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

Good morning, RVA: No new gun violence legislation, racism in Hanover, and indoor mini-golf

Good morning, RVA! It’s 68 °F, and we’ve got another summery day with sunshine and highs in the upper 80s. Stay sweaty, y’all.

Water cooler

Welp. Yesterday’s General Assembly special session focused on gun violence happened—kind of. Ned Oliver and Mechelle Hankerson at the Virginia Mercury have the details on how Republicans adjourned the session just 90 minutes after it began and after considering exactly zero bills. Theoretically, the GA will take up all of the legislation filed over the last couple of weeks at a November 18th meeting—which is, of course, after the 2019 elections. This tremendously transparent waste of time on the part of Virginia’s gun-worshipping Republicans is totally unsurprising. They’re unwilling to do anything at all to address gun violence, and the only recourse is to vote them out of office this November. Worst of the bunch may be Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment who continues to be an unserious legislator who’d rather spend his time playing games instead of passing laws. After submitting legislation banning guns in government buildings, a bill he never had any intention of actually supporting, Norment said “As currently drafted, the legislation represents neither my views nor my intention. I do not support — nor will I support — any measure that restricts the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.” OK, guy. This dude is not clever, extremely predictable, and out of step with Virginians—even his own party was confused by his amateur-hour strategy, if you can call it that. You can read both Mayor Stoney’s thoughtson the abortive session (“Republicans in the General Assembly proved today that they are not just spineless but flat-out cowardly.”) and the Governor’s statement (“It is shameful and disappointing that Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to do their jobs, and take immediate action to save lives.”).

Yesterday I linked to this excellent piece about racism in Hanover from Samantha Willis at the Virginia Mercury. I think it does the best job at putting together the pieces from all of the County’s recent struggles with race. Today, I read a piece from Micheal Paul Williams in the Richmond Times-Dispatch with this extremely disturbing and outright racist quote about from Hanover Board of Supervisors Chairman W. Canova Peterson: About the actual KKK he said, “If you hate them, you’re a hate group too.” No, that is not how this works, and Peterson should face professional—or at least electoral—consequences for this statement. Our local elected officials shouldn’t get to go about their jobs, business as usual, after making public statements of tacit support for racist hate groups.

Karri Peifer at the RTD has a super important update on Hotel Greene, the indoor mini-golf course / restaurant / bar by the folks who brought you Greenleaf’s Pool Room across the street. Indoor mini-golf with a weird and charming 1930s hotel theme?? It sounds incredible and sounds like it’s opening soon.

Last year, as part of PARK(ing) Day, I helped a bunch of folks set up a tiny, temporary park in two parking spaces downtown on Main Street. It was a lot of fun and, for a day, created an unexpectedly rad place to hang out. This year, Venture Richmond will help coordinate a bunch of these small, DIY parklets and will host a design and build competition around what folks come up with. If you’ve got a great idea for how to turn a place for cars into a place for people, email Max (mhbuchanan@venturerichmond.com), and he’ll get you taken care of.

The Cheats Movement podcast has a commercial featuring the Mayor! That’s a weird sentence to write, but I’m into it and love the message.

This morning’s longread

Don’t Count on U.S. Regulators to Make Self-Driving Cars Safe for Pedestrians

Get ready, I’ve got a big stack of “cars are terrible” longreads headed your way over the next couple of days.

The Detroit Free Press investigation showed that NHTSA knew four years ago that the proliferation of pickups and SUVs was putting pedestrians at risk thanks to heavier vehicle weights, higher bumpers, and compromised visibility. “Pedestrians are 2–3 times more likely to suffer a fatality when struck by an SUV or pickup truck than when struck by a passenger car,” the agency concluded in 2015. Children between 5 and 9 years old had a fatality risk four times greater in collisions with light trucks and SUVs than with cars. The regulators did nothing. If another product saw its nonuser death count spike by 50 percent in 10 years, consumers would revolt and Congress would make a big show of getting to the bottom of it. Automobiles are different.

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Good morning, RVA: An investigation, car crashes, and mussels

Good morning, RVA: Gun violence special session, racism in Hanover, and a missed opportunity