• My response to the Richmond City Charter Review Citizen Engagement Survey 2023

    The survey.

    1. Please share any other comments or recommendations you may have concerning the City Charter, the City’s current form of governance, or other potential forms of governance for the City. Please focus your remarks on the form of governance, not specific complaints or criticisms of specific individuals.

    Our problem isn’t too much democracy, it’s not enough. There’s no reason to have only 9, part-time legislators running our city government.

    Having part-time council members severely narrows the candidate pool to those who are wealthy, those who are married to wealth, or those connected to special interests that don’t mind if their employees take a full-time job “on the side”. Council members should be compensated as full time employees to increase the candidate pool.

    The city should implement ranked choice voting (doesn’t require a charter amendment) to further improve the candidate pool. My current councilmember won their election with a plurality of less than 40% of voters choosing them.

    We should amend the charter to make our mayoral election ranked choice voting as well. The current system of “win enough districts or else there’s a run off” had a good intention, but can lead to back room deals to ensure spoiler candidates don’t win with a sub-majority of votes in a district. Ranked choice voting would give better results in making sure that all areas of our city have a voice while being dramatically simpler to implement and understand.

    The city should publicly fund city council and mayoral elections to further increase the candidate pool and reduce the influence of larger donors on our local election.

    We should increase the number of city council seats. There are more than 9 smart people in Richmond capable of great leadership. The more citizens on the council, the more time for expertise and specialization on committees, the more time for collaboration. The more citizens on the council, the less opportunities for individual council members to be significant roadblocks to progress, consensus, or compromise. The more citizens on council, the more responsive each council member can be to constituents. 9 council seats means ~25,000 constituents per seat. Conservatively raise the number of council seats to 12 or 15 people and you get each seat representing ~19,000 or ~15,000 people respectively. More aggressively increase it to 25 or 35 and each seat represents ~9,000 or ~6,500 citizens respectively. You might ask “but how will 35 people ever come to any agreement” and I’d counter “how do 9?” Humans come to agreement through conversation, empathy, and compromise. The more humans devoting their full time to this effort, the less any one of them has the power to hijack the process.

    More democracy is better than less democracy. Please use this as your mission statement when reviewing our city charter.

  • IMPORTANT For the safety and security of this event, please do not share this location widely with social media platforms or individuals you do not know.

    We live in an age where LGBTQ+ youth groups have to include this type of warning in their event emails.

    There are adults who want to hurt my kid for daring to exist.

    There are cynical adults who profit from convincing other adults to hate my kid.

    Profit and power is the point. Cruelty and intimidation is the fuel. The violence is real.

    Vote. Donate. Volunteer. Protest. Strike. Shout.

  • In my latest DadZone column for Richmond Family Magazine, I write about the loss of our dear cat Jelly.

    Locals can pick up a free physical copy around town and it can be read online here: richmondfamilymagazine.com/parenting…

  • Happy New Zelda Day!

  • Still on most days, I hear myself say Everything’s easy

    Everything’s Easy by Girlyman

  • I have to believe we’ve passed peak indifference towards people driving cars killing people.

  • Raise your hand if you accidentally visit this webpage several times a day.

    A screenshot of the DuckDuckGo search results for “1 Pascal”
  • Morning yogurt can feel like an apology to my tummy for the cheese crackers I ate at midnight.


    What ring style are you?

  • The Virginia driver’s license application asks “Yes or No. Have you ever had a seizure, blackout, or loss of consciousness?”

    On one hand, I don’t want to waste everyone’s time by being too literal or a smart ass. On the other hand, I don’t want to commit a class 2 misdemeanor.

  • Lesson I struggle to remember: someone explaning why they’re confused is not the same thing as them saying I was confusing.

  • Turns Out™: having a bunch of people use power tools in your house during a kitchen renovation really messes with Ethernet Over Power.

  • It’s called a Tudor mansion because it’s so big that the front door is actually two doors.

  • If you’re wondering why I’m physically and emotionally spent by 7:40 AM, it’s because I’m partly responsible for getting two teenagers to their respective school buses on time.

  • Exile.

    As I write this a spring thunderstorm threatens to disturb my beer garden respite. My networked pocket computer predicts I’ve got 40 minutes to sit, so I’m going to take it.

    Renovations on my kitchen began this week and while I was prepared for stress and chaos, it doesn’t minimize the stress and chaos I feel. Home is presently a loud place full of people doing things with drills and hammers and saws and I feel an intense desire to flee. Today was electrical work and my fast internet was turned off. So I’m here in one of my favorite places, the Ardent beer garden, LTEing it up on my iPad.

    In the run up to the renovations I’d been trying to spend less money on eating food out. Left to my own devices, I really don’t know how to feed myself. I tend to be impulsive and eat salty, fatty, high-caloric food that makes me feel bad 30 seconds after I’ve done eating it. New habits have been very hard, but with the renovations coming I’d had some success just grabbing some carrots or a slice of cheese at the first sign of lunch hunger. I was feeling generally better and had lost a few pounds.

    With the chaos, those habits with shallow roots were easily plucked out of the ground. Yesterday was a Wawa hoagie. Today was Whole Foods pizza. Both of which made me thirsty and lethargic immediately after finishing them. The good news is, I’m only 3-4 days in and I’ve already taken the time to notice. As my ADHD coach would remind me, noticing is the necessary first step and worthy of celebration as a Win.

    The other day I listened to an episode of the Factually podcast with the author of Rethinking Intelligence and she said that humans are always, always learning from their environment and that one can exercise their intelligence by pausing to pay attention. So I’m going to close my iPad and listen for a bit before the rain chases me away.

  • Our kitchen renovation descends next week and the house is CHAOS in preparation.

  • TIL that “Lofi” and “Lo-fi” music exist and are different things.

  • There is no place in Target I can stand and wait for my teenagers to finish shopping and not be creepy.

  • I like a fully-armed and operational battle station.

  • I like the first spring day where it’s warm enough to take my morning tea on my patio.

  • Finished reading: The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older 📚

    Short but very good. I want to read more about this world and characters but didn’t feel like the story of this novel was missing anything.

  • Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Hades.

    A hand holding a mug of Earl Grey tea next to a white OLED Nintendo Switch playing Hades.
  • Of the orchestral arrangements of music from Final Fantasy VI, I could listen to Celes’s Aria from the Opera House scene DOUBLE all day.

  • Currently reading: The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older 📚

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