California's drought news gets worse (despite this funny PSA). The plan to revitalize downtown Vegas stumbles (but could still work, with better direction). And someone smeared feces all over New York City's bikeshare (for real). It's What's Ruining Our Citi (Bike) and more.
Summer is over but the drought in California has no relief in sight (I'm typing this as the temperature at my house is reaching the high-90s for the third day in a row). Amidst reports this week that the groundwater in the state is the lowest it may have ever been, there was a harrowing story in the New York Times about how some cities in the Central Valley are simply out of water: "The Gallegos family's drinking water comes only from bottles, mostly received through donations but sometimes bought at the gas station. For bathing, doing dishes and flushing toilets, the family relies on buckets filled with water from a tank set in the front lawn, which Mr. Gallegos replenishes every other day at the county fire station." [New York Times]
The initiative to revitalize Vegas with $350 million fronted by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has always been fraught with skepticism. News this week that the Downtown Project was laying off staff and refocusing its vision—including Hsieh saying he was never the leader of the movement—gave critics even less confidence in the plan. I had some thoughts about how startup mentality doesn't translate to the streets, with insight gained from the week I spent reporting on the project in January. But Re/code's Nellie Bowles is running her series this week—pretty amazing timing—and wrapping the latest news into her excellent reporting. It's a complicated story about the way cities change—and I suggest you read every installment. [Re/code, Gizmodo]
Here's one way to show how you feel about New York City's bikeshare program. A man spent his Friday night pooping in a bag—I mean, is it safe to assume it was his feces?—and smearing it all over the Citi Bikes at a Midtown kiosk, not too far from busy Broadway theaters. No one seemed to notice the dude casually dusting the seats with excrement, but he was caught on surveillance camera, of course, and police are trying to identify him (can you sample DnA from poop?). Grossest of all was this comment from the bikeshare supervisor: "Some people have taken the bikes without knowing the seats are dirty." [NY Daily News]