03/31/17: Laugh, Cry, and Think

ELGL co-founder Kent Wyatt is straight bloggin’ the month of March. Last month, Zach Navin was the big winner for reading the blog and Twitter trollin’ Kirsten Wyatt. Who will be the big winner in March?

Thursday, March 30

A bittersweet day……it’s the final day of Bachelor Week which I will spend straight bloggin’, running/walking a few miles, decluttering my 7-year old’s room, and phoning in for a two conference calls on the upcoming Hometown Summit. Don’t forget the Hometown Summit is a rare opportunity to hang out with Ben Kittelson, Josh Edwards, and myself. If you can handle some more excitement, read on…


Props to our Southern California crew for organizing an upcoming Supper Club in Santa Monica. Daniel Soto and Joey Garcia are leading the effort and continue to grow our California presence.


I am not asking for much today. This will take less than five minutes. Send a handwritten note to someone important in your personal life or someone who has impacted you professionally. Trust me, it doesn’t matter if you have bad handwriting, in fact, my handwriting has been described as resembling a serial killer.


My Dad who was a city manager was knew to fall asleep during meetings. I found that strange. I would be mortified if I snoozed during a meeting. I guess my Dad was a trendsetter. A host of international leaders were captured in various states of REM by Buzzfeed. Feel free to insert your mental picture of my Dad onto this pictures.

A Bunch Of World Leaders Fell Asleep At This International Summit And The Photos Are Amazing


So, would you interrupt a TV interview to chase a rape suspect? You wouldn’t? (I plead “the 5th”.) You’re less of a man/woman than an elected official from Nashville, TN.

Metro Councilman Bails On a TV Interview to Chase Rape Suspect

“And I was like, ‘Holy crap, that’s him,’ ” Freeman says. “So I pointed, I was like, ‘That is him, get your phone, call 911.’ ”

I’ll nit-pick a little by wondering why the Councilman didn’t live-stream the incident. It would have made for a great campaign commercial.

Reminder, Nick Smith will be sporting the beautiful Carolina Blue for a few more days. I am open to a Twitter avatar bet if someone wants to take Oregon over UNC.


I started the day by drinking coffee and  causally watching ‘Morning Joe’. The casual part ended as the show’s conversation turned to a acid-filled Jacuzzi. Who would do such a thing…

Padlocks had been placed on interior doors — or the doors had been removed altogether. A hot tub was destroyed.

“[E]ntire Jacuzzi bathtub seems to have been covered in acid,” the landlord wrote in the February 2015 email to Bannon.

“I’m out of town,” Bannon replied. “is there any way u can talk with Diane and sort things out ???”

The damage was estimated at more than $14,000, according to an accounting by the landlords, who kept the $9,800 security deposit from Bannon and Clohesy.

This is some next level bizarre behavior.

A few tears of joy for this one…

The first and last time that Inside Edition appears in this column.

4-year-old girl sees officer dining alone and turns it into ‘best dinner date ever’

When little Lillian saw Sgt. Steven Dearth eating dinner by himself at a Panera, she walked over to say hi and then sat down at the table.

The 4-year-old, who was at the restaurant with her family, kept the officer company while he took his dinner break. She chatted away, even planned a future “play date.”

The Hingham Police Department, on the south shore of Massachusetts, posted surveillance video of the sweet moment to its Facebook page, where the brief clip has gone viral.

Since it’s such a cute story, we’ll overlook the discrepancy on whether the girl was three or four years old.

Wednesday, March 29

Bachelor Week rolls on which means more time for our award-winning members. While Kirsten was having a blast at the Chapel Hill Supper Club last night, Michael Jordan and I enjoyed a leisurely stroll in West Linn and a gourmet dinner featuring a frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizza (and we ate two desserts). The sugar high has subsided and we’re here now to eat your day off to the right start.


Please take five minutes total (I promise) to complete these two surveys – Women in local government and Can Civic Innovation Restore Political Civility?. Responses will be used at ELGL’s upcoming appearance at the Hometown Summit.

Housekeeping Item

This week, we’re cleaning up our membership list to make sure you are maximizing membership benefits. Part of this work is cleaning up our members-only Facebook page and Twitter account. We’ll be removing those who are no longer ELGL members. If you need to renew your membership, you can do it here.


When I see a Top 25, I immediately think of a college basketball or college football ranking. In this case, the top 25 is a ranking by Government Technology of the “Top Doers, Dreamers & Drivers.” ELGL members Rebecca Woodbury and Capt. Chris Hsiung made the list for their outstanding work. Learn more about Rebecca and Chris – My Life in Presidential Terms with Rebecca Woodbury and Podcast: Modern Policing & Social Media with Captain Chris Hsiung.


A 12 foot Paul Walker statute? A couple of “dudes” showed by a San Clemente council meeting to advocate for building such a statute. The result was this joyous six-minute video. H/T to Jon Pape.

Surfer Bros Interrupt City Council Meeting To Make A Plea for a 12 Foot Tall Paul Walker Statue

Two brave guardians of the rad stood before the high court of San Clemente, demanding a tribute to the late Paul Walker, who’s cousin went to San Clemente High School, be radically erected at the local Pier in downtown San Clemente.

Apologies Nick Smith but we have to watch this video again. It captures all that we love and hate about being a sports fan.


You’ll cry scary tears from this movie trailer. Emily Edmonds posted the trailer and how it showcases the beauty of her hometown (despite the movie for mature audiences). If you think you are mature enough, watch the trailer to see the beauty of Sylva, North Carolina. Sylva is located in western North Carolina and is near Western Carolina University.


My LinkedIn timeline is usually full of leadership articles that can be summed up quickly — common sense. Most of the articles drone-on about various leadership traits which for the most part are just common sense.

Today I spied a different type of article taking up real estate on my timeline. I agree with the concept and think ELGL’s success can be attributed to having members who follow the mantra – Does your company need a Director of Getting Sh*t Done?

Like any good czar, this individual needs to have the skill — and authority — to work across teams and departments: to transcend processes in order to correct them. (An engineering mindset doesn’t hurt here, either.) Doing this right, almost as a rule, involves getting stakeholders to actually sit down together. A little shared input and a little buy-in goes a long way.

Monday, March 27

It’s Monday! Also known as the beginning of Pizza Week. My wife and kids will be on Spring Break in Chapel Hill this week and I’ll be working hard in Tigard and eating pizza every night. I know, I know pretty crazy, Kent.


People Forget: UNC beat Kentucky on a buzzer-beater.

Luke Maye’s shot had shade of this shot which happened when I was four.


I graduated from the two finest universities in North Carolina — Elon (undergraduate) and UNC (graduate). I stumbled across this sobering before cheering on UNC.

Maryland hometown praying for Elon runner Molly Offstein

Offstein, 19, who competed for Elon in cross country in the fall and indoor track during the winter, remains at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. She was running on North O’Kelly Avenue in Elon about 7:30 a.m. Monday when she tried to cross University Drive and was struck by a driver who had a green light at the intersection and was driving east on University Drive.

Read her story in Runner World’s and consider donating to the GoFundMe page.


All is not good in North Carolina. HB2 has cost the state money and there is no end in sight. For starters, the state was deprived of my deep pockets when the NCAA Tournament relocated this year’s game from Greensboro, NC to Greenville, SC. My money is only part of the harm caused by the bill – ‘Bathroom bill’ to cost North Carolina $3.76B.

Change is on the way to the federal government. Lost in your post-UNC victory celebration was this news from White House. Trump taps Kushner to lead overhaul of government using business ideas. The idea was best summed up by this tweet.



Nick Smith…a man of his word! Nick and I had a lot on the line in the UNC vs. Kentucky game. UNC wins Nick rocks a UNC Twitter avatar for a week. Kentucky wins Kent (that’s me) sports a Kentucky Twitter avatar for a week.

We turn to Twitter to see who won – UNC or Kentucky?

Props to Nick for wasting no time in changing his avatar to the right shade of blue. Rest assured, Nick and I agree on one thing — Dook sucks.

Sunday, March 26

It’s snowing, it’s snowing; The old man is snoring. 

What an honor for you today. I am straight bloggin’ from Government Camp. The Wyatt Bunch is up on the mountain celebrating Kirsten Wyatt’s 40 years of life. We’re getting rowdy by watching CBS Sunday Morning droppin’ knowledge on We Dine Together, Verne Lundquist, and pay phones.

Before you put on your favorite UNC basketball jersey, let’s give thanks and learn.


This one is easy. The Lawrence, Kansas Police Department owned the night with their Twitter account. It’s easy to blast a tweet storm celebrating your team’s victory. It’s more difficult to blast an incredibly, informative, humorous, engaging tweets after your team loses.

Kent, Kent, weren’t you happy to see the Jayhawks?

Nope. I’ve experienced heartbreaking losses by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl and UNC in the NCAA title game so I no longer root against teams except Dook.


This is true…

No need for these to exist.


People who mock the Special Olympics deserve as special place in hell. Those who witness such mocking and do nothing are equally guilty.

“The Olympics are for the best athletes in the entire world to compete against each other to determine who is the best,” the individual wrote. “Having r—–s competing is doing the opposite!”

The Terminator took the high road and stood up for the incredible Special Olympic athletes.

“As evil and stupid as this comment is, I’m not going to delete it or ban you (yet) because it’s a teachable moment.”

“You have two possible paths ahead. Right now, I guarantee you that these athletes have more courage, compassion, brains and skill — actually more of every positive human quality than you.

“So take their path — you could learn from them, and try to challenge yourself, to give back, to add something to the world. Or you can stay on your path, and keep being a sad pitiful jealous Internet troll who adds nothing to the world but mocks anyone who does out of small-minded jealousy.

“I know that all you really want is attention, so let me be clear. If you choose to keep going this way, no one will ever remember you.”


Dear Wyatt Children,

I hope you aren’t reading this because you shouldn’t be on the Internet. If you are reading this, thank you for supporting ELGL and you should consider joining ELGL as a student member (it’s free).

To cover all of my parenting bases, Wyatt girls, know that I read this article.

Just sayin’.

The world’s ugliest color is….Gray? Brown? Keep guessing the answer is Pantone 448 C. For those who don’t know about Pantone 448 C, here’s what you should know:

The world’s ugliest color has been described as “death,” “dirty” and “tar,” but this odious hue is serving an important purpose: discouraging smoking.

Pantone 448 C, a “drab, dark brown” also called “opaque couché,” was specifically selected after three months and multiple studies by research agency GfK. The agency was hired by the Australian government to find a color that was so repugnant that if it was on tobacco products, it would dissuade people from smoking.

As I update my resume this week, I know what font color that I’ll be using.


Hey Kent, anything I can do to help you and ELGL? So thoughtful for you to ask, I’d be delighted if you would complete this BRIEF survey on political civility. (Unlike every other survey that you’re asked to complete, this survey will take no longer than five minutes.) I’ll use the results at the upcoming Hometown Summit.

Friday, March 24

Today promises to be a glorious day on Twitter. In between singing “Happy Birthday” to Kirsten, I might sit on my couch all day refreshing my Twitter feed — health care, NCAA Tournament, so much happening.


Kent, Kent…question for you…what makes your heart hurt? Great question. My heart was literally hurting with joy while reading the Pueblo Cheiftain’s article on Laura Savage. (You don’t read the Pueblo Cheiftain each day? Lazy.)

Laura is why local government is getting better each day, and why even when you’re frustrated, you should commit to being part of the change.

Since I have complete editorial control of this column, I will highlighting this as my favorite part of the article.

“I started networking with people on there and meeting women who are involved in local government and they’re so inspiring,” Savage said. “Some of them are assistant city managers or city managers themselves, and researching what I have to do to become one, I needed a Master’s Degree.”

Now, does your heart hurt?


Mike Baker is the winner. He was the first to fulfill my polite request to wish Kirsten a happy birthday. Your prize is in the mail, Mike!


When my heart isn’t hurting, it’s laughing with joy brought by the Migos. The Migos and J. Cole are pretty much the only rap groups that I know these days. So, listening to The Migos makes me incorrectly feel young and hip. First the Migos put their touch on “Llama Llama” and now they’ve remastered “Bad and Boujee” on the Jimmy Fallon show. Check. It. Out.

See Migos, Jimmy Fallon, Roots Perform ‘Bad and Boujee’ With Office Supplies

George Washington is not going down without a fight.

His supporters at Mount Vernon are trolling Trump on who made America great in the first place. I would argue the Native Americans deserve the credit but that’s a story for another time.


Bring on the tears of frustration. Women have not been treating equally in my areas including pay, jobs, etc. They also have not been recognized for their incredible feats despite overcoming a bazillion obstacles. (Felt good to use the word “bazillion”)

An artist is Bulgaria is fighting back – Artist makes neon female busts for a city with no monuments to women.

While we’re on the topic of gender equality, let’s take a look at how the tech industry is doing.


From the grapevine – There’s an ongoing shake up at the League of Oregon Cities. Unfortunately, it’s not the shake up that needs to happen. Stay tuned for details.

Ben Kittelson really loves this article – A Very Important INSIDE SCOOP: How your local, state and federal government officials feel about Beyoncé.

I love the Sacramento Supper Club photo from last night.

Thursday, March 23

Alright, let’s flip the script…normally we update this post in the evening but today is different. Let’s see if a night of rest makes for a better post or turns into one big run-on sentence.

Favor: Before I begin, I have a favor to ask. Kirsten turns 4-0 tomorrow. I invite you to kick off her birthday weekend by tweeting her your well wishes.


Is this the NIMBY cycle?

Infographics are trendy. Often we lump any visual into the infographic category. A nice infographic adds tremendous value. A not-so-nice infographic, well here’s what that does…

Top 10 Worst Infographics of All-Time

H/T to Lauren H. for posting this on Twitter. Make your day better by following her on Twitter.


Unfortunately, these are not tears of joy. Professional golfer (that doesn’t sound as professional as senior management analyst) Jason Day cut a round of golf short yesterday to deal with the emotional stress of his mom’s terminal lung cancer diagnosis. At age 12, Jason lost his Dad to cancer.

As you’ll hear in the video, his mom has been told that she has 12 months to live.

Enjoy every day here on earth. We don’t know how long we have.

You’ll have tears of joy from this inspirational speech about the importance of parents, reading, and brotherhood.

Atlantic City council honors man who broke up teen fight – “They don’t need basketball. They don’t need dances. They don’t need programs to teach them how to do a back flip. They need character building,” he said.


A few of you have seen the job advertisement for the Assistant City Manager in Tigard, OR and asked whether I’ll be applying. The answer is yes. The other answer is I hope you’ll also consider applying. We need talented people in local government and you may have a skill set that the City needs. I am happy to talk with you about the organization or connect you with other Tigard staff who can share their experience.

With my youngest daughter starting school next year, I am looking for new opportunities to strengthen local government. That opportunity may be with the City of Tigard or elsewhere. Either way, I want Tigard to be well positioned for the future.

Onto a little less serious of a topic, I love khakis. I do not love jeans. I have not worn jeans in more than 20 years. I’ve finally found a friend in my anti-jean crusade. Meet Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the Michgan football.

One of those objects of fascination is your wardrobe. We declared in our last issue that pleated pants are back in.

Nice! Could you tell my wife that? Sarah Harbaugh. If you could just let her know that, that would be huge.

Do your game day khakis differ from your going out to dinner khakis, or your lounge khakis?

No. Just pretty much the same one. That’s the best part about them. You can go anywhere and be dressed appropriately: game day, or church, or out to dinner. The movies. I can workout in my khakis. And do. They’re similar to sweatpants. Coaching, [they’re] great because they’ve got pockets to put your pens and scripts. Chewing gum. Et cetera.

So you’ll go running in those?

Yeah. If I work out, I stay with the khakis.

And lounging?

Mhm. All-purpose.

The chameleon of the pant world.

They make me feel good, too. Like I have a uniform. I always liked having a uniform. Growing up, when I was playing baseball, or hockey, or football. Always nice to have a uniform. Felt like part of the team.

And you don’t have to worry about what to wear.

I believe it saves a good half hour to forty-five minutes a day, not having to stand in front of the hangers and the drawers and figure out what to wear.

You heard the man. Khakis equals an extra 45 minutes in your day. Just think about what you could do with that time.


The #ELGLSconnie crew (minus Zach Navin) is headed to #ELGL17. Although they bring bad luck to my beloved Seattle Seahawks, they bring joy to ELGL. Here’s the official announcement.

They are ready to eat all the cheese in Detroit.

Wednesday, March 15

Back on the plane…after 12 hours back in West Linn, there’s an 100 percent chance of me getting sick after a week of flights. This time, I’m off to my annual March Madness pilgrimage, which is normally in North Carolina but thanks to HB2 I’ll be spending my millions in Greenville, SC for a few days. To explain the mess caused by HB2 to college athletics, I turn to the experts – North Carolina Blues: How HB2 cost hoops-crazed state.

Speaking of HB2, the former governor of North Carolina is not having any luck with the job search. Samantha Bee’s newest mission: Helping Pat McCrory find work


Imagine a city manager rolling up to a council meeting dressed like this.



We’re creeping on the century mark for the number of entries in the Battle for the Fund Balance. The bracket battle will be fierce but the battle for the best entry name is fiercer. Here’s my list of best and worst bracket entry names


  • LikeAllenThisWillBeAFlop
  • Free Throw Line Item
  • Brackett Obama
  • ThisIsTooBureaubracket
  • Marlins Man
  • Mixed-Use 2-3 Zoning
  • Boeheim got Greensburned!


  • Nick Smith
  • Jason
  • Ryan
  • enfabian
  • espn34605292
  • biles90

It’s not as sexy as Facebook Live but Facebook Town Hall is aiming to increase civic engagement. The new tool helps you find and contact your local government officials. I am unsure whether this includes those desperately seeking out their city’s senior management analyst.

Facebook’s new ‘Town Hall’ feature helps you find and contact your government reps

Beyond following your reps and getting in touch, the Town Hall feature applies a bit of peer pressure to get you involved by noting how many of your friends have connected with a government rep via Facebook. This isn’t all that useful beyond the potential psychological impact it has on users, by making them not want to be left out.

Zuck found time while rolling out Town Hall to visit a couple of basketball coaches. One is considered by many evil and rat like, the other is considered folksy and a great American.



We need more women in local government leadership roles. Santa Monica, CA assistant city manager drove home this point in a recent speech. Assistant City Manager Elaine Polachek honored with OWLie.

Having spent the majority of my career in local government, I was confident that the public sector would set the bar for gender equality in leadership. But my research indicated otherwise.

In 1976, a task force of ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, issued a report on the low number of female chief executives. The results of the report were eye-opening. At that time, and remember this is 1976 – women made up about half of the municipal government workforce but only 1 percent of chief administrative officer positions. In 2003, only 12 percent of the nation’s city and county managers were women. In 2013, that number had risen to 20 percent, only to drop to 14 percent the following year. So over the course of 38 years, women chief administrative officers grew from 1 percent to 14 percent. Isn’t that disheartening?

I’ve seen this lack of representation first hand at the annual ICMA convention. The convention draws about 3,500 City and County Managers. There are women in attendance, of course. And a smattering of men and women of color. But the room is predominantly white, male, and over 50.

My favorite line in the article comes at the end – “You know what? Bitches get stuff done.”


Let’s go to Utah…we land in Utah to give props to Jacob Johnson who is leading the Institutional Knowledge Project which has featured Bill Monahan, Cal Horton, and Lew Quigley. Help Jacob continue to produce interesting content by sending him suggestions on who you want to here from.

Tuesday, March 14

So many people (my mom and Kirsten) are asking, “Kent, did you get stuck in DC?” The answer is that I made it out of a snow covered DC and I’m now flying high over the Rockies. If you were rooting for me and the three high school students to face a long, painful flight delay, hold tight. I have a two-parter tomorrow. I am flying tomorrow from Portland to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City to Raleigh-Durham, although my three sidekicks will be back in school and missing my fatherly advice that I dispensed and they ignore throughout our DC trip.

Reader Note: You might be smelling something right about now, that’s the aroma of airplane food. One brave soul ordered the fine food being served on this Alaska Airlines flight. I detest the smell of Subway restaurants but the smell of airplane food is even worse. In fact, I’d rank cigarette smoke ahead of both in my ranking of funky smells.


I’ve used my editorial discretion to add a new heading to “Laugh, Cry, Think.” Today’s props are awarded to Laura for hosting a Supper Club in Nashville, TN.



Most of us have experienced either first-hand or on Parks and Recreation crazy citizen comments. A “unique” citizen dropped by a village council meeting in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Dave Chappelle took the podium at the meeting and his comments included:

“I would beseech the council to look deeply and to look hard, because this is a golden opportunity,” said Chappelle, who lives in the town. “Literally you could kill the game. In this Trump era, there’s an opportunity to show everybody that local politics reigns supreme. We can make our corner of the world outstanding.”

Hard to argue that “local politics reigns supreme.” We concur with Chappelle’s comments so much that we’ll extend him a complimentary #ELGL17 registration. You can enjoy more Dave Chappelle in an upcoming Netflix special.


It’s time for a happy cry. The City of Tigard hired a female police chief. The assistant chief in Tacoma, WA, will become the second active female police chief in Washington County. I am pretty sure that my bobblehead collection convinced her that Tigard was the right fit.

Local government is slowly making progress with gender diversity.


As you’re thinking about what to buy me for my 39th birthday, I offer up a suggestion. How ’bout buy me a whole town – An entire southern Oregon town could be yours for $3.85 million. I guarantee every department head will be an ELGL member and we’ll have daily employee naptime.

The official listing for Tiller notes some of the key features of the town that would be included in the sale:

  • 28 tax lots, making up more than 250 acres.
  • Multiple domestic and agricultural community water rights.
  • Nearly a mile of waterfront along the South Umpqua River and Elk Creek, including launch access for boats.
  • Approximately 2 million board feet of merchantable timber.
  • Tiller Store, a general store that’s not currently operating, but includes a deli, a commercial kitchen, a gas pump, and an apartment.

Think about…

….and another reason to attend #ELGL17. “Distinctly Different” Rick Cole will be giving out knowledge nuggets in a panel session with Lee Feldman, ICMA President. Rick’s unique approach was highlight in this recent article –  Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole Is ‘Distinctly Different’. Allow me to share the highlights of the article.

He tweets, has his own City blog (which people actually read) and has met with irate homeowner groups on their own turf and other critics of City Hal

  • Cole also answers the emails of even his harshest critics, which is a hit-and-miss practice in general in Santa Monica city government.
  • He has, in the past, found inspiration in the words of Saint Francis of Assisi and is regarded in governance circles as “visionary.” His own self-descriptions have included “happy warrior” and “Zen Catholic.”
  • Cole wears his liberal politics openly and proudly — much in the manner of Santa Monica itself.

We’re excited to welcome the “happy warrior” to Detroit.

Sunday, March 12

I am in Washington, DC. My crew (Tigard High School students) and I are staying at the Churchill Hotel which is super nice except for the tiny elevator.


I met Sean Spicer today. ThE Sean Spicer not the Saturday Night Live one. The crew and I were playing tourists walking down Pennsylvania Avenue to check out the White House. We snapped our obligatory pictures of the White House and moved on. As we were walking away from the White House, I noticed a couple of white dudes hanging out near the private entrance – one guy was decked out in a suit, the other guy was rocking a casual look. I did a double take on the casually dressed fellow and began to think that I just spotted the world famous White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Two of the three high school students had no idea who I was talking about and wanted to move along, but the other student who is a Trump supporter spied what I spied – Spicer. When we approached him, he wasn’t quick to make eye contact but after 15 seconds of me staring at him, he acknowledged us and agreed to a quick picture with the crew. Here is said picture.

Photo Credit: Me

Yes, he is tiny and very ashy. He needs to hit up my favorite store, Lush.

Regardless of what you think about Spicer, he was gracious and willing to talk with the students. The students are unaware of the “alternative facts” floating around, but they now know that the people they see on television working for the federal government are accessible and not above sharing a quick moment with those who ask.

Almost as famous as Spicer is Willamette basketball great and Beaverton’s Randy Ealy. I ran into him while cruising the Lincoln Memorial. He also was accessible and willing to pose for a picture. Just two ELGL members kickin’ it in DC.


You know that you’re at a local government conference when the shoe shine station is filled with older white males getting their Cole Haan shoes shined by older black males. I have no desire to sit in the lobby of a conference and have my shoes shined. Is the public shoe shine a power move that I’m missing out on? Do people get to a conference and suddenly realize that they must have a shoe shine? Spoiler: there will not be a shoe shine station at #ELGL17.

Sorry I wasn’t able to provide a picture of the shoe shining action.

One of the top five signs that I’ve seen at a basketball game



I spotted this newspaper headline while visiting the Newseum. (Best museum in DC.)

Gender wage gap exists in metro area

In the Jackson metro area, the majority of female government employees earn less than male government employees, by a couple of hundred dollars to over $1,700, an analysis of public records shows.

And the disparity may be largely because women are serving in traditionally lower-paying jobs.


(Average annual wage for county and municipal workers by gender)

Hinds County: Male, $32,832.92; female, $32,431.51

Madison County: Male, $40,905.62; female, $40,401.93

Clinton: Male, $36,058.82; female, $36,710.02

Jackson: Male, $33,086.10; female, $29,938.57​

Madison: Male, $35,699.96; female, $33,950.15

*Rankin County would not respond to the emailed records request, saying it had to be hand-delivered and $200 paid up front for what all the other counties and cities provided for free.

Saturday, March 11

I have three more kids…at least until Tuesday night. I am straight bloggin’ from an Alaskan Airlines flight to DC. I am traveling with three Tigard High School students who will be youth delegates at the National League of Cities Conference in Washington, DC. You’re a diehard ELGL fan if you remember my experience at the NLC Conference in 2015. My biggest takeaway was the session on increasing diversity in local government competed for attention with Happy Hour. I was one of the few white people who attended the diversity session. Fingers crossed, this experience is not repeated.

Jeff Sessions, Nicole Wallace, and JD Vance are the keynote speakers. My goal is to land a selfie with Attorney General Sessions. If you are at the conference, shoot me a message. We can meet up with coffee or a meal. No drinking on this trip for me.

P.S: I am not sharing this info as an alibi for this – Man Arrested After Jumping White House Fence.


I had planned on sharing the video of the child who trolled his dad during a live TV interview. That video has been shared too much so I’ll pass on sharing it. I will share this bit of funny.

Hero kid farts on a weatherman and we have some thoughts about it

The weatherman tried to press on, but this guy was not to be deterred. After dancing around, he aimed a barrage of farts at the unsuspecting meteorologist. He was eventually dragged off, but not before he gave a forecast of his own.

He started by asking the weatherman, Patrick Ellis, “Are you sure?! Are you crazy sure?!” and things only got bumpier from there.

Hopefully, your NCAA tournament bracket is not laughable and you have a chance to prove your worth in the ELGL Bracket Challenge. Sign up here.


Non-breaking news…poverty is alive and well in 2017. Richmond, VA (where Kirsten and I lived after graduate school) is one of the many towns suffering.

Poverty growth in Richmond suburbs continues to outpace city’s

About 53 percent of the region’s poor lived in the counties in 2015, up from 41 percent in 2000. The number of children living in poverty also shot up across the region.

“Poverty is simply getting larger in suburban areas. … It’s just exploding,” said John Moeser, a professor at the University of Richmond who has studied local poverty trends for years.

Poverty’s growing pervasiveness cries out for a regional approach for solutions, he said.

For a first-hand account of poverty, read “Eviction” by Matthew Desmond.


HUGE props to the City of Peoria, Illinois for landing the Leslie B. Knope trophy for best city in the land. Their engagement was incredible. I interviewed Stacy Peterson, Peoria’s Communications Specialist, about their strategy and the seamless implementation. You’ll hear the interview with Stacy and Sophie Banner (City of Vancouver, WA) on a GovLove podcast episode this week.

Ben McCready was instrumental in organizing the tournament which gained media attention throughout the country. My favorite news article about the contest was published by KOIN News today – Vancouver handles city hall contest loss with grace.

Celebrate Peoria’s victory by watching their “Knope We Can” video.

On another note, you should check out The Shins’ new album. You’ll feel young again and have “Garden State” flashbacks.

Tuesday, March 7

Selfies, votes, and tweets — the cities of Peoria and Vancouver are locked in a heavyweight fight for the Leslie B. Knope trophy. If you want to up your social media game, just follow these two cities and you’ll gain years of experience in engaging your community. Local colleges, businesses, youth, staff, and others have been mobilized to show support for this two fine cities and buildings.

If reading tweets isn’t your preferred learning style, we’ve got another option for you. The wizards behind the social media activity in Peoria and Vancouver are recording a GovLove interview on Friday. Who are the people behind the social media avatars for each city. I’ll reveal their identity since you are a local reader of “Laugh, Cry, and Think.”

Since November 2014, Stacy Peterson (LinkedIn and Twitter) has worked as a Communications Specialist for the City of Peoria, Illinois. Stacy has an undergraduate degree from Iowa University and a graduate degree from Western Illinois University.

Sophie Banner (LinkedIn & Twitter) is the Communications Coordinator for the City of Vancouver, Washington. She is a graduate of Chapman University.

To get misty eyed for a minute, Stacy, Sophie, and their staff show that local government can talk “like a human” and relate to our communities. Their creative spirit is what I see seeping into local government from the influx of talented communications professionals.

Everyone knows that NBA players are huge ELGL supporters. Further proof of the NBA’s love was seen in this tweet from Golden State Warrior Shaun Livingston (Peoria native).


Saturday, March 4

If this blog entry gets weird, here’s why. I am listening to the “Finding Richard Simmons” podcast while blogging. Kudos to Kittelson’s Corner for highlighting this interesting podcast. Try it, you’ll like…

So, the #ELGLCityHall Bracket Challenge has reached the final game — Peoria, IL vs. Vancouver, WA. Both cities have busted out of the gate by running up extra points by tweeting selfies and words of support…

I warned you that I might lose focus. By the way, that video is one of the worst that you’ll ever see.

Almost time for Dook vs UNC so let’s get going with today’s entry.


The Girl Scouts’ are running quite the operation. They are staked out in front of every grocery store and if you don’t cough up the $5 for the cookies you are going to have a hard time getting into the grocery store. I’ve paid the Girl Scout tax on multiple occasions, usually for the Thin Mints. Something that I’ve always suspected about Thin Mints was proven true in this article posted by Jacob Johnson on Twitter today.

Girl Scout cookies in L.A. County are not the same as Orange County’s

Two bakers supply the 200 million boxes sold every Girl Scout cookie season. ABC Bakers, owned by Interbake Foods and headquartered in Richmond, Va., has been baking for the Girl Scouts since 1937. Little Brownie Bakers, owned by Kellogg Co. and headquartered in Louisville, Ky., has been licensed by the Girl Scouts since 1974.

Dook sucks. Don’t forget it, especially tonight.


Tears of laughter…local reporter interviews famous football player, but he doesn’t know that he’s interviewing NFL RB Adrian Peterson.


I’ll add to Ben Kittelson’s podcast recommendation by suggesting NPR’s “How I Built This.” Check out the episodes on Atari & Chuck E. Cheese’s: Nolan Bushnell, Lyft: John Zimmer, and Crate & Barrel: Gordon Segal.

Sorry again, too much “Missing Richard Simmons” podcast.

Great articles, another reason to participate in the ELGL Facebook Group.

New website powers Denver Water’s brand journalism

Newsjacking California floods. Writing an open letter to rapper Jay Z. Communicators at the Colorado water utility are cranking up efforts to tell the stories they want people to know about.

Cuba, Kansas: A town of doers

CUBA — It is a tiny dot on the big map of Kansas, a blink-and-miss-it-type of town. But with less than 200 residents, this Republic County community near the Nebraska state line has been a symbol of rural America for more than three decades.

Friday, March 3

D-. That’s the great we give ourselves for our effort in February. Our performance lacked passion, commitment, and pride. We did not “Win the Month”, “Rise and Grind”, or “Play to Win the Game”. However, in the words of Michael Jackson and the Lego Batman movie…

I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right…

This month will be better (most likely).

We start the month with a big announcement. We’ve replaced our first of the month jam since, as we all know, Kylie stone-cold ripped it off. Our new jam will appeal to youngsters and oldsters….


You may know that Ben Kittelson is considered the John Wooden of youth basketball coaches. I’ve obtained exclusive video of Ben coaching his squad this year.

Win at all costs, Ben.

In a few weeks, I make my annual pilgrimage to the NCAA Tournament. This year, I head to Greenville, SC, which landed the tourney thanks to HB2. (Want to hear more about ELGL’s take on HB2? Listen to GovLove episodes with Hyong Yi and Adam Klein.)

So I have a case of March Madness; however, it’s important to note my case of March Madness does not (at least, I hope it doesn’t) require obscene amounts of this product.

Local government has been accused of withholding public records. Amtrak makes local government look generous with their latest release of records.

Amtrak’s lounge car complaints are the ██████ of the ██████

Last June, MuckRock user Conor Skelding requested all complaints Amtrak received regarding its lounge cars over the past two years. Last week, after nine months of processing, the responsive docs finally came in, and boy, those must have been a busy nine months.

As we saw earlier with DOT’s aviation consumer complaints, the complaints themselves are a mixed bag, with some you’d charitably call “personal problems”

My birthday is April 3. Since you want to get an early start shopping for me, here’s an item at the top of my wish list.

Pizza Hut made shoes that let you order pizza with a push of the tongue

These utterly fictional shoes serve like an Amazon button for pizza, and automatically place an order in a single press. Sounds like a neat idea, but I can’t think of a single occasion in the last five years I’ve been wearing shoes when I wanted a pizza delivered. This is the core problem.

What kind of people are making the decision to wear shoes and order pizza at the same time? Hopefully Pizza Hut’s March Madness ad would clear this up. Grant Hill would show me the way.

Warning: #ELGL17 presenter and DC Water CEO George Hawkins has more flair than you do.


Full Disclosure: I made a few typos at work this week. Another Full Disclosure: It didn’t cost my organization $150 million dollars.

Amazon And The $150 Million Typo

“The Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) team was debugging an issue causing the S3 billing system to progress more slowly than expected. At 9:37AM PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process.

“Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended.”

A great reminder that while your mistakes may be bad somebody is making worse mistakes.

The best depressing article of the year “You May Want to Marry My Husband” has been penned by a New York Times writers. It is a worthy read and might not be what you expect from the headline.


Put your “math hat” on because we are going inside the numbers on the #ELGLCityHall Bracket Challenge. We’ve run the numbers and the interest in the Final Four is off the charts. What do we mean by off the charts? These are the number of page views for the three #ELGLCityHall posts.

Pasadena, CA vs. Peoria, IL – 71,304
Little Chute, WI vs. Vancouver, WA – 47,983
Final Four: #ELGLCityHall Madness – 6,877

We’ll stick with the lazy, generic phase “off the charts” by now showing you the impact of the #ELGLCityHall on traffic to the ELGL website. In February, the ELGL website received 284,863 views, compared to 35,869 views in January. The funniest fact of them all — on February 17, 38,906 viewed the ELGL website which is more views than the entire month of February.

H/T to Ben McCready for organizing the #ELGLCityHall Bracket Challenge.

This is the part of the blog where I make a unilateral decision about the best #ELGLCityHall tweets from this week.



The Trump effect is having a positive impact in developing the next generation of female candidates.

Trump’s Election Drives More Women To Consider Running For Office

Will the election of Donald Trump, who once boasted of grabbing women by the genitalia and has a history of sexist remarks, create a wave of female candidates at all levels of government in the coming years?

I’d love see some ELGL members add to the movement by running for office.