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

Good morning, RVA: Special election, parking study, rock and roll chicken sandwich

Good morning, RVA! It's 63 °F, and today looks exceedingly temperate. Expect sunshine and highs in the mid 70s for most of day. Rain later this week, so do your outside stuff as soon as you can.

Water cooler

Today, City Council will hold a special meeting at 5:00 PM to officially petition the state for a special election to fill Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring’s spot. Herring announced his resignation on Friday and said in a statement that he’s leaving the City to join a private law firm. I have no idea what precipitated this or if dude just has a good opportunity and a chance to make more money in the private sector (which I 100% accept). You can read the Mayor’s statement on Herring’s sudden (to me) resignation here.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much about this, but it looks like buses might start running on Route 1 in Chesterfield County as soon as spring of 2020?? I wrote more about this over on the RVA Rapid Transit blog. This is a total no-brainer for Chesterfield thanks to a potential state grant that will pay for 80% of the operating costs of the new route. Although, if you want to see how some of the members of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors see this opportunity to expand public transportation, you should listen to the audio of the presentation (skip forward to about 2:08:00). Some of the supervisors don’t want folks to get too attached to the potential bus service, which would be the only local bus service in the entire county, because the cost would be too high without the state grant. Give me a break! We’re talking about $1 million bucks annually, or 0.07% of the County’s $1.3 billion dollar budget.

Important forthcoming PDF note! The Planning Commission will hear a presentation on the DESMAN Parking Study today at their regularly scheduled meeting. I think this is the final report, concluding Richmond 300’s year-long parking study process. Neither the report nor presentation is up on the City’s website, but that should change later today. I’m hoping for a set of solidly progressive recommendations that give elected officials what they need to dedicate more space on our streets for moving people and less space for storing cars. That’s a fun way of saying “Take away parking!” We’ll see!

Here’s a long and fascinating piece by Mel Leonor in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the reaction from statewide Black leaders and activists to Governor Northam’s promises to work on racial equity 💸. There are a lot of folks out there—both in the legislature and in the community—still hurt and still angry, and so far the Governor’s actions (or lack of substantive actions) haven’t done enough. Related, I’m super interested in how Democrats running for General Assembly this year choose to tie themselves to Northam. Is he a liability or have we all kind of shrugged and moved on? Or maybe it’s somewhere in the middle?

Tammie Smith, writing for the RTD, has a bunch of bits of history and updates on VCU’s new inpatient children’s hospital. This is the (a?) end result of the Bill Goodwin-backed “independent, freestanding children’s hospital” conversation from a while ago—and is obviously neither independent nor freestanding. It’s also the thing that has and will tear up the area north of Broad Street between 10th and 11th for the foreseeable future.

Style Weekly’s Brent Baldwin talks to Richmonder Valient Himself about a new track commemorating Roky Erickson. Valient Himself aka Herbie Abernathy owns Cobra Cabana, one of my favorite local bars, so I am honorbound to share this news with you. Also! This is great: “Cobra Cabana is now offering Gay-Fil-A Sundays, featuring a chicken sando, waffle fries and poly sauce. Ten percent of proceeds will go to local LGBTQIA non-profit, Side by Side. So, if you don't like supporting certain chain restaurants, but still love you some chicken sandwiches, Valient Himself has got you covered.“

This morning's longread

The Politics of Going to the Bathroom

The original plans for the recently-updated Monroe park included a Portland Loo, which I was very excited about. I‘m not sure what happened or if it’s still in the works pending more fundraising or what.

Even today, it can be vexingly difficult to access toilets in public, and public libraries are some of the few places anyone is allowed to use restrooms without buying anything. Some commercial spaces allow noncustomer bathroom use on a case-by-case basis that all too often operates on race and class lines: While a rich white person may easily buy an unwanted item in exchange for a business’ bathroom key or traipse toward the restroom unnoticed by management, the situation is likely to play out differently for anyone perceived not to belong in the place. As Pete White, the executive director of Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) said, “I want to be clear. There’s not a lot of public-health infrastructure anywhere. But the poorer you get, the more challenged you are in your ability to access.”

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Good morning, RVA: Guns, elections, and trains

Good morning, RVA: Chuck Richardson, two festivals, and the new Public Art Coordinator