Here is today’s State & Local news roundup for Monday, November 10, 2014 …
SAN JOSE, California: SPUR, a 104-year-old San Francisco-based organization focused on civic planning, disaster preparedness and good government in the Bay Area, launched an affiliate chapter in San Jose two years ago. This week, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced it was giving SPUR San Jose a $1.7 million grant to help the organization expand its work to help Northern California’s largest city become more urban. According to the Knight Foundation’s announcement, SPUR San Jose will take the lead on the following projects:
- Help Downtown San Jose succeed: Mobilize resources and engage citizens to achieve a thriving urban core with better connectivity, better-designed public spaces and more people.
- Catalyze urban village creation: Provide in-depth planning and technical assistance to build the first urban village projects and catalyze the realization of San Jose’s broader “Envision 2040” growth plan.
- Reimagine the transportation system: Start the process of reimagining the city, county and regional transportation network.
- Build the community of San Jose urbanists: Nurture an active, well-informed citizenry through convenings and public programming at the SPUR San Jose Urban Center and new simulcasting of SPUR public programs for wider viewing online.
- Rethink the corporate campus: Research and produce a new report on the future of work, examining traditional suburban office parks and new, best practice examples; establish a peer-to-peer learning network to convene influencers and key corporate decision makers.
Leah Toeniskoetter, SPUR San Jose director, said, according to a statement: “We are honored to play an important role in helping to spark this engagement, while encouraging people to invest in the urban future of our city.”
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania: Three cities in the Keystone State, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster, filed a lawsuit on Monday challenging a new commonwealth law that, according to The Associated Press, was “designed to give the National Rifle Association standing in court to challenge local firearms ordinances.” The lawsuit alleges that Pennsylvania lawmakers passed the law while violating “constitutional provisions designed to promote transparency in the legislative process.”
QUITMAN, Mississippi: This small town of approximately 2,300 residents now has access to 1 gigabit per second broadband Internet service. Ridgeland, Mississippi-based C Spire, according to the Daily Yonder, committed to expanding its high-speed gigabit service to the economically struggling town if 45 percent of residents signed up. It’s expected that 80 percent of the town’s population will be signed up next year. “Having 1-gigabit high speed Internet throughout the city is the key to accomplishing our goals,” said Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton, according to the Daily Yonder.
CUMBERLAND, Maine: Some local residents hoping to switch to natural gas heat are being left out in the cold in Portland’s suburbs. Summit Natural Gas of Maine has been expanding its natural gas supply infrastructure in three towns, but, according to Matt Byrne of the Portland Press Herald, the utility “has experienced construction hang-ups and other delays, forcing the company to push back the expected hookup date for some residents from September and October to December and beyond.”
FORT LAUDERDALE, California: The 90-year-old man who has been attracting worldwide headlines for his recent arrest for feeding the homeless in a Fort Lauderdale beachfront park moved his feeding operation inside a local church on Sunday, according Mike Clary of the Sun Sentinel. But the homeless advocate could run into problems on Wednesday when he plans to go back out to the beachfront park to feed the homeless.