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

Good morning, RVA: RTD on board?, big density energy in Scott’s Addition, and the 12 season of Virginia

Good morning, RVA! It's 62 °F, and today’s highs are in the 70s! Welcome back, wonderfully temperate weather. I hope you stick around for at least a couple of days. This list of Virginia’s 12 seasons, via /r/reddit, is super applicable.

Water cooler

Police are reporting that Antoine Deleston, 28, was shot to death Thursday afternoon on the 2000 block of Conrad Street. Anyone with information about this murder can call Detective A. Coates (804.646.0729) or Crime Stoppers (804.780.1000, 7801000.com).

After several columns and editorials skeptical of the Mayor’s proposed new downtown arena project, the Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial Board has come out with this pretty darn favorable editorial that’s basically just a list of the amenity requirements included in the project’s RFP (PDF). They don’t get into the details of the financing and the possible short-to-medium-term impacts it could have on the City’s general fund—which is my second biggest concern after “do we even need an arena downtown?” They also don’t tackle why an arena and the associated development is the only possible way to take advantage of “opportunities for downtown revitalization.” What really ticked me off, though, is this throwaway line about bus riders: “A new GRTC transit center, which can serve community members without the means for or interest in spending on leisure activities.” I think that’s a gross, monolithic, and lazy way to view folks who ride the bus that, perhaps, reveals who the RTD editorial board thinks the majority of this project is for. For what it’s worth and dispite whatever I think about the project and its details, I do think that the Mayor’s administration fully believes all Richmonders, whatever their means or mode of transportation, deserve the kind of quality-of-life improvements that they hope will come out of this North of Broad project. Anyway, having the paper’s editorial team on board is a big PR win for NoBro.

It’s wild how NIMBY resident complaints against density and new development are universally the same across our region. Do they all get the same newsletter? Maybe a bizarro version GMRVA that’s Richmond’s premiere downzoning and status quo email? Most recently, Sean Gorman in the RTD says 💸 that folks in Chesterfield are railing against the new Midlothian Community Special Area Plan because it may encourage building apartments. In this quote, one resident deploys a double classic anti-growth technique of “We Want Development, Just Not This Development” plus “What About The Children!”: “We want growth. We want development, but at the same time the amount of apartments that are popping up in the short period of time that they’re popping up is concerning because of schools.” We’ve heard these same complaints in Richmond during conversations about the Pulse, bike lanes, the new apartments on Brook Road, and just about every other progressive, urbanist project that I can think of.

Meanwhile, in Scott’s Addition, developers are looking to take advantage of the recent upzoning of the neighborhood and will build a tower that will “go up to nearly the limit of its [12-story] height restriction.” Now that’s the density I’m after! J. Elias O’Neal at Richmond BizSense has all the details. The developers will also use Opportunity Zone funding, which I still do not understand. I imagine they’ll bring lots of opportunity to folks looking for market-rate housing, which is definitely a need we have in the City, but for anyone looking for a more affordable opportunity...🤷‍♀️.

The RTD’s Karrie Peifer says that Fuzzy Cactus, a new rock and roll bar, has opened on Brookland Park Boulevard. I’ve been following the changes to and growth of this area for a couple of years now, and new bars and nightlight are certainly one type of change/growth.

Today, at 11:00 AM on the Capitol steps, folks from VAratiftyERA will hold a press conference and kick off their 2020 campaign to get Virginia to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Should Virginia Ratify the ERA, we’d be the final state needed to kick off...some sort of federal process. It’s legally unclear what would happen, but, certainly, something would happen. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.

Ban cars. But seriously, Semmes is a speedway and either needs a reconfiguration of the street to keep people from driving into houses or some serious speed limit enforcement by the police.

This morning's Patron longread

Dear Disgruntled White Plantation Visitors, Sit Down.

Submitted by Patron Kathleen. Michael Twitty is a Black historical interpreter who focuses on food and cooking. His blog is great and worth subscribing to.

Southern food is my vehicle for interpretation because it is not apolitical. It is also drenched in all the dreadful funkiness of the history it was created in. It’s not my job to comfort you. It’s not my job to assuage any guilt you may feel. That’s really none of my business. My job is to show you that my Ancestors, (and some of yours quiet as its kept…go get your DNA done…like right now…talking to you Louisiana and South Carolina…) resisted enslavement by maintaining links to what scholar Charles D. Joyner famously called a “culinary grammar” that contained whole narratives that reached into spirituality, health practices, linguistics, agricultural wisdom and environmental practices that constituted in the words of late historian William D. Piersen, “a resistance “too civilized to notice.”

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: Are you registered to vote?, more North of Broad thoughts, and a local chicken sandwich

Good morning, RVA: Disparate impact, schools news, and paid family leave