Welcome back to Kittelson’s Corner my weekly musings on things I think are interesting or important, especially in local government nerd-dom.
I apologize for the hiatus last week between tracking all of Kent’s sessions at the Hometown Summit in Charlottesville, VA and trying to keep Josh Edwards from getting us lost, it was a busy long weekend. In case you missed it I did offer a mini-Kittelson’s Corner along with my takeaways from an awesome conference.
What I Read
Apparently I didn’t read much about local government this week (whoops don’t tell my boss).
Kendrick Lamar’s album is awesome. You should listen to it. If you haven’t heard of Kendrick Lamar I will begrudgingly forgive you if you read this article about his latest album. It discusses the spirituality of the album and how Kendrick seems to be grappling with his fame. If you listen to the album my two favorite tracks right now are DNA and XXX ft. U2 (yes that U2).
It’s official, I need to make a trip to Roanoke, VA. My interview with the (now former) City Manager Chris Morrill definitely had me considering it, then the news of Deschutes opening a tasting room this summer put it over the edge. Deschutes is a craft brewery based in Bend, OR and is one of my favorites. I got super excited when they announced there would be an east coast brewery because it would be great to get their beer in NC, but the brewery isn’t supposed to open for a few years. So the news of a tasting room has me excited again for a little taste of home in the South.
This article is unreal. Glenn Thrush is definitely someone you should be reading, he’s one of the NY Times White House Correspondents and has great access on the everything coming out of DC. For this article he explained what happened when Sarah Palin visited the White House and brought some friends. There are some unintentionally hilarious lines (“Ms. Palin, who promptly invited the two aging, gun-loving, stringy-haired musical bad boys…”) and it’s an interesting look into 45’s White House.
Get excited. Today, April 22, is Record Store Day. In celebration of the day here’s an article on a feud between my favorite record store in Portland and Garth Brooks. The owner of Music Millennium protested record labels trying to get royalties off of used CDs by barbecuing Garth Brooks records. It’s pretty funny and the alliance made to fight the labels eventually led to the creation of Record Store Day.
What I Listened To
B.B. King – L.A. Midnight
In honor of Record Store Day I might have gone to the record store in downtown Durham during my lunch hour yesterday. I found a few blues records that I am really enjoying, one of which is B.B. King’s L.A. Midnight. Hit play and enjoy.
On the Media: This American War on Drugs
This episode of On the Media is really really good. They take a deep look at the history of America’s war on drugs, tracing it from its ties to prohibition to the current opioid epidemic. Importantly it discusses the media narrative around drugs and how that reaction misleads the public. It’s also fascinating to learn about the racism that was really at the heart of the drug war from the beginning, for example the term marijuana was introduced explicitly to tie the drug’s use to Mexicans. It’s definitely worth the listen, and inspired me to check out “Dreamland” by Sam Quionones from the Chapel Hill Library.
Touring the Poop Factory
This week we had another day of City College at the City of Durham and class took place at the North Durham Water Reclamation Facility, also known as the wastewater plant or the poop factory. We had a whole day of learning including about the public works and human resources department, but the afternoon was all about Water and the highlight was definitely learning about the wastewater plant.
I learned that the plan has a biological wastewater cleaning process, which essentially means they let little bacterias eat the waste from the water. It was really interesting to learn about the process and I’ll be the first to say I did not understand all the science, but I did enjoy the pictures of the bacteria:
So pretty, Durham has a biological wastewater cleaning process. These are pictures some of the bacteria that cleans wastewater pic.twitter.com/FWpQLtphk3
— Ben Kittelson (@benkittelson56) April 19, 2017
We also got a tour of the facility, which was not as smelly as I thought it would be. It’s crazy how involved the process is, and seeing all the different steps really makes you appreciate what happens after you flush.
Got a tour of the North Durham Water Reclamation Plant (wastewater/sewer plant) feat: the control room, filters & UV light disinfectant pic.twitter.com/H3rDyR4Nyp
— Ben Kittelson (@benkittelson56) April 19, 2017
Tweet of the Week
I was going to tease my colleague Josh Edwards for wearing cargo pants at the Transforming Local Government conference in Tulsa, OK but I won’t. Instead I’ll give team City of Durham a shout out for their presentation at the conference, they shared the success of the Durham IdeaLab, which is this cool bi-monthly get together of city-county staff (sometimes with visitors) to talk about innovation and other fun stuff.
— Josh Edwards (@Josh_Edwards11) April 20, 2017
Wait! One more thing…
Again, apparently I didn’t read anything about local government this week, I really enjoyed this article about the music scene in Memphis. The author discussed how the city grapples with its impressive musical history, its role in the Civil Rights era and of course Elvis.
Sr. Budget & Management Analyst at the City of Durham, North Carolina. ELGL Board of Directors. Producer & Co-Host of the GovLove Podcast. Would rather be walking his dog Franklin.