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October 21, 2014

Flex Your Civic Pride

eldoradocafe

Vermont has banned fracking, Wisconsin permits same-day voter registration, Montana and San Francisco have enacted forward thinking initiatives addressing political money and health care access, respectively.

Forgive us for living vicariously through you, but if “states are the laboratories of democracy” ours gets an “F” in this particular science experiment. When the discussion turns to sound public policy, Alaska just isn’t the first place that leaps to mind these days.

But what of your state or local government? What’s your favorite law, program or other policy—the thing of which you wish the rest of the nation knew? When traveling, do you ever think to yourself “wow, I never realized how lucky we are to have X—I’ve really taken that for granted?”

This is your opportunity to flex your civic pride and let us know. Leave the what and where in the comments section below (here on Mudflats—not on Facebook—if you please) and prepare to have praises heaped upon your hometown/state in an upcoming feature story on state and local innovation.

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54 Responses to “Flex Your Civic Pride”
  1. Beaglemom says:

    Well, it keeps getting worse here in Michigan. A couple of days ago Gov. Snyder signed legislation that complicates and limits abortion rights in the state, all the while saying that the law will protect women’s health and women’s right to choose. Okay, so they lie. And this morning’s local paper has an article about a county commissioner, the most tea bagging teabagger of them all, objecting to putting forth a grant request from Planned Parenthood to the local Native American tribe (which funds all sorts of organizations in the community) simply because he thinks Planned Parenthood is all about “killing babies.” His ignorance is beyond comprehension and he demonstrates it constantly with his big mouth, but he gets re-elected.

    What is happening in this country? Despite having a wonderful president and some great leaders (all of them Democrats), the Republicans still control our everyday lives more and more. And the Republican Party is now synonymous with ALEC, Grover Norquist, the Koch Brothers, the NRA and worse. We will become a fascist state in the not too distant future, not from the top down but from the bottom dwellers up.

  2. COalmostNative says:

    @ Tektonak 9:21 AM:

    I was teaching at a close high school during Columbine. I doubt you can imagine the fear, panic and sorrow my students felt; some lost good friends, and I still feel the death of a good friend’s daughter keenly. It changed how schools operate, and how many of us taught forever.

    There were armed school safety officers at Columbine that day, and they were no match for the shooters. I shudder to think what would have happened if some students or teachers were armed, and returned gunfire.

    Colorado had a church shooting, and a theatre massacre- I don’t want to live in the type of armed state the NRA and others invision.

  3. I live in a county in Texas that has NO, red,amber, green lights at all. There are two four way stop signs / lights with stop signs. It is not what you would think that Texas looks like. In East Texas we have three National Forests: Sabine, Angelina, and Davy Crockett National Forest. I live between Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Toledo Bend Reservoir two of the largest man made lakes in the Southern United States. The downside is fracking has been used to extract natural gas and oil of which we have plenty of however with so much natural gas the oil industry has moved on to South Texas for more oil and our water supply may not be in danger of pollution. The only other major downside, is Louie Gohmert is the U.S. representative from U.S.House District 1. If I can’t find someone whom I can support for his replacement I’m going to run against him.

  4. COalmostNative says:

    I am proud that Colorado has the most diverse, newly elected Democratic state representatives; they plan to pass the civil union bill at the beginning of the new session. We can’t pass a marriage equality law, due to the short-sighted Constitutional amendment.

    Colorado also has a thriving green energy industry; industry/government/citizens are working to improve regs governing fracking close to communities- and DRCOG, a group including Denver and many suburbs- are cooperating on transportation issues.

    Plus we finally got snow- woot!

    Happy peaceful, progressive New Year to all the mudpups…

  5. benlomond2 says:

    Our valley communities banded together over the past years to pass a measure to buy out a water system from an international company based in Germany, and put ALL our water under local control. This same company owns the water system for Monterey,andis now squezzing the heck out of residents there with rate hikes….We’ve also defeated efforts to implement an RDA in the Valley, and stopped the county and a developer from building housing on a 25 acre meadow that is a marshy areaduring the winter months-we have septics only here,and the ground is totally unacceptable for the amount of sewage that a high density complex would generate. chuckle- the county dumped about 3/4 of a million into the developer BEFORE the EPA and ground reports came in. they only backed off when a vote was taken by the community, with 80% against the construction. Large sections of land here are regularly purchased and put into public trusts to prevent development and to protect watersheds . Selective timber cutting is allowed and monitored, to prevent clear cutting – steep hillsides don’t do to well with the large rainfall we get here..

  6. Alaska Pi says:

    I’m proud of our Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and what we are working to do there.
    http://www.mhtrust.org/index.cfm/About-Us/Trust-History
    I’m proud of Vern Weiss, et al who pushed their case to the State Supreme Court when the legislature failed to meet its duty. Way to go there every day Alaskan!!

    In my community , I see and am proud of the work the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc does every day for its clients and their families. We all benefit.

  7. Beaglemom says:

    Well, so does Michigan. If Gov. Snyder signs the most recent lame duck legislation, he will be all but eliminating women’s reproductive rights in the State of Michigan. God help us. We’re not a “right to work” state and we’ll be an anti-woman state too. What’s next? Oh, they’re out to do in public education – put public schools on line.

    • Beaglemom says:

      Oops. I meant we’re “now” a “right to work” state, not “not.” Well, who would have thought that Michigan with its strong labor roots would keel over and become a “right to work” state?

  8. tallimat says:

    Aftercare for FosterCare

    It ain’t a law, it has zilch to do with bullets or the amount of them…

    Honestly it’s rather fun.
    Except for maybe last night. Whereby my “aftercare foster kid” and his girlfriend, slaughtered Team Auntie & I, in the holiday ping pong tourney.

    ‘Steaks’ are high in this years ping long tourney. Auntie, with her betting, competive nature, loudly added to the winners pot –> a new parka… made by her & me. Before that the winners pot included a pair of ugly, beat up fur(of unknown species)ear muffs, snow machine gloves(sz small, which is horrible even if your hands are small), a lindauer/ward political sign(vomit… however the this perticular “prize” was donated by someone who doesn’t play ping pong.)

    The ping pong sharks have crawled out from the walls with aunties addition to the winners pot. A rather surprising up and coming competitor is the aftercare foster kid. And I’m sure I’ll get a good talkin too when those in my family read this and are in disgust as too how I reference Gary. In any case you all here at the mudflats will get my drift.

    Read more here:

    http://akdemocrats.org/gara/120312_note_from_gara.htm

    Meanwhile, I’m up early, cleaning house because Team Auntie and I lost last nights round of ping pong games. Losers have to clean house and make breakfast.

    Aftercare for FosterCare… it has worked out great for us… go for it.

  9. mlaiuppa says:

    I can’t think of anything local (I.E. city) to be proud of. We’ve reduced our trash going to the landfill but there are other places doing way better than we are.

    Republicans have run our town for too long.

    We don’t have free parking for EVs or hybrids, like in Los Angeles.

    We’re getting a new Central Library. After only 30 years in the planning. Don’t know yet if there will be free parking that will allow those that actually NEED to use the library to be able to afford to use it.

    A local 0.01%er has bought our mayor and city council and is ramming his “improvement” to the jewel Park of our city that will essentially destroy it while leaving us with a huge multimillion dollar bill to build an underground parking structure (paid parking and no security, etc.) Big mess and plenty don’t want it. Not going up for a public vote either. And we’ll be taxed for it.

    The coyotes have plenty of open space so they can eat the cats people insist on allowing to roam free at night. I guess that’s a plus.

  10. kath the scrappy says:

    Gay marriage & legalized pot (WA State here). It will take a year for the state to figure out how to distribute it so in the meantime people will be using pot via the “magical ounce”. My personal belief is that having Obama & the pot initiative on the ballot helped to bring out the Young voters, which helped us get Gay Marriage passed.

  11. homesteader says:

    Raven decision. Right of privacy. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

  12. Tektonak says:

    And I’ve known several that have chosen to carry after combat as well. It’s a personal choice each person has the freedom to make. Why do off- duty police officers carry concealed?

    • benlomond2 says:

      off-duty officers are required to carry their weapons, in the event of witnessing a crime while “off duty”..

      • Tektonak says:

        Actually, it is recommended that they carry but not required. It is their choice if they decide to carry or not. But you are dodging the question of WHY they carry concealed.

        • benlomond2 says:

          nephew/godson graduated from NMHP academy 2 weeks ago, went out there to attend.. he is required to wear concealed while off duty.. and it is for the reason I previously stated….

          • Tektonak says:

            I can’t speak for New Mexico Highway Patrol on their policy, but as far as the Anchorage Police Department goes, it is recommended but optional. Feel free to check my facts but I speak from first hand experience. But my question is why concealed? Why don’t officers open carry?

  13. Zyxomma says:

    We weren’t the first, and we certainly won’t be the last (I’m looking at you, California). Of course, I’m talking about legal marriage between two consulting adults of the same gender. Gay marriage has brought with it an upswing in tourism, too.

  14. Lacy Lady says:

    How depressing!!!!!
    I now appreciate living in our small southern Iowa town—-and have a view of the city park and pool across the street. See an occasional deer, squirrels & beautiful birds in our backyard.

  15. Charles says:

    Florida has an exotic snake problem and is handling it in typical burocratic fashion. When the snakes get too large for the owener who has them for a pet they let them lose in the Everglades where they are now breeding. They have no predators and eat the vanishing wild life of the Everglades. Now you think the solution to this problem would be to put a bounty on them and let people kill them at will. No that is not government style. Florida prmits hunting of them in season -

  16. mike from iowa says:

    Sutherland,iowa-population(with stray cats and occasional coyote) around 700. Move here,get a job at the convenience store,a marriage proposal from Moi and you have had about all this town has to offer. Go 15 miles nw as the crow flies and you will find the world’s onliest Primghar,iowa.

  17. DrZ says:

    I love the Metro system here in DC; I would love to see something similar in Anchorage.

  18. slipstream says:

    That is not a Flex. That is not a Civic.

    That is a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.

  19. Mo says:

    I really appreciate that we have socialized industrial profit thanks to our Permanent Fun and don’t have to pay state income tax anymore, thanks to visionary leaders who had the guts to not let the oil companies exploit us totally.

  20. William Buchwald says:

    NO Billboards

  21. Tektonak says:

    I really appreciate that our laws allow for us Alaskans to carry concealed weapons without having to jump through a bunch of hoops.

    • Mo says:

      Kinda wondering what you’re so afraid of that you feel the need to conceal a weapon.

      • Tektonak says:

        Not afraid of anything while I’m carrying :)

        • John says:

          Why conceal the weapon? Seems to be more of a deterent if people see the gun. And it lets people like me know you are someone I prefer to keep away from. And since the feeling is probably mutual, we both win.

          • Tektonak says:

            I’d rather not scare all those people who choose to be scared of firearms. It’s a courtesy I offer you.

            • Mo says:

              You still haven’t answered the question as to what you fear so much that you feel you need to be armed while merely walking around.

              • Tektonak says:

                Mo,
                Call me a little old fashioned, but I’d like to protect myself and my family if it ever comes to it. I pray that it never does.

              • Mo says:

                You still can’t come right out and say it, can you, Tektonak?

                “protect myself and my family if it ever comes to that”

                Protect from what? What, exactly, is it you fear so much? Let’s have a list.

            • Alaska Pi says:

              Kind of a backhanded slap in the face sort of “courtesy” really.
              http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/courtesy
              The indulging-the-fools sort of generosity we can all do without , you know.

              “people who choose to be scared of firearms’? What a doofus way to frame a notion of choice, especially in light of any understanding of “civic”, of or pertaining to citizenship, which is bigger than the right -libertarian “every hu/man is an island”.
              But then maybe that is as big a notion of civic as you can manage.

              BTW, folks aren’t scared by choice , experience, example, whatever of firearms- they are scared of too many of the doofs who have them.
              I’m not scared of firearms and think the whole concealed carry thingy in regular society is ridiculous. Open carry has some limited usefulness, which also rapidly fades in moving about regular society.

              I have trod right up and stuck my toe over the line into behavior towards another commenter which is unacceptable here. Better quit before I jump right over with both feet.

              • Tektonak says:

                Your above remarks make you sound like someone who is a little over-sensitive. I meant no harm in my above statement of courtesy. I was merely stating the same reason that off-duty police officers carry concealed… they don’t want or need to draw attention to themselves. The sight of a gun to some people strikes fear in them. While in uniform their “officer presence” is needed and often required. But off-duty, they blend in to the rest of society not allowing their firearm to be a distraction to everyone who would be distracted by it. You may or may not realize it, but many of the law abiding citezens you may come in contact with on a daily basis are carrying concealed weapons and you will never know. That is the way it should be.

              • mike from iowa says:

                I guess Snooki’s rant about shooting guns and ringing bells is becoming clearer-at least to me- She was referring to slay bells beings it is Christmas time. Someday in the future I can see her as a stuffed attraction in Branson,Mo. Some nickel and dime casino will buy her and have her greet suckers with ,”You betcha” or some other equally tacky Palinism.

              • Alaska Pi says:

                I’m about as sensitive as a rock.
                I AM irritated that the concealed carry argument is being twisted to also include the sensitivities and distractions routine which is how your above remarks came across- whether you intended them to or not.
                I am fully aware that people all around me conceal carry. I think it is stupid though legal.
                Whether I know specific people are carrying or not matters not at all. What matters to me is the mind set which thinks civil society is so dangerous that folks think they should.
                By and large, we don’t do as well as we should but neither are we in some imminent state of collapse into anarchy and so on.
                Awful things happen I know that as well or better than most, but I am firmly against this drifting into armed every day life.
                Before you come back with the usual, please understand the 2 family members I have lost to gun violence would not have been helped by having guns themselves nor having you there to “protect” them.
                Not at all, period.

            • John says:

              Firearms don’t scare me, but some of the people who walk around town with them do. :)
              There are some who I know have taken the time to learn to use a gun, and I’m not too worried about them doing something stupid. But then there are a few others who should never have been allowed to get near a gun. I don’t want to ban guns, but I sure wish they were as regulated as my automobile.

              And no, I don’t think the 2nd amendment prohibits regulation of guns. I know the Supreme Court does, but I think they got that one as wrong as the Dred Scott decision. The Constitution gave Congress the power to regulate the militia, and the 2nd amendment was passed to put a limit on that power. Congress can regulate, but not to the extent of taking away the militia’s right to bear arms.

              • COalmostNative says:

                Thank you- I feel the same way. If someone wants a gun, they should be required to take a standard course in usage and safety, then a test documenting proficiency. Register each firearm, and track ammunition- all gun purchases require backgrund checks.

                Those of us who abhor firearms would feel a little better, as the current situation tramples on my right to pursuit of life and liberty.

              • Tektonak says:

                COalmostNative:
                I think firearm training is a great idea! Do you think we can maybe push an initiative to get it as an elective in our high schools? That way more kids can have a proper education in correct firearm handling. We teach them “safe-sex” in school, why not safe firearms handling?

              • mike from iowa says:

                You may be confusing safe sex education with abstinence only-which is the way schools should stay(as far as guns are concerned).

              • Alaska Pi says:

                actually John- there is plenty of room for regulation of guns under even the current Supreme Court rulings
                http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202581822870&PostNewtown_gun_legislation_will_hinge_on_Heller&slreturn=20121128144034
                I’d like to Alaska step up to the plate and require a LOT of hoops for conceal carry and open carry of the firearms training sort.
                We want to offer gun safety and training in schools? Maybe, but let’s start with the adults first.
                And let’s have a wide open serious conversation about why so many think they are in some kind of imminent danger going to the grocery mart, buying a fancy coffee, or gassing up their rig, before we fully turn into a whole bunch of armed islands.

            • CorningNY says:

              You still haven’t answered the question of what you are so afraid of that you feel the need to carry a concealed weapon. Please answer this simple question. I’m genuinely curious.

              • Tektonak says:

                I’m really not sure what answer you are wanting me to say. I’m sure there are those of who are anxiously waiting by your computer for me to give an answer and you have already prepared a response for. Obviously the answer is people who intend to harm me or others. Protecting the innocent. I’m actually surprised that there are so many people out there that seem to believe that they are invincible and that nothing will happen to them.

                We all (I hope) have smoke detectors and escape plans in our homes, schools, and other buildings to protect us from fires. And a fire is less likely to happen than a violent crime is. Why are we not willing to take a precaution (or at least allow others to take a precaution) as simple as carrying a weapon? Call me simple minded (I know some of you will) but I guess I’m just not understanding the logic in that thinking.

        • Forty Watt says:

          Interesting to know.

          Maybe it’s where I live, but I have real difficulty imagining going through life with so much fear. I am sorry.

      • Zippity do dah says:

        I like that we can carry in AK.

        When i dont carry, i’m afraid of the guy who walks into a movie theatre and just starts shooting, the guy who walks into a school and slaughters kids, the guy who has gone totally bonkers due to the desensitizing this world has brainwashed us with and wants to kill people.

        When i carry, i’m not afraid because i know i and anyone near me has at least a chance of living.

        Just my 2 cents.

    • Lacy Lady says:

      I have people in my family that have served in WW11, VietNam War, Korean war, and when they come home they don’t care to carry a gun anymore.
      I always think that people who carry a gun around all the time, are want a be-/;

      • Zippity do dah says:

        You could be right, to a point. Yes there are people out there that have no weapon system training, and depending on their common sense, those folks are up for a discussion. And some of those yeahoo’s could be wannabe’s.
        But, the ones who have training, common sense, and can stay level headed in stressful situtions, i’m ok with them conceal carrying. The tough thing here is, even if every law abiding person decided to stop carrying, the harmful people or those with an unremorsful violent criminal history don’t care about the law, so they will do what they want.
        So, i don’t want to be stuck with nothing to defend myself with or others around me.

        • Mo says:

          Alas, you have it just backwards. You’re more of a menace to everyone else if you’re carrying.

          In LaPierre’s mind, the world is divided between law-abiding citizens and dangerous criminals. Citizens and criminals form two separate and discrete categories. The criminals pose a threat; if the citizens do not go armed against the threat, they will be victimized by the threat.

          I know people who carry handguns with them wherever they go, and for just the reason described by LaPierre.

          The people most victimized by this nightmare vision end up being the people who believe it — and who carry the weapons that kill or maim their neighbors, their relatives, their spouses, and random passersby.

          http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/24/opinion/frum-nra-nightmare-vision/index.html

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