05.23.2016

05.23.2016

Today’s Buzz looks at New York’s zoning code over the past 100 years, a packed city meeting to discuss Tax Increment Financing, and the ugly reaction to the stance women on Seattle’s City Council took on a street-use ordinance that might have helped bring back the Supersonics.  In tribute to the fun viral video and subsequent surge in mask sales across America, today’s buzz pays tribute to the galaxy’s most famous wookie, Chewbacca.

Right Now w/ Me

What I’m Reading: You’re using that action verb wrong by Jen Doll

What I’m Watching: YouTube Star Sponsors The Fastest Rising Football Club in England

What I’m Listening to: Ain’t No Man by The Avett Brothers

What I’m Doing: Deep cleaning bathrooms.  It’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it.

star wars chewie

Buzzing

40 Percent of the Buildings in Manhattan Could Not Be Built Today: New York City’s zoning code turns 100 this year. That may not sound like cause for celebration — except maybe for land-use lawyers and Robert Moses aficionados. Yet for almost every New Yorker, the zoning code plays an outsize role in daily life, shaping virtually every inch of the city.New York’s zoning code was the first in the country, meant to promote a healthier city, which was then filling with filthy tenements and office towers. Since it was approved in 1916, the ever-evolving, byzantine code has changed many times to suit the needs of a swollen metropolis. Just in March, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio won approval for a vast citywide plan that would encourage sleeker, more affordable developments. Yet many of New York’s buildings remain stuck in the past.

Wearable Technology: A Powerful HR Tool: Wearable technology — devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers — is hugely popular these days. People from every demographic are mapping their fitness accomplishments and keeping tabs on sleep patterns, heart rates and weight loss goals. In fact, according to eMarketer, nearly 40 million U.S. adults over 18 used wearable technology in 2015 — a jump of 57.7 percent over 2014. The usage of wearables is projected to hit 81.7 million adults by 2018. Some businesses are exploring opportunities to turn the wearable device trend into a powerful HR tool. From promoting a healthy lifestyle to enhancing workplace safety, there’s a lot of potential for companies if they have a clear implementation strategy and a focus on personal privacy.

For Men to Lean In at Home, Women Need to Lean Back: A few months ago, in partnership with the NBA, LeanIn.Org is kicking off our second season of #LeanInTogether—a campaign focused on how men can do their part for the women in their lives. Leaning in at home isn’t just the right thing to do for men. It’s the smart thing to do. Couples who share household responsibilities have stronger marriages—and more sex. Children with involved fathers are happier, healthier, and more successful. When parents have 50/50 partnerships, children grow up with more egalitarian views and can envision more possibilities for themselves. Yet despite the many benefits of 50/50, women still do a majority of housework and child care. Even in dual income marriages, only 9 percent of couples say that they share child care, housework, and breadwinning evenly. And millennials are only faring a little better—although younger couples split household chores more evenly, women under thirty still do a majority of child care.

Trending on ELGL

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Upcoming ELGL Events

May 25 – Bang the Table: Community Engagement With Matt Crozier at anymeeting.com/elglwebinar

June 1 – 10 Rules for Great City Websites With Luke Fretwell at anymeeting.com/elglwebinar

June 15 & 16 – GOVERNING Summit on Leadership & Innovation at Seelbach Hotel, Louisville KY

June 16 – Technology Efficiency Series: Trello  at anymeeting.com/elglwebinar

June 21 to 24 – Association of Washington Cities Conference  at Edward D. Hansen Conference Center, Everett WA

June 22 to 24 – WCMA & ILCMA Summer Conference at The Abbey, Fontana WI

50 Nifty

  • Tough transition: Can Portland’s mayor and mayor-elect get along?: Ted Wheeler’s head hit the pillow around 11 p.m. Election Day, just three hours removed from celebrating one of Portland’s most commanding political victories in decades. Wheeler had good reason to get some rest. Portland’s newly minted “mayor-elect” had already scheduled a press conference. In front of City Hall. At 6 a.m. That daybreak scene epitomizes Wheeler’s ascension as Portland’s prime powerbroker – and the simultaneous weakening of lame-duck Mayor Charlie Hales. And it signals the strong potential for an awkward seven months until Wheeler officially takes over.
  • Richmond Red Cross CEO tapped to head city’s anti-poverty department: Reggie Gordon, who for nine years has served as CEO of the Red Cross’ Greater Richmond Chapter, is stepping down to lead the city of Richmond’s anti-poverty department. “I know it’s a huge job,” Gordon said. “But I’m so impressed with the mayor’s vision and what’s been done already. I’m ready to step in and move forward.” Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced the appointment Wednesday. The anti-poverty push, which Jones announced five years ago, has been one of his office’s signature initiatives. As part of it, Jones and the City Council agreed to create the Office of Community Wealth Building at the end of last year as a way to make the effort last beyond the end of his term in January.
  • Baltimore City Hall chambers packed for hearing on TIFs: People packed Baltimore’s City Hall chambers for an informational hearing on Tax Increment Financing or TIF. TIFs are used to encourage development of projects that are desirable in the public interest and would not occur without assistance from the city. Although this was a general hearing on best practices for TIFs, there was a financial elephant in the room. That’s the proposed $535 million Port Covington TIF. That project includes a new headquarters for Under Armour, office space, housing and retail near the Hanover Street Bridge. It’s the biggest TIF the city has ever seen.
  • Dallas City Council is ‘troubled’ and ‘embarrassed’ by City Hall, so fix it already: At Dallas City Hall, the most revealing things come in the most unexpected places.Take Monday for instance, when City Auditor Craig Kinton spent a soul-sucking morning chewing over an audit of the city’s housing department and offering other mind-numbing peeks into his office’s file cabinet.I did not intend on watching those briefings, but I did. Twice. It’s amazing how something can be dull and infuriating and enlightening all at once. Welcome to Dallas City Hall. Kinton, speaking in that  aw-shucks monotone rumble, confirmed everything you ever feared about the way the place operates. It’s broken. And it’s the Dallas City Council’s fault.

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  • Washington County discusses ‘f-word’ again: This time, Washington County law enforcement officials were ready for questions about forfeiture funds. The county received $10,000 from the state in money forfeited by residents accused of crimes. The state sends money to the county almost every month, and generally the county supervisors accept the money without comment. But Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff made a strong effort last month to convince his colleagues to stop accepting the influx of cash. The supervisors don’t know where the money comes from, he noted.
  • Road Department volunteers cuts in upcoming county budget: Among cuts made on the proposed fiscal year 2016-17 Henderson County budget, the Road Department has volunteered large reductions. A first reading of the budget is on the agenda for Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting. A finalized version of the budget must be completed no later than June 30. Road Department staff will be tightening their belt in a few areas including road salt, contracted construction and bridge construction. One of the biggest reductions for the department is overtime, which took a 60 percent deduction from $38,110 to $15,000. “Bill (Hubiak) knows when too much is too much,” said Judge-executive Brad Schneider. “He’s very creative and efficient. He manages his money and his people well, so I have no doubt he can do what he needs to do on this amount of money.”
  • County-wide ‘blessing of the firetrucks’ brings fire departments, community together:  A large American flag hung between two extended towers from firetrucks at the Parma-Sandstone Fire Department, as more than 100 people attended the first county-wide “blessing of the firetrucks” Saturday morning. Firetrucks and firefighters from 10 departments – from Jackson County and a few neighboring counties – were on display on May 21. Tony Cruz, a Parma-Sandstone Fire Department firefighter, was one of four on the committee organizing the event. Cruz has been living on four hours of sleep for the past month to organize the event, along with keeping up with firefighting duties and his job as a full-time electrician. All but one of the firefighters there were volunteers, including “ministers, lawn guys, computer guys and high school students,” he said.
  • City weighs options after state limits local control of rental inspections: If Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill passed by the Kansas Legislature this week, limiting residential code inspections, Hutchinson would have to modify its rental program that went into effect earlier this year. The city would either be limited to exterior inspections or have to get tenants’ permission to inspect inside apartments and rental homes. At Tuesday’s Land Bank meeting, Hutchinson Planning and Development Director Jana McCarron said that if the bill passed Sunday becomes law, city staff will consider how to amend the city’s program. It will then make a recommendation to the Housing Commission. The final decision would rest with City Council.

Local Gov Confidential

Gridlock over whose roads get paved in Lake County:  Lake officials are jockeying to be in the driver’s seat when they spend $7 million in newly released local income tax revenues on the county’s aging highways and bridges. Lake County Commissioner Mike Repay, D-Hammond, made public last week a list of 31 reconstructions projects he and Commissioner Kyle Allen, D-Gary, like. They stretch from the Kennedy Avenue Bridge over the Grand Calumet River in East Chicago in the north to 241st Avenue in the south  near the rural community of Schneider. He asked the seven-member County Council to appropriate the money quickly to ensure the work can be done before the winter season. But that isn’t the direction County Councilman Eldon Strong, R-Crown Point, wants to go. His district covers the southern half of the county and 90 percent of the county’s highway system.

What Happens When Female Politicians Try to Stand Up to Sports Fans: When women in power take on a city’s beloved sports institution, shocking things can happen. Earlier this month, the five women who make up the first female majority on Seattle’s nine-member city council in nearly two decades voted against a street-use ordinance that would have helped bring a new basketball arena to the city. The women immediately faced  a wave of misogynistic attacks, violent threats, and charges of gender-based incompetence.

BEAUMONT: For scarred cities, there is life after scandal: It hurt. Bell native Alicia Romero said hearing her hometown being branded one of the most corrupt cities in America was devastating.“We’re so much better than that,” she thought in 2010, after the disclosure that the then-city manager was receiving a 7-figure compensation package in this blue-collar town with fewer than 40,000 residents. Today, Romero serves as mayor of the little community along the Los Angeles River, southeast of downtown L.A. And while Bell has yet to fully repair its tarnished image, it is financially sound after coming to the brink of bankruptcy, Romero said. Current city manager Howard W. Brown, Jr. said in a phone interview Friday that Bell, with a $26 million budget, has since built up a reserve of $18 million.

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