Good morning, RVA: 926↘️ • 28↗️; lets invest in affordable housing; and a goose task force


Manage episode 274969841 series 1330923
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Good morning, RVA! It’s 66 °F, and foggy yet again! What’s with all the ominous build up to Halloween? OK, WE GET IT, SPOOKY. Anyway, today you can expect highs in the 80s as our return to warmer temperatures continues.

Water cooler

As of this morning, the Virginia Department of Health reports 926↘️ new positive cases of the coronavirus in the Commonwealthand 28↗️ new deaths as a result of the virus. VDH reports 103↘️ new cases in and around Richmond (Chesterfield: 42, Henrico: 36, and Richmond: 25). Since this pandemic began, 391 people have died in the Richmond region. Robert Zullo at the Virginia Mercury works through the most recent University of Virginia coronamodel, which now has a potential new peak of COVID-19 cases the week ending November 22nd. Zullo touches on “COVID fatigue”, and folks' increasing tendency to relax the strategies they’ve adopted to keep themselves and others safe. Don’t do that! Continue to keep your distance, wear your masks, don’t gather in poorly-ventilated spaces, and get tested if you think you might be sick. I know that it’s both hard and boring to keep at this stuff for months and months and months, but it’s so very important to do so!

Read this piece from Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the RRHA Housing Choice Voucher Program waitlistand tell me we’re not in an affordable housing crisis. 15,000 people called in to get their names on the waiting list—a waiting list that opened up for the first time since 2015. And it’s worse than that: “Those who signed up last week are not guaranteed a voucher, or even a slot on the waiting list. A computerized lottery will select 5,000 people from the pool for a spot. RRHA will contact each person who applied to notify them of their acceptance or denial by the end of the first week of November. Then, for those on the list, it’s another round of waiting.” We’ve got a crushing need for a massive and ongoing investment in deeply affordable (and public!) housing in our region. I know we’ve got folks working on plans and solutions, but is it enough? I dunno! I think it doesn’t feel like enough??

The Henrico Citizen has the results of a survey Henrico County Public Schools ran asking teachers and families about a return to in-person instruction. Among families, it’s pretty evenly split with a slight majority preferring to remain fully virtual. 75% of teachers, though, said that they’d return to schools if instructed to do so. We’ll see what happens tomorrow when Henrico’s School Board meets to consider a return to schools plan.

I kid you not, yesterday the RTD ran this incredible headline as BREAKING at the top of their website in huge font: “Some geese were removed from Byrd Park - with the support of a goose task force. A new group sued to stop them.” This piece by Sabrina Moreno is just wonderful and includes lines like “But Byrd Park geese do not know how to read.” and “their fate has hinged on how much of a ruckus their feces has caused” and “As people fight for the feeding of human food to stop, geese will do what they know best: honk noisily, poop freely.” I get that this is a real issue impacting one of our great public spaces, but, man, it is nice to have some relatively inconsequential drama to focus on given everything else that’s going on at the moment.

Northsiders! Councilmembers Hilbert and Gray have introduced ORD. 2020–224which would rename Confederate Avenue to Laburnum Park Boulevard. I don’t love the name since we’ve got a Laburnum Avenue just a couple blocks away, but neighbors conducted a ranked choice voting survey of 11 proposed street names (page 24 of this PDF) with 90% of Confederate Avenue homeowners participating. Actually, the list of proposed names had a surprising number of Confederate-adjacent options, so I should probably be stoked on where they ended up. Plus: Ranked choice voting! Council’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation committee recommended ORD. 2020–224 for approval yesterday and, at the moment, it’s on full Council’s November 9th agenda.

Food hall, food hall, food hall! Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense says that a food hall is headed to Manchester at 400 Hull Street, just across the 14th Street Bridge from Downtown. I’ve visited a couple of food halls in other cities, and I’m a fan of the concept. Something like Pittsburgh’s Federal Galley would do pretty well in Richmond, and I’m glad to see this concept heading to the Southside.

I got my flu vaccine at CVS the other day, and it was 100% a non-issue. It didn’t hurt, I didn’t make an appointment ahead of time, and it took just a couple of minutes. If you haven’t gotten your flu vax yet, just go do it! Keeping folks from catching the flu will help make sure our healthcare system has the capacity to handle this winter’s probably-impending increase in coronavirus cases. The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will host a free flu shot clinic for uninsured or underinsured individuals today at the East Recreation Center (1440 N. Laburnum) from 2:00–6:00 PM. You can also use this page to find the closest spot to you offering flu vaccines. Just go get it done!

This morning’s patron longread

CBP Drones Conducted Flyovers Near Homes of Indigenous Pipeline Activists, Flight Records Show

Submitted by Patron Joe. Extreme skeptical face about government agencies casually using drones to do whatever it is they’re doing over sovereign (or American!) land.

But our analysis of drone flights in Minnesota this year, sourced from Tampa-based flight tracking company RadarBox, suggests that CBP is surveilling multiple Indigenous advocates in the region who have fought against pipelines, including the proposed expansion of Enbridge’s Line 3. No one knows for sure what CBP is up to in these parts, and the agency offers very little information to the public. While the U.S. government’s violent suppression of protesters in places like Portland, Oregon, and surveilance of individuals’ social media feeds have drawn the most scrutiny, these drones are yet another powerful tool the government can use to chill free speech.

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

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