. Life here is amazing, I wanted to say. This is the kind of place where you can hike to a glacier, watch it calve, and then engage in a howl-off with a pack of nearby wolf puppies. This is where grizzlies swipe spawning salmon from streams, and caribou still flow like rivers across the mountains, and the northern lights come out at night. It’s the opposite of desolate.
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