04.05.17

In today’s Morning Buzz: A chemical attack occurs in Northern Syria, the U.S. Senate considers the power to filibuster legislation, and the fastest growing refugee crisis of South Sudan impacts neighboring Uganda.

This Buzz is brought to you by National Read a Road Map Day.



Right Now with Daniel Soto (LinkedIn/Twitter)

What I’m Listening toEric Church – Kill a Word

What I’m ReadingThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

What I’m Watching – Last night’s City Council meeting video

What I’m Doing – Getting ready for today’s SoCal Supper Club


Buzzin’

  • Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U.S. Blames Assad: One of the worst chemical bombings in northern Syria turned a rebel-held area into a toxic kill zone yesterday, inciting international outrage over the ever-increasing government impunity shown in the country’s six-year war. Western leaders including President Trump blamed the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and called on its patrons, Russia and Iran, to prevent a recurrence of what many described as a war crime.

  •  If Republicans Blow Up the Filibuster Over Gorsuch, Is Legislation Next?: Senate Republicans are preparing to abolish the final vestige of power that the minority has to block presidential nominations, worrying many senators in both parties that the final and biggest domino — the power to filibuster legislation — will be next.  While Democrats and Republicans have seen injury to the minority in losing the right to block nominees, both parties also understand the profound and lasting effect that a party with power unchecked by the minority could have when it comes to lawmaking. (The rationale behind the filibuster was that a 60-vote threshold meant that a broader consensus for the most contentious legislation would have to be reached.)
  • As Thousands Flee South Sudan, Ugandan Refugee Camp Becomes World’s Largest: As prospects for peace crumbled, the fighting in South Sudan has intensified. In the past year, the number of refugees who had fled into neighboring countries has grown by more than 100 percent — in March 2016, 832,000 South Sudanese had been displaced; by March 2017, that number had grown to 1.7 million. More than 100,000 South Sudanese arrived in Uganda in the first 44 days of 2017.  The conflict has led to the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world.


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50 Nifty

  • Denver Announces 311 System Upgrade with Social Listening Capabilities: The consolidated city-county is making significant changes to how it interacts with more than 650,000 residents.
  • Drawing Up an Urban Planning Manual for Chicago TeensWacker’s Manual and No Small Plans are both driven by questions of what makes a city or neighborhood livable, and they are similarly interested in fostering a sense of guardianship of Chicago among young readers. Yet they approach these questions and goal differently—and not only in terms of the form they take.

  • DOJ to Review Agreements With Law Enforcement Agencies That Violated Civil Rights: Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) negotiated several consent decrees—plans for improving the way law enforcement agencies and local judicial systems interact with people of color. Yesterday (April 3), U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a memo directing department officials to review the consent decrees.

  • Kansas City Voters Approve Easing Of Marijuana Laws: Missouri deems marijuana possession a crime that carries hundreds of dollars in fines and a potential jail term. But residents of Kansas City voted overwhelmingly to reduce the penalties there, becoming the latest city in the state to relax punishments for people caught with small amounts of pot.
  • Thousands of defects found on oil train routes: Government inspections of railroads that haul volatile crude oil across the United States have uncovered almost 24,000 safety defects, including problems similar to those blamed in derailments that triggered massive fires or oil spills in Oregon, Virginia, Montana and elsewhere, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

  • Want to Make Roads Safer? License Immigrants, Finds New Study: A California law giving immigrants here illegally the ability to get driver’s licenses appears to have helped decrease hit-and-run accidents, according to a Stanford University study released Monday.
  • What Digital Engagement Means in Albuquerque, NM: Miguel Navrot’s role has evolved through the years — a shift that reflects how the city wants to “better communicate with people through the digital world.”
  • What Happened to Atlanta’s Carmageddon?: When a major freeway closes, the expected gridlock almost never happens. This should teach us something about traffic.


Local Government Confidential

  • California Could Become The Cannabis Industry’s Safe Haven: Facing a potential cannabis crackdown by federal forces, politicians in one of the nation’s most pot-friendly states want to ensure that both industry and residents will have some legal room to breathe. If passed, California Assembly Bill 1578 would take steps to protect the state’s legal cannabis operations from being busted by federal enforcers, a scenario that new U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Sessions hinted could occur down the road.

  • Tacoma City Council approves power rate hikes for next two years: The Tacoma City Council passed a revised plan for raising Tacoma Power rates Tuesday, weeks after it rejected the original plan that would have put the entire rate hike for residential and small commercial customers into the fixed, monthly charge.

  • The End of Local Laws? War on Cities Intensifies in Texas: As attorney general of Texas, Greg Abbott made a name for himself by fighting the federal government and suing the Obama administration 31 times. As governor, Abbott has found a new enemy — local governments — and, in recent days, he’s raised the stakes in that war.