Postal Workers Face ‘Violent Dog Behavior’ in Dallas; Auto Loan Delinquencies Rise in Oil and Gas Counties


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Some good news for Atlantic City; bathroom bill introduced in Michigan; and Indiana audits decline.

DOG ATTACKS | The city of Dallas not only has a problem with loose dogs people, but also has a problem with dogs attacking postal workers. “Violent dog behavior continues to pose a serious threat to our employees,” the Dallas postmaster told the City Council on Wednesday. Fifty-seven postal workers in Dallas were bitten by dogs last year. Dallas is tied for fourth for cities with the highest number of postal workers being bitten by dogs. Houston, San Diego and Cleveland lead the pack. [Dallas Morning News]

ENERGY | In a troubling sign for areas of the nation that are traditionally dependent on oil and gas drilling, a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that the number of delinquencies on auto loans has been increasing in counties with higher concentrations of jobs tied to the oil and gas industry. Mortgage delinquencies in these counties are more or less holding steady. Does the news about auto loans portend anything more distressing for the U.S. economy? “While these effects are relevant in these counties, it’s important to remember that the affected areas are quite small relative to the nation,” the report says. [The Denver Post]

ECONOMY | Total first quarter revenue is up 3 percent at city casinos and third-party businesses, $22.9 million, and summer is expected to be a boon for the local economy. Still, the market is smaller after several casinos closing, and a state takeover of Atlantic City could bring more negative publicity. Meet AC, the convention and visitors bureau, earlier this month cut its projection of filling a record 300,000 hotel room-nights by 40 percent. [Press of Atlantic City]

TRADEMARK | City Council candidate Jeremy Whittaker is using Mesa’s three-tiered logo on campaign signs and other materials, and the city doesn’t like it. An attorney for Mesa sent Whittaker a desist letter arguing use of the trademark implies an endorsement and threatening litigation, but the candidate’s First Amendment lawyer isn’t buying it. “Whittaker is not going to give in to your demand on behalf of the incumbent city officials, who apparently hope to use trademark bullying to run up the costs of an independent candidate challenging a longtime city employee whom the incumbents prefer,” he said. [Ars Technica]

HISTORY | The body of an unidentified girl, who appears to be about 3 years old, was found in an ornate lead-and-bronze coffin under a home undergoing renovations in the Richmond District. It’s believed that she has been dead for 145 years. The girl was likely one of about 30,000 people who were buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Francisco. Those bodies were then moved to a common plot around 1920, after the city’s graveyards were closed. It appears that rather than being moved with the others, this girl was left behind. The story took an even stranger turn when the homeowner, Ericka Karner, contacted the city medical examiner’s office only to be told that since the body was discovered on private property, the little girl was her responsibility. “I understand if a tree is on your property, that’s your responsibility. But this is different,” Karner said. The city decided to move all these bodies 100 years ago, and they should stand behind their decision.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

CORRUPTION | Mayor Martin Walsh, whose administration is already under federal investigation, just paid a Boston law firm $30,000 from his campaign committee. A department head was indicted last week, but Walsh’s administration said payments to Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo are unrelated—a retainer for fundraising compliance work. Walsh historically paid another firm $1,300 a month for that service, and the Mintz Levin payments began March 31. [The Boston Globe]

LGBT RIGHTS | Will legislators in Michigan be the next to push a transgender bathroom bill? Republican state Sen. Tom Casperson has introduced Bill No. 993, a piece of legislation that would restrict the use of bathrooms to those that conform to the user’s gender at birth. Although the legislation has been introduced, Senate Majority Leader Arlen Meekhof has said that it is not a priority and has not scheduled any hearings on the proposal. [Metro Times; Detroit Free Press]

AUDITS | Audits are on the decline in Indiana thanks to a new law allowing the State Board of Accounts to conduct them every four years, rather than every year for cities and counties and every two for school corporations. SBOA can call for an audit sooner if it suspects financial mistakes or official wrongdoing, but the change came because the state’s 194 field examiners struggled to complete audits in all 92 counties quickly—a problem not likely to change. The new approach is being hailed as risk-based. “Calls from citizens would increase our risk factor or we would go in right away," said the audit services director. [The Star Press]

EDUCATION | The Shelby County Schools want a $44.5 million education budget increase from the county, a pill that’s hard to swallow with Memphis not contributing anything to funding. The city withdrew support from Memphis City Schools, only to lose an ensuing lawsuit from the district, but then MCS and SCS merged. The county’s six other cities formed their own school districts and increased local sales tax rates for funding, but not Memphis. "To me they're being like a deadbeat parent by not paying their fair share," said the county commission chairman. [The Commercial Appeal]

PUBLIC SAFETY | The mayor of Alaska’s largest city on Wednesday said that a broken concrete fountain in a park will be demolished in the next two weeks, a move that officials hope will eliminate a hiding spot for people to engage in illicit activities, including drug use. The removal of the fountain is expected to cost around $50,000. The fountain, which has had numerous problems with plumbing and electricity, hasn’t worked for years. [Alaska Dispatch News]