Convicted Felon Back in City Hall; Delaware Residents vs. Smelly Vultures

Bridgeport, Conn., Mayor Joseph Ganim leaves U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., Wednesday, March 19, 2003, after he was found guilty on 16 of 21 federal corruption charges.

Bridgeport, Conn., Mayor Joseph Ganim leaves U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., Wednesday, March 19, 2003, after he was found guilty on 16 of 21 federal corruption charges. Bob Child / AP Photo


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also: Florida’s untested rape kits and high levels of neurotoxins in California crabs.

Here’s some of what we’ve been reading this morning …

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut: Joe Ganim, the former Bridgeport mayor who was convicted in 2003 on 16 racketeering, bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion felonies and served seven years in federal prison, recaptured his former seat in Tuesday’s vote. "There is an element of redemption in all of this. It's real and it's human and it applies to every one of us,'' Ganim told supporters, according to the Hartford Courant. "We need everyone to move this city forward." Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy did not endorse Ganim but following Tuesday’s vote said in a statement: "I am hopeful that Mayor-elect Ganim will live up to the huge responsibility that comes with leading our state's biggest city by building trust not just with those within the city he will soon lead, but with leaders statewide. We must continue to make progress in Bridgeport." [Hartford Courant]

FELTON, Delaware: Neighbors have taken action against “200 ugly, vomiting and hissing vultures” that have decided to call their community home and won’t go away, despite residents making their stay inhospitable. As The News Journal reports, on Tuesday night, “residents armed themselves with pots, pans, air horns and anything else that would make noise and sought to try and relocate the feathered menaces. Aiding their cause were trucks from the Felton Volunteer Fire Company, which shone bright lights on the birds and ran their sirens.” The turkey and black vultures have damaged homes and “[y]ou can hear them pulling on the roof,” one resident told the newspaper. The vultures smell and have “a horrible smelling projectile vomit.”  The vultures in Felton are a known problem to Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which has referred the problem—which the state is ”unable to resolve with techniques the Division of Fish & Wildlife is permitted to use”—to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [The News Journal]

TALLAHASSEE, Florida: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement this week confirmed that there are more than 10,000 untested rape kits around the state. And as The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times’ joint Tallahassee bureau reports, “they’re not done counting.” In December, the department is supposed to disclose the complete picture of the rape-kit testing backlog. And some sobering news about the problem of untested rape kits: “ ... [E]ven if all of the untested kits were sent to the state for testing, FDLE’s crime lab system is so overloaded it could not process those kits in any timely fashion without millions of dollars for extra workers or to outsource the work, agency officials said.” [Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau]

SANTA ROSA, California: State regulators are preparing to shut down California’s sport and recreational crab fisheries due to, as The Press Democrat reports, “persistently high levels of a dangerous neurotoxin in the succulent crustaceans.” The restrictions would delay the start of the state’s recreational crab season, which starts on Saturday, and the commercial season, which starts on Nov. 15. What’s the problem with the neurotoxin? “The effects of domoic acid poisoning can, in mild cases, include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and dizziness,” The Press Democrat reports. “More severe cases can lead to trouble breathing, heart trouble, seizures, permanent loss of short term memory and coma, the health officials said. Death can also result.” [The Press Democrat]

TOPEKA, Kansas: Like other states, Kansas is facing a problem involving the vacancy and turnover rates for state corrections officers. Part of the problem in the Sunflower State is pay related. As The Kansas City Star reports, low pay in Kansas puts the state at a disadvantage compared to neighboring state and local governments. [The Kansas City Star]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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