In today’s Buzz: Michigan sues Flint, Trump is optimistic, the Traeger List is announced!!

This Buzz is brought to you by reflections and puddles.

Right Now with Jacob Johnson (LinkedIn/Twitter)

What I’m Listening to – Jaime Guardia

What I’m Reading – I Contain Multitudes

What I’m Watching – Black Mirror

What I’m Doing – Unpacking!


  • Trump optimistic about healthcare bill’s fate: The president said on Wednesday: “I think we’re going to get at least very close, and I think we’re going to get it over the line.” He added that the final plan “would be so good, would be far better than Obamacare, and would be much less expensive for the people”.
  • Sarah Palin Sues NYT:In the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Ms. Palin contends that The Times “violated the law and its own policies” when it linked her in an editorial to a mass shooting in January 2011.

  • Top Catholic official charged with sexual assault offenses: Cardinal George Pell, one of the most senior officials in the Catholic Church, has been charged with multiple historical sexual assault offenses in his home country of Australia, police said Thursday. Pell has previously denied covering up abuse committed by priests when he served as the Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001. But he acknowledged his predecessor, Archbishop Frank Little, now deceased, had destroyed documents to protect priests.


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  • Local government’s cloud move cuts headache, adds control: Nebraska’s Douglas-Omaha Technology Commission (DOTComm) has improved operations and scalability for the Douglas County Board of Equalization by moving its outdated Java-based web application to the cloud. Badal and his team converted the website to a serverless architecture using Python running on Amazon Web Services Lambda and S3 services. “You don’t have to worry about the hardware and the operating system,” Badal said.  The cloud-based system “takes away all our overhead of spinning up new servers, running operating systems, doing patching and all that stuff. This was a big win for us.”
  • Proposed California law would give cities less power of cell towers: Cities and counties across California are lobbying against a proposed state law that would accelerate approval of cell phone antennas by largely stripping local governments of their power to regulate installation of them. Telecommunications officials say streamlined approvals and lower fees would allow them to establish advanced wireless networks by installing thousands of smaller cellular antennas across the state.
  • PILT payments provide key funding for Montana counties: Millions of dollars are feeding back into Montana as part of an annual payment to counties all around the United States, but could future payments be in jeopardy? PILT payments, which stands for Payment in Lieu of Taxes, are issued by the federal government each year as a way to offset losses from property taxes on federal land.
  • Florida council supports sales tax referendum: In a 5-2 vote, the City Council on Tuesday gave its support to moving ahead with a possible referendum that would ask voters to decide on a half-cent local option sales tax. The council’s decision means eight of Okaloosa County’s nine municipal governing bodies now approve putting the tax question on the November 2018 General Election ballot. The possible referendum, which is being spearheaded by the Okaloosa County League of Cities, needs the County Commission’s approval to go before countywide voters.
  • City council passes mayor’s budget after $1 million cuts: After seven hours Tuesday night, and four previous City Council hearings, an amended fiscal year 2018 was passed just days before the June 30 deadline. Now, the administration must find $1.098 million in cuts that the City Council made to various municipal departments’ proposed budgets. The final appropriation is $268,977,318 with $261,660,601 to be raised by taxes.
  • Colorado firefighters petition for collective bargaining over pay: The union representing Colorado Springs firefighters filed a petition with the city last week indicating it intends to seek collective bargaining status. The petition was signed by 80 percent of the Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 5’s members, president Dave Noblitt said. Collective bargaining has been a right of firefighters in the state since 2013, when the Colorado Firefighter Safety Act was passed. Since then, departments in Denver, Fort Collins, Aurora and Pueblo have earned the status, according to their websites. But Colorado Springs doesn’t seem to want to follow suit, Noblitt said.
  • Judge: Report on Oakland PD troubling: The federal judge overseeing Oakland’s police reform efforts has ordered the city to respond to a report by court-appointed attorneys critical of the department’s handling of a sexual misconduct case involving multiple officers. U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, in a court document filed Tuesday, also ordered city officials to appear in his San Francisco courtroom on July 10 at 2:30 p.m. Appearing along with Henderson will be Judge William H. Orrick, who will inherit the federal oversight program, now in its 14th year, when Henderson retires in August.

Local Government Confidential

  • Legislation is needed for smarter cities, say US companies: In an endorsement for smart cities, more than 50% of government agencies reported that public technology adoption should be stimulated, managed, and aggregated at the local or city level, according to a report from ABI Research, released Wednesday. The B2B technology report, which surveyed 455 US-based companies across nine verticals, found that 90% of respondents said legislation for smart cities was a necessity, along with public safety technologies (62%) and communication networks (50%).
  • State sues Flint over imminent public health crisis: Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality sued Flint officials in federal court on Wednesday, arguing that the City Council has endangered the public health by failing to approve a long-term drinking water source. The state’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit said Flint council’s failure to meet a Monday deadline on picking the Great Lakes Water Authority or another “reasonable” source “will cause an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health in Flint.”

  • De Blasio defends New York policies on immigration: At stake is what amounts to a blip in the city budget. But for officials in New York, as in several other cities with large immigrant populations, it is about the principle more than the federal money they stand to lose for their so-called sanctuary city policies. On Wednesday, the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio sent a letter to the Justice Department asserting that the city was cooperating with immigration officials to the extent required under federal law and that the city should not, as the Justice Department has argued, forfeit a $4.3 million federal law enforcement grant.