Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Houston officials move to block robot brothel … unusual red tide reaches Florida’s Atlantic coast … and an open secret in rural Iowa.
Good morning, it’s Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is water news from the Southwest, but scroll down for more from places like Bismarck, North Dakota; Houston, Texas and Detroit, Michigan.
STATE GOVERNMENT | Officials in Arizona have been hopeful to reach a deal with neighboring states over its access to the Colorado River, which provides water to the Grand Canyon State’s thirsty cities and farms, among other states. Water managers in Arizona have been engaged in biweekly meetings since the summer focused on developing a new drought-mitigation plan for the strained watershed, something that’s not only aimed at stemming falling reservoir levels in Lake Mead, but a deal that can get the stamp of approval from the state legislature. [Arizona Republic / AZCentral.com; AP via Colorado Public Radio]
- Palm Beach County, Florida: Although communities on Florida’s Gulf Coast have been struggling with red tide, state officials confirmed a rare red tide along the Atlantic coast in Palm Beach County. How long will it stick around? “The duration of a bloom in nearshore Florida waters depends on physical and biological conditions that influence its growth and persistence, including sunlight, nutrients and salinity, as well as the speed and direction of wind and water currents,” according to a state press release. [Miami Herald]
- Jefferson City, Missouri: A state audit has found that officials in Missouri have lost track of nearly 1,300 registered sex offenders. [KXXV]
- Boise, Idaho: The Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Monday kicked off its three-day fall interim meeting to start looking at the state of the budget. Among the takeaways: “Two months into the new fiscal year, state tax revenues are running $12.7 million below forecasts. However, they’re still running well above where lawmakers expected them to be when they adjourned the 2018 legislative session.” [Idaho Press]
- Bismarck, North Dakota: After Cheri Schoenfish, North Dakota’s first “chief people officer,” returned to her position at Microsoft after a year of “civic leave” in the administration of Gov. Doug Burgum, the state’s Office of Management and Budget is looking for a successor to lead a restructured division of human resources. [Bismarck Tribune]
LOCAL GOVERNMENT | The Houston City Council may take local legislative action to block a “robot brothel” from opening near the Galleria by changing the city’s rules about sexually oriented businesses. A Toronto-based business wants to open a Houston location where “‘adult love dolls’ constructed of synthetic skin and highly articulated skeletons would be available ‘to rent before you buy.’” [Houston Chronicle]
- Detroit, Michigan: A neighborhood on Detroit’s southwest side, Springwells Village, is “not a wealthy area, with median income at $31,000.” But “for low-income African American kids, it offers a better chance at upward mobility than most of the surrounding neighborhoods.” It’s known as an “opportunity bargain,” places with “relatively affordable areas that offer high chance of escaping poverty” that are all mapped in an Opportunity Atlas. [CityLab; Opportunity Atlas]
- Sibley, Iowa: Here’s an open and very sensitive local secret in northwestern Iowa and many other places home to dairy farms. Although the local, state and federal elected leaders that dairy farmers support may denounce the use of undocumented immigrants, local dairy farms couldn’t function without undocumented immigrants. “If [ICE comes to] town, then we have to talk about it, find out what’s going on, why, whether to participate, and make sure our town’s not disrupted,” Mayor Jerry Johnson. [Esquire]
- Washington, D.C. Former District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, who currently serves as a Ward 7 councilmember, says he fell at the D.C. Eagle nightclub when a bouncer wanted to check the 75-year-old leader’s ID. [WRC / NBCWashington]
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, along with the mayor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and Department of Information Services, have relaunched a local emergency preparedness website, RedStickReady.com. [The Advocate; RedStickReady.com]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.