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

Good morning, RVA: A ton of meetings, alcohol laws, and a neat map

Good morning, RVA! It's 78 °F, and, while we survived the heat advisory, today will still be freaking hot. Expect highs in the mid 90s again and a good excuse to stay inside most of the day.

Water cooler

There are 44 days until August 29th, not counting today. Out of those 44, you can attend a meeting about Richmond Public Schools rezoning on 21 of them. Here’s the entire, overwhelming schedule. These meetings are in different locations, on different days, at different times—and Spanish interpretation services are available at each and every one. There are so many opportunities to get involved and learn about what’s happening that “no one told me” will not be an acceptable excuse when this process wraps up and new school zones are announced. Also, while you’re poking around on the Superintendent’s Twitter timeline, take a minute, scroll a bit, and see some of the support for the pairing of the Fox Elementary and Cary Elementary zones I talked about earlier this week. Support for increasing the diversity of schools exists, whether you read about it in the paper or not.

Virginia’s alcohol laws are dumb, and Karri Peifer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the details on a loosening of our open-container laws done in a classically dumb Virginia way: “A bill allowing drinkers to leave a restaurant carrying an alcoholic beverage and walk around with that beverage and into another establishment (that’s not a restaurant) is now legal in Virginia during licensed events and in designated areas.” Additionally, only localities (the City), business improvement districts (Venture Richmond), and nonprofits (basically everyone has a nonprofit, though, right?) can apply for the license, and they can only do so 12 times per year. You can read all of SB 1171 over on the General Assembly’s LIS website. Folks who should apply for this license immediately: First Fridays, Carytown Merchant’s Association, Venture Richmond, some nonprofit on either the Lombardy or 6th Street end of Grace Street, and basically every neighborhood association that has filed their nonprofit paperwork.

Look at this interesting map via /r/rva: Tweets by locals vs. tweets by tourists—the difference defined as people who have tweeted in a city for over a month. As you might expect, highways are full of tourists, so is the bus station, while the Fan and VCU are both filled with locals. Short Pump is full of tourists, and I wonder if that’s just folks from the City making their monthly trip out to the mall?

Gregory J. Gilligan at the RTD says developers have plans for 390 more units in Scott’s Addition 💸 aided by the federal government’s new Opportunity Zone program. It’s a program I still don’t quite understand and am surprised that Scott’s Addition qualifies since it’s designed for “economically-distressed” communities. I‘m sure I’ll be back later, as more details emerge, to complain about the amount of parking in these projects. So stay tuned!

The Mayor will host his 6th District Community Office Hours tonight at the Main Library (101 E. Franklin Street) starting at 6:30 PM. While Googling around for the dates, I found the presentation he’ll run through at the meeting (PDF)—it touches on budget, buses, streets, public safety, education, all kinds of good stuff. Don’t be afraid to show up with your own set of questions, though. Maybe you want to know about the Combined Sewer Overflow system and plans to replace our aging sewage infrastructure? Or possibly ask him about getting the agendas and minutes from the dozens of boards and commissions up on the City’s website? Or maybe you can bug him about the status of our anemic bike share system. You can literally ask him anything!

Stay RVA, a non-profit focused on growing community support around Richmond Public Schools will host a fundraiser / concert tonight at 6:00 PM. You might know them from their work beautifying schools, bringing teachers snacks and supplies, and setting up school tours. 50 bones gets you food, beers, and music by Sid Kingsley & Jordan Stoll. Tickets are available over on Eventbrite.

This morning's longread

Proposed project stirs debate

This is old and an April Fools’ joke, but most of this article was said verbatim by Monument Avenue residents at this week’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation committee meeting.

Some community meetings have become intense affairs of shouting, foot-stomping and finger-pointing and the rhetoric on the neighborhood listserv has become increasingly vitriolic. The most passionate supporters and opponents insist that they love the neighborhood so much that they will move away if the wrong outcome comes to pass. “I just moved here, and I would not have done so had I known that this project could have even been proposed,” said one opponent. “I can’t believe that no one consulted me to let me know ahead of time that such a change was even possible,” said another. “I have kids. What about them?” she continued.

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Good morning, RVA: A critical error, a cool streetcar map, and a draft master plan

Good morning, RVA: GRTC in Chesterfield, a ghost bike, and more bike share