Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Toxic sludge site removed from EPA priorities list … West Virginia’s Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome numbers … city clerk says city manager threatened her … and D.C. public schools enrollment fraud.
Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention ...
- Los Angeles, California | City officials have proposed a $20 million plan to build new emergency shelters across the city to help ease the local homelessness crisis, with the intent of having some of the shelters ready for construction or start operations by July 1. The city would secure property and construct the shelters with the assumption the county government will operate them and provide services. The plan, championed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, “will ease or eliminate restrictions on new homeless shelters, allowing them to be quickly set up without subjecting property owners to a lengthy and costly approval process.” Garcetti spent a lot of time discussing homelessness during his State of the City address on Monday, where he didn’t mince words about dysfunction in Washington, D.C. and the importance of local government leadership in shaping national policy. “In Los Angeles, we do what Washington can’t seem to get done," Garcetti said. [L.A. Daily News; Curbed LA; KPCC / Southern California Public Radio]
- Houston, Texas: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has removed “a pit of toxic sludge along the San Jacinto River” from a list of priority cleanup locations, according to an EPA announcement on Monday. While the San Jacinto Waste Pits were taken off of the EPA’s Emphasis List, three sites in California, Delaware and Minnesota were added. [Texas Tribune]
- Anchorage, Alaska: A Federal Communications Commission broadband advisor selected by Chairman Ajit Pai “was arrested last week on claims she tricked investors into pouring money into a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme.” [The Verge]
- Wheeling, West Virginia: Three counties in or adjacent to West Virginia’s northern panhandle have a higher-than-average percentage of infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, according to data released by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, which includes information on 28 of the state’s counties. “The data is really 2017 data,” according to Dr. Rahul Gupta, state health officer and commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “It’s the first time we have well-standardized and current-year data. We are ahead of most states in the nation.” [The Intelligencer]
- Washington, D.C.: Enrollment fraud has been an ongoing problem in the District of Columbia Public Schools, where Maryland residents have found ways to enroll their children in D.C. schools without paying out-of-district tuition. And some of the biggest offenders have been found to be D.C. school officials. [The Washington Post]
- Burlington, Vermont: Instead of each local school district in the state negotiating teacher health benefits, there’s a proposal to create a special state commission that would design “a single school employee health plan for the whole state and decide how much employees pay in premiums and out-of-pocket costs.” [Burlington Free Press]
- Jasper, Florida: Members of the city council in this small town near the Georgia state border are investigating allegations made by the city clerk that the city manager, who carries a gun in a holster, threatened her. The city manager has called the claims bogus. [The Union-Recorder]
- Willmar Lakes, Minnesota: The Minnesota governor’s annual Fishing Opener, which gets underway in 27 days, could have a big challenge this year: 25 inches of ice that remains on Green Lake, which will host this year’s fishing event. Organizers said they can clear ice from the lake if need be and posed for photos on the lake with “ice augers, blow torches and axes” on Sunday. [WCCO-TV / CBS Minnesota]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.