Protecting Waikiki From Future Flash-Flood Destruction


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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | San Diego’s new Airbnb rules … a bizarre resignation in Oklahoma … and Denver’s big renewable energy pledge.

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, July 17, 2018. Flooding and flood management leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup, which also includes stories from San Diego, California; Hartford, Connecticut; and Dallas, Texas, among other places. Scroll down for more ...

FLOOD MANAGEMENT | It’s only a matter of time until a major flash flood hits the Ala Wai watershed in the Honolulu area, a disaster that will likely inundate highly populated areas and “basically could put Waikiki completely underwater.” With $345 million in federal appropriations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to construct new flood defenses to reduce the risk from flash flooding in parts of the watershed, including the Ala Wai Canal which drains through an area adjacent to the famous beach. [Honolulu Civil Beat]

Officials in Nashville are strengthening rules that prohibits new development within 50 feet of the Cumberland River in hopes to limit future flood damage. “It’s considered a no-disturb zone for a reason,” Nashville Councilman Jeff Syracuse said at a council meeting this month. “We don’t need to be putting density in an area that is designated a no-disturb zone.” [Nashville Public Radio]

New York City subway commuters faced major headaches on Tuesday when torrential rainfall flooded some stations and created massive delays throughout the nation’s busiest transit system. [Gothamist]

PUBLIC HEALTH | There’s been a spike of deaths from sickle-cell disease in Minnesota, but just how many people in the state have died is not known since the often-fatal blood disorder is not formally tracked. "I feel we've reached an emergency status," said Dr. Stephen Nelson, a pediatric hematologist at Children's Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis. [Minnesota Public Radio]


  • San Diego, California: Newly approved city rules for short-term rentals in San Diego are going to have a significant impact in the Mission Beach area, where 44 percent of the local housing stock is used for Aibnb and similar short-term rental services, where some owners are predicting an economic bloodbath. [San Diego Union Tribune]
  • Denver, Colorado: In his State of the City address on Monday, Mayor Michael Hancock committed the city to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity sources by 2030, including the adoption of a net-zero building code for new construction and more electric vehicles. [KCNC / CBS4]
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s general counsel resigned abruptly and now “faces criminal charges of falsely reporting a crime and creating a fictitious email to send herself threats over the agency’s work on the state’s new medical marijuana program.” [Tulsa World]
  • Hartford, Connecticut: Despite numerous attempts by leaders to embrace expanded tolling on Connecticut highways, Gov. Dannel Malloy is pushing for a $10 million study for electronic tolling in the state. [Hartford Courant]
  • Everett, Washington: The last fire pole used by firefighters in a station house in Everett, Washington will be retired from service. Stairs are safer. [Everett Herald]
  • Dallas, Texas: A study by commercial real estate firm JLL found that the Dallas-area is one of the top five U.S. markets for reverse commuting, along with New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. More than half of Dallas’ “highly educated population commutes to the suburbs," according to the report. [Dallas Morning News]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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