09.05.2016

09.05.2016

Happy Labor Day! Today’s Buzz looks at Labor Day by the numbers, what $70 million will buy in stadiums these days and how bad things need to be for a $30,000 consultant to call off a council retreat.

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Right Now with Matt Yager

What I’m Reading: My Landlord Mom Refuses to Cash in on San Francisco’s Insane Housing Market by Jesse Alejandro Cottrell

What I’m Watching: Notre Dame vs Texas Football

What I’m Listening To: Working Man by Rush

What I’m Doing: Enjoying a Three Day Weekend

What I want to know from you: How are you spending Labor Day 2016?

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Buzzing

Labor Day by the numbers: Americans can’t stop, won’t stop working: Americans are taking less vacation and more work home. Some are even working this Labor Day. The ignore-vacation trend has been more than 15 years in the making, Project Time Off reports. And, when workers do leave the office, they can’t unplug. Thirty-five percent of employed online adults say the Internet, email and cell phones have increased the amount of time they spend working, according to the Pew Research Center.

What Cities Can Learn From Thai-Style Economics: As an American expat living in Thailand, I’m more or less an outsider to the intricacies of political life and what the ruling junta calls “Thai-style democracy.” Yet as a resident of Bangkok, one of the world’s largest cities, I am intimately acquainted with another form of Thai uniqueness—what I like to call Thai-style economics. Whether it’s the random roulette that determines Thai taxi drivers’ willingness to accept passengers, the remarkable proximity of business competitors selling the same exact product, or the lack of basic household goods at various stores, many idiosyncrasies of day-to-day life in Bangkok are a frustration, if not a mystery, to expats. Though routinely maddening, the city’s micro-economies evince an ingenuity and communal spirit often lacking in our more atomistic American system.

The Blurred Blue Line: The debate over law enforcement that’s been raging in America for the past two years has naturally focused on the decisions police officers make when they’re working—not what they do after they punch out for the day. But a new paper by law professor Seth Stoughton, posted online this week in draft form, makes the argument that we’ve been ignoring an important aspect of policing—namely, the massive amount of moonlighting that cops do for private companies when they’re off duty.

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50 Nifty

Edmond planning official takes stance on requests for variances to city code: Planning Commission Chairman Barry Moore warned franchise owners wanting to do business along Interstate 35 in Edmond that he won’t be on their side if they ask for a variance from the city codes. Moore made his position clear recently when owners of a proposed Taco Bell asked for two variances to allow for a ground sign and metal accent pieces on the front and side of a building on the west side of I-35 and just south of Fox Lake Lane. “There is no way in hell that you will ever convince me that Taco Bell is going to be at a competitive disadvantage without these variances,” Moore said. “These franchises come out there to have a very, very lucrative location for their businesses.

Prudent management keeps New Castle County finances strong: Tom Gordon’s opponents continue to spread misleading rhetoric about New Castle County government finances. The truth is that the county’s finances are healthy and are projected to remain solid. All three major credit rating agencies (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings) have unanimously affirmed our county’s “Triple A” rating, the highest rating possible and first achieved by the Gordon Administration in 2001. Of a total of 3,007 U.S. counties, New Castle County continues to be one of only 39, fewer than 2 percent, to receive this rating from all three rating agencies.

Denver ready to ink new contract for red-light and speed cameras: Two years in a row, showdowns in state government have centered on the use of red-light or photo-radar speed cameras to police traffic, which rakes in serious money in the process. And two years in a row, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver’s former mayor, has used his veto pen to protect cities’ ability to use the devices. Now that the dust has cleared, Denver is getting ready to ink a new five-year contract with its photo-enforcement vendor that could lead to expansions of the programs that catch red-light runners and speeders in the act.

Cost of high school football stadium rises to $70 million: Earlier this year, when the cost of a new football stadium in the McKinney (Texas) School District was pegged at $62.8 million, some were calling it the most expensive high school stadium ever, while district officials were contending that other districts were building even more costly facilities. Now, WFAA-TV reports, those calling the McKinney stadium the costliest have more ammunition for their argument—about seven million dollars more. The district says the price of the planned 12,000-seat stadium has climbed to $70 million.

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Beavercreek officials consider joint park district: Three governments are considering forming a joint park district to consolidate funding and maintenance for parks in Beavercreek. The proposed Beavercreek park district would maintain all parks in Beavercreek that are owned by the city, township and township park district. Voters would have to approve a levy to fund the combined park district. “I think it’s the best way forward now, but the community has to agree to it,” said Beavercreek Twp. Trustee Tom Kretz during a joint Beavercreek City Council and Beavercreek Twp. Trustee joint meeting on Aug. 29. Parks in Beavercreek are maintained by various entities. Parks owned by the Beavercreek Twp. Park District, Community Park and Victory Park, are maintained by the township. Rotary Park, which is owned by the township, is maintained by the city.

Body Cameras: Chattanooga Police Department tries to find balance between privacy and transparency: By early next year, every Chattanooga police officer will be wearing a body camera, but in the meantime police officials must navigate complicated issues of privacy, transparency and public records as they craft policies to guide the use of the cameras. Officials must decide when officers should turn cameras on and off, what types of incidents should be recorded, how long video should be kept on file, under what circumstances administrators review that footage, how videos should be released to the public and a slew of similar matters. Should police record inside someone’s home? Should officers capture video of interviews with victims? What about a conversation between officers over coffee? What happens to video of officer-involved shootings?

Kentucky cities need greater local-option tax authority: Year after year, surveys show the majority of people view local government as the level of government most responsive to their needs when compared to the state or federal government.  This is no small accomplishment given the fact that local governments have a more limited capacity to generate revenue than state or federal governments.

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LocalGov Confidential

Dysfunction, leadership gap preceded complaint against city manager: Three months before a sexual harassment complaint was filed against City Manager Andrew Clinger, Reno’s chief executive hired a consultant to help improve the working relationship among him, the Reno City Council and executive staff. The consultant, however, found enough dysfunction while interviewing council members and key staff members that he thought it best to cancel the team-building council retreat scheduled for June 1. The exercise cost the city nearly $30,000.

Open government means involving the public: Open government and public transparency are not just about making sure the public has access to government meetings and records, as essential as those things are. They also mean making sure the public is involved in formulating public policy and helping to build better government and healthier communities. That was certainly the message of the protesters who showed up at Milwaukee’s City Hall on Thursday to voice their opposition to a new public safety plan being proposed in the Common Council. And, just as certainly, the feeling of being left out and ignored was a factor in the explosion that tore through the Sherman Park neighborhood for two nights last month.

What is the San Bernardino city charter and should it change?: Labor Day begins the big campaigns for and against the ballot measure to replace the city’s charter — essentially a constitution that, if changed, could either finally free city officials to fix the city and increase voter participation or could throw away the city’s heritage and citizen protections, depending on who’s arguing. But most people haven’t heard either argument. Two-thirds of likely voters have not seen, heard or read anything about efforts to replace the city charter, according to a poll of 400 people.

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