04.25.2016

04.25.2016

Welp, another Monday is here. Maybe you’ve received a refund check to make it easier. Maybe it’s the middle of budget season. Maybe you get paid this week.  In any case, today’s buzz is all about the money and answering questions like: What can city’s learn from trailer parks? Where did Lil Wayne receive the key to the city? & Who are the players in Massachusetts latest municipal scandal?  Curious? Read on!

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Right Now w/ Matt Yager

What I’m Reading: A Cruz-Kasich Alliance to Stop Trump by Matt Ford

What I’m Watching: The new trailer for The Founder, where Michael Keaton play’s McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc

What I’m Listening to: Pretty Girl From Annapolis w/ When Doves Cry Interlude by The Avett Brothers

What I’m Doing:  Catching up on the many tributes to Prince

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Buzzing

Reclaiming “Redneck” Urbanism: What Urban Planners Can Learn From Trailer Parks: Given that “redneck” and “hillbilly” remain the last acceptable stereotypes among polite society, it isn’t surprising that the stereotypical urban home of poor, recently rural whites remains an object of scorn. The mere mention of a trailer park conjures images of criminals in wifebeaters, moldy mattresses thrown awry, and Confederate flags. As with most social phenomena, there is a much more interesting reality behind this crass cliché. Trailer parks remain one of the last forms of housing in US cities provided by the market explicitly for low-income residents. Better still, they offer a working example of traditional urban design elements and private governance.

TED’s secret to great public speaking: There’s no single formula for a great talk, but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones have in common. TED Curator Chris Anderson shares this secret — along with four ways to make it work for you. Do you have what it takes to share an idea worth spreading?

The College That Ate a City: Fast-growing San Marcos, Texas, faces an ever-expanding anchor institution and a student-focused real estate industry that’s pricing families out of housing. San Marcos, population 58,000, was listed as the fastest-growing city in America according to 2014 census data. The growth is mostly thanks to an expanding Texas State University — the largest employer and largest property owner in the city. With the anchor institution showing no signs of slowing down and the invasion of national developers that have seized on a growing real estate opportunity to provide housing for an increasing number of college students, city residents find themselves much more concerned about the consequences of that growth — including rising rents and flood waters — than noisy parties.

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50 Nifty 

  • Oklahoma alcohol bill would allow for dry counties, require store clerks to be 18 for beer sales: A proposed rewrite of Oklahoma alcohol statutes would allow Oklahoma counties to remain dry if they choose, as well as requiring all cashiers to be at least 18 years old and licensed to sell beer.  The bill also would allow for breweries in the state to operate brew pubs selling full-strength beer. Senate Bill 383, authored by Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, is a complete overhaul of Oklahoma alcohol laws, ranging from licensing to hours of operation. Despite rumors at the Capitol that the bill will be more than 400 pages long, Bice said in an interview with The Oklahoman that the bill is about 275 pages so far.
  • City Commission Receives Two Plans For City Hall (Kentucky):  The Paducah City Commission met Tuesday night and discussed the City Hall Project.Over the past several months, elected officials, city staff, RATIO Architects and the City Hall Schematic Design Advisory Group worked to complete an in-depth process of design for two options: rehabilitation of the existing City Hall and construction of a new building.  Goals for either building were set as follows: 1) Improves the customer experience; 2) Improves city staff functionality; 3) Energizes the Civic Zone District of downtown; 4) Provides a modern, adaptable workplace for 50 years; 5) Contributes to Paducah’s identity and culture.
  • Multnomah voters should support Oregon Historical Society: Like politics, history is local. When is comes to our state history, Oregonians have a deal. As taxpayers, we pay less proportionately than those in most other states when it comes to supporting our state historical agency, the Oregon Historical Society. But, let’s focus on paying for history at the county level. The Oregonian/OregonLive editorial board has recommended that voters in Multnomah County decline continuing support for the Oregon Historical Society via Measure 26-174.
  • Decade later, Hazleton is a different place (Pennsylvania): As soon as Aida Gell moved here in 2006 with her two young sons, she wondered if she had made a mistake. Born in the Dominican Republic, she had immigrated in 1987 to Westchester County, N.Y., where she drove a bus. But this old coal city had housing she could afford and a growing Latino presence. As she learned within days of arriving, Hazleton had something else: a new ordinance aimed at keeping out undocumented immigrants. What Gell saw and heard that summer was discomforting for a Latina, even one in America legally. She was rattled by the edgy bearing of police in the park as 300 protesters, mostly Hispanic, raised signs reading, “We the People Includes Everyone.” The Ku Klux Klan threatened to show up, and although it didn’t, Gell recalls saying to herself, “Oh my God, what did I do?”

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  • Watch Lil Wayne receive the key to the City of Lafayette, Louisiana: Tidal co-owner Lil Wayne did a concert in his native Louisiana on Monday as part of the streaming service’s Social Wave for Change initiative. The free show took place at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Cajun Dome, and just before Weezy took the stage, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux hit him with the key to the city—the only key to the city. “We appreciate what you and Tidal have done on behalf of the philanthropic efforts,” Robideaux said. As he hit Wayne with the key, done up as a concert-ready chain, he was quick to note, “That’s the only one in America.”
  • Residents of Virginia city irate after treasurer publishes list of delinquent taxpayers in newspaper: Petersburg Virginian residents and businesses are angry after being publicly called out for owing property taxes. Their were names published in the city’s main newspaper this weekend. “It’s my job to collect the delinquent taxes, yes,” said City Treasurer Kevin Brown. “I’m in my right mind, doing the legal stuff that I am supposed to do, there is nothing that I am doing that is outside of the code of Virginia.” Residents in Petersburg say now was not the time for the treasurer to further anger a city that is already divided against its city leaders.
  • Missoula City Council to hold public hearing for new cell phone ordinance: On Monday Missoula’s city council will hold a public hearing over a proposed cell phone ordinance for drivers that would close loopholes and tighten the language in the current ordinance. The current law was approved in 2012. With new applications and new technologies now available on phones, the city attorney says the ordinance has ambiguous language that has caused trouble for prosecutors and judges. Among the proposed changes is the complete removal of a subsection which allowed drivers to enter information and read from a GPS or navigation system.
  • Saving the town meeting (Vermont): rles Lusk can remember when Stowe’s Town Meeting Day was among the biggest community events of the year. “Many years ago, there was a discussion at town meeting about putting electric motors in the clock at the church,” Lusk recalled, a glimmer of humor in his eye. “It really sounded like it was going to be voted down. People were saying it was an issue of separation of church and state. It was going to be a $4,000 replacement.” Finally, Lusk said, someone stood up and reminded voters that Al Gottlieb had walked up and down the church stairs for 35 years to wind that clock, and $4,000 was a good price to pay for his time. The motion passed overwhelmingly. Lusk says his story illustrates the power of the individual at town meeting, a sentiment that’s been echoed through the history of the mainstay community gathering.

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Local Gov Confidential

East Longmeadow political fiasco: The villains, the victims, the whistle-blower and other players: For an affluent bedroom community of under 16,000 residents, East Longmeadow yields more than its fair share of political intrigue. From bare-knuckle politicking, to a jail term for former Selectman Enrico Villamaino for voter fraud, to a controversy over a town transportation vendor who dropped an elderly rider off in the wrong town where he fell down the stairs and died, East Longmeadow has generated a litany of dubious headlines. Most recently, town officials landed a political trifecta with a storm over its police chief that included a villain, a gangster and a whistle-blower. This was couched in allegations of attempted bribery that have piqued the interest of the state Attorney General’s office and the FBI. Below is a look at the players who have brought renewed notoriety to East Longmeadow and its town government.

Brothers nurture innovation: Steuart and Tom Walton started small with their Innovation Competition by design. The brothers, grandsons of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, said it was the first time the Walton Family Foundation had opened itself to unsolicited grant requests. So testing it at an appropriate scale with an initial fund of $50,000 was important as they sought innovative ideas. Of course, sticking to that amount wasn’t as easy, according to Steuart Walton. “We actually went over budget on our grant making, but we’re really excited about it,” Walton said last week. “I think it’s reflective of the quality of the grants we’ve received.” The brothers recognized the first recipients of grants through the Innovation Competition fund, which is part of the Tom and Steuart Walton Community Fund, during a luncheon held at Bentonville’s 21c Museum Hotel last week. Any individual or nonprofit organization was welcome to apply and recipients were selected from among more than 40 applicants who were evaluated based on innovation, the number of people involved, long-term sustainability, need and creative partnerships.

Unravelling local government: County commissioners vs. county council: All politics is local, former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill said. But local politics also can be confusing.  This may make it less so. What’s the difference between the board of county commissioners and the county council? The council controls the money. The commissioners have jurisdiction over matters concerning  the exercise of regulatory or administrative powers. In most Indiana counties, commissioners may adopt ordinances regulating behavior in the following areas: traffic control, housing standards and benefits such as sick pay to county workers. But they need the council’s approval before their idea gets funded. It’s a checks-and-balances thing.

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