Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Minnesota data breach … Fresno officials scoff at proposed e-scooter fines … and N.Y.C. pension funds warm up to de Blasio divestment plan.
Good morning, it’s Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is economic development but scroll down for more from places like Fresno, California (the latest flashpoint in the e-scooter wars); New York City (where pensions and climate change are intertwined); and Portsmouth, New Hampshire (where a city councilor wants the city to embrace renewable energy).
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | While the writing has been on the wall for awhile now, the holding company that owns Sears made it official on Monday: It’s declaring bankruptcy and will close 142 stores across the nation by the end of the year in addition to the 46 already set to shutter next month. While the demise of Sears, which one bankruptcy expert described as “the slowest-moving train wreck,” doesn’t directly impact local government officials, the footprints of all those closing Sears locations are sure to cause big headaches for economic development officials facing the prospect of lost tax revenue. But those Sears sites may be opportunities for mixed-use development or other uses. A 74,000 square foot former Sears store attached to the Pine Ridge Mall shopping center in Chubbuck, Idaho is being transformed into a charter school. [The Washington Post; CNN; Sears Holdings; Tacoma News Tribune; idahoEdNews]
CYBERSECURITY | The Minnesota Department of Human Services reported Friday that the personal information of about 21,000 state residents may have been exposed in a data breach that happened in June and July. Minnesota Chief Information Security Officer Aaron Call said that cyber attacks are becoming “more pervasive and more sophisticated.” [Star Tribune]
HOMELESSNESS | Advocates of improved and better funded homelessness services in San Diego argue that too much of the money the county spends from a special mental illness fund “goes to consultants, reports, public relations and pilot projects rather than direct treatment for patients most affected by mental illness.” [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
PENSIONS | Three of New York City’s five pension plans have warmed up to a plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio to “shed billions of dollars in gas and oil holdings as a stand against climate change” but the plan still needs the formal approval of the pension fund trustees. [Newsday]
MOBILITY | A proposed ordinance to regulate e-scooters in Fresno, California, which includes stiff penalties for bad behavior has been scoffed at by some local councilmembers: “We barely have enough cops to crack down on methamphetamine,” Councilmember Clint Olivier said. “…What are you going to have? Scooter police?”
ENERGY | In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, City Councilor Josh Denton is interested in building wind turbines on top of City Hall or building a solar array at a local landfill. [SeacoastOnline]
PUBLIC SAFETY | Officials in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania say that limiting the number of public entrances to the government center has not only improved security, but has allowed the sheriff to free up two deputies for other assignments. [LancasterOnline]
MARIJUANA | Ocean Springs, Mississippi Mayor Shea Dobson hosted a gathering this weekend for signature-gathers seeking to put a medical marijuana legalization initiative on the 2020 state ballot. [Sun Herald]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.