Connecting state and local government leaders
Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Columbus, Ohio rescinds employee pay raises; Anchorage's 911 system bleeds cash; and Boston Satanists aren't backing down on invocation.
WEST DALLAS, TEXAS
AFFORDABLE HOUSING | A judge earlier this week halted the eviction of hundreds of people living in low-rent homes owned by HMK Ltd. The city of Dallas and HMK tenants sought the temporary restraining order, accusing the company of retaliating against renters for letting code inspectors into their homes. HMK has indicated it’s getting out of the rental business. A hearing on whether the company violated city and state laws is scheduled for Oct. 24. The rental homes are small houses that rent for $350 to $575 per month and are in areas where gentrification and new development are on the rise. A lawsuit filed against HMK last month calls the company one of “the most prolific slumlords in Dallas County.” [Dallas News]
PARKING | Using the city’s Department of Public Works website, downtown residents can now download up to 10 last-minute, temporary residential parking passes for guests. Sacramento recently extended parking permit restrictions to 10 p.m. in downtown, in an attempt to keep visitors to the Golden 1 Center arena from filling up parking spots in residential zones. But some locals complained that the restrictions were cumbersome, creating a situation where dinner guests, for instance, might run the risk of getting a parking ticket. [The Sacramento Bee]
RAISES | City Council wants 16 department heads and managers to pay back recent pay raises by year’s end. Their argument: the city manager granted them without council approval. Some council members were for the raises because new employees are paid at a higher rate than current employees. [WRBL]
911 SERVICES | Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is proposing a new solution to cover the widening gap between the cost of running Anchorage’s emergency 911 system and the revenue to pay for it. The mayor’s administration wants to increase a telephone surcharge from $1.50 per month to the maximum allowed under state law, which is $2 per month. Currently, the 911 system’s budget deficit is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The new proposal is estimated to generate an extra $2.1 million annually. The increase will help cover a new, upgraded system. [Alaska Dispatch News]
INVOCATION | Boston City Council rejected the local chapter of the National Satanic Temple’s most recent request to preach during the invocation that proceeds public meetings. The Satanists want to share their tenets and close by arguing for the separation of religion and government. Letters to officials have mostly been ignored, perhaps because the group ultimately wants to see the invocation eliminated from proceedings altogether. “Our goal is not to sacrifice humans. That is not the mission statement of the temple,” LeSaffre said. “People who are unwilling to accept Satan as a figurehead of eternal rebellion tend to be more close-minded.” [Boston Herald]