A local student writing a research paper recently asked me a series of questions about my life here, including “why did you stay in Richmond?”
It’s a good question that I’ve been asked many times over the years. It’s a question I come back to periodically as I evaluate what I want in life and where I want to be. It’s a question I’ve watched friends and coworkers wrestle with. It’s a question that speaks to all who think about the future of this community.
I came to Richmond to attend Earlham College, and originally had no intention of sticking around any longer than necessary to complete my degree. The Earlham of that time did not do a good job of highlighting the city’s treasures for new students arriving on campus; many students and even some faculty spoke of it with disdain, a surrounding environment to be tolerated and endured instead of appreciated or enjoyed. As graduation day approached my peers and close friends made preparations to move; very few would even consider the possibility of staying in Richmond. The momentum all around me was to launch oneself away from this place.
But for most of my senior year I had chosen to live off campus, in a rental house on South 4th street in the historic Old Richmond district. It was the perfect distance between campus, where I had a few classes to finish, and the downtown area, where the offices of my startup technology company were located. I could walk to both, and on those walks I began to see a different community than the one I’d only occasionally dropped in to for the previous three years. I began to see a community that was more than the stereotypes passed around the campus community: A place that used to be. A manufacturing hub that hadn’t caught up to globalization. Rednecks and racists. Boring and flat. Nothing to do. Nothing to see here.
Continue reading Why did I stay in Richmond?
You may know that veteran Palladium-Item reporter Bill Engle retired from his position at the newspaper near the end of 2015. If you followed and appreciated his journalistic endeavors as much as I did over the years, you’ll agree that this was a real loss for local media coverage.
Happily, Bill has started his own site where he’s once again writing about news, events and issues in the Richmond community. You can check it out at BillEngle.com, leave a comment, share a post, and subscribe for email updates.
Thanks, Bill, for sharing your perspective with us in this new way.
From today’s Pal-Item, local leaders are willing to try something different when it comes to helping people addicted to drugs.
We’re used to a lot of the rhetoric about drugs, drug addiction and related problems being focused on locking people up and getting them out of sight. The “war on drugs” has traditionally meant “get those people off our streets and out of our communities.” But many of “those people” are part of our community. They need help, and apart from some of the most violent offenders sending them to jail doesn’t usually help in changing the underlying environment in which drug sales and addiction have flourished.
So it’s refreshing to see statements that bring a little more nuance to the situation.
Continue reading Trying something different
Former Richmond Mayor Sally Hutton died yesterday.
I followed Mayor Hutton’s political career since arriving in Richmond. It always struck me how accessible, genuine and forward-thinking she was in her approach to community-building and city governance.
It felt like her door was literally always open – whether it be her office at the City Building, her house or wherever she found herself around town. Whatever she was working on, she seemed to keep the needs of Richmond’s everyday worker, resident and small business owner at the center of her perspective. Mayor Hutton was of the people, by the people and for the people in a way we rarely see with modern elected officials.
Continue reading Thank you, Sally
The City of Richmond needs to hire a Director of Information Technology. The position description is here, applications go to email@example.com as noted here.
The person in this role will have some great opportunities to help shape how local government uses technology tools to be more efficient and effective. Yes, there are some things about the current infrastructure to clean up and no, IT in the public sector is probably not going to be as lucrative as it might be in the private sector. But it’s important work in the service of a city that can get caught up and then get ahead, and for a Mayor who has a strong appreciation for good technology management and its importance to running the City well.
I hope you’ll share the position opening with qualified IT professionals that you know, and help us get the right person in the job.
If you’re involved in community improvement efforts in Richmond, it probably means you go to lots of meetings.
Planning meetings, board meetings, government meetings, brainstorming meetings, project update meetings, budget meetings…yes, of course. And then there are the annual dinners, kickoff events, awards ceremonies, networking meals, celebrations and many other kinds of gatherings; it seems some weeks don’t go by without four or five of these happening.
There are several hundred not-for-profit organizations operating in Richmond alone, not to mention all of our government agencies, community-minded business groups and others. Most of them have meetings like these somewhere along the way.
These meetings aren’t the only places that good ideas about the future of our city are shared, but they’re some of the main ones. Unfortunately, most of the time, those good ideas stay locked away in the minds or personal notes of the people who attended, unavailable to the rest of the people of Richmond.
I think we need to change that.
Continue reading A push to publish