Tomorrow is Election Day in America, which means today we’re all a little nervous.  Today’s buzz reflects on our collective mood as a nation while also learning about how memes impact elections, competing visions in Wichita regarding zoning & strip clubs and what Mario Lopez has to say about a new stadium in San Diego.

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Right Now w/ Matt Yager  

What I’m watching: Highlights from the Cowboys-Browns game.

What I’m reading: While You Weren’t Looking, Donald Trump Released a Plan to Privatize America’s Roads and Bridges by Jordan Weissmann

What I’m listening to: Black Man In A White World by Michael Kiwanuka

What I’m doing: Doing laundry load #6 for the weekend. Having a sick kid stinks.

What I want to know from you: What’s been your 2016 election coping mechanism?

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Meme warfare: how the power of mass replication has poisoned the US election: Spread from the bottom up, political memes are now a form of propaganda – and it’s killing our ability to intelligently orchestrate a political conversation

Yes, Bicycle Riders Should Pay Their Fair Share: A reader recently wrote to our local paper suggesting that bicycle riders should pay for their share of the roads they use. I quite agree. I think all users should pay their fair share. I’m a strong believer in personal responsibility and that we should each pay for what we use. This makes for better decision making and creates much more efficient use of scarce resources than when the costs of using these resources are not tied to our choices. Historically we paid for our roads with taxes on gasoline. In theory the amount of gas you used was roughly equivalent to the wear and tear you placed on the road system. In reality it was extremely rough but it sort of worked.

How Baltimore’s Promising Vacant Properties Program Is Working: After Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake first took office in 2010, the city’s Vacants to Value program was one of the first new initiatives to get off the ground. It’s a multipronged strategy to use data and city resources strategically to fight blight. Instead of the city acquiring vacant homes and repairing them en masse, Vacants to Value was designed to spur the private sector to do the work using a carrot-and-stick model: providing a range of incentives for new private investment, while also ramping up code enforcement on negligent, largely absentee landlords and deploying strategic demolition of blocks in particular disrepair.

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50 Nifty  

  • Yelling timber; Warm fall gives public works chance to remove hazardous trees from city park: The Detroit Lakes Public Works Department has been chopping down a number of trees throughout the city parks over the last couple of weeks. But before protesters start chaining themselves to the trees, they might want to know it could be dangerous to do so, since the trees are dead or dying and at a higher risk of falling over. “They’re hollow, or the tops are dead,” said Brad Green, public works director, adding that removing them is for public safety. “We try to be proactive.” Over the summer a number of trees in the city fell during storms and high winds–a number of which fell in the city park–and the city removed the hazardous and fallen trees immediately. Then they began surveying for other potentially dangerous trees.

  • St. Paul students get virtual public library cards: St. Paul’s public libraries and schools want to make it easier for students like Patrick to check out reading material and use the library system’s online resources. They are rolling out a program called Library Go this month that will allow high schoolers to use their student identification numbers to check out materials. They no longer need to get and carry around a physical library card.

  • Madison sees savings from police department merger: The town has been reimbursed $79,500 after the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office came in about 16 percent under budget in its first year running a Madison division. Town Manager Tim Curtis said the savings stem from a turnover of officers as well as other items the sheriff’s office was able to save money on but had originally budgeted at higher amounts.
  • Strip club zoning issue has planning group, advisory board butting heads: The Wichita City Council will have to choose between competing recommendations from advisory boards when the owner of a property that houses a strip club seeks a permit to comply with city zoning on Tuesday. Neighbors say the Baby Dolls club at 4900 N. Arkansas attracts an element they don’t like, and they want the city to shut it down. But the city can’t do that. And that has created a split between the Planning Commission and the area’s District Advisory Board, which have taken opposite sides on the permit application.

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  • Laramie opts for limits on renaming city parks: Laramie Parks and Recreation Department officials are getting guidance following an uproar over a decision to rename Optimist Park to honor the Rotary Club of Laramie. The Rotary Club offered to donate $25,000 for improvements to the park. Laramie Parks and Recreation Department Director Todd Feezer said there are reasons that parks got their names and he said it isn’t wise to try to change them.
  • New public safety complex comes to Buffalo: The old Michael J. Dillon Courthouse will become the new home to the City of Buffalo Police and Fire Departments. The vacant building will be known as the new public safety complex. The city plans to purchase the former courthouse for $1 from the U.S. General Services Administration and then renovate so the new site is suitable for both parties to move in. Mayor Byron Brown says the new headquarters will prove beneficial for both departments.

  • Yakima County’s homeless: How local agencies try to balance accountability with compassion: When it comes to addressing homelessness in Yakima, there’s significant disagreement — including among homeless people themselves — on how to do it best. Service providers require varying degrees of accountability and participation from those seeking help, dictated largely by each organization’s specific philosophy. Do homeless people need Jesus, therapy, or a roof over their heads? Depends on whom you ask. Regardless of philosophy, the fact remains that winter is coming. Tent City will be closed in two weeks, and scores of people are still living on the streets.

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LocalGov Confidential  

Bangor Police Officer pulls creative midnight prank on Fire Department: One officer in Bangor is showing the public how he gets by during his overnight shifts. The video posted to the Bangor Maine Police Department Facebook page Sunday morning has garnered more than one thousand likes and hundreds of shares.

Why Is Actor Mario Lopez Promoting a Stadium Next to an Historic Barrio in San Diego?: In San Diego, a battle is taking place between residents of historic Barrio Logan and proponents of an NFL stadium which threatens it. Actor Mario Lopez has been hired to sell the stadium proposal.

Mayor’s campaign slogan was ‘Portland Together,’ but City Hall is mired in discord: Last year, Ethan Strimling was elected as Portland’s mayor on a promise of being the “Listener in Chief” who would unify a divided City Council. But less than a year into his four-year term, the mayor now finds himself at odds with councilors who supported his election and with the city manager, the man in charge of day-to-day city operations. And the tension at City Hall is already raising a question that hung over the previous mayor’s administration: Does the structure of city government need to change again?


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