Cleveland’s ‘Moral Dilemma’ on Lead Poisoning; ‘We Just Don’t Have the Money’ in Kansas

Cleveland, Ohio

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Connecting state and local government leaders

How Palm Beach has adapted to Trump visits; ranks of Alaska village public safety officers dwindle; and proposed 51st state would “rival Texas in prosperity.”

HOUSING | Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson last week cited a “moral dilemma” when it comes to housing inspections during a discussion with local reporters. An investigation by The Plain Dealer into lead poisoning in Cleveland had discovered that the city government had only inspected less than half of the homes where children had been poisoned. The mayor said that if the city inspected rental properties too aggressively, they’d end up with vulnerable families out on the street. “If you're talking about a very mechanical kind of thing, you know, half of the places would be closed up," Jackson said. "If you're talking about it in terms of the ethical or moral thing, probably three quarters of the places would be closed up. It's the way it is." [The Plain Dealer /]

STATE LEGISLATURES | Kansas state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, who chairs the House Services Budget Committee, admits there are major deficiencies and gaps in state mental health services, but her colleagues are powerless to do anything about the situation due to the state’s terrible budget predicament. “We just don’t have the money” to pay for additional services. [Hays Post]

A legislative proposal in Michigan would eliminate the expiration date on gift cards. "I believe when customers pay hard-earned money for gift cards, for friends or relatives, they should then be able to redeem those gifts without expiration," according to state Rep. Robert Wittenberg. [MLive]

The New Hampshire State Senate has approved $2 million in relief for dairy farmers in the state, which has been impacted by drought conditions. [The New Hampshire Union Leader]

State lawmakers in South Dakota want to approve a measure allowing anyone with an enhanced concealed carry permit to take a weapon into the State Capitol, a proposal opposed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. [KSFY-TV]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | The number of village public safety officers in Alaska has dropped by half in three years, from 101 VPSOs to 53. "Obviously we don't have enough and we need to recruit more," according to Walt Monegan, Alaska’s public safety commissioner. [Alaska Dispatch News]

The president of the union that represents New York Police Department detectives has said that with officer-worn cameras, “[w]e can’t resist the technology any longer.” [New York Daily News]

PUBLIC SAFETY | President Trump’s visits to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, have prompted local authorities to accommodate the added security and logistical headaches needed to protect the real estate mogul, including manually operating traffic signals, instituting flex scheduling for municipal employees and shifting the timing of garbage pickups. [Palm Beach Daily News]

CIVIL RIGHTS | Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mocked leaders at the NFL in a tweet following the league’s vocalizing concerns about proposed “bathroom bill” that is similar to the controversial H.B. 2 in North Carolina. Abbott tweeted that NFL decision makers had previously benched Patriots quarterback Tom Brady which ended up with Brady winning the Super Bowl last weekend. [Sports Illustrated; @GregAbbott_TX]

INFRASTRUCTURE | Flood-control structures built a decade ago to protect a vulnerable neighborhood in north Denver might not actually keep high water out. City engineers believe that around $80 million in additional upgrades are needed to protect the Globeville neighborhood from a 100-year flood event on the South Platte River. [The Denver Post]

The mayor of Newport Beach, California, channeled President Trump during the annual Mayor’s Dinner when laying out an infrastructure priority: "We're going to build a sea wall, a beautiful sea wall around Balboa Island," said Mayor Kevin Muldoon. "It will be great," Muldoon continued. "And we're going to make Catalina pay for it." [Daily Pilot / Los Angeles Times]

POLITICAL DIVISIONS | Advocates of carving out a new state from the 20 counties that comprise eastern Washington say that Liberty, as the new state would be called, would “rival Texas in prosperity” and western Washington, anchored by Seattle, would become a “socialist utopia” and collapse. Previous efforts to split Washington state have not gained traction. [The Spokesman-Review]  

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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