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Just as states with progressive lawmakers and activists have themselves initiated innovative programs over a wide range of issues, state-based progressive blogs have helped provide us with a point of view, inside information and often an edgy voice that we just don't get from the traditional media. This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should be watching. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At Eclectablog of Michigan, Eclectablog writes—Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings:

When Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin put together the Detroit Public Schools budget for the coming year, it included revenue from a $14.8 million county-wide school millage that did not pass in the August primary election. Because of this blunder, now the district finds itself having make huge changes. In an updated budget and deficit-elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last week, we found out just how huge:

• DPS teachers, who took a a 10% wage cut in 2011, will see their wages cut by 10% again
• The district will lay off people to eliminate 1,381 positions from this year through 2019
24 additional schools will close starting next year
• Teachers will pay as much as $13.1 million more for their health insurance coverage
• Golf and tennis will be ended for both boys and girls

Unsurprisingly, teachers are not taking this sitting down, not especially surprising since they are facing a loss of a fifth of their salary while working in one of the most difficult and challenging teaching environments in the entire country.…

At NC Policy Watch, Rob Schofield writes—The great coal ash blunder:
Big money, ideology and egos conspire to leave one of North Carolina’s greatest environmental threats unaddressed.

The seemingly endless 2014 “short session” of the North Carolina General Assembly is not yet over as of this morning. More than six weeks after the start of the new fiscal year – i.e. the date that lawmakers traditionally target for wrapping up the second year of each General Assembly—things are still limping along toward an uncertain and unsatisfying conclusion. Despite huge partisan and ideological majorities and a compliant governor of the same political party, legislative leaders have been unable to reach agreement on numerous key issues that they themselves had identified as top priorities just a few months ago.

At the top of just about any “unfinished business” list has to be the issue of North Carolina’s downright frightening coal ash problem. Six and half months ago, North Carolinians were awakened to what had been a long-simmering (and long-neglected) environmental crisis when the bottom literally fell out of a giant Duke Energy coal ash pit next to the Dan River in Rockingham County. Suddenly, millions of people who had never even heard of coal ash became painfully aware that millions of tons of the toxic sludge are actually stored in leaking, temporary pits and “ponds”—many of them perched precariously adjacent to the drinking water supplies of large population centers.

There are more excerpts from progressive state blogs below the fold.

At Calitics, dougbob writes—A Battle Over Increasing the Minimum Wage in San Diego:
 

Calitics logo
A City Council veto override on Monday has set the scene for a showdown between local and national business interests vs. a labor-community coalition over San Diego's Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance.

Following months of public hearings and invitations (mostly declined) for local businesses to hammer out a compromise, the city council passed an ordinance providing access to five earned sick days and setting a local minimum wage increasing to $11.50 over three years.

This action makes San Diego the largest city in the nation to raise the minimum wage.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer--said to be one of the bright new faces in the GOP-- then turned thumbs down on the bill on Friday, August 8th. Although the council was slated for vacation for the rest of the month, a special session was called by president Todd Gloria. The 6-2 vote upholding the ordinance surprised nobody.

At Progress Illinois, Ellyn Fortino writes—Chicago Activists, Progressive Aldermen Call For Reopening Of Mental Health Clinics:
state blogs, Progress Illinois
Chicago's public health commissioner got grilled by activists Tuesday afternoon at a long-awaited informational council hearing on mental health services in the city.

Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) and other members of the council's Progressive Reform Caucus requested the hearing back in April to gather expert and public testimony on “the future of the Chicago Department of Public Health mental health clinics and the need for expanded mental health services within the city."

Ahead of the hearing, Progressive Reform Caucus members vowed to get increased funding for the city's mental health clinics included in the city's 2015 budget. They also promised to keep the fight alive to reopen six mental health clinics that closed two years ago.

In 2012, six of Chicago's 12 mental health clinics shut down as part of a city strategy to modernize and enhance mental health services, with a focus on serving the uninsured.

At Rural and Progressive of Georgia, Katherine Helms Cummings writes—“Guns Everywhere” results in first reported death:
Rural and Progressive of Georgia
The Atlanta Journal Constitution and Raw Story are reporting that a Texas woman visiting Helen, GA was killed by a stray bullet outside a bar over the weekend. According to Raw Story,  53-year-old Glenn Patrick Lampien, from  Jasper, GA was outside the Old Heidelberg bar and restaurant on Helen’s crowded Main Street when he accidentally shot himself.

Police arrived after a call was placed concerning gunshots to discover that a woman across the street had been struck by Lampien’s bullet. She didn’t respond to first aid and was pronounced dead at the scene. Lampien will be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Georgia’s HB 60, known as Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” law, went into effect less than two months ago. This bill, which drew strong opposition from law enforcement officials  and ministers, allows guns in public places including bars, government buildings, TSA lines at Atlanta’s Jackson Hartsfield airports, and schools.

At Plunderbund of Ohio, Joseph writes—Ohio Has Lost 4,648 State Union Jobs Since John Kasich Took Office:
Plunderbund blog logo
According to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS), Ohio had 40,516 bargaining unit employees working for the state in January, 2011, when John Kasich first took office. As of July, 2014, three and a half years later, we are down to 35,868.That’s a loss of 4,648 union jobs—or 8.6%!  Nearly half—2,318 in total—were corrections/prison-related positions.

Some of these losses came when the Kasich administration privatized Ohio’s prison food service. Kasich pitched the idea as a way to save the state money, but the contract with Aramark to provide meals to Ohio’s inmates has ended up causing nothing but problems as the company’s low-paid, poorly-trained workers have failed to show up for work, been caught having sex with the inmates and, again and again, can’t keep maggots out of the food.  

Just this week, nearly 1,000 inmates at a women’s prison in Ohio dumped their lunches in the trash after they heard those pesky maggots had again been discovered in food preparation areas. The growing number of incidents involving fly larvae are part of a larger problem with Aramark’s performance. An investigation by the AP found at least 116 incidents where Aramark “has fallen short by running out of food or providing unapproved substitutes” in Ohio’s prisons since Aramark has been in charge of food service.

We’re lucky this week’s incident did not result in larger security issue. One of these days, a small scale act of disobedience at a women’s prison is going to be overshadowed by a large scale riot, putting inmates, staff and food service workers in danger. The clock is ticking.

At The Seminole Democrat of Florida, Independent Thinker writes—Rick Scott: Endorsed by Human Trafficker!:
The Seminole Democrat state blog
While our host gives you the lowdown on who he endorses in various races, you might like to know that Rick Scott has been endorsed by a human trafficker.

Actually, it's also the second time Scott's campaign has had to pull an ad because Scott featured himself with an ex-con. Once more he's the gift that keeps on giving to his opposition.

Tea Party loons won't care about this, of course. They're more concerned that Scott has endorsed "Common Core 2.0." But maybe this will get some higher-morals Independents off Scott's side if the horn is blown loudly enough.

At Blue Oregon, Michael O'Leary writes—Yakama Nation to Coal: And Stay Out.:
Blue Oregon
"The Yakama Nation will not rest until the entire regional threat posed by the coal industry to our ancestral lands and waters is eradicated." ~Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy.

Yakama Chairman JoDe Goudy asserts his rights under the Treaty of 1855 to fish traditionally on the Columbia River

Governor Kitzhaber's Department of State Lands has issued a landmark denial of Oregon's only proposed coal export terminal, keeping millions of tons of coal right where it belongs—buried in the ground.

Back in May the Yakama Nation protested that the coal terminal proposed for their traditional treaty recognized fishing grounds up on the Columbia Rover, near modern day Boardman, was an attack on the water, the salmon, their way of life, and a contradiction to the idea of living in balance with our surroundings.

The Australian coal mining company in question, Ambre Energy, denied the tribal claims in comments to the media and in filings to state regulators.

Evidently the claims by the coal company about where tribal fishing rights do or don't apply were not p[e]rsuasive.

In their findings released on August 18th the Department of State Lands had the final word on the matter:

"The agency record demonstrates that the project would unreasonably interfere with a small but important and and long-standing fishery in the State's waters at the project site."

At South Dakota Madville Times, caheidelberger writes—Rounds Loses Debate by Attacking Howie’s Fiscal Conservatism:
Madville Times of South Dakota
It's hard to tell who won yesterday's Senate debate at Dakotafest. But Mike Rounds lost. You know how you can tell? The Republican frontrunner took time to attack Tea Party conservative Gordon Howie, the candidate who places fourth in every poll that bothers to mention him, the man with the least chance of beating him in November.

This telling exchange came in Question #4 of the Dakotafest debate, on the Affordable Care Act. Rounds said repeal and replace. Independent Larry Pressler said more fuss over ACA repeal wastes time better spent getting things done in Washington. Weiland said the Affordable Care Act, while good, didn't make health care affordable enough and pitched his Medicare-as-public-option plan. He also said Rounds was lying in an earlier response when he said that the ACA was robbing Medicare. Howie said nuke the ACA and complained that Rounds killed his bill to nullify the ACA in 2010.

Oooh, that Gordy! Oooh, that Gordy! He makes me so mad! I'll fix him—I'm gonna write him a mean letter....

While Howie spoke, Rounds leaned over and whispered something to moderator Jerry Oster from WNAX. When Howie finished, instead of moving on to the next question, Oster announced that Rounds would get a chance to respond. No such rebuttal had taken place in either debate Wednesday, but evidently and happily, the rules allowed such responses. Rounds opened his rebuttal by attacking Howie. He said, quite reasonably, that Gordon (Rounds said Gordon) can't change federal law with state law.

But then Rounds took another swing at Howie. He said that as a legislator, Gordy (Rounds said Gordy) voted on four budget bills to spend $66 million more than the Rounds Administration had requested. Rounds went on to say Medicare means government controls your health care and mentioned Sarah Palin's death panels.

At The Mudflats of Alaska, Zach Roberts writes—Joe Miller & 20 Million Mexicans:
state blogs: the mudflats
“I’m sure you saw this last week in the [Anchorage Daily News], or you might have even seen it in your mailbox. Joe Miller claiming that Mark Begich wants these tattooed Central American ‘gang’ members to not only become citizens but also vote.

"And if 20 Million illegals vote, you can kiss the 2nd Amendment goodbye. I am the only candidate who favors Voter ID.” —Joe Miller

Let’s break this down, Joe. First, according to the US government and the Pew Hispanic Trust numbers, there are 11.7 million immigrants living illegally in the country. So I’m not sure where the 20 million comes from, other than the insane racist mind of another Joe, Joe Arpaio, who runs a tent prison in Sarah Palin’s new state of Arizona. Both she, and Arpaio just endorsed Joe Miller for US Senate.

Let’s also take into consideration that there are only 40,000 hispanics in the state of Alaska – half of which are eligible to vote—and half of that number actually do. Pew Research also points out that there are: “nine states whose Hispanic eligible voter samples (U.S. citizens, ages 18 and older) in the 2010 American Community Survey are not large enough to generate reliable estimates for the profiles: Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia. So clearly Joe doesn’t have to worry about losing any votes by putting out an ad that portrays immigrants as violent tattooed gang members.

But I get it – Joe’s not concerned with the hispanics that are here, but the droves that are coming over the border, buying a car, driving the 4387 miles from Reynosa, Mexico to Anchorage, Alaska to vote for Mark Begich. Right. Because that’s something that happens.

At Louisiana Voices, tomaswell writes—New ‘Friends of’ web page leads to speculation of PSC member Scott Angelle’s entry into 2015 governor’s race:
Louisiana Voices state blog
Does Scott Angelle have his eye on the 2015 governor’s race?

The Public Service Commissioner, Democrat-turned-Republican, former interim lieutenant governor, erstwhile Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and one time member of the LSU Board of Supervisors would seem to be rounding out his resumé while carefully moving up the pecking order in Louisiana politics.

The governor’s race isn’t until 2015 and Angelle isn’t up for re-election to a new six-year on the PSC from the Second District until 2018. He was first elected in 2012 to succeed Jimmy Fields who retired after 16 years.

But an Internet web page created by an outfit calling itself Friends of Scott Angelle and apparently chaired by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s favorite fundraiser Allee Bautsch certainly looks like that of a candidate considering his options for higher office as opposed to that of one running for re-election to the PSC this far out. In other words, just another political opportunist who ducked out of his DNR responsibilities at the height of the Bayou Corne sinkhole crisis.

There is some speculation that Angelle may opt to run for lieutenant governor instead of governor.

At Bluestem Prairie of Minnesota, Mike McFadden writes—Bircher questions Emmer and Mills' purity, but willing to live with expediency to win elections:
Bluestem Prairie blog
It's not just DFL state chair Ken Martin who is calling Republican congressional candidates like Tom Emmer and Stewart Mills III Tea Party extremists.

They're also being hailed for their extremism by the Washington Examiner's national reporter Betsy Woodruff in Six House candidates who want to be the next Justin Amash.

Readers may remember that the National Journal reported  in January that the Michigan Republican Congressman helped Conservatives Form Their Own Caucus Because the [Republican Study Committee] Isn't 'Hard-Core' Enough.

These are the folks in the Beltway who worry about not being extreme enough.

Not so fast, the Birchers at The New American say in GOP Congressional Hopefuls Look to Join Amash's Liberty Caucus. Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D., a correspondent for The New American, raises some yellow flags on both Emmer and Mills ...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Have the Detroit schools already sized down to (7+ / 0-)

    match the city's loss of population?

    My hat is off to everyone who hangs in there to face one of the most challenging environments in the nation.

    Hoping that Detroit, even if it is never again a large city, will once more be a great one.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 08:14:35 AM PDT

    •  I was born in Detroit, and used to visit family (7+ / 0-)

      there when it was thriving.

      To see what the greed of the few and the complicity of Michigan government has done to Detroit was shocking. I hadn't been back in many years.

      There was a vast difference between the thriving, prosperous downtown of my youth, and the urban blight that I visited this summer. My Uncle Ernie used to be a cop in the downtown part of the city. Seeing his vacant home and his trashed garden brought Detroit's decline upclose and personal. Detroit parallels what has happened to our country, our economy, and to the working families that used to be middle class, but who are now struggling.

      Then to think of Detroit's government depriving people of water turned my momentary sorrow into a blinding anger at those who profited from others' misery.

      The SOBs who are destroying our country have a museum of the end results of their destructiveness in Detroit. Detroit is a cautionary tale for the unentitled.

      Doing what I can to help stop the Blight from the Right.

      by 4Freedom on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 08:57:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Again? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QBee59

      Yawn.

      I want Kirsten Gillibrand. I think she's just waiting for Hillary to say "I'm done with politics" and she'll jump right in.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 09:06:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  RE: Coal terminals (4+ / 0-)

    Yesterday the Oregon ransportation commission killed a requested subsidy to expand the coal dock.

    Still have problems, tho.  Vancouver, WA wants an oil export terminal and dirty oil is pushing hard.  Not to mention the increasing number of oil trains rumbling thru the Gorge.  Oregon has made laws demanding safer trains, but the oil companies are still trying to sneak the old ones by.  

  •  Love the Kasich ads here on DailyKos (9+ / 0-)

    Three lies in a single sentence! See if you can spot them!!

    "Gov. Kasich is tough (1) but he listens (2) and Ohio is on the rise (3).

    1. Not only is he not tough, he is a coward who tries to sneak his agenda past Ohioans because if he came out and said what it was, they would hate it.

    2. He is NOT a listener — in the extreme. I have talked to many people who have gone to lobby him about this or that and gotten a monologue from him. He is autocratic ad stubborn.

    3. See diary. The economy of Ohio is in sorry shape, something our media ignores while they beat up Ted Strickland endlessly in 2010 because it was IMPROVING fast enough. It's not only not rising, it's plummeting rapidly.

    I just found a full-time job after 16 months and the first thing I'm doing when I get paid is write a check to Ed FitzGerald, even though our state's right-wing corporate media is working frantically to declare him dead in the water. Luckily, my new job gives me opportunities to expose Kasich and many other Republicans since it is in the environmental field.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

    by anastasia p on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 09:05:36 AM PDT

    •  Congrats on the new job! eom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, kfunk937
    •  Too bad FitzGerald (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QBee59

      was too much of a dumbass to be bothered to get a driver's license for 10 years but yet berate his underlings for doing just the same. FitzGerald is dead in the water because he handed Kasich the ammunition to make that so...at some point we have to stop blaming the corporate media for the failures of a candidate...that's Sarah Palin territory.
      I know. I know...his defenders will say what a great guy he is, but it doesn't matter if he can't get elected. I'm a great guy too, but I'm not going to be elected Governor either.
      It's not the reader of Daily Kos he has to convince to vote for him.
      Mr. And Mrs. "Independent" semi informed voter are the ones he needs to get to the polls, and stuff like not having a driver's license makes him look like a dope.. They aren't paying attention to the important stuff.
      Looks like Ohio is stuck with Kasich for another 4 years...

      •  A green lake makes Kasich look like a dope (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        QBee59, Eric Nelson, kfunk937

        As does SB5, rolling back renewables and women's rights.

        We'll see which of these things matters most, when all is said and done.

        •  Well...to the voters of Ohio (0+ / 0-)

          the driver's license issue seems to be winning.
          I seem to remember a lot of diaries and front page articles excoriating, and rightfully so, Liz Cheney over a fishing license issue in Wyoming. It was fair game as far as politics was concerned.
          Our candidates need to be better than that. Driving repeatedly without a driver's license is a jailable offense in most states if you're caught.
          All's fair in politics and war.
          FitzGerald is not cutting it...,pure and simple...

  •  San Diego (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Thanks for the shout out. We're fighting a great fight here and it's not getting much recognition.

    Here's my latest piece in the San Diego Free Press about the struggle:

    Calling Out the Liars Behind The Anti-Minimum Wage Campaign in San Diego

    http://sandiegofreepress.org/...

  •  A lot of good people standing up & fighting back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kfunk937, Meteor Blades

    Eclectablog highlights teachers;

    Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings
    NC Policy Watch, Rob Schofield
    Suddenly, millions of people who had never even heard of coal ash became painfully aware that millions of tons of the toxic sludge are actually stored in leaking, temporary pits and “ponds”—many of them perched precariously adjacent to the drinking water supplies of large population centers.
    Calitics, dougbob
    This action makes San Diego the largest city in the nation to raise the minimum wage.
    Governor Kasich is being exposed by Plunderbund of Ohio, Joseph
    Ohio Has Lost 4,648 State Union Jobs Since John Kasich Took Office
    and the private prison privateers exposed Aramark by Chris Hedges @ Truthdig who last year exposed Aramark is now coming to the surface:
    Food Behind Bars Isn't Fit for Your Dog
    A win: Blue Oregon, Michael O'Leary
    Governor Kitzhaber's Department of State Lands has issued a landmark denial of Oregon's only proposed coal export terminal, keeping millions of tons of coal right where it belongs—buried in the ground.
    And republicans seem to 'get' that that extremism, racism, and catering to their fringe is hurting them: At Bluestem Prairie of Minnesota, Mike McFadden
    That’s not exactly the brand of bold language many constitutionalists would prefer, but it is the sort that gets one elected, and if Emmer will join the Amash bloc of constitutionalists, then a little soft pedaling can be forgiven.
    [...]
    Amash was in Minnesota in June, fundraising for his own primary.  The event was sponsored by the Liberty Minnesota, the MN Tea Party Alliance and The Canary Party.  The latter is a "health choice" group largely associated with the anti-vaccine movement.
    ..but are so out of touch, so extreme that they don't recognize how f'cked up they are when they think that Justin Amash = "soft pedaling"

    A major backfire in the making

    So a lot a of bad news as usual from the rwnj's but also a lot of good awareness of it and fighting back too.

    Thx MB  - for this weeks progressive state blog round-up

  •  Republicans finally have to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    answer in SD. Rounds trouble may only be starting as EB-5 scandal continues to gain steam.

    http://madvilletimes.com/...

    If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

    by RepresentUsPlease on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 01:49:10 PM PDT

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