AUTHORS

Anya Sostek  |  Former Correspondent
asostek@gmail.com

Anya Sostek was a GOVERNING correspondent. She is currently a reporter with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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June 1, 2010

Deed Trouble

With mortgage foreclosures at record levels, states are scrambling to regulate lending practices and products.
May 31, 2009

Sending Mixed Messages

When Pam Fischer sees motorists holding a cell phone while driving, she doesn't hesitate to pull up alongside, roll down her window and inform them...
October 31, 2008

Vallejo's Fiscal Freefall

When the town of Vallejo, California, declared bankruptcy this spring, Mayor Osby Davis predicted -- and rightly so -- that he'd get an earful from...
November 1, 2007

Terrified to Testify

Increasingly, criminal cases are being stalled because intimidated witnesses don't show up or because they recant their statements.
May 1, 2006

Blind Sighted

Eyewitness identification doesn't always mesh with DNA evidence, and that's leading police departments to rethink their lineup procedures.
January 1, 2006

Child Proofing

Georgia Automates Its Family Services System
October 1, 2005

Santa in Uniontown

Joe Hardy ran for county office to revive his community--even if he had to pay for it himself.
October 1, 2004

The Well That Dried Up

Pittsburgh has weathered some tough economic times and there are encouraging signs. If only the government weren't broke.
September 1, 2004

Not as Easy as 1-2-3

Instant runoff voting, in which citizens rank candidates in order of preference, is a simple concept. But there are political and technical obstacles to implementing it.
August 1, 2004

Driving a Hard Bargain

During the 2003 legislative session, 16 states had to make a choice: join the rest of the country and comply with a federal requirement to set a .08 blood alcohol content standard for drunk driving or lose a substantial amount of federal highway money ["Slow to Toe the DUI Line," May 2003].
July 1, 2004

Crippling Injury

West Virginia's workers' compensation program is helping thousands of needy recipients. But it's also breaking the bank.
July 1, 2004

The Game Show: Giving Big-League Sports a Run for the Money

Recreational sporting events can mean sweaty kids, anxious parental spectators and lots of Gatorade. For the cities hosting the events, that translates into money.
July 1, 2004

Doctor's Orders

In 2002, New Mexico became the first state in the country to allow psychologists to prescribe drugs, a function previously reserved for psychiatrists ["Shrink vs. Shrink," August 2003]. In May, Louisiana became the second state to adopt such a law.
June 1, 2004

Frequent Buyers

N.C.'s employees use a credit card for retirement savings
May 1, 2004

Milwaukee Comes Clean

Repercussions are still being felt more than a year after a pension scandal shook the Milwaukee County political establishment.
May 1, 2004

No Soft Touch

Touch-screen voting looked like the obvious answer to hanging-chad election chaos. But the new machines have generated some problems of their own.
April 1, 2004

Clear Eye on the Transplant Tie

Wisconsin sees a way to give living organ donors a break
March 1, 2004

Air Pollution Effort Gains Steam

Almost 15 years ago, California single-handedly reshaped one aspect of auto manufacturing, requiring that certain percentages of all cars sold in the state be low-emission vehicles.
March 1, 2004

Dead Heat II

Michael Carney and Bill Davignon thought they had experienced the ultimate election cliff-hanger in 2001. Their race for a seat in the Niagara County, New York, legislature was so close that it was thrown to the courts, eventually taking 38 days to decide.
March 1, 2004

Pension Pendulum

A few years ago, defined-contribution plans were hot. Now they're not.
March 1, 2004

Powering Up an Outlet

A Virginia city broadens its Internet reach
January 1, 2004

Seattle Clears the Inside Air

A public housing project is built for asthma relief
January 1, 2004

The Big Breakup

In January of 2000, Governing's cover story highlighted the miraculous relationship that Mayor Jerry Brown and City Manager Robert Bobb had forged in an attempt to revitalize Oakland ["Mayor Brown & Mr. Bobb"].
January 1, 2004

Click, Pay and Win

When Amy Sinnwell, an elementary school teacher in Iowa, paid her property taxes, she wasn't expecting to get any money back. But she ended up getting $500 from the Iowa State County Treasurers Association's "Get Back" contest, which gave an award to one randomly chosen taxpayer who filed online.
December 1, 2003

The Buck Stops Here: NYC Heavies Up Its Hotline

When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spots a pothole from the window of his limousine, he does the same thing he would tell any citizen to do: He calls the city's 311 hotline.
October 1, 2003

Haute Health Care

The rise of specialty hospitals threatens the well-being of the all- purpose community facility.
October 1, 2003

Staying Competitive On Pay

Shortages of key personnel, an aging workforce, budget pressures on employee rosters: These are difficult times for state and local managers to maintain a rank-and-file workforce that can deliver services to meet current needs.
September 1, 2003

Driving Web To Traffic .GOV

Government Web managers are finding out that relatively small actions cause a big increase in membership and traffic on their sites.
July 1, 2003

Paper or Plastic?

Rural Alaska Says No to Throwaways.
July 1, 2003

Double-Dip Dilemma

Should public employees who have retired and collect a pension be able to return to work and draw a salary?
June 1, 2003

The Kindest Cuts

Taking a Fresh Look at State Spending.
May 1, 2003

Slow To Toe The Dui Line

Despite federal pressure, more than a dozen states have yet to adopt the .08 drunk-driving standard.
May 1, 2003

Pulling The Switch

She grew up in Mississippi's Democratic Party, but Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck is now establishing her independence among the Republicans.
April 1, 2003

Fleets Go For A Fix-up

Two Midwestern cities are using space-age materials and techniques to upgrade the trucks and buses in their fleets.
March 1, 2003

Do You Believe In Ferries?

Commuting by water was all but dead a decade ago. Highway gridlock has brought it back to life.
January 1, 2003

Managing Performance: People Power

The power of people to improve the way government works was the recurring theme of Governing's annual management conference, held September 17-19, 2002, in Austin, Texas. The program dialogue moved beyond the nuts and bolts of measuring performance to the finer points of using measures to motivate and improve performance.
January 1, 2003

Michael Spence: Health Detective

Last December, Michael Spence, Montana's chief medical officer, got an unexpected piece of mail. It was a Christmas card from the management of the Super 8 motel in Libby, Montana--a reminder of just how much time he had spent in the small town more than 300 miles away from his office in the state capitol of Helena.
December 1, 2002

Ticket Lines: Keeping Pedalers Safe from Parkers

If Chicago residents are not familiar with the city's new bike lanes, they'll soon get a friendly reminder. The city plans to crack down on those who park in bike lanes, issuing warnings and $100 tickets for violators.
October 1, 2002

Power to the People

Electricity deregulation is one of the most complicated issues directly affecting the public. To help consumers make sense of all the changes, many states experiencing deregulation have launched consumer- education campaigns.
September 1, 2002

E-Gov Hits Home

As security concerns tighten and state budgets are squeezed, G2G finds itself leading the e-pack.
August 1, 2002

Here's Looking At You

Electronic surveillance systems make some law-abiding citizens feel safer. They make others very nervous.
July 1, 2002

Georgia's Uniform Voting Reform

This November, most voters around the country will use the same voting machines that they did two years ago--but not if they live in Georgia.
June 1, 2002

A Medicaid Agency Gets Aggressive About E-Filing

Many state health agencies would be thrilled to receive 85 percent of their Medicaid claim forms electronically, as the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services does. For DSHS officials in this tech-accomplished state, however, anything less than 100 percent is unacceptable.
June 1, 2002

Jock Trap

Scandals involving unscrupulous sports agents are prompting states to standardize laws for the industry.
May 1, 2002

Giving the Little Guy a Virtual Lift

For small businesses in Michigan, there is now such a thing as a free lunch. A new program from the Michigan Department of Career Development offers training courses to small-business employees at no charge.
May 1, 2002

Birds of Passage

Global warming is causing some official state birds to take flight.
April 1, 2002

Tacoma Finds Fuel Cheaper by the Biodiesel

Garbage trucks in Tacoma, Washington, carry waste, but that doesn't mean they have to produce it. Through the use of biodiesel fuel, the trucks have cleaned up their own act, reducing tailpipe emissions by 25 percent.
April 1, 2002

Iowa's Overtime Error

By declining to hear an Iowa appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the way for state and local employees to sue for overtime pay. The action could have a devastating fiscal impact on Iowa, but it won't necessarily affect other states.
April 1, 2002

A Taxing Time

Filing state income taxes online has its hurdles. Sometimes you have to buy or download special software. Or you need to get an identification number from the Internal Revenue Service.
March 1, 2002

Not Just For Parking Anymore

Some public garages are ramping up their looks and services.
March 1, 2002

Real Training at Virtual U

Arizona state employees no longer have to wait until their departments offer the training classes they'd like to take. Now, they can research classes, register for them and then take them at Arizona Government University, an online clearinghouse that carries all classes offered by the state.
February 1, 2002

Can They Eat Popcorn in Class?

Faced with a cash-flow problem, most people would not think of going to the shopping mall. But officials at the University of South Florida in Tampa had just the opposite reaction.
February 1, 2002

DMVs, the First Line of Defense

In the aftermath of 9-11, states are taking definitive steps to tighten up how and to whom driver's licenses are issued.
February 1, 2002

Selling the Dome

In South Carolina, people can do more than just visit the historic State House. They can have a piece of the carpet in their own home. They can wear earrings molded from the copper dome.
January 1, 2002

High Court Deals Spammers a Blow

Turns out the U.S. Supreme Court justices don't like spam any more than anyone else.
January 1, 2002

The Immortal Chad

After the presidential election fiasco, major voting reform looked like a sure thing in 2001. Maybe this year.
December 1, 2001

Bringing Sprawl to Life

Geographic information systems are becoming a powerful tool for showing the consequences of growth to the public.
December 1, 2001

The Scarlet E

To collect back taxes, Pulaski County, Arkansas, turned to a high-tech version of an age-old technique: public humiliation. In July, the county put up a Web site listing companies and individuals with delinquent tax records. The site, which started out with just the top businesses, now includes personal property taxes, real estate taxes and special improvement district taxes.
November 1, 2001

Cattle Battle

In a state known for rodeos and livestock, it's hard to imagine that a dispute would arise over one additional cow. But that's just what has happened in Texas since Fort Worth, fondly known as "Cowtown," unveiled its new logo.
November 1, 2001

Jacksonville's Free Ride on the Web

Visitors to a popular tourist spot in Jacksonville, Florida, can now surf the Web from sidewalk cafes, park benches and even boats. The city has installed wireless Internet access at the riverfront Jacksonville Landing, enabling visitors to use the Internet free of charge from most laptops and personal digital assistants.
October 1, 2001

Prohibiting the Punch Card

Voting modernization was losing its momentum, but several states and counties are on a roll with it now.
September 1, 2001

Freight Expectations

With the right mix of infrastructure,investment and geography, some local economies are getting a big lift from air cargo.
September 1, 2001

Three Georgia Counties Test a Legal Standard

A pilot program is under way in Georgia that uses the programming tool XML to simplify online filing of court documents. XML is a document- encoding technology that allows users to create their own rules and document types.
August 1, 2001

Going Seamless

Getting a reservation online for a park can be a snap ... if you know whether that particular park is run by the local, state or federal government.
August 1, 2001

Auditors Make Peer Contact Easier

When it comes to networking, California county auditors and controllers are way out there. A sophisticated online system links auditors, accountants and other financial officers, giving them access to reams of information about their peers and other staff members across the state.
July 1, 2001

Iowa Uses Language to Widen its Welcome Mat

Willkommen zu den virtuellen B├╝ros des Gouverneurs Thomas Vilsack.
July 1, 2001

Knocked off His Pedestal

Whatever Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry did to deserve a statue in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol, it's not going to be enough to keep him there. The state of Alabama recently passed a resolution to remove Curry from the Hall, replacing him with the significantly better-known Helen Keller.
June 1, 2001

Finding the Funds for Runoff Costs

A financing idea from the 1970s is taking current stormwater management by, well, storm.
June 1, 2001

Happiness is ... Changing the Mayor's Mind

Even Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz couldn't have scripted this scenario
May 1, 2001

Throwing out a Tax Dodge

Thanks to a legislative change in tax policy, Mississippi will be able to staunch tax losses on out-of-state gambler income next year.
May 1, 2001

The Rise of eDegrees

Virtually every state's higher education system has climbed aboard the distance-learning bandwagon. But their reasons and approaches vary enormously.
April 1, 2001

Wheeling Water to Ease a Dry Spell

In 1999, when severe drought struck central Kentucky, localities realized they needed a way to move available water resources across and around a six-county region.
April 1, 2001

The Critter Cams

It used to be that if you wanted to see the elephant seals at California's Ano Nuevo State Reserve, you just had to take your chances. Of the 100,000 people who tried to make reservations each year, only 50,000 were admitted.
March 1, 2001

A California County Broadens its Lien-Buying Base

The difference was dramatic: In its January online auction, Kern County, California, sold 88 percent of the 351 tax-defaulted properties up for sale. The properties sold for an average of more than $34,000 and over 140 bidders took part in the process.
January 1, 2001

Setting Limits on Server Farms

Nestled in the economic glow of the new economy are data centers-- massive warehouses filled with computers and other telecommunications networking equipment. Otherwise known as server farms or tech hotels, these structures are causing development headaches for local governments across the country.
January 1, 2001

Crime Solvers Clued in by Spit

Law enforcement officials now have a new category for drops of saliva, roots of hair or even flakes of dandruff: important clues.
January 1, 2001

Goodbye Mr. Chad

Experts have warned for years that antiquated voting procedures could lead to disaster. Now they have. Will that be enough to change the system?
December 1, 2000

Mixed Message

Last spring's passage of a civil-unions law in Vermont, which grants homosexual couples the same rights as married heterosexuals, has pitted neighbor against neighbor in a bitter and widely publicized battle. But from an economic perspective, the political struggle may have its positive side.
December 1, 2000

Re-Mapping in the Wake of Disaster

Last year, Hurricane Floyd caused massive destruction and more than 50 deaths in Eastern North Carolina. Sections of highways and bridges were washed away. Homes were destroyed.
November 1, 2000

Philly Maps a Tour of Needy Neighborhoods

Philadelphia has a powerful new tool in its fight against blight. A new Web-based Neighborhood Information System combines an expansive property database with detailed city maps, reducing time spent finding information on a single property from weeks to seconds.
November 1, 2000

Mississippi and AMS Settle a Suit

Although it won $475.5 million in its case against American Management Systems this August, Mississippi is settling for less.
November 1, 2000

Not in the Cards

Like every sport, baseball is replete with stories of hopes fulfilled and laments about what might have been. The West Virginia Treasurer's Office understands this dynamic.
November 1, 2000

Harold Levy: Chancellor of Change

In 1994, Harold Levy went back to school. In the 25 years since he'd stepped inside a New York City school building, he had risen from a star pupil at the Bronx High School of Science to a corporate lawyer chairing a high-profile commission examining the infrastructure of the city's public education system. In those years, his old elementary school had not fared as well.
October 1, 2000

Vigilantes on Tap

The city of Albuquerque is fairly aggressive in its pursuit of water conservation, using surveillance video cameras and asking residents to report their neighbors when they witness excessive water usage.
October 1, 2000

Taking Fare Cards to the ATM

If transit managers have their way, fare card machines may go the way of the onboard conductor. Transit systems around the country are examining ways to phase out station card sales by linking ride purchases to banks.
October 1, 2000

Vote Naked? Not Yet.

At first glance, holding elections on the Internet looked like a good idea to a lot of people. Second glances are changing some minds.
September 1, 2000

Another Adventure in the Macabre

A tour of Salem, Massachusetts' gruesome and supernatural landmarks by hearse? To Doug Antreassian, it seemed like the perfect business plan.
September 1, 2000

Hardball Rules for Software Abusers

New Hampshire's Jeanne Shaheen recently became the nation's fifth governor to issue an executive order prohibiting software piracy and mandating that state agencies set up programs to regulate proper software distribution.
August 1, 2000

The Trans-Atlantic Commute

All those city council members who grumble about having to go out in the evening to attend a monthly meeting can be thankful they don't have to fly eight hours to get there.
August 1, 2000

Montana Learns to Handle E-Mail Embarrassments

Instead of teaching a lesson on sex and appropriate behavior, the Montana health department recently learned one.