Happy July 4th! Today’s buzz look’s forward to tonight’s fireworks and features city planning with gender in mind, a police department that is closing to the public in Michigan and a Georgia town getting it’s fire female city manager. Read on!

Right Now w/ Matt  Yager

What I’m reading: The Student Debt Crisis: Lives On Hold

What I’m listening to: Whatever, Wherever by Band of Horses

What I’m doing: Helping decorate a scooter for the neighborhood 4th of July parade

What I want to know from you: How are you celebrating July 4th?


“What works for men doesn’t work for everyone”: why cities need to start planning with women in mind: Last year, councillors for the city of London, in Ontario, Canada, spent 90 minutes discussing a 12 word addition to a document. The contentious sentence read, “Consider a gender lens during the development and execution of new policies”. Harmless sounding, perhaps, but some of the male politicians felt the line impugned their honour. Bill Armstrong, representative of Ward 2 since the 90s, accused Maureen Cassidy, the councillor who introduced the offending line, of “questioning the integrity of our administration and suggesting they were doing practices that would be discriminatory”. That, he said, was simply not the case, and “I’ve been there long enough to know” – a reference perhaps to his opponent’s more recent assumption of office. “Plain and simple,” he concluded, “all people are treated equally, so it doesn’t have to be said.”

Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong: Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs — or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information, interweaved with a compelling history lesson from 19th-century France. When your steadfast opinions are tested, Galef asks: “What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?”

Culture Is Replacing Class as the Key Political Divide:  When United Kingdom voters last week narrowly approved a referendum to leave the European Union, they underscored again how an era of unrelenting economic and demographic change is shifting the axis of politics across much of the industrialized world from class to culture.Contrary to much initial speculation, the victory for the U.K. leave campaign didn’t point toward victory in the U.S. presidential election for Donald Trump, who is voicing very similar arguments against globalization and immigration; The British results, in fact, underscored the obstacles facing his agenda of defensive nationalism in the vastly more diverse U.S. electorate.

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50 Nifty

Clare closes police department to public (Michigan): It wasn’t an easy decision, and was one that nobody wanted to make, but in the end, officials in the city of Clare opted to close its police department to the public. In effect since Friday, the closure to the public means people wanting fingerprints or other services will have to go to either the Clare County Sheriff’s Department or the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, City Manager Ken Hibl said. More important to city officials, the closure means the loss of longtime administrative assistant John Pedjac, a Clare Police Reserves officer who had held that job for several years.

Proposed state zoning changes would impact Marion (Massachusetts): Marion Town Planner Ken Buckland was in front of Marion Planning Board at the board’s June 20 meeting to apprise the board of state zoning law changes on the horizon that could have major implications for the town moving forward. Buckland discussed with the board pending Massachusetts Zoning Legislation, known as S28-11, that is before the Massachusetts State Senate and will soon be on its way to the state House of Representatives, that if enacted as law could change a number of zoning regulations for the present and future in town.

Residents feel neglected as McAllen capital improvements spending drops (Texas): Lidia Martinez leaned over her backyard fence behind her home of 70 years, pointing out what the city hasn’t fixed. There’s the alley behind her home on North 19th Street between West Maple Avenue and Kendleweed Avenue that hasn’t been kept up and trash that hasn’t been collected. And the grass that invades parts of the alley. There’s the train tracks along N. Bicentennial Boulevard and for months there’s been a train sitting idle with weeds that aren’t. It’s no more than 100 yards away, blocking her view of the world. As Martinez walked toward her front yard Thursday morning to point out more problems the city doesn’t take care of, a McAllen Public Works truck drove by. “What’s that doing here?” Martinez half laughed. “Those things never come by. They’re not gonna do anything.”

Lake Elmo misses deadline, can’t join county library system next year (Minnesota): The county says Lake Elmo Public Library will not be able to join the county library system until at least 2018. The development is due to delays in action by the city council and a list of demands made by the city council that county staff say cannot be approved before a  July 1 deadline. The deadline has been publicly known since at least January. After special meetings by Lake Elmo’s library board and city council, an agreement to transfer the independent city library to the county system has been approved by the majority of the city council. However, the county says the action does not meet the requirements of the July 1 deadline. City staff warned the council at the time of the action that it would not meet the county’s requirements.

City of Hartford hires new economic development director (South Dakota): It’s been a year full of changes in Hartford. Half the town’s city council and the mayor stepped down after the community overturned the council’s decision to eliminate the economic development director position. But now with a new council and mayor in place, their first order of business was naming a new candidate to fill the position that nearly tore the town apart.

Fire department surprises neighborhood for training (Maryland): The small community of Summitt Hill in Mechanicsville is a pretty quiet neighborhood. Local residents got a surprise when a slew of fire trucks began arriving on Suite Landing Road Monday evening, June 27. For once, however, crews weren’t responding to a tragedy, but to training. The Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) utilized a hot June night to give firefighters and drivers a little training on Engine 23, a 2016 Pierce Enforcer out of Wisconsin, only delivered to Station 2 last month.

Spencer County government faces shutdown if budget isn’t passed (Kentucky): Spencer County officials have until midnight Thursday to pass a budget, leaving a lot of people concerned about what happens if they don’t meet the deadline. “At this point, we have not adopted a budget,” said Spencer County Judge Executive John Riley. If a budget doesn’t go through before July 1, county government will shut down.

Encinitas tabs Campbell as Parks and Rec Director (Califronia): Jennifer Campbell has been appointed as Encinitas Parks and Recreation Director, the city announced Wednesday. City Manager Karen P. Brust has appointed Campbell to replace Jim O’Grady, who has served as interim director since Lisa Rudloff resigned as Encinitas Parks and Recreation Director in March. Campbell comes to Encinitas with over 18 years of experience in municipal government, most of which has been in the field of Parks and Recreation. She has a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Leadership and Public Administration from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management from the University of Arizona. She is a Certified Park & Recreation Professional, a Certified Public Manager, possesses a Smartscape Certification and is a Parks Maintenance Management School Graduate.

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LocalGov Confidential

Possible sales tax ordinance on agenda for city council (Arizona): The Yuma City Council will introduce an ordinance at its regular meeting Wednesday that allows for a special election about a possible increase in the city’s sales tax, also known as the transaction privilege tax. According to a staff report, the 0.3 percent sales tax increase would be used to fund public safety and roads. If passed by voters, the increased revenue for the police and fire departments, and city roadways is estimated at $6 million. The current sales tax is 1.7 percent, and some council members and residents previously suggested raising it instead of the property tax, which was eventually raised in a 4-3 vote in May.

Avon, Ohio, Mayor Apologizes for Emirati Visitor’s Ordeal: An Ohio mayor apologized Sunday after a visitor from the Middle East was accused of being a terrorist and handcuffed by police at gunpoint. In the wake of Wednesday’s incident, the United Arab Emirates urged its citizens abroad to avoid wearing the country’s traditional white robes and headscarf. The UAE also summoned a senior U.S. diplomat to express its “dismay at the brutal way” police treated one of its citizens. Officers were dispatched to a hotel in Avon, less than 20 miles west of Cleveland, after staff called 911 to allege a Muslim guest named Ahmed Al Menhali was “in full headdress with multiple disposable phones, pledging his allegiance to ISIS,”according to NBC station WKYC.

Kelsey named sole finalist in city manager search (Georgia): Interim City Manager Meg Kelsey has been named the finalist in a search for LaGrange’s next city manager. The announcement was made by LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton following Tuesday’s City Council meeting, although no formal action was taken. Thornton said he expects City Council to appoint Kelsey at their next meeting on July 12. If hired, Kelsey would be LaGrange’s first female city manager and would replace the late Tom Hall, who died unexpectedly in February.