Axios Richmond

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It's only Tuesday?

☀️ Today's weather: Sunny with a high near 74.

🎧 Sounds like: "Waitin' On A Sunny Day" by Bruce Springsteen.

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Richmond member Scott Koehler!

Situational awareness: Mayor Stoney dropped his run for the Democratic nomination for Virginia governor and will instead run for lieutenant governor, his campaign announced in a news release this morning.

Today's newsletter is 906 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 🥶 Public housing eviction freeze

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Richmond's public housing agency is pausing evictions for at least 30 days, in part to assess whether it's been miscalculating rent prices.

Why it matters: A rent miscalculation could mean some of the poorest residents in the city are being charged more than federally allowed, leading them to potentially face eviction — and homelessness — if they can't pay.

The big picture: An estimated 66% of tenant files reviewed — or 23 of 35 — had rent calculation errors, according to a recent Department of Housing and Urban Development audit obtained by Axios.

  • All 20 reviewed files of residents using housing vouchers had adjusted income errors.
  • Wages, child support and self-employment income are all factors that can impact rent.
  • Federal inspectors also found a lack of staff knowledge with rent calculation procedures, prompting the Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority (RRHA) to conduct training in September.

Zoom in: HUD directed RRHA to reimburse families who overpaid or increase rent for those underpaying.

  • But RRHA said it can't begin that process until HUD identifies the files it reviewed.

Meanwhile, a rise in public housing evictions has drawn pushback from some city council members and housing advocates in the past month.

  • Kenyatta Green, RRHA's senior vice president of affordable housing, told WTVR that residents who have recently been evicted won't have their cases reopened because families could have reached out to management about rent errors.
  • The HUD audit found assisted housing specialists tasked with computing a tenant's rent oversee 650+ families each.

Keep reading for RRHA's next steps

2. 👀 The local named in Taylor Swift's new album

Taylor Swift and boygenius (Lucy Dacus is second from left) at the Grammy's this year. Photo: Francis Specker/CBS/Getty Images

Forever Richmonder and boygenius member Lucy Dacus is seemingly name dropped in Taylor Swift's new album, "The Tortured Poets Department."

Why it matters: It's not every day a Richmonder is (allegedly) involved in a major pop star's ex-BF drama, which fans theorize most of the album is about.

The lyric in question, via the title track: "Sometimes I wonder if you're gonna screw this up with me. But you tell Lucy you'd kill yourself if I ever leave and I had said that to Jack about you, so I felt seen."

Zoom in: The "you" appears to be Matty Healy, frontman of the 1975, who performed at the Richmond Raceway in 2019.

  • The never-confirmed Healy-Swift fling lasted a few months in 2023.
  • "Jack" is Jack Antonoff, a Swift bestie who produced this record and The 1975's latest.
  • Healy is friends with musician Phoebe Bridgers, who opened for Swift on The Eras Tour and is part of boygenius with Dacus.

Go deeper for how Dacus led Healy to deactivate his X account last year

3. 🌊 The Current: Operation baby duck rescue complete

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🐣 Richmond Animal Care and Control rescued a family of baby ducklings that had gotten trapped behind the sliding glass doors of a hotel in Shockoe Slip at 14th and Cary. (Facebook)

  • The ducklings were released into the canal.

💸 CoStar Group, the soon-to-be Virginia-based real estate data company, is buying a California-based 3-D real estate tech firm for $1.6 billion. (Virginia Business)

  • It's unclear if the California company's 440 employees will move to CoStar's new Arlington HQ.

🌺 Lewis Ginter breaks ground this week on its $31 million expansion that will add 7.5 acres of new gardens and a second lake. (BizSense)

🍃 A state education official with no cannabis policy background will be Gov. Youngkin's special adviser to the CEO of the Cannabis Control Authority, which oversees the medicinal marijuana program. (Times-Dispatch)

4. 🤩 Our fave celeb sightings

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Filming is set to being in Richmond this week for the coming-of-age musical from Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams.

Why it matters: That means celebrities — like Pharrell and the film's leads, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Halle Bailey and Da'Vine Joy Randolph — will likely also be in town and possibly out and about in Richmond.

State of play: In celebration of famous people arriving, we wanted to share some of our favorite, recent-ish celebrity sightings.

Solange Knowles

  • The singer, model and little sister to Beyoncé was briefly married to Richmond native Alan G. Ferguson.
  • The couple came for a visit in 2017, stayed at Quirk, shopped in the Arts District and dined at Laura Lee's in South Richmond.

Claire Danes

Daniel Day Lewis

Keep reading for David Arquette's wild weekend and Kevin Hart at Mama J's

5. 1 TikTok to go: A Richmond rapper's trending lyrics

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

"Don't ask me how I did it. I just did it. It was hard."

The big picture: Those lines have been used in over 117,000 TikToks as a sound people use over their video — and they're from Richmond rapper Chandler's song "NOTHIN' TO IT."

Zoom in: The TikTok in which he released the new song at the end of March, while wearing an "OG FOUR LOKO SURVIVOR" hat, has 9 million views.

Other TikToks have used the sound with these captions:

  • "How did you pull a 6'0 baddie as a 5'3 dude?"
  • "When the blacked out friend makes the last cup" (in beer pong).
  • "How did you survive middle school as a Horse Girl?"

Tell a Four Loko survivor

💁🏻‍♀️ Karri is totally humble bragging that she was the first reporter and news outlet to post that Daniel Day Lewis pic — and then saw it hours later lead the national evening news. (And tried to reach Brian Williams to demand a link and credit.)

💘 Sabrina thinks Swift telling the world that a brief situationship hurt worse than her six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn might be the most relatable thing she's done.

Thanks to Fadel Allassan for editing and Carlin Becker for copy editing today's edition.