Connecting state and local government leaders
Also: Wilmington’s less-than-effective crime cameras and New Mexico is content to not be Mississippi.
Here’s what we’ve been reading today ...
PORTLAND, Oregon: A recent New Yorker feature about the various risks posed by a future magnitude 9.0 Cascadia Megathrust earthquake off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has served as an alarming reminder of the region’s vulnerability to mass disaster. A follow-up feature this week has turned its attention specifically to risks faced in Oregon and its largest city. And one disconcerting reality, beyond the seismic risk itself, are the limitations for first responders:
"Portland could be in particular trouble in this respect because, by a sociopolitical quirk," i.e., lower tax rates, "the majority of the city's emergency responders live across the Columbia River, in Vancouver, Wash. — a short commute on a normal day, but a nearly impossible one after the earthquake, since, at present, no bridges over the Columbia are expected to survive."
The author of the New Yorker stories on the Cascadia Megathrust threat, Kathryn Schulz, also says that tourists should not spend the night in the tsunami inundation zone on the coast. [The New Yorker via The Oregonian]
LEELANAU COUNTY, Michigan: Local government road crews and first responders around the nation have certainly had to clean up some unusual messes over the years and plenty more ordinary messes, too. So “wayward cherries,” as the Traverse City Record-Eagle described a recent roadway hazard, might seem fairly routine in an area of the country known for its cherry production. But it was something new for the chief of the Suttons Bay-Bingham Fire and Rescue Department, Jim Porter. "It's not a common thing," Porter said. "I can't remember the last time we've been to an accident that involved cherries." [Traverse City Record-Eagle]
WILMINGTON, Delaware: Is the First State’s largest city getting the most out of its 62 crime surveillance cameras? The consensus among city and state officials is no, according to The News Journal, which reports that “the system suffers from a severe lack of monitoring, technical and operational shortcomings and the public's perception that most cameras don't work.” [The News Journal]
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment’s slogan shouldn’t be “Thank goodness for Mississippi.” That’s according to a commentary by Heath Haussamen of NMPolitics.net, who laments how the state doesn’t have its act together on early childhood development. New Mexico ranks 49th out of the 50 states in that department. There are no silver bullets to fix the state’s problems and Haussamen notes that “we ignore the deeper discussion about overcoming our poverty mentality.” [NMPolitics.net]
ST. LOUIS, Missouri: There is a particular and peculiar type of residential architecture in St. Louis called the “flounder” style, because the triangular nature of the roofline resembles the fish. But how many “flounder” houses, which were built in the 19th century, are there in Missouri’s largest city? And how many are endangered? As St. Louis Public Radio reports, the city’s Cultural Resources Office found that most of the city’s 277 “flounder” houses are “in good shape.” [St. Louis Public Radio]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.
NEXT STORY: To Save Bees, Some States Take Aim at Pesticides