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

Good morning, RVA: Renewable energy, Mayor Pete, and one of the best restaurants in America

Good morning, RVA! It's 57 °F, and look at these lovely temperatures! We’ve got highs in the mid 70s for at least the next day or two. Enjoy!

Water cooler

Police are reporting that Davonte S. Stovall, 23, was shot and killed on the 2300 block of Seldon Street in the East End this past Monday night.

Yesterday, the Governor signed Executive Order Forty-Three which sets a bunch of climate and energy goals for the State. Of note: By 2050 he wants 100% of Virginia’s electricity to “be produced from carbon-free sources such as wind, solar and nuclear.” You can read the full text of the Executive Order here (PDF). It’s basically a plan to reduce energy consumption by the state government and to ask a couple of state agencies to make some other plans about how to reach the bigger energy goals. There’s also a requirement to consider equity and environmental justice, which was good to see.

The Virginia Public Access Project has posted the September 15th campaign finance reports, and, while I’m not super interested in the state-level fundraising picture, the numbers for the City’s 5th District City Council special election are pretty interesting. Here’s how many donations under $100 each candidate received between July 1st and August 31st: Da Silva, 29; Lynch, 24; McCoy, 66; Richardson, 0; Sturm, 14; Taylor, 0; and Williamson, 41. Candidate Robin Mines didn’t have a report, and I’m not sure what that means. Jer’Mykeal McCoy raised the most money overall during the period, with $11,427, and, if my math is right, Thad Williamson has raised the most money overall. Honestly, I have no idea how money works in elections—especially elections with this many candidates and so few voters. I do think the number of sub-$100 donations can serve as a possible proxy for hustle, though.

Something to keep an eye on: Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says Richmond’s public housing authority, the RRHA, has hired Brian Swann as “new director of public safety” who “will serve as a liaison between Richmond’s public housing communities and law enforcement.” Previously, Swann headed up Richmond’s ATF office for a bunch of years.

The RTD’s Michael Paul Williams has a new column up about renaming public schools 💸. He’s got a complex position that’s in favor of keeping slaveholding Founding Father names, ditching Confederate names, but keeping Confederate names like Binford and Cary that have ties to the early creation of Richmond Public Schools. I don’t know how to square keeping Confederates like Binford and Cary, regardless of their role in RPS, with this sentiment: “But we should retain a place of honor for the courageous, if deeply flawed, men who fought to establish this union. No similar place should exist for those who led the effort to take it down.” Anyway, numbered schools for life.

Whoa! The Cheats Movement podcast got ahold of Mayor Pete to talk about his recent visit to Virginia and his 2020 campaign. Give it a listen on their website.

We’re already midway through RVA Transit Week! To celebrate transit tonight, you can head on over to the VCU Student Commons and catch the 2019 edition of the Morton B. Gulak Lecture. This is an annual lecture hosted by VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, and this year they’ve brought in Gary Hack to talk deliver a lecture titled “The New Mobility and the Sustainable City.” The lecture kicks off at 7:00 PM, but my advice is to get there early to make sure you get a seat. To give you some context, Jeff Speck, who wrote this week’s longread about the horrible interstate expansion in Houston, is a previous Gulak Lecturer.

Bon Appetit’s The Hot Ten, their list of America’s best new restaurants in 2019, is out and includes Richmond’s Longoven. This seems like a big deal! Also I absolutely love this non-Richmonder’s description of Scott’s Addition: “a rapidly developing neighborhood clamoring more for taprooms and barbecue joints and taprooms-slash-barbecue joints.”

Episode 70 of the Sam and Ross Like Things podcast is now up and available for your listening pleasure. After a brief summer hiatus, Sam and I talk about why I am a semi-recent convert to the beach and why he carries around an adorable change purse.

This morning's longread

A Nobel-Winning Economist Goes to Burning Man

This kind of just made me want to read Paul Romer’s work as an economist.

Mr. Romer came to the desert imagining himself as an objective outsider: de Tocqueville among the Burners. But Black Rock City started to rub off on him. One morning, a man who called himself Coyote, who was responsible for surveying the city’s streets, took Mr. Romer around. At the far edge of town, they found a roller coaster that looked likelier than most things at Burning Man to harm you. It was designed for one fool at a time, strapped into an oversized car seat that shot down one side of a 31-foot wooden U shape and up the other. Mr. Romer, surprising himself, walked up to it. “Should I do this?” he asked Coyote. “If you kill a Nobel Prize winner, it’s on you.” Then he climbed the stairs to the top of a contraption that had been constructed just days before, in a city with no building codes. Heavy metal was blaring. Mr. Romer was trussed into place. A guy with “PEE HERE” painted on his back took his glasses. And then someone gave him a push.

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Good morning, RVA: Richmond’s CAO fired, participatory budgeting, and a scooter social

Good morning, RVA: New school names, lots of boring audio, and RVA Transit Week!