Good Morning, RVA: School funding, Maggie Walker plazavibes, and domain squatting

Block off some time to spend outside today, because, man, it looks wonderful.

Good morning, RVA! It’s 54 °F, and today’s forecast is blessedly the same as yesterday’s. Expect highs in the mid 80s, sunshine, and a few clouds to roll in later this afternoon.

Water cooler

Yesterday was a busy day in government around these parts. First, City Council met to unveil and discuss their budget amendments. You can listen to the audio (in a terrible format) here, and you can look through all of the proposed amendments by following the links in this PDF. There are a lot of line items (including one, I think, for making the southern side of the T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge accessible to all), but probably most folks are interested in how Council decided to fund the schools. For the General Fund, which pays for operating costs, Council has a menu of options (PDF, page 2), ranging from an additional $18 million (co-sponsored by Agelasto, Baliles, and Samuels) to about $5 million just for teacher salary decompression (co-sponsored by Baliles, Graziano, Newbille, Mosby, Robertson, and Trammell). There are only about $7 million of cuts proposed to the General Fund budget, so start thinking about how you’d balance that equation (cuts, taxes, miracles, the banana stand). On the Capital Improvement Program side, which funds things like buildings and maintenance, there’s a single $10M amendment co-patroned by Baliles, Hilbert, Agelasto, and Trammell. There are $25 million in cuts proposed to the CIP budget, with most of that coming from the Highland Grove Community Center (all $8.4 million that had been proposed in the Mayor’s CIP) and the “Street Lighting/General Prior Year Available Balance” ($5 million of the $10 million that has “accumulated over time” but is required to “facilitate the electric infrastructure upgrade program”). Council has another informal budget work session to discuss these amendments on April 25th before their regularly-scheduled meeting.

But that’s not all government fans! The Planning Commission met to make some decisions on the proposed Maggie Walker Plaza. After a lengthy discussion, they voted to approve the location and general artistic design of the statue. While they didn’t formalize it, they all basically agreed that their vote implies the Tree That Must Not Be Named is coming down and the teensy portion of Brook Road will be closed. However, they held off on voting on the design of the plaza surrounding the statue. They weren’t too thrilled (one commission member was officially disappointed!) that the design team had ignored a substantial portion of the Urban Design Committee’s recommendations. So they’ll have 30 days to kick it around and come up with a better plan. To be continued! Literally!

(Psst…related to the above paragraph: There are two openings on the Planning Commission that you should apply for if statues and plazas are totally your thing.)

Today’s sunglasses emoji goes to Nate Peterson (newly-minted mayoral candidate himself) for domain squatting on all of Richmond’s potential mayoral URLs.

New York will hold its primary tonight. At stake are 95 Republican delegates and 291 Democratic delegates–and bragging rights about who is the biggest New Yorker of them all.


  • Squirrels lost again, 2-6, to Reading. The second game of the series is at 6:35 PM.
  • Nats dropped their second in a row, losing 1-6 to the Marlins. They’ll play again tonight at 7:10 PM.
  • After last night’s 6-1 victory, the Caps have now won three in a row against the Flyers in the Stanley Cup. They’ll try and make it four tonight at 7:00 PM.

This morning’s longread

The True Story of How I Went Viral. Twice.

The internet pretty much sucks.

In the short history of the internet, many have gone viral. But not many have done it twice. And even fewer have gone viral on both ends of the web’s emotional spectrum–hate and love. But I have.

This morning’s Instagram


A photo posted by Brandon Hepler (@brandonheplerphoto) on

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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