Above the Fold 04.06.09

Governors fighting “fiscal child abuse”….Trouble brewin’ on the bayou…A watchdog named Chick…Iowa goes over the Rainbow…Michigan’s Hurricane Katrina…NY’s $2 billion Humpty Dumpty… Armageddon strikes Atlanta….World War 3 will start in Minnesota…L.A.’s crime map mess up…

Conservative Governors from South Carolina’s Mark Sanford to Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Alaska’s Sara Palin are looking to reject stimulus spending that, they say, will damage their state in the future when stimulus funds run out. Mr. Sanford has called the Recovery Act “fiscal child abuse” and this weekend, the New York Times profiled his views on Saturday, while looking at Gov. Jindal’s inconsistent stance against fund on Sunday. Louisiana has received $10 million a day in aid during 2008 and most economic indicators are faring better there than in the rest of the country, the Sunday Times piece reports.

Also from the Bayou State comes news from the New Orleans Times-Picayune that Mayor Ray Nagin and his chief technology officer Greg Meffert have allowed IT contractors to “play simultaneous dual roles: city bureaucrats and entrepreneurs.” The story says representatives from a host of technology contractors including ACS, Ciber, Imagine Software, Science Engineering Associates and others were allowed to impersonate city employees and oversee their own contract work.

Speaking of oversight, Los Angeles Controller Laura Chick is going to be the new inspector general to preside over California’s stimulus dollars, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. Ms. Chick has a strong reputation of calling out city and county officials on fraud and abuse charges. Chick produced audits that rankled some leaders, tackling topics such as the backlog of untested rape kits at the L.A. Police Department, employees’ use of city gasoline cards and city departments’ bottled water purchases, the Times reports.

Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled that a 10-year ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The Des Moines Register says the ruling was unanimous, despite public opinion in Iowa leaning more towards the “traditional” view of marriage. As of this bluffing, 49% (16892) were for the ruling and 51% (17370) were against in a poll on the Register’s Web site. The decision is expected to give a large number of equal rights and traditional marriage activists ammo to sound the rallying cry, since California’s Prop 8 battle has lost steam in recent weeks.

The Wall Street Journal looked at how the auto industry melodrama was affecting the state of Michigan who will receive $18 billion from the stimulus package. “This is our Hurricane Katrina, although it happened over a longer period of time,” Governor Jennifer Granholm says, calling attention to the scope of the damage and the need for an urgent federal action to aid the failing General Motors and Chrysler car companies.

New York’s Statewide Wireless Network (SWN) is trying to refocus itself after canceling a contract worth $2 billion in January, Government Technology reports. The state project is looking to go a little less state-wide and refocus efforts on regional solutions. “The new strategic road map we are pursuing de-emphasizes the one-size-fits-all notion and envisions an interconnected system of systems,” says Nancy Perry, director of the Statewide Interoperability Program Office.

Atlanta’s MARTA General Manager says because the General Assembly has failed to pass legislation that would free up access to transportation funds, “It’s Armageddon.” Beveryl Scott has indicated that MARTA transit may have to stop all service one day a week if a $20 million budget gap is not filled immediately, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. A decision would be made in June with cuts in place by September, Scott said.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has promised “World War III” if Democrats try to seat Al Franken before legal battles have been decided, according to the Chicago Tribune. The senate fight between Franken and incumbent Norm Coleman has been in the courts for five months and observers aren’t holding out hope of an end any time soon. If Franken wins approval from the Minnesota Supreme Court and Gov. Pawlenty doesn’t certify the election, Political Science professor Larry Jacobs says, “All hell could break loose.”

Finally, the Los Angeles Times reports that LAPD’s EveryBlock – a geospatial and crime statistic computer system – has consistently ranked 90012, one of downtown’s ZIP Codes, the most dangerous in the city, positioning a large, foreboding orange cluster over the Civic Center with the number of crimes regularly updated. Problem is, crimes reported in other areas have congregated in large clusters on the map – making those areas look deadly to innocent passers by.

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