Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Auditor finds Chicago has not been enforcing recycling laws … Health officials say vaccination cards will be issued to those who get Covid shots … Provo City Council votes to preserve a popular waterfall.
Several mayors and governors apologized to their constituents this week for flaunting Covid-19 suggestions they had made about not traveling or gathering with other people. Austin Mayor Steve Adler apologized to city residents for hosting a wedding for his daughter in early November with about 20 guests and then taking eight of those guests on a private jet to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Ahead of Thanksgiving, Adler had told residents to “to stay home if you can” in an effort to “keep those numbers down.” After his trip became public knowledge on Wednesday, Adler posted a video to Facebook to say he regretted traveling. “I wouldn’t travel now. I didn’t over Thanksgiving, and I won’t over Christmas. And no one should,” he said. On Tuesday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo admitted that his Thanksgiving gathering, which included family members from five households, broke statewide gathering restrictions in California. “I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them. I commit to do better,” he said. Other public officials who have apologized recently for violating coronavirus restrictions or recommendations include Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who flew to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who dined indoors at an upscale restaurant last month. [Washington Post; KRON; Newsweek]
RECYCLING LAWS | The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation hasn’t been holding business, apartment, and condo building owners accountable to recycling laws that require them to provide recycling services, the city inspector general found in a new audit. The owners are supposed to be given a 30-day warning if they’re in violation of the law, and then face fines of $500 to $5000 per day. “Proper recycling in commercial and high-density residential buildings, the latter of which make up more than 40% of households throughout Chicago, can help reduce the City’s dependence on landfills, which emit greenhouse gases that harm public health and natural habitats,” the inspector’s office said in a statement. “The Chicago Recycling Ordinance was amended in 2017 to include stronger enforcement provisions, but our audit shows that this responsibility has not been met and significant barriers still exist.” [NBC Chicago]
VACCINATION CARDS | Federal officials confirmed that they will be using vaccination cards to keep track of who has gotten a Covid-19 vaccine and to remind people of the date they need to get their second shot in the two-dose regimen. Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of the Immunization Action Coalition, said that "everyone will be issued a written card that they can put in their wallet that will tell them what they had and when their next dose is due.” Moore called it the “simplest” way to keep track of vaccinations. Vaccine records will also be kept in state immunization registries and many places will ask patients for a cell phone number so they can receive a text when they are due for their next dose. [CNN]
WATERFALL PRESERVATION | The city council in Provo, Utah approved a resolution that supports the preservation of Bridal Veil Falls, a popular tourist attraction. A developer had been looking to privatize the land and build a drug treatment center, but the council said the site was better utilized as public land. “The preservation of Bridal Veil Falls in its natural state for its scenic beauty for the enjoyment of this and future generations is invaluable, and any loss to access by the public will have a detrimental effect on the quality of life enjoyed by those who use and visit the area,” the council wrote in its resolution. [Associated Press]
POLICE CUTS | More than 400 Minneapolis residents signed up to speak at a city council meeting this week where council members considered a resolution to cut $8 million from the police budget for reallocation to unarmed crisis response teams. As with many cities this year, the murder rate is up, and some residents want a fully staffed police force. Others want the council to go further than the proposal and redirect $53 million from the police budget into social safety net programs. [WCCO]
Emma Coleman is the assistant editor for Route Fifty