In today’s Buzz: Comey responds to accusations, the U.S. responds to North Korea, and Cities respond to threats to cyber security.

This Buzz is brought to you by National Firefighters Day.

Right Now with Jacob Johnson (LinkedIn/Twitter)

What I’m Listening to – Maria Jose

What I’m Reading – Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar

What I’m Watching – Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries


  • Comey says he feels ‘mildly nauseous about possibility he affected election: FBI Director James B. Comey gave his most exhaustive defense yet Wednesday of his role in politically sensitive investigations, telling a Senate panel that despite feeling “mildly nauseous’’ at the thought his decisions about a probe into Hillary Clinton might have affected the election outcome, he had no regrets. He also said he was confident in the FBI’s handling of an ongoing probe of any contacts between Russian officials and associates of President Trump.
  • Trump presses U.S. Republicans on health care, vote may be soon: In a possible breakthrough for U.S. Republicans’ effort to roll back Obamacare, key moderate lawmakers met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday and said a revised bill might win approval and conservatives voiced no objections. Keen to score his first major legislative win since taking office in January, Trump has been personally engaged in building support among fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives for an effort that has already twice collapsed. It was still unclear if support was adequate to win passage, but the House was moving toward a possible vote on Thursday on the bill.

  • Tiller says U.S. ready to enforce sanctions on North KoreaU.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was considering imposing new sanctions on North Korea if it takes steps that deserve a further response, and is threatening to impose secondary sanctions on those doing illicit business with Pyongyang. “We are preparing additional sanctions if it turns out North Korea’s actions warrant additional sanctions,” Tillerson said on Wednesday in remarks to State Department employees.


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50 Nifty

  • Puerto Rico files for biggest ever U.S. local government bankruptcy: Puerto Rico announced a historic restructuring of its public debt on Wednesday, touching off what may be the biggest bankruptcy ever in the $3.8 trillion U.S. municipal bond market. While it was not immediately clear just how much of Puerto Rico’s $70 billion of debt would be included in the bankruptcy filing, the case is sure to dwarf Detroit’s insolvency in 2013. The move comes a day after several major creditors sued Puerto Rico over defaults its bonds. Bankruptcy may not immediately change the day-to-day lives of Puerto Rico’s people, 45 percent of whom live in poverty, but it may lead to future cuts in pensions and worker benefits, and possibly a reduction in health and education services.

  • House blocks private meetings for local officials: According to state law and conventional wisdom, sunshine is the best disinfectant for political corruption. Florida lawmakers agreed Tuesday. The House blocked a plan to let local officials keep some of their meetings in the dark. Florida’s sunshine laws require government meetings to be noticed and open to the public. It’s part of protecting voters’ access to their elected representatives.

  • Utah Parks and Recreation Department launches ‘Nobody is Invincible’ campaign: With boating season here, Utah Division of Parks and Recreation has launched “Nobody is Invincible” campaign to remind the public boating accidents do occur and when they occur, it’s better to be prepared. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of wearing a life jacket at all times because disasters do happen. About 80 percent of boating fatalities occur because boaters weren’t wearing their life jackets, officials said.


  • Foothills Parks and Recreation says it will be broke by 2018: Ronald Hopp presented an overview of the district’s operations costs and what has been done in recent years to cut costs. The district contends that  since voters rejected the funding increases, it has cut costs and found ways to increase revenue by 32.5 percent. Still, the district operates with an annual net expense of around $2.4 million and estimates it will be operating in the red by 2018, with the amount ballooning to more than $1.5 million by 2020.
  • Watertown officials trim Fire Department, Parks budgets: Members of Watertown’s city council sat down Tuesday night to try to find ways to trim the proposed budget. This was city officials’ second meeting to talk about the proposed 2017-2018 spending plan,which was released last week. As originally proposed by City Manager Sharon Addison, the budget would increase the property tax rate

  • 17-member board decides how to spend new money on recreation: Costa Mesa City Council members decided Tuesday night to forge ahead with establishing a 17-member committee to provide input on how to spend any money collected from a new development fee to fund recreation, open space and public park facilities. The council voted 3-2, with members Allan Mansoor and Jim Righeimer opposed, to expand the size and scope of a panel originally outlined in the city’s voter-approved Measure Z and rename it the Youth Sports, Open Space & Recreation Advisory Committee.

  • Bill returns power to local police on accident reports: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to back a bill amended by Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, to clarify local departments’ authority to share accident information with drivers involved and insurance companies. The current law requires drivers involved in accidents to provide each other with their names, addresses, license plate and registration numbers and the names and addresses of occupants in the cars. Local police departments that collect that information at the scene have long shared it with the parties involved if it’s not exchanged. While the departments have shared the information, the law, known as the Driver Privacy Act, states the information should be released by the DMV and does not explicitly give the authority for local departments to do so.

Local Government Confidential

  • How governments can reap the benefits of the cloud: State and local governments are under ever-increasing pressure to modernize their data systems and technology. But with constricting budgets and limited resources, these organizations are hard pressed to keep up with rapidly changing technological demands. Many private companies have solved this problem by switching to cloud computing. Given the sensitive nature of some of their data and processes, however, governmental entities at all levels have been hesitant to move to the cloud. Even after the federal government declared a “cloud first” initiative — which directed agencies to look at cloud implementations for new projects before traditional ones —  it has taken some time for many agencies to make the switch.
  • Government Gender Gap: In Green Bay, 49.9% of the population is male, while 50.1% is female. The City Council for Green Bay consists of 11 men and only one woman. Staudinger says that the underrepresentation of women in politics is not unique to our area, and has roots in history, socialization, and partisanship.
  • Small budgets cripple cybersecurity efforts of local governments: A survey of local government chief information officers finds that insufficient funding for cybersecurity is the biggest obstacle in achieving high levels of cyber safety. Inadequate budgets are the largest obstacle for local government chief information officers in obtaining the highest level of cybersecurity for their organization, according to a survey released today by the International City/County Management Association.