10.31.2016

Happy Halloween! Today’s morning buzz has Donald Trump’s history w/ local governments, a county mulling EMS consolidation and controversy surrounding LGBT book in an Oklahoma library system.

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Right Now with Matt Yager

What I’m reading: Rise of the Alt-Right by Scott McConnell

What I’m watching: Hamilton’s America

What I’m listening to: Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett

What I’m doing: Celebrating another Cowboys win.

What I want to know from you: What are you (or your kids) dressing up as for Halloween?

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Buzzing  

I worked in local government – show me a robot that could do my job better: Some public sector jobs seem like they can be automated, but they need the personal touch. Which robot would know the names of everyone’s children?

 3 Reasons Some Local Governments are Eschewing Big Tech Vendors for Startups: The public sector moves more slowly than the business world. Government information technology contracts are huge, long-term beasts. Public agencies prefer establishment over risk. All of that used to be true — but it’s changing. According to a group of businesspeople and public officials who gathered Thursday in San Francisco to talk about the future of the government technology market, there is a growing number of startups working quickly to solve problems in the space, and a growing appetite for those solutions to go along with it. “Government sectors in the past … have always looked for the biggest, most prominent, secure player in the house and then procured a multi-hundred-million-dollar solution with them,” said Peter Pirnejad, director of development services for the city of Palo Alto, Calif., at the first-ever State of GovTech event, held at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco. “That’s all changed. Now we’re looking for the more agile, the more niche solution that’s able to come and solve a specific problem.”

Donald Trump Has Nickel And Dimed Local Governments On Taxes, Too: Donald Trump’s campaign has evaded questions about his $916 million federal tax write-off by asserting that he has paid plenty in other kinds of taxes over the years. But documents obtained by The Huffington Post show that the candidate has also repeatedly fought to lower the amount he pays in state and local taxes, in some cases telling authorities that his properties are worth tens of millions of dollars less than he’s claimed in his federal election filings. It’s a strategy that Trump has used across the country, and it can cost local communities hundreds of thousands in lost revenue they’d otherwise spend on schools, fire departments and other services. Trump’s tax reduction tactics are all the more jarring as his surrogates cite the enormous amount of state and local taxes he pays amid revelations that he used a massive write-off to avoid paying federal income taxes.

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Upcoming  

  • Webinar: How to Get Started with Open Data Tuesday, November 8, 2016 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
  • Technology Efficiency Series: CRMs Thursday, November 17, 2016  from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST

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50Nifty  

  • Ideas for public works land wanted: The City Council is poised to form an ad hoc committee next month to discuss the future use of the O’Neil Street public works campus, once those services are moved to the new facility off Highland Avenue next year. While it will will require a formal vote at the Nov. 7 meeting, the committee will likely be comprised of seven members, including Councilor Patti Smith, who represents District 2, which includes O’Neil Street, residents of District 2 and the Meetinghouse Hill neighborhood, and members of other city committees and departments. The new $15.7 million city services campus, at 929 Highland Ave., is being built on 9 acres of land adjacent to a capped landfill and is being completed in phases – the first of which was finished this summer and included a separate new swap shop and transfer station.

  • 5 things (besides candidates) Warren County voters will decide on Election Day: When some Warren County voters head to the polls on Election Day, they’ll be deciding more than who serves in the local government. Five towns have ballot questions — listed below as they will appear in the voting booth — giving residents in each the chance to weigh in on some proposals. At stake are a library, a pool, a dam and more. These are in addition to two statewide questions: one asking if gambling should be expanded to two more counties, and another inquiring about a constitutional amendment to dedicate the entire gas tax to transportation projects.
  • Delaware County mulls countywide EMS to save money, end overlap: Delaware County’s fire and emergency services are widely considered to be high quality and innovative. With 12 local fire departments, six providing ambulance service, along with the county’s own emergency medical service (EMS), coverage is extensive and response times lower than national averages. Some might say the network of care is too extensive. An analysis released this week by Delaware County Commissioner Jeff Benton aims to reduce overlap and redundancy, maintain quality and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
  • Should Multnomah County Appoint Or Elect Its Sheriff?: Multnomah County’s sheriff has been elected since the county incorporated in 1854. But years of scandal in the county sheriff’s office have some questioning whether that system is worth preserving.  That question is on the ballot for Multnomah County voters. If passed, Measure 26-183 would replace Multnomah County’s elected sheriff with an appointed one. Americans have been electing county sheriffs since the country was founded. And there have been few cases where anyone has tried to change that. Approximately 99 percent of the nation’s at least 3,000 county sheriffs are elected.

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  • City’s growing pension debt to be focus of budget negotiations: A credit agency downgraded Springfield’s rating last week because of what it called “considerable growth” in the city’s pension liability. Mayor Jim Langfelder said the downgrade was unavoidable because of changes in accounting practices. But he added the city’s growing pension debt needs to be addressed in upcoming discussions about the budget for the fiscal year that starts March 1. “We’re going to have to address the issue. We can’t stick our heads in the ground,” Langfelder said.

  • Denver police department becomes the latest to rethink use-of-force policies: The Denver Police Department has become the latest to rethink its use-of-force policies, rewriting a portion of its operations manual to reflect recommendations made by national policing experts, police chief Robert White said Wednesday.  Rather than informing officers of what they are legally allowed to do, the revised policies will encourage police to use the minimum amount of force necessary by providing specific scenarios and decisionmaking guidelines detailing how to react when met with resistance, Chief White told the Denver Post.  The Denver police follow the Denver Sheriff Department – which earlier this year overhauled its use-of-force policy to set a more restrictive standard – as well as departments in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Baltimore that have begun to examine use-of-force policies with a more critical eye. The reforms come amid protests and demands for reform following a series of high-profile police shootings of black men.

  • Charter government talk dead, for now: After months of vocal opposition from community members, discussion on possibly changing the county’s form of government effectively came to an end Thursday. “We’ve got a lot more things to be talking about than spending two years on this and who’s for it and who’s not,” said Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1.  At a discussion originally planned to address how talks about whether to pursue a new form of government would go forward, the board agreed to table the discussion for the time being. Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, said he believed the timing for the discussion on government is not right.
  • Investigation finds no problems with ex-Huber city manager files: Two thumb drives alleged by a local political operative to hold documents from two former Huber Heights city managers were found to contain no information requiring a redaction, an investigation found. Emery Phipps Jr., the head of a former political action committee opposing the 2008 recall effort against Councilman Mark Campbell, in June emailed members of city council detailing concerns that he might have obtained from Campbell documents released outside the city’s public records process. Two reviews by the city’s legal counsel — one in August and another this month — found “a public record request was made in 2008 by Mark Campbell consistent with the timeline provided by Mr. Phipps,” but said there “is no way of checking to see if that request corresponds with the documents on the thumb drive.” Still, the records on the thumb drive — said to have come from the computers of ex-city managers Cathy Armocida and Jim Bowers — were reviewed and found to have contained no information requiring redaction.

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#LocalGov Confidential

Jeff Park association organizes zoning protest in front of alderman’s office: An hour-long protest against recent zoning projects in the 45th Ward took place Saturday morning, Oct. 29, in front of Alderman John Arena’s office, 4754 N. Milwaukee Ave. “People ask what is our goal. It’s to stop the up-zoning,” resident Steve Neidenbach said. The Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association organized the protest, distributing 1,500 fliers to homes and businesses. About 50 people attended the protest, although not all of them picketed at once. “We’d like Alderman Arena to listen to the residents, not the developers,” association president Robert Bank said. A woman carried a “don’t crowd me in” sign in reference to the density of the projects which the association opposes.

Oklahoma Library System Embroiled in Issue Over Placement of LGBT Books: Oklahoma LGBT activists are calling into question a local library policy that limits the placement of LGBT-themed books to a section that holds books on sensitive topics such as drug use, incarceration and sexual abuse. The Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma shelves popular LGBT themed books like Heather Has Two Mommies and King and King in its “family talk” section. The section is named as such because of the parental discretion required for a child’s access, something reinforced by the height of the shelves. The policy is over a decade old. In 2006 library officials reached a compromise with local politicians, library commission members and parents who were concerned about the availability of LGBT-themed books to their children. Rather than remove the books from the library completely, as was requested, it was agreed the books would be kept in the special section. Two years later, a library commission member ammended the policy to ensure the section remains at least 5 feet from the ground.

SF poll finds residents blame tech, City Hall for problems: San Franciscans are evenly split on whether the city is headed in the right direction or is on the wrong track, and they view homelessness and housing as the most important issues facing their city. They blame both the tech industry and City Hall for high housing costs and traffic congestion. These findings come from a new poll paid for by Rise SF, an advocacy group formed in September to push for more housing and better public transportation. The nonprofit has a steering committee of 22 members representing the tech industry, business and labor, and has seed money from Facebook, Dignity Health and the local construction workers union.

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