Connecting state and local government leaders

New York Mayor’s Horse Carriage Vendetta; California-Oregon Dam-Busting Salmon Plan

A horse carriage in Central Park

A horse carriage in Central Park

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Ending cyclical court debts in Missouri’s cities; a deadly Memphis sewage leak; and a new home for Montana bison to roam.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
MOBILITY | Hate them or love them, horse carriages remain on the streets of Midtown Manhattan despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s best efforts. A bill that would’ve confined New York City’s roughly 300 carriage drivers to Central Park while limiting competing pedicabs fell apart in February, when the Teamsters pulled their support. Since then, de Blasio’s held a phone meeting with the bill’s backers, but it will take a bit longer to fulfill his 2013 campaign promise to rid the streets of steeds. [Politico New York]

KLAMATH RIVER, CALIFORNIA; OREGON
ENERGY | California and Oregon are working toward demolishing four hydroelectric dams, blocking salmon migration up the Klamath River. The states don’t have congressional approval for their plans. They reached an agreement with PacifiCorp, the private utility that owns the dams, transferring that ownership to a nonprofit that will work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to remove them by 2020. "The overwhelming majority of residents of the Klamath Basin, those who are actually impacted, have been cut out of this process in favor of environmental extremists, bureaucrats in Sacramento and Washington, and a taxpayer bailout for billionaire Warren Buffett," U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents much of Northern California, said in a statement. [Los Angeles Times]

JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI
COURTS | A Ferguson-inspired bill meant to limit cities’ reliance on court fines for revenue—thereby preventing people with low-incomes from falling into cyclical debt—passed in Missouri’s Senate but is meeting resistance in the House. Kansas City and Jackson County officials, in particular, argued in committee eliminating jail time for certain offenses and capping court fines and fees at $200 would hurt local governments’ ability to improve vacant land. Fine caps were subsequently raised to $300 for minor traffic violations and $500 for municipal ordinance violations, and language allowing repeat offenders to be jailed up to five days or held in contempt was added. [The Kansas City Star]

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
PUBLIC HEALTH | Temporary repairs bypassing a ruptured pipe should arrest the flow of up to 50 million gallons of untreated sewage daily into McKellar Lake by way of Cypress Creek in Southwest Memphis. The breach has caused the deaths of more than 10,000 fish from 15 species and raised E. coli bacteria concentrations hundreds of times more than what’s safe for human contact. Drinking water isn’t threatened, but a permanent fix is three to four months away and will cost $8 million to $10 million. [The Commercial Appeal]

ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
BUDGET | Atlantic City Council unanimously approved a modified, 28-day payroll to keep the lights on when the cash runs out Friday. New tax revenue is due May 2, but the city’s only bought itself a month or two. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has advocated for complete state control with the right to break union contracts, but has been at odds over that plan with Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto. Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian is also against the takeover plan. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

HELENA, MONTANA
WILDLIFE | Bison that roam outside Yellowstone National Park’s confines will, for the first time in a century, be allowed to stay on the approximately 400 square miles of Montana to the north and west. Some ranchers and landowners worry the bison might spread disease or damage property. The decision was made by federal, state and tribal agencies partnering on the Interagency Bison Management Plan. [The Associated Press via Missoulian]

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA
LAW ENFORCEMENT | Police can no longer ticket cars awaiting state inspection in Virginia. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law Wednesday a bill prohibiting the practice. Fairfax County parking enforcement was criticized for “gotcha” ticketing late last year. “If the Fairfax police had exercised some common sense, legislation wouldn’t have been necessary,” said an attorney whose client was acquitted, after being ticketed in such a manner. [The Washington Post]

DETROIT, MICHIGAN
PARKS & RECREATION | A citywide trail network with riverfront biking, a forest of 50,000 trees, 1,400 urban gardens and hidden parks—these are just a few of the green transformations local organizations are spearheading in Detroit. "Imagine in one year, in 1 square mile, half the blight goes away," said agricultural educator Mike Score. "It's a big win for the city.” [Chicago Tribune]

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
TRANSPORTATION | The superstructure of Washington state’s third of four new ferries, Chimacum, will be put together in a 12-hour process Friday. The ferry is set to service a route between Seattle and Bremerton beginning in 2017. The four-level superstructure, or top half, can carry 144 vehicles and 1,500 passengers and will be joined to a hull. "We're excited because joining the superstructure to the hull moves us one step closer to completing the Chimacum and seeing much-needed new ferries in service to modernize our fleet,” said the Washington State Ferries’ director of vessels. [Kitsap Sun]

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA
MARIJUANA | Marijuana users excited by the prospect of recreational weed being approved via referendum in California this year just got a reality check. A new Public Policy Institute of California report urges extensive regulation should a ballot measure pass. The study suggests implementing licensing and tracking systems similar to those in Washington and Colorado, where recreational marijuana was already legalized. Former Facebook President Sean Parker is financing the marijuana measure most likely to make the ballot, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. [The Sacramento Bee]

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty. Route Fifty staff contributed to this report.

NEXT STORY St. Louis Keeps Running Out of Ballots on Election Day