Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Black Lives Matter activists complain of hijacking of movement in Portland … Chicago quietly takes down Columbus statue … Florida mayors suggest some may want to wear masks at home.
Hurricane Hanna made landfall as a Category 1 storm Saturday evening in the Rio Grande Valley, leaving behind flooding and damage in an area already dealing with a coronavirus spike. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott underscored the additional challenge in talking about the state’s preparations, which included not just hurricane response, but dealing with Covid-19. The state dispatched 100 medical personnel from the Texas National Guard, as well as mobile coronavirus testing teams. People who need shelter will be housed in hotels. “Any hurricane is an enormous challenge,” Abbott said. “This challenge is complicated and made even more severe seeing that it is sweeping through an area that is the most challenged area in the state for Covid-19.” The storm is the first to make landfall in the U.S. since the start of Atlantic hurricane season. Water rescues were necessary in some coastal counties, while more than 200,000 were without power midday on Sunday. [Texas Tribune; Corpus Christi Caller-Times; The Monitor; The Weather Channel; CBS]
PORTLAND PROTESTS | As protests continued in Portland over the weekend, some Black Lives Matter activists said they are angry with both the Trump administration and a portion of white protesters who they say have hijacked their movement. Instead of focusing on police brutality and other issues important to the Black community, the protests—particularly late at night—become focused on the federal law enforcement presence. Danialle James, who has been at protests since they began after the death of George Floyd in late May, expressed frustration. “We need to shift the focus back to why we were out there originally,” she said. [The Oregonian]
COLUMBUS STATUE | The city of Chicago removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from a downtown park at 3 a.m. on Friday. The week before, protesters had tried to topple the statue and police moved in to make arrests; at least 20 complaints of police brutality were filed over the incident. “This statue coming down is because of the effort of Black and Indigenous activists who know the true history of Columbus and what he represents,” said Stefan Cuevas-Caizaguano, a resident who observed the removal. [The Guardian]
MASKS AT HOME | The mayors of Miami and Miami-Dade County encouraged residents to wear masks in their homes to reduce the chance that Covid-19 spreads between family members. “I would tell our residents—and this is voluntary, this is not something that we can mandate—that they should consider, particularly if they have a multigenerational household, wearing masks indoors at times with their multigenerational residents and also respecting social distance when they’re at home,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. [The Hill]
FACEBOOK BLOCKING | The mayor of Irvine, California is being sued after deleting Facebook posts and blocking several residents of the city on the platform after they wrote comments criticizing her stance opposing diverting money from the city’s police force. Mayor Christina Shea defended her actions by saying that she was using her personal page and therefore she believes it is within her rights to block people. [Voice of Orange County]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is the assistant editor.