Government Technology

NewsWatch: Call for Drug Testing of City Workers, Tea Party Invades Planning

June 8, 2011 By

Garbage Police? Webcam in Trashcan Checks Recycling Performance

Five households have signed up for a Newcastle University program announced Wednesday that puts photographs of every item placed in a garbage can on Facebook in a bid to raise consciousness about recycling efforts. It uses a sensor and a camera phone to record the image each time the garbage can lid is shut. The person who does that is not photographed. Fox News

Call for Drug Testing of City Workers

City employees — from aldermen on down — would be subject to random drug and alcohol tests under a New York-style crackdown proposed Wednesday by the city’s two most powerful aldermen. Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) and Pat O’Connor (40th), Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Council floor leader and chairman of the Committee on Audit and Workforce Development, say random testing would minimize “errors in judgment” by city employees on duty.  O’Connor added that random testing of all employees would “reduce the number of accidents and workers’ compensation claims filed by the city.” Chicago Sun-Times

Tea Party Invades Regional Planning

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Association of Bay Area Governments brought to Concord (Contra Costa County) its traveling roadshow designed to measure public opinion as it begins the two-year process of writing a blueprint for housing, jobs and transportation, called One Bay Area or Plan Bay Area. The  East Bay Tea Party, which views the sustainable development movement as an assault on private property rights born out of false assumptions about mankind's impact on the global climate created a video documenting the meeting. Planetizen

iPhones to Guide Users to Their Cars

Fujitsu Ten Ltd will release a car navigation system that uses an SD memory card and works together with the iPhone. With applications that the company has developed for the iPhone, the system, "AVN-F01i," realizes various functions such as to guide the user to the place where the user's car is parked and to share information among users. Tech-On

ICMA Selects President-Elect

At its recent meeting in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, the ICMA Executive Board selected Bonnie Svrcek, deputy city manager, Lynchburg, Virginia, as ICMA’s 2011–2012 president-elect. Svrcek will be installed as ICMA president at the conclusion of the 2012 annual conference. She has served in local government for 26 years in Virginia, and was an ICMA regional vice president, 2006–09. ICMA

Case for Congestion Pricing

So how does congestion pricing perform in practice? To answer the question we must travel the Atlantic. American cities have been loath to embrace the idea -- a recent pricing plan for Manhattan never made it out of Albany -- but London’s system has been operating since 2003. Infrastructurist

European Commission Makes Europa Website Accessible for Internet Protocol Version 6 Users

On World IPv6 Day the European Commission is making its Europa website accessible for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) users (as well as IPv4 users). The Internet operates by transferring data in small packets that are independently routed across networks, as specified by an international communications protocol known as the Internet Protocol. In 1984 over 4 billion addresses were made available on Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) but due to increasing demand for new Internet services, the last remaining IPv4 address was assigned in February 2011. The uptake of IPv6 will make available a practically unlimited amount of Internet addresses to support the explosive growth of new services in the future. Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said: "I encourage governments, Internet content and service providers and any company doing business on the Internet to switch to IPv6 as soon as possible or we will face what we cannot afford in Europe: huge market distortion, slower Internet and a negative impact on innovation." Europa

Threats to Town Hall Stir Voter Backlash

Michigan has 1,773 municipalities, 609 school districts, 1,071 fire departments and 608 police departments. Gov. Rick Snyder wants some of them to disappear. The governor is taking steps to bring about the consolidation of municipal services, even whole municipalities, in order to cut budgets and eliminate redundant local bureaucracies. His blueprint, which relies on legal changes and financial incentives, calls for a "metropolitan model" of government that would combine resources across cities and their suburbs. Wall Street Journal

State Moves to Outlaw Teacher Strikes

A group of Republican lawmakers is working to ensure families like hers no longer have to worry about teacher strikes throwing a wrench in the school year. Reps. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, and Todd Rock, R-Franklin, have introduced a package of bills that would outlaw teacher strikes and hold contract negotiators publicly accountable for their proposed labor agreements. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Why Did Crime Drop?

Conventional wisdom says that the crime rate should rise during a recession. When people are out of work and out of money, the thinking goes, they turn to crime. But the evidence backing this theory is at best equivocal. There seem to be some links between crime and economic conditions, but they are neither as direct nor clear as one might assume. Economist

California Risks Missing Deadline to Move State Prisoners to County Lockups

Reporting from Sacramento -- California is in danger of violating the first court-ordered deadline for cutting its prison population unless lawmakers pass Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan, state officials said Tuesday. Corrections chief Matthew Cate said the state must immediately begin overhauling the prison system to meet a November deadline to lower its head count by more than 10,000 inmates. But without funding from the Legislature for Brown's proposal to shift responsibility for some prisoners to county jurisdictions, the state cannot take action, he said. Los Angeles Times


California Moves to Cut Inmate Population After Ruling

California officials, seeking to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to slash its prison population, unveiled a plan Tuesday that relies mostly on moving low-level offenders to county jails and building new prisons to accommodate serious criminals. The Supreme Court last month upheld a lower court ruling requiring California to reduce the number of inmates in its jails. The state was given until 2013 to cut its prison population by 33,630, or 23%, reducing the inmate population to 109,805 from 143,435. If the state can't comply in time, it could ask for an extension or a panel of judges could order the state to begin releasing inmates. Wall Street Journal

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