In today’s Morning Buzz: President Trump just signs a bill authorizing $19.5 billion in funding for NASA, the U.S. and the U.K. ban electronic devices that are larger than a cellphone from 10 airports in the Middle East, and Judge Neil Gorsuch completes his second day of confirmation hearings.  This Buzz is brought to you by the awesomeness of NASA.

Right Now with Daniel Soto (LinkedIn/Twitter)

What I’m Listening toLittle Big TownWe Went to the Beach

What I’m Reading – Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837

What I’m Watching – Last night’s City Council meeting video to make sure I didn’t miss any follow-up items 

What I’m Doing – Getting ready for tomorrow’s day trip to Rosarito, B.C.


  • US bans larger electronic devices on some flights from Middle East: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent 10 foreign-owned carriers an “emergency amendment”, requiring flights inbound to the U.S. from 10 Middle Eastern airports to ban any device larger than a cellphone from carry-on luggage.  On Tuesday, the U.K. announced it was going even further than the U.S., banning in-cabin electronics on all direct flights from six Middle Eastern countries.

  •  Trump signs NASA bill aimed at sending people to Mars: On March 21, 2017, President Trump signed a bill authorizing $19.5 billion in funding for NASA — the first such authorization bill for the space agency in seven years.  The bill more or less aligns with the budget blueprint Trump laid out last week. NASA won’t face the same cuts as other science and medical agencies, which stand to lose huge portions of their budget under the president’s proposal. Sending humans to Mars by the 2030s remains NASA’s long-term goal, and Congress will continue to fund the construction of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule for that mission.
  • 5 Insights Into Judge Neil Gorsuch After 2nd Day Of Confirmation Hearings: After a day of statements, Tuesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing was all about answers. Judge Neil Gorsuch was careful in his responses to Senate Judiciary Committee members, but there were still a number of insights that marked the day.  These highlights include the following: judicial independence; gender equality statements; pro-business critique; his childhood hero; and “mutton-busting”.


(Note: California is still in a drought.  Please conserve water!)

Upcoming Events

50 Nifty

  • 5 Tech-Centric Legislative Trends Coming to Your State: A slew of new legislation proves that technology is at the forefront of the collective legislative mind at the state level.
  • A Better Way to Compare Cities: An online tool released three weeks ago by the Chicago Federal Reserve allows a more nuanced comparison between peer cities.
  • City Council to declare Portland a ‘sanctuary city’: In a symbolic show, today the Portland City Council will consider declaring Portland a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants. This action would officially declare the city’s unwillingness to help the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency find and deport immigrants.

  • How Architect Emily Kutil Plans To Bring Detroit’s Destroyed Black Neighborhoods Back To Life: A citizen of Detroit, Kutil has a plan to recreate the Motor City’s long-demolished black mini-metropolis, once called the Black Bottom, online according to the Detroit Free Press.
  • Officials’ Top Ten Things to Remember About Public Participation in Local Government:  As the national political climate heated up recently, some local governments are facing spillover effects, with local and sometimes even out-of-town activists and provocateurs attending city council, school board and other meetings to let their voices be heard. While representative democracy usually benefits from a free flow of information and public input, unfortunately some recent incidents have made clear that the rancor and divisiveness that ensures high ratings on cable TV news programs can interfere with the work of local government.  Here are the top ten things to remember about public involvement in local government meetings in California:

  • Senator Kamala Harris’ Newest Legislation Could Transform Our Criminal Justice System: Last Friday afternoon, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, along with other “bipartisan colleagues,” reintroduced major legislation that could transform criminal justice in this country, and lead to the reform many so desperately want to see. According to a press release, The National Criminal Justice Commission Act aims to focus the criminal justice system in a critical way, analyzing its every action with a fine toothed comb. The act plans to “review the criminal justice system from top to bottom and propose reforms to address the most pressing issues facing the nation’s criminal justice system.

  • What Happens When a Poor City Raises Its Minimum Wage to $15?: Following in the footsteps of Seattle, San Francisco, and D.C., last night Baltimore, Maryland, passed legislation to increase its minimum wage to $15. But there’s one big difference between Charm City and those other three: It’s far less economically healthy. Baltimore would be the poorest city to join the “Fight for $15,” the national movement to mandate a $15 minimum wage.

  • What Data-Driven Mayors Don’t Get: In an age of growing alienation from civic institutions, the technocrats running many American cities don’t understand what old-style political machines once delivered.

  • What the Reality of a Mobile-First Society Means for Local Governments (Industry Perspective): Technology will help bridge the gap between citizen expectations and public-sector capabilities.

Local Government Confidential

  • Former Placentia finance manager gets 25 years in prison for embezzling more than $5 million:  A former city of Placentia financial-services manager was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison for embezzling more than $5 million from the financially strapped municipality.  Michael Minh Nguyen accepted a court offer requiring that he admit to dozens of felonies, including those for embezzlement and money laundering, and agree to pay about $10 million in fines and $2.6 million in restitution.

  • Washington city sues OxyContin maker: The lawsuit alleges that the drugmaker knowingly supplied OxyContin to suspicious pharmacies and doctors — letting the drug enter city’s black market — without taking any measures to stop it, according to the Associated Press. Accusing Purdue Pharma of gross negligence and nuisance, the lawsuit alleges that the company must pay for damages that it caused the community.

  • When Women Lead: For the First Time, LA County Has 7 Female Police Chiefs:  For the first time in Los Angeles County history, seven women are serving as police chiefs.  They all came together last Wednesday at a forum at University of Southern California where the conversation centered on the social media campaign #whenwomenlead.

  • Eli Ritchie

    Rover meme, so clutch