Here are five things that caught my attention!
ICYMI: This week, I co-authored an op-ed in The Hill with one of the nation's leading public health experts on health misinformation, Dr. Tara Kirk Sell of Johns Hopkins. It's been almost two months since our board decided to go on offense against health misinformation, and in doing so started a movement that other local governments are following. Our piece explains why we took the steps we did, why this is a fight that local governments must take on, and why we can't see the end of this pandemic without fighting this battle. I hope you'll take a few minutes to read our piece -- then share it with your friends and family that live in other cities & counties because we can't do this alone!
You can’t make this up: Notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar smuggled Hippos into Colombia in the 80s (along with smuggling a lot of coke out of Colombia). After his death in a gunbattle with police, the hippos moved into the surrounding countryside, procreating and causing all kinds of havoc. A US based judge in Ohio just recognized their descendents in U.S. courts as "interested persons". Oh my.
Seeds of Sustainability: I love community gardens. They can promote press food, save the planet and help working class communities with sustainable healthy food. This week, we kicked off our county demonstration community garden. There are many areas of our community that lack access to gardening space and are also "food deserts" with limited access to healthy foods. This is going to help us get healthier, address the increased rates of obesity, lower our health care costs, address food insecurity in a sustainable way, and will have positive environmental impacts. Somewhere former First Lady Michelle Obama is smiling.
More harm than good: There's some really interesting research being done on what happens when we levy fees and fines for misdemeanor offenses. Local governments increasingly depend on this revenue and it's politically easy to raise them. We know these assessments largely go uncollected, exacerbate poverty and impair people's ability to re-enter society, along with doing nothing to make our communities safer, but now we're finding out the higher these fees are, the more likely we'll be to see more crimes in the near term. We are changing county policy to align with these facts. We have to do better.
Family outing: Last weekend, we got out for a family night in Old Town! We listened to live music, checked out cool shops and had some great Mexican food. If you haven’t been down in a while, it is not just for tourists! This weekend we are ready for an adult Halloween Party. Stand by next week for photos of “old” Han Solo and Princess Leia--taking over the gaslamp!