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

Good morning, RVA: 5th District forum, a “WE’LL DO IT LIVE” resolution, and 24-7 coffee beans

Good morning, RVA! It's 68 °F, and today’s weather looks hot and sunny. Expect highs back up in the 90s. We may get some rain later this week to cool things down, but, until then, you should expect me to be very sweaty if we happen to have a meeting together.

Water cooler

Last night, the Richmond Crusade for Voters hosted a 5th District Candidate forum, and you can read a nice play-by-play from Twitter user @GoadGatsby. There’s a lot to digest in that thread, but, to my point yesterday about the 5th District election becoming a referendum on the North of Broad Development, when asked if they supported the project: Maybe—Richardson, Williamson; NO—DaSilva, McCoy, Mines, Taylor. Starm didn’t attend the event, and I didn’t see Lynch’s response, but, of those six, not a one gave their full-throated support.

Here’s a weird story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch by Mark Robinson about the somehow still ongoing legal battle by the Mayor’s administration to prevent the release of a bunch of North of Broad documents—which, if we’re keeping track, have already been released twice at this point. I get the City pursing legal matters to set and protect precedents that help Richmond and other independent cities in Virginia thrive, but doing so over FOIA and keeping documents secret is a bad look in my opinion. Apparently, outgoing 5th District Councilmember Parker Agelasto agrees, and, in an incredible “WE’LL DO IT LIVE” moment, dictated a resolution expressing Council’s displeasure and opposition to additional litigation by the City. Here is the amazing PDF of the City Clerk transcribing Agelasto’s resolution. This is just the best and officially my favorite PDF. It was adopted by Council as part of their consent agenda.

I have to admit that I don’t really understand federal involvement in transportation projects or, really, rail projects in general. That said, the Federal Railroad Administration released their Record of Decision on DC2RVA (PDF). That’s the plan to connect Richmond to D.C. with high-ish speed rail. Someone smarter than me says that this means the route has been selected and federally approved, but site-specific planning, engineer, and, of course, construction still remain. Trains!

Also on the train tip, Virginians For High Speed Rail released a report on the Commonwealth Corridor (PDF), a plan for connecting Christiansburg, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Richmond, and Hampton Roads via an east-west passenger rail route. Fascinating fact from the report: “The last cross-state train, Amtrak’s Hilltopper, stopped service nearly four decades ago.” While the DC2RVA project is many, many years in the works, this one would need to get kicked off with a feasibility study by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. I’m into it! Train service from Richmond to Charlottesville seems like a great idea. Trains!

Next week, RVA Rapid Transit—my place of employ—is putting together a small celebration of the state’s Try Transit Week by hosting and promoting a handful of transit-related events around town. Today, I want to get two on your calendar. First, Monday is Bus to Work day. Whether you’re a regular rider or even a bus first timer, take a second to share a thought or two about why public transit matters—on Twitter, Facebook, or even to the person sitting next to you (bonus points for bus selfies). Second, on Tuesday I’m going to take the Pulse to the Observation Deck at City Hall and eat my lunch there—you should join me! Literally no agenda other than to eat lunch on top of a tall, transit accessible building. You can see the full list of events over on the RVA Rapid Transit website.

Have I written about the Blanchard’s Coffee vending machine before? I think it’s such a rad, simultaneously-old-but-futuristic idea. I realize that I am a precious coffee snowflake, but a 24-7 location to buy my preferred coffee beans is a gamechanger. Brea Hill writing for RVA Mag has details.

This morning's Patron longread

A Very German Idea of Freedom: Nude Ping-Pong, Nude Sledding, Nude Just About Anything

Submitted by Patron Alexis. Germans love being naked, and I think that is really interesting. I loved the part of this article where the American was forced to think about how swimming in clingy, chafing, wet clothing doesn’t make a ton of sense.

Mr. Adamski’s camp, founded in 1921, was the first licensed nudist club on a lakeside in the country. Nearly 100 years later, entire stretches of German waterfronts are designated as nudist beaches. There is a nudist hiking trail. There are sporting events from nude yoga to nude sledding. German saunas are mixed and naked. People regularly take their clothes off on television, too. To a relative newcomer, like my British husband, all this nudity can be disconcerting. When I took him to a sauna a short drive south of Berlin the other day, he didn’t know where to look.

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

Good morning, RVA: PDF clarification, a Navy Hill column, and tacos

Good morning, RVA: Commission members, a public Chesterfield spat, and lots of trails