Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Play

Connecting health outcomes to climate solutions and lower utility bills, Engagement Center finding success near Boston's troubled 'Mass and Cass' and more protections coming for PA Children's Service providers.

Play

Georgia breaks a state record for early voting, Democrats are one step closer to codifying same-sex marriage, and Arizona county officials refuse to certify the results of the midterm elections.

Play

A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

U.S. Mayors Learn Skills to Fend Off Increased Threats, Harassment

Play

Thursday, May 19, 2022   

The pandemic appears to have increased the level of violence in U.S. cities, and a new study found local officials and mayors, especially those of color, face the brunt of it.

Heidi Gerbracht, co-founder of the Women Mayors Network and founder of Equity Agenda, said death threats, vandalized homes and outrage at public meetings have all been reported by local government officials.

"They're having to change their lives to continue serving because of these threats," Gerbracht pointed out. "There is absolutely concern about escalation. There's concern about their physical safety and their family's physical safety."

Gerbracht noted the increasing violence, as documented in research by Oklahoma State University, requires a response from local governments, which may include protective services from local police departments. Online safety and physical training for mayors is being offered this month by the Mayors Innovation Project.

In interviews with more than 3,000 mayors last fall, 70% said they knew someone who chose not to run for office because of the hostile nature of the work.

Rebekah Herrick, professor of social sciences and humanities at Oklahoma State University, who cowrote the report, said social media is driving the increased violence.

"94.5% of mayors reported what we call psychological violence," Herrick reported. "Things like social-media attacks, verbal attacks at a public meeting; 24.2% reported receiving at least one threat."

Gerbracht added the exposure of an elected leader's personal information also is becoming more common, a level of harassment causing local leaders to decide against seeking public office.

"We just have this expectation as the public that this isn't a problem for local elected officials," Gerbracht emphasized. "There is a real need for people to understand that this is not just politics. This is not just what you should expect to get into public service."


get more stories like this via email
The city-run Engagement Center is a low-barrier day facility, which serves a few hundred people each day from the nearby "Mass and Cass" area, offering everything from bathroom facilities and a clean bed to referrals to drug-treatment facilities, dental care and even writing groups. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Boston's 'Mass and Cass' area, with its large homeless population and open-air drug market, remains a trouble spot for city officials, but staff at …


Social Issues

Maryland's Juvenile Restoration Act has been in effect for more than a year now and its impact has people talking about additional reforms. The act …

Health and Wellness

A new statewide initiative aims to help connect domestic-violence survivors with medical providers, with a focus on treating traumatic brain injury…


Children living near refineries, highways and other sources of air pollution are disproportionately at risk of developing respiratory illness. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

A successful program that helps low-income households weatherize homes and lower energy bills is setting its sights on improving the health outcomes o…

Social Issues

The Arizona New Parent Guide is a resource that is intended to help new parents meet the challenges of having a baby and support their baby's health …

Around 56% of those surveyed by Pew Research view climate-change policies as good for the environment. However, Americans are split on whether those policies help or harm the U.S. economy. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

This story is based on original reporting by Elizabeth McGowan for Energy News Network, and is part of the Solutions Journalism Network-Public News …

Social Issues

In just two months, it should be easier for providers of children's services in Pennsylvania's child-welfare and foster-care system to get the …

Social Issues

Human-rights activists in New Hampshire say the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills at the Statehouse is encouraging right-wing extremists to intimida…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021