Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | San Francisco mayor’s surprise inspections … Oklahoma’s emergency certifications … and St. Paul vs. emerald ash borers.
Good morning, it’s Thursday, Aug. 22, 2018. Leading our state and local government news roundup is education news from Texas. But scroll down for more stories from places like Ann Arbor, Michigan; Long Beach, California; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
STATE GOVERNMENT | Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took many observers of Lone Star State politics by surprise last week when the conservative governor said he’s interested in figuring out ways to put more Texas educators “on the pathway to earning a six-figure salary.” Abbott’s sentiments are drawing some skepticism: “If you’re going to propose a salary increase, you need to come up with a way to pay for it, or else it’s a fake salary proposal,” Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association told the Houston Chronicle. “This is an election-year gimmick, no more than that.” [Houston Chronicle]
- Ann Arbor, Michigan: The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality continues to search for the source of PFAS contamination that was discovered in fish from the Huron River in the Ann Arbor area that “tested at 3 to 4 times the state's maximum safety threshold.” The state issued a “do not eat” advisory for fish from the Huron River, which also the source of Ann Arbor’s municipal water supply. [MLive]
- Boston, Massachusetts: The 110-year-old North Washington Street Bridge in Boston, which connects the North End with Charlestown, is at the end of its useful lifespan and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, working with Boston City Hall, is getting ready to replace vital transportation artery, widening walkways and adding a bus-only lane. But it’s going to take five years. [Curbed Boston]
- Tulsa, Oklahoma: The Oklahoma State Department of Education is expected to approve 915 additional emergency certifications for non-accredited teachers as the state “is poised to break last year’s record-setting number of emergency certifications” for educators. [Tulsa World]
LOCAL GOVERNMENT | Ethan Strimling, the mayor of Portland, Maine has found himself in a public argument with Gov. Paul LePage, who called his proposal to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections a “politically correct boondoggle.” Strimling said LePage’s comments are “right out of the Republican playbook—scapegoating immigrants. It happens in every election cycle, and you see it from the president on down.” [Bangor Daily News]
- Long Beach, California: The Long Beach City Council on Tuesday approved a measure that will ask the city attorney to pull together a draft ordinance that would ban smoking in restaurant patios and other outdoor seating areas. [Long Beach Post]
- St. Paul, Minnesota: Although Minnesota’s capital city will likely end up devoting more funding to fight emerald ash borer infestations, the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department “will likely continue to fall behind on removing ash trees.” [Star Tribune]
- San Francisco, California: As part of her efforts to clean up some of San Francisco’s filthy streets and sidewalks, Mayor London Breed is “playing a bit of cat and mouse with her own city department heads” by showing up to hard-hit areas unannounced but “with reporters in tow.” [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Law enforcement and public safety is front and center in his proposed $209 million city spending plan, which includes funding to “upgrade communications for police and firefighters to boost the city’s emergency and disaster response capabilities while improving the city’s mutual aid support agreements with surrounding agencies.” [Tuscaloosa News]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.