Connecting state and local government leaders
Also: Tennessee ends prepaid tuition program and agenda-driven Uber floods Sacramento.
Here’s some of what we’ve been reading today ...
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina: Are North Carolina’s two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh, intrastate rivals or friends? That’s the topic of an essay in Charlotte magazine by author Scott Huler. Unlike Charlotte, which is the center of a metro area with one distinct core city, Raleigh, the state capital, is part of a multi-node urbanized region, which makes local governance complicated:
Our region’s various managers are almost never on the same page, so Raleigh needs to work doubly hard to get anything done. Far from an only child, Raleigh is like a kid from the family down at the end of the street, where they have a bunch of kids, and you think you know the parents but you’re never quite sure who’s in charge. That’s kind of weird but can be kind of cool, too. The city gets a little tougher for having to fight for anything it gets. And recovering from the various indignities visited upon it by its parent-of-the-moment—city government, county government, regional partnerships, the legislature—renders it capable and responsive.
But in many ways, Charlotte is the state’s big city, and that’s undeniable, Huler writes: “Raleigh’s more town than city. Walk the center of Charlotte, and you’re in the Carolinas’ only genuine big city. That’s fact: Don’t even try to argue.” [Charlotte]
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: The American Legion has had rent-free space in Utah’s State Capitol since World War I, but the powers who control space in the Beehive State’s seat of government have another use in mind for the Legion’s office space: rented office space for lobbyists. The Capitol Preservation Board, The Salt Lake Tribune reported, voted 7-1 to take the next step to negotiate the Legion’s exit from its space in the Capitol, a move the Legion’s Utah adjutant says the group can’t afford. [Salt Lake Tribune]
NASHVILLE, Tennessee: A state program that allowed parents and other relatives to pre-pay college tuition at current tuition rates is being discontinued. As The Commercial Appeal reports, “anemic investment earnings during and after the Great Recession and steep tuition increases prompted state officials last week to pull the plug on BEST’s Prepaid Tuition Plan.” [The Commercial Appeal]
SACRAMENTO, California: Since 2013, the popular ride-booking service Uber has spent nearly $1 million on lobbying in California since 2013, Bloomberg Politics reports, in its ongoing efforts to “derail efforts by regulators, lawmakers and the taxi industry to extend rules governing cabs to the nascent ride-sharing industry.” Uber has spent far more on lobbying than Facebook and Apple during the same time period. [Bloomberg Politics]
PORTSMOUTH, Rhode Island: Local smoking bans are spreading in the Ocean State. The town council in Portsmouth, which shares Aquidneck Island with Newport and Middletown, voted unanimously to ban smoking on all municipally-owned beaches, parks and recreation areas starting next year, Portsmouth Patch reports. Newport and Middletown already have similar smoking bans in place. [Portsmouth Patch]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.