♦ The week’s brightest spot happened Tuesday when the last group of the 12-member “Wild Boars” soccer team and their coach were safely brought out of the Tham Luang cave in Thailand. The saga of the 13 trapped deep inside a flooded cave gripped the entire globe for weeks. Our thanks and admiration go out to the hundreds of rescuers from around the world who worked to free the young boys. Great things happen when we work together.
♦ In a smaller blessing, there were only minor injuries when a bus from the new Pulse rapid transit line on Broad Street collided with a pickup truck near North Allen Street. The new bus line, from Rocketts Landing to Willow Lawn, is an admirable and ambitious effort to significantly improve RVA’s public transit options. Count us among the many rooting for nothing but success for the $65 million investment. Pulse’s infrastructure has changed the traffic flow and appearance of much of Broad Street, so it’s not surprising that drivers may be a bit confused. Accidents will happen. But GRTC, which operates Pulse, has a fundamental duty to ensure the safety of everyone along the route. One minor incident is not a crisis. Still, we encourage constant vigilance, especially in these early stages, from both the authorities and the driving public.
♦ It’s a great shame that every vacancy on the United States Supreme Court launches a de facto referendum on Roe v. Wade. Abortion is not the only issue that comes before the court, nor even necessarily the most consequential. And yet it inevitably poisons the confirmation process and has done so for decades. Is there a better reminder that — except in rare instances such as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka — it is far healthier to allow the elected branches of our government to enact laws that impose drastic change on the lives of nearly all Americans than to have them imposed by the judiciary? The give and take of political debate and legislative compromise usually creates laws that reflect the wisdom of the people rather than the preferences of a few fallible judges — in other words, laws that last without inciting unceasing ideological conflict.
♦ Are they nuts? Southwest Airlines — famous for its cheerful flight attendants, brightly colored airplanes, and consistent ability to turn a profit even when most airlines can’t — has dispensed with a little treat long associated with the frugal company. Southwest announced on Tuesday that as of Aug. 1, it will no longer be serving peanuts in its cabins. It’s an understandable change that respects the sensitivity of passengers who are allergic to salty goobers. Still, we’ll miss no longer being able to fly Southwest “for peanuts,” as its marketers often proclaimed. Somehow, flying “for pretzels” just doesn’t sound as uplifting.
♦ More good homes are on the way. The Goodwyn at Union Hill, a 52-apartment affordable housing complex being renovated by Richmond’s Better Housing Coaltion, is making progress. The coalition just released an update, noting that work on the former Citadel of Hope building is underway “and the bright results stand in sharp contrast to the dark, burned-out shell it once was.” The project at 2230 Venable Street in the Church Hill area is expected to begin pre-leasing activities this summer, with the first residents moving in this fall. When complete, the coalition reports, The Goodwyn’s five buildings will contain homes for families with annual household income between $25,000 and $40,000. The project is just the latest in the coalition’s continuing work to build a better RVA.
♦ A thriving economy and climbing wages have given most Americans a welcome boost in family incomes. But economists say the nearly 10-year economic expansion could be threatened by high gasoline prices. According to The Wall Street Journal, on Monday, drivers paid an average of $2.86 a gallon — the highest prices since 2014. In California, gasoline prices have hit more than $3.60 a gallon thanks to the state’s higher taxes and stricter environmental regulations. To date, Americans seem unfazed by the higher prices. They proved that when 47 million motorists hit the road on July 4 — probably the busiest travel day in U.S. history.
The give and take of political debate and legislative compromise usually creates laws that reflect the wisdom of the people rather than the preferences of a few fallible judges — in other words, laws that last without inciting unceasing ideological conflict.
Rising gas prices haven’t discouraged the legendary American motorist, seen here in force on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.