It’s time for March Madness! Today’s Buzz looks to the next three weekends of college basketball while looking at changing ethnicity in neighborhoods, sexual orientation protections in Indiana, and the use of pot farms for economic development in California.

Start preparing your picks for the ELGL Bracket Challenge and read on!

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Right Now with Matt Yager

What I’m Doing: Starting deep research to make sure NicklebackFTW is the most evidence based bracket in this year’s Battle for the Fund Balance challenge.

What I’m Listening To: Shellah V. by Chris Joss

What I’m Watching: The Politics of “Parks and Rec”

What I’m Reading: Walking The Beat In Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Where A New Day Began Together

What I want to know from you: Who’s your pick for this year’s March Madness Cinderella?

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We’re Buzzin’

The Urban Ethnic Shuffle: I recently heard a well respected (white) commentator use the term “ethnic cleansing” in the context of gentrification. As in… such-and-such neighborhood used to be black and now it’s lily white. It made me think about the way demographic migrations are interpreted by different groups.

Former Vietnamese refugee pays it forward: Nhung Tran-Davies was a Vietnamese refugee privately sponsored by a group of Canadians in 1979. Now she is sponsoring a family of Syrian refugees.

Debatable: Unclasp your briefcase. It’s time for a showdown. In competitive debate future presidents, supreme court justices, and titans of industry pummel each other with logic and rhetoric.  But a couple years ago Ryan Wash, a queer, Black, first-generation college student from Kansas City, Missouri joined the debate team at Emporia State University. When he started going up against fast-talking, well-funded, “name-brand” teams, it was clear he wasn’t in Kansas anymore. So Ryan became the vanguard of a movement that made everything about debate debatable. In the end, he made himself a home in a strange and hostile land. Whether he was able to change what counts as rigorous academic argument … well, that’s still up for debate. (h/t Catherine Gilbert)

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50 Nifty

Visualizing the future of cities with New York’s ex-transportation chief: Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City transportation commissioner from 2007 to 2013, oversaw what may have been the most turbulent period for the nation’s biggest city in decades. She built over 400 miles of bike lanes and transformed some of the most congested pockets of the city into pedestrian plazas. But arguably, with the rise of ride-sharing and automated vehicles, the radical transformation of the next decade may trump the last.

More Indiana cities adopting sexual orientation protections: More cities across Indiana are working toward adopting local ordinances that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity after a push for statewide protections failed in the General Assembly last month. In Kokomo, the city council voted 5-4 last week to give initial approval of a proposed ordinance after more than an hour of debate. In northwestern Indiana, Munster could have similar rules adopted next month, while an Evansville city commission has been given more authority to investigate and enforce its local anti-bias law.

Bill would give Colorado cities more control over oil/gas well locations: City staff are recommending that the Longmont City Council support draft legislation that would allow local governments more control over oil and gas well locations. Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. Matt Jones are sponsoring the bill. Foote said the measure is set to be introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives by Friday. The bill would allow municipalities and county governments to exercise land use authority over where an oil and gas well is located.

Pedal-pubs get Champaign city OK (Illinois):  Champaign city officials are pumping up the idea of the pedal-pub.  The city council has approved a liquor license that does not permit Slowride Inc. to serve alcohol, but allows riders to bring their own. It will pay $250 a year for the license. The 20-foot-long, pedal-powered vehicles which travel 4 mph to 7 mph are restricted from streets with speed limits of 35 mph or above.

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Many Ohio Cities Aren’t Feeling Kasich’s “Miracle”: John Kasich has repeatedly called Ohio “one of the fastest growing states in the country,” and dubbed the transformation the “Ohio Miracle.” He has held the Buckeye State up as a model for Rust Belt recession recovery. There’s one problem with that message. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio has now gone 38 straight months with job growth below the national average.

Idaho permitless concealed carry bill endangers police, public: For nearly a century Idaho has maintained a strong concealed carry permitting system, requiring that anyone carrying a concealed weapon inside city limits possess a valid concealed weapons license. This system was designed to protect the safety of all Idahoans, including the law enforcement officers who serve and protect our communities. As chiefs of police serving within Ada County, we not only believe in the Second Amendment but we support every element of the U.S. Constitution. We lead law enforcement agencies sworn to protect our communities and citizens, filled with officers who risk their lives to ensure the safety of our citizens. On Monday the Legislature will be hearing Senate Bill 1389. If passed, SB 1389 would remove Idaho’s required permitting system and make it lawful for people to carry concealed loaded handguns in public without a license or background check within the city limits of all Idaho cities.

Timeline of jail expansion in Pennington County (South Dakota): A nine-fold increase in the number of Pennington County Jail inmates since 1970 has been accompanied by frequent jail construction projects. Here’s how the jail grew from a small building to a massive complex.

Half of Mississippi Counties Have Storm Reports: The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says 41 of the state’s 82 counties have sent storm reports about heavy rains or flooding. A news release says there are no injuries or deaths being reported but two fishermen are still missing in Claiborne County south of Vicksburg. Initial reports show major damage to at least 95 homes and minor damage to 277 others.

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LocalGov Confidential

Struggling California desert towns seek tax bonanza with pot farms:  For decades, Desert Hot Springs had relied on its steaming mineral waters to lure tourists to local motels for healing baths and spa treatments. But the town of 28,000 mostly suffered. A third of its residents lived in poverty, and the city filed for municipal bankruptcy in 2001. A housing bust seven years later deepened the fallout. So in 2014, 68 percent of Desert Hot Springs voters approved California’s first local initiative to authorize industrial cultivation of marijuana. With freeway connections to hundreds of marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, the town set out to lure pot entrepreneurs to revive its industrial districts with new construction bursting with cannabis.

New drug ordinance in Wilkes-Barre will reduce paraphernalia penalty (Pennsylvania): Starting today, adults found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia in the city might catch a break from the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department. City council at its regular meeting Thursday voted 5-0 to pass the second and final reading of a paraphernalia ordinance downgrading possession from a misdemeanor to a summary offense at the discretion of the arresting officer. Factors that police will consider include the criminal background of an offender and whether the person is going to be facing more serious charges. City officials said they decided to reduce the offense to put money into city coffers that will be collected through city-issued citations and savings from no longer prosecuting misdemeanor offenses. Fines for misdemeanor and felony crimes go largely to the state; whereas fines for a summary citation go to the city.

Rossi to retire as Cambridge city manager in June: After 45 years serving the city of Cambridge, City Manager Richard Rossi announced today that he plans to retire this June. With a palpable love of Cambridge and a seemingly endless knowledge of its inner workings, Rossi is an irreplaceable leader, say his colleagues. “We’re going to see a huge vacuum with his absence,” said four-term state Rep. Marjorie Decker, who was on the City Council for 14 years. “I have become unabashedly one of his strongest supporters. I’m really sad he’s leaving. … He’s such a thoughtful and humble person. He doesn’t have to know all the answers in order to have a conversation. He doesn’t run from conflict nor does he look to create it.”

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