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NEWS: March 9, 2012
Privatization | Washington State
State Auctioning License Rights for Liquor Stores
The state launched an online auction of the right to apply for liquor licenses for its 167 state-run liquor stores, which are to be privatized on June 1 under a voter-approved ballot measure. Washington is the first state since Prohibition to privatize its state-run liquor retail, purchasing and distribution system, which began in the 1930s.
>> Reuters

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Attorney General Jim Hood
Haley Barbour and Jim Hood
Executive Powers | Mississippi
Attorney General: Let
Voters Rule on Pardons

After Thursday's state Supreme Court ruling that former Gov. Haley Barbour's 203 pardons would stand, Attorney General Jim Hood said he wants to let voters decide whether the judiciary should be able to overturn a governor's pardons. The court's ruling will allow for the release of five pardoned prisoners who were trusties at the Governor's Mansion.
>> Jackson Clarion-Ledger

The Military | The Nation
Progress Slow for Pentagon's Efficiency Initiatives
A quest to cut $178 billion in defense spending between 2012 and 2016 by getting leaner and instituting better business practices has hit a few speed bumps but is advancing, according to Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, who said DoD has had difficulties capping civilian personnel and eliminating contract workers.
>> Federal Times

Public Workforce | New York City
Firefighter Applicants Win $128 Million in Bias Case
New York City must pay as much as $128 million in back wages to potentially thousands of minority candidates who took the fire department's screening test but were never hired, according to a ruling by the federal judge who had deemed the test discriminatory.
>> New York Times
Senate OKs Phased Retirements for Feds
The Senate approved a measure that would allow federal employees to work part-time while retiring part-time and use the estimated $465 million saved by the phased retirements to pay for roads, schools and forest-related economic-development projects.
>> Federal Times

Technology | Colorado
State Moving Email to Google's Cloud
Colorado is the latest state to move its enterprise email to Google's cloud-based platform, with plans to consolidate the state's 15 email systems and migrate 26,000 state employees--excluding colleges and universities as well as the legislature--to the system this year.
>> Government Technology
I.G.: Chicago Agency Wasted $171,000 on GPS Devices
Chicago's aviation department wasted at least $171,000 on GPS-equipped cellphones and vehicles with tracking devices that either did not work or were never used, the city's inspector general said.
>> Chicago Sun-Times
Prize-Winning Affordable Lightbulb's Price: $50
The federal government last year announced a $10 million award for any manufacturer that could create a "green" but affordable LED light bulb. Now the winning bulb is on the market--at a price of $50.
>> Washington Post

Carbon Motors' E7 cruiser
Carbon Motors' E7 cruiser
Law Enforcement | The Nation
Next-Gen Police Cruiser
Is Denied Federal Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy denied Carbon Motors' application for funding for the company's E7 police cruiser, which was designed from scratch to be the ultimate police car, casting doubt on whether the vehicle will be built. The company already has more than 500 orders from law enforcement agencies.
>> Government Technology
Court: Wash. State Voters Can't Ban Red-Light Cameras
Local voters in Washington State can't ban red-light cameras by initiative, the state Supreme Court ruled, saying that only city and county councils have the power to decide on the cameras.
>> Federal Times

Human Services | Detroit
Feds to End City's Funding for Head Start
Following complaints that the city's Human Services Department fostered an environment of nepotism, reckless spending and corruption to the detriment of the Head Start early childhood education program, the federal government plans to stop sending $50 million a year to the city to fund the program.
>> Detroit Free Press

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Western cactus
VIEWPOINT
Public Lands | Robert H. Nelson
Free the West
Like much else in government, U.S. public-land policy is a vestige of the past, established in 1910 when America's population was just 92.2 million and a Western state such as Nevada had only 81,000 residents. Today our needs are much different and much greater. We can no longer afford to keep tens of millions of acres of "public" land locked up and out of service. Some of these lands have great commercial value; others are environmental treasures. We need policies capable of distinguishing between the two.
>> Los Angeles Times | More commentaries

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
DATAPOINT
Five

Number of times that Oprah Winfrey, who gave $2,300 to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008, visited the White House in 2009, 2010 and 2011, according to a search of data on a new White House website that posts ethics information such as White House visitor records, Federal Election Commission political-contribution reports, ethics-office travel reports, lobbying disclosures and foreign-agent registrations
>> Federal Computer Week | More data

QUOTABLE
We make smart cars but stupid places.
Peter Park, former planning director for Milwaukee and Denver, at a forum on proposals to knock down and move Interstate 95 along Philadelphia's Delaware River waterfront, as Milwaukee did to create park space
>> Philadelphia Inquirer | More quotes

UPCOMING
National League of Cities
Congressional City Conference
March 10-14, Washington, D.C.

Federal Managers Association
National Convention
March 11-14, Arlington, Va.

Center for American Progress and American Constitution Society
Discussion: "Continuing the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement through Criminal Justice Reform"
March 13, noon-1:30 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

American Enterprise Institute
Lecture: "The Death of the Blue Social Model "
March 13, 5:30-7 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen
Workshop: "Making Smart Cuts: Leveraging IT to Improve Government During a Time of Austerity"
March 14, 8:30 a.m.-noon ET, Washington, D.C.

American Enterprise Institute
Discussion: "Inventing the Future: What's Next for Patent Reform?"
March 14, 12:30-2 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

>> Full events listings