Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | State of emergency in Virginia … Airbnb’s San Diego signature effort … laid-off state workers sue Illinois … and a microclimate for ticks in Maine.
Good morning, it’s Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is big transportation news from New York City Hall but scroll down for more stories from places like Montpelier, Vermont; Raleigh, North Carolina; Joplin, Missouri and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
TRANSPORTATION | The New York City Council on Wednesday approved legislation that, as CityLab reports, “represents the most vigorous effort yet by a U.S. city to get transportation network services (TNCs) under a semblance of municipal control. But foes say it could lead to higher fares and more limited services.” Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to approve the measure, which will cap the number of for-hire vehicles app-based ride-booking services like Uber and Lyft can operate in the nation’s most-populous city. [CityLab; Curbed New York]
- Vancouver, Washington: The Vancouver City Council this week approved a resolution that supports the replacement of the Interstate 5’s aging and obsolete vertical-lift crossing of the Columbia River. The resolution, which calls on Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington state legislators to support the construction of a new bridge, also endorses the inclusion of a high-capacity transit connection as part of the bridge’s replacement. [The Columbian]
- Los Angeles, California: L.A. Metro’s oldest rail line will be going out of service for two extended four-month periods in 2019 as $350 million in track, signal and station upgrades are made along the Blue Line corridor between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach. [The Source / LA Metro]
- Houston, Texas: Houston BCycle, the city’s bikeshare system, will grow to 97 stations mostly inside the city’s 610 Loop, but there are some concerns about equitable access in underserved neighborhoods. [Houston Public Media]
PUBLIC SAFETY | Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville have declared states of emergency ahead of the anniversary of the deadly white nationalist rally, which resulted in the deaths of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and Virginia State Police Troopers Lt. H. Jay Cullen, III and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. “I am urging Virginians to make alternative plans to engaging with planned demonstrations of hate, should those arise. Declaring this state of emergency in advance of the anniversary and the related planned events will help us ensure that the state and the city have all available resources to support emergency responders in case they are needed,” Northam said in a statement. [Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam]
- Chicago, Illinois: Here’s how Chicago’s emergency rooms handled the most violent weekend of the year, where 74 people were shot. [Chicago Tribune]
- Bangor, Maine: With the news that Lyme disease has spread to all 50 states, there’s some bad news for places like Maine. The Japanese barberry, a nonnative bush that’s easy to find in the Pine Tree State, “actually creates a microclimate that is good for ticks.” [Gizmodo; Bangor Daily News]
- Seattle, Washington: Interim Police Chief Carmen Best is one step closer to officially being named the city’s top cop. [Crosscut]
STATE GOVERNMENT | A group of eight former state employees laid off by the Illinois Department of Transportation allege in a newly filed federal lawsuit that they were axed for political purposes. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration characterized the 2017 layoffs as “cleaning up past hiring mistakes and personnel practices” by previous governors. [The State Journal-Register]
- Jefferson City, Missouri: Voters in Missouri on Tuesday gave organized labor in the state a big victory by repealing right-to-work legislation that was approved by the Republican controlled legislature and then-Gov. Eric Greitens. [St. Louis Public Radio]
- Montpelier, Vermont: Many of Vermont’s state websites were knocked offline due to a widespread internet outage. [VTDigger]
- Honolulu, Hawaii: Recent wildfires in Hawaii have devoured the state’s fire response budget. [Hawaii News Now]
- Raleigh, North Carolina: Sales tax for online purchases will start on Nov. 1 in North Carolina. [The News & Observer]
CITY HALLS | In an announcement on Wednesday, Louisville, Kentucky Mayor Greg Fischer said two controversial statues of John B. Castleman and George D. Prentice will be moved by the end of this year, a decision based on findings by the Louisville Public Art & Monuments Advisory Committee. On Twitter, Fischer wrote that Louisville must not maintain statues that serve as validating symbols for racist or bigoted ideology.” He added: “Moving the Castleman & Prentice statues does not erase history. It allows us to examine our history in a new context that more accurately reflects the reality of the day, a time when the moral deprivation of slavery is clear.” [@louisvillemayor; Courier Journal]
- San Francisco, California: Protesters who gathered at City Hall on Wednesday for announcement by Mayor London Breed said they “felt the mayor cut them out of the announcement of funding for a right to counsel program for tenants facing eviction that was established under June’s voter-approved Proposition F.” [San Francisco Examiner]
- Ann Arbor, Michigan: Mayor Christopher Taylor was re-elected on Tuesday, but three of his allies on the Ann Arbor City Council were not, marking “the biggest shift in the power balance and dynamic on council in several years and could have implications on issues such as new developments and city spending priorities.” [MLive]
- Joplin, Missouri: Local voters rejected a use tax proposal at the polls on Tuesday, which raises “questions about how the city will fund additional bumps in pay for public safety workers.” [Joplin Globe]
- Portland, Oregon: Wednesday was another contentious day at Portland City Hall, where fist fights broke out between protesters and security guards. [KOIN]
- San Diego, California: Airbnb and Homeaway have launched a signature-gathering effort in hopes to overturn new city restrictions on short-term rentals, rules that would impact about 80 percent of the San Diego’s 11,000 short term rentals. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
ALSO on Route Fifty:
- Preparing for the Inevitability of the Next Recession
- Breaking Down Opioid Deaths by Occupation
- National Day of Civic Hacking Gets Even More Local
- School Board's Prayer Policy Ruled Unconstitutional
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Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.