Today’s Buzz takes a look at a company trying to become the Uber of solid waste, a Republican Leslie Knope in New England and a city where bringing your dog to the part will get you fined, while paying respects to Muhammad Ali.

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Right Now w/ Matt Yager

What I’m Reading: Embracing the Greatest by Vann R Newkirk II

What I’m Watching: Game 2 of the NBA Finals

What I’m Listening to: The Masterplan by Oasis

What I’m Doing: Wondering why I thought Oasis was so great in the 90s.


Michigan Bill Would Be First to Allow Cars to Drive Without Humans: Michigan, faced with a possible competition with Silicon Valley for the future of the automotive industry, is now considering legislation that would make it the first state to formally legalize driverless cars. The legislation, Senate Bill 995, explicitly allows for autonomous vehicles capable of driving without a human operator. The bill also legalizes platooning — a technology allowing vehicles to travel very closely together — and establishes a “Council on Future Mobility” that would make policy recommendations to help the state prepare for self-driving cars.

WHY DID LEO DICAPRIO JOIN A GARBAGE START-UP—LITERALLY?: In the past, Big Garbage has been dominated by two big firms, Waste Management and Republic Services, which essentially make their money by taking trash and putting it into a landfill. “They own these real-estate assets—landfills,” as Rubicon Global C.E.O. and co-founder Nate Morris put it to me. “They’re trying to take your garbage and put it into those assets and charge you a monthly rent fee.” Rubicon, named for the river that Caesar mythically crossed, is quite literally a start-up in the garbage business. And it is attempting to disrupt the industry via the Uber model. Morris matches independent local garbage haulers with multi-national clients, and lets them schedule on-demand pickups for their trash through a proprietary technology. It sure isn’t glamorous, but it’s not exactly a crowded market, and Morris has his sights set on solving problems around sustainability and waste management.

11 Super Inspiring Muhammad Ali Quotes: Throughout his career, Muhammad Ali–the late heavyweight-boxing champion,Olympic gold medalist, and civil rights activist, garnered a reputation for his positive and motivational outlook on life. While he never went into business himself, quite a business empire was built around his athletic acumen and feats, and he inspired millions of people around the world. Here, in no particular order, are 11 really inspiring quotes from The Greatest.

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  • California city councilman stays in Portland homeless camp: A California politician is hoping to learn from Portland’s homeless crisis, and use his experience in the Rose City to work on a plan to solve a similar situation in his town. Councilman Tam Nguyen, of San Jose, stayed at the Right To Dream Too homeless camp Friday night. “It took a lot of courage for me to go and I’m glad I did. I talked to each one who formed in line. People really behaved knowing they get a place to sleep and be safe,” said the councilman.

  • Idaho County resource plan to receive hearing June 14: If approved at a hearing later this month, Idaho County’s draft resource management plan (RMP) will formalize the county’s position on approximately 120 points related to federal land management. While it’s not clear what, if anything, federal agencies might do to accommodate the county’s perspective, the Idaho County Commission is advancing it in hopes the RMP will secure a seat for local government at the federal decision-makers’ table. It’s a step many other western counties are trying to take.

  • Missouri municipal utilities sign up for Grain Belt Express: Missouri municipal utilities have signed up for space on the Grain Belt Express, a 780-mile transmission line that would carry wind power from western Kansas to population centers further east. The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission said Thursday that it had signed an agreement for as much as 200 megawatts of transmission space on the cross-state line. The group represents municipally owned utilities in the state that pool their resources to buy power and is administered by the Missouri Public Utility Alliance. The contract could bolster Grain Belt’s case with the Missouri Public Service Commission, which single-handedly blocked the project last summer on a 3-2 vote. While members acknowledged it may benefit other states, they weren’t convinced it was worth it for Missouri ratepayers.
  • Can the millennial Republican version of Leslie Knope save Connecticut?: Mayor Erin Stewart isn’t yet 30-years-old, but she’s already being considered to be a political powerhouse in the Constitution State. She was elected Mayor of New Britain, a city of 70,000+ people, at the age of 26 and has led the city to major changes. She closed a $30 million hole in the budget, created a $15 million rainy-day fund, led the fight against homelessness, and worked to revitalize the city’s downtown. Unlike other cities in Connecticut, New Britain doesn’t have a town manager. Stewart’s fingerprints are every detail of the decision making for the city — no easy task for anyone.

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  • Pennsylvania is not for wine lovers: The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has now approved the sale of six packs in select gas stations throughout the state, a move supported by Gov. Tom Wolf. While this effort to “Free the Six Pack” makes for good press, it’s little consolation for consumers in the Keystone State who continue to live under what is certainly the most archaic system of alcohol regulation in the country. The inanity of Pennsylvania alcohol regulation is felt most potently by wine consumers. Because all wine is sold in state-run stores, because the LCB controls which wines are allowed to be sold, and because legal hoop-jumping or flat-out restriction prevents consumers from having wine shipped directly to their doors from out of state, they are left with little in the way of choice. For the casual drinker, the status quo of endless Yellowtail and Franzia is just fine; but for those who wish to lunge headlong into the world of oenological possibility, it’s maddening.
  • Government-owned broadband: Economic dream? Or taxpayer nightmare?Larry Walker still finds amusement in the fictional frustration of Tony Stark, the comic book and movie superhero who once lamented the lack of high-speed Internet in the Tennessee town known as Gig City. The nickname stems from Chattanooga’s claim that its gigabit Internet service is the fastest in the Western Hemisphere.
  • This Florida City Has Been Nearly Destroyed by Poverty and Corruption: Early last Wednesday evening, Timothy Holmes, a raspy-voiced city commissioner for Opa-Locka, Florida, was assuring about two dozen residents gathered in a village community center that their small municipal government was not under siege from all manner of bandits, crooks, and thieves. “Don’t believe everything that you read in the paper,” Holmes said. “You got people out there who want to see Opa-Locka come down. Even in the city departments, we got people working against us to make Opa-Locka look bad. I am always here to do the right thing and the best thing for this community.” Earlier that day, local, state, and federal law enforcement officials raided a local flea market to gather evidence and arrest a bevy of suspects charged in a $13 million food-stamp scam. It was the second time in two months that law enforcement descended on a prominent Opa-Locka locale. Back in March, FBI agents raided city hall proper as part of a separate, ongoing criminal investigation, although no one has actually been arrested in that probe—at least not yet.

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Local Gov Confidential

City manager miffed over UMass Lowell Perkins purchase, lack of communication: UMass Lowell is buying the Perkins Park residential development at the edge of its east campus for $61.5 million and converting it into university housing — a transaction that is further fraying relations with city officials. City Manager Kevin Murphy and city councilors said the announcement caught them by surprise, coming one week after setting the city’s fiscal year 2017 budget which included $321,000 in annual property taxes generated from Perkins Park. The nonprofit university’s purchase will eliminate the tax revenue from the city’s coffers and force the city to make up the difference, quite possibly through higher residential taxes.

NO DOGS ALLOWED: City Stepping up Dog Ordinance in Parks: Waukesha Police said they will be stepping up enforcement of the city’s “no dogs” ordinance at many city parks. According to a CBS 58 report, bringing your dog into a park where it’s restricted could cost you $67. The Waukesha Common Council lowered the “no dogs allowed” fine to $67 from a fine that used to be more than $180.

Investigator: Ocean County is corrupt: Aides to Gov. Chris Christie, fearing political blowback, attempted to shut down a criminal investigation into Ocean County Freeholder Director Jack Kelly’s daughter ahead of the 2013 election, according to a lawsuit filed by a detective in the Prosecutor’s Office. Detective Steven Mecka, who investigated theft claims against Dawn Marie Kelly, daughter of the freeholder, said Little Egg Harbor Township Committeeman Ray Gormley told him he was visited by two aides to the governor who urged Gormley to use his influence to close the investigation “because it would look bad if matters were ever exposed to the public especially before an election,” according to the suit.

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