Good morning, RVA! It's 72 °F, and highs today are way up into the mid 90s. There may be some relief headed our way this evening with a bit of rain, but maybe not! After that, you can expect a persistent but low chance of rain until next week—which may impact your fireworks situation.
Richmond Police are reporting that Tyrell J. Thomas was shot and killed on the 2300 block of Bethel Street on Monday night. According to the RPD, Thomas is the 29th person murdered in Richmond so far in 2019.
Max and I put together a new piece for Streets Cred that expresses the frustration we both—and many of y’all, I’m sure—feel over the apathy our elected leaders have about the safety of our streets. In the last couple of days a driver murdered a woman with her car in Shockoe Bottom while another driver hit and killed a Richmonder riding their bike in New York City. At what point do we push for greater regulation of cars in our urban enviornment and start putting some political muscle behind the idea that cities should—in some form and in some settings—ban cars? Where is the bold policy from the Mayor or City Council—like the gun violence ordinance he just proposed and which they just passed—to protect and prioritize people, not cars, on our streets?
Micheal Paul Williams has a column up today about the murder-by-car in Shockoe Bottom 💸, that I’m not sure I totally agree with—but don’t not agree with, either. I’ve got two separate thoughts. First, this is a good set of sentences: “The nightclub owners in Shockoe Bottom are trying to make a living and state Alcoholic Beverage Control officials aren’t quick to snatch away a livelihood. But I’ll shed no tears if these clubs fade from the Bottom’s landscape. They inhabit sacred ground. The violent impulses flowing out of these establishments add yet another layer of desecration to a neighborhood steeped in it. The Bottom needs more contemplation and less conflict.” I’m hopeful that some of the ongoing planning processes figure out how to combine respectful contemplation with the things needed to make Shockoe a vibrant and safe neighborhood for everyone. Those things, clubs included, could, but don’t necessarily, conflict. Second, Williams asks, “When motor vehicles become instruments of death, what policing and policies can prevent that?” Yes! This is the exact question we need our local lawmakers to ask! There are definitely answers to this question. It’s not an inevitability that people will die on our streets, and we just need a few bold local leaders to step up, propose/pass some laws, and change some policies to help keep people safe.
Since they had an infusion of new blood on the Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial Board, I haven’t really had a strong disagreement with what they’ve had to say. Today, though, they’ve got a piece up about real estate assessments that simultaneously worries that the increases make the City unaffordable for lower-income folks but also chides Richmond for spending tax revenue—“Rest assured that if there is more tax revenue, the city will spend it — rather than return it.” Uh, yeah. We’ve got close to a billion dollars of capital needs in school infrastructure, probably another billion for public housing, a transit system that could have its budget doubled and still not have enough resources to serve our growing population, and a City hall that’s understaffed. Who benefits most from Richmond spending more tax revenue on that list of needs and who benefits most from returning it to tax payers?
The 2019 World Overall Flying Disc Championships (!?) are coming to Richmond July 8–13th. This sounds amaaaaazing. You can watch athletes compete in a variety of categories—accuracy, discathon, disc golf, distance, Double Disc Court, freestyle, and Self-Caught Flight—at a variety of parks—Bryan Park, Strikers West Creek, Forest Hill Park, Huguenot Park, and VCU’s Cary Street Field. Here’s the full schedule, and Don Harrison at Richmond Magazine has a few more details on what this even is.
Logistical note! Tomorrow is the 4th of July, which is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate—no pressure, no gifts, just a good excuse to hang out with friends while eating too much food from a table filled with chips and condiments. It’s great! Anyway, to make sure I fully celebrate and recover from those things, I’m taking Thursday and Friday off. Next we speak it’ll be Monday and just one day before the General Assembly’s special session on gun violence. Something to look forward to!
This morning's longread
As we head into the July 4th holiday, learn some more about America’s Pastime—at least before America’s Pastime switched to watching three episodes of something on Netflix and then going to bed early.
Players had to attend charm school and wear lipstick on the field. Their uniforms had skirts instead of pants — not great for sliding, but deemed appropriately feminine by league owner Philip K. Wrigley. All of this was chronicled in “A League of Their Own.” But there was one thing the movie left out: the reason for these requirements. Though it was never explicitly stated, historians and players alike say the rules were in place, in part, to prevent the women from being perceived as lesbians. Many of the women actually were gay, including D’Angelo, which is another part of the story the movie didn’t tell. By not including a gay character’s story in “A League of Their Own,” the film does to the history of the league what the owners tried to do its existence — erase lesbians from the narrative.
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