Good morning, RVA! It's 73 °F, and highs today are back up near 90 °F. There’s also a steadily increasing chance of rain throughout the day and into the night.
Amy Howe at the SCOTUSblog has an analysis of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling that Virginia’s new House of Delegates maps—ones created to undo racial gerrymandering—are legal. I guess, technically, the SCOTUS ruled that the General Assembly doesn’t have standing to appeal a lower court’s decision. This means the new maps will stand for November’s election, and means that some previously Republican-held districts (specifically House Speaker Kirk Cox and Del. Chris Jones) are now even further up for Democratic grabs. Robin Bravender at the Virginia Mercury and Graham Moomaw at the Richmond Times-Dispatch have the local coverage, and here’s the Governor’s statement on the ruling.
Yesterday, Senator Tim Kaine and Mayor Levar Stoney met with “family members of gun violence victims and other advocates” to talk about the need for more and better gun violence laws. Stoney had the money quote saying, “the public is tired of ‘spineless leadership’ and wants immediate change.” Yes! I don’t have a lot of hope in July 9th’s special legislative session, but this is the kind of language folks should use leading up to it. It’s effective and true. Unrelated P.S. This article refers to the Mayor as “a potential future gubernatorial candidate,” so get ready for that narrative for the next two years.
School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean the Superintendent has stopped writing his weekly email (yet). Read this week’s edition to hear two great stories about how Richmond Public Schools teachers filled in at the last minute to provide human needs (shoes and haircuts) to graduating students. These are, of course, heartwarming stories of incredible teachers, but these stories also point to some of the larger problems we need to address as a city. Every student (every person!) should have access to a pair of shoes and a haircut!
Also on the RPS tip, the School District has named an award after National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson! The Rodney A. Robinson Equity in Education Award will be given annually to the teacher who best demonstrates equity in the classroom. The inaugural recipient is National Teacher of the Year Rodney A. Robinson himself.
RPS hat trick! The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Justin Mattingly says that the School Board will consider renaming a handful of schools in the coming year 💸: George Mason Elementary, E.S.H. Greene Elementary, Elkhardt-Thompson Middle, and Thirteen Acres School. The District is in the process of rebuilding or moving all of these schools, so it makes sense to consider renaming them before ordering the new signage. I had no idea that Green and Thompson were both named after Chesterfield County school superintendents! That’s a result of annexation, one of my favorite things to talk about.
Someone has, in fact, filed the paperwork and signatures to run as an Independent against Joe Morrissey in Virginia’s 16th Senate District: Waylin Ross. Graham Moomaw at the RTD has a profile of the former Morrissey aide 💸.
It’s Multimodal Day in the City of Richmond! Please consider finding another way to get around today besides driving alone in your car. I’ve got some meetings in the Fan and in Scott’s Addition, and, depending on the weather, I’ll be riding my bike or taking the bus. How will you move around the City today?
Civic reminder: The Mayor will host his 7th District community office hours tonight at 6:30 PM at the Peter Paul Development Center (1708 N. 22nd Street). Show up and ask him whatever—maybe ask about what his plans are to reduce gun violence in the City given the extremely limited authority granted us by the State.
Here’s the most important thread you’ll read this week, from /r/rva: Best milkshake?
This morning's longread
I don’t know how they’re going to execute it, but Minneapolis’s plan to end single-family zoning is something we should consider in Richmond. Duplexes (and triplexes and fourplexes!) and granny flats everywhere!
Increasing the supply of urban housing would help to address a number of the problems plaguing the United States. Construction could increase economic growth and create blue-collar jobs. Allowing more people to live in cities could mitigate inequality and reduce carbon emissions. Yet in most places, housing construction remains wildly unpopular. People who think of themselves as progressives, environmentalists and egalitarians fight fiercely against urban development, complaining about traffic and shadows and the sanctity of lawns. That’s why a recent breakthrough in Minneapolis is so important. The city’s political leaders have constructed a broad consensus in favor of more housing. And the centerpiece is both simple and brilliant: Minneapolis is ending single-family zoning.
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