TABLE of CONTENTS February 2003

Cover Story

Taking It To The Board Room

BY Christopher Swope

States are continuing to use the power of the investment purse to challenge the way corporations do business.

Up Front

Potomac Chronicle

Bush and The 50 Beggars

States are beseeching the White House for some dollars to tide them over while they get back on their feet. The White House isn't going for it. BY Donald F. Kettl
Politics

Call of The Wild

Alaska's Frank Murkowski left the U.S. Senate to take over a state that's going broke. Why would he do that? BY Rob Gurwitt
Urban Notebook

Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest

What is the dumbest local government in America? Hard to say, but at least until recently New York's affluent suburb of Nassau County would have to be a contender. How dumb was Nassau's government? So dumb that it bought 1,200 computers a few years ago as backups for the Y2K problem, then left them in boxes for three years as employees begged for upgrades. BY Otis White
Management & Labor

Learning To Love Lifestyle Land

The problem is, it couldn't still be there. Small local bookstores can't make a go of it in most places these days. I wish that weren't true, but it is. BY Alan Ehrenhalt

The Business of Government

Infrastructure & Environment

Pushing Amtrak Off The Track

Boston's regional commuter rail system has chosen a company other than Amtrak to run its trains, signaling new competition for the commuter railway business. BY Christopher Swope
Infrastructure & Environment

Pushing Amtrak Off The Track

Boston's regional commuter rail system has chosen a company other than Amtrak to run its trains, signaling new competition for the commuter railway business. BY Christopher Swope
Infrastructure & Environment

Pushing Amtrak Off The Track

Boston's regional commuter rail system has chosen a company other than Amtrak to run its trains, signaling new competition for the commuter railway business. BY Christopher Swope
Health & Human Services

Helping The Elderly Buy Pills For A Pittance

The cost of prescription drugs is rising faster than any other component of health care--as much as 20 percent this year, according to estimates. With those escalating prices in mind, several states are making efforts to help older citizens deal with the pocketbook pressure of paying for their medicines. BY Ellen Perlman
Health & Human Services

Ready To Roll Out Care In An Emergency

The state of Missouri signed a contract in November with a consortium of health care professionals and other emergency responders to provide medical care in case of disaster. The team, known as MO-1 MDAT, was formed four years ago to address federally declared disasters. BY Alan Greenblatt
Health & Human Services

Horse Sensitivity

Animal-rights groups want stricter laws--or outright bans--on horses in urban areas. BY Christopher Swope
Infrastructure & Environment

Staying Within The Lines...

You've heard of the "thin blue line"? Bethany, Oklahoma, is pinning its hopes on a thick one. The town painted a bright blue, 8-foot-wide line to denote where its boundaries end and those of the next city over begin. BY Ellen Perlman
Health & Human Services

Pudding and A No. 2 Pencil

Anyone who has felt a little wobbly in the late afternoon understands the value of grabbing a quick snack as an energy boost. Apparently, some public schools in Virginia are applying a similar principle in preparing students to take the statewide achievement exams. BY Alan Greenblatt
Technology

Bait and Switch Off

Hear the one about the dumb guy who locked himself out of his car? It took him three hours to get the rest of his family out. This joke may be especially amusing to police in San Diego, who now actually have a way to lock people in cars so they can't get out. BY Ellen Perlman
Public Safety & Justice

Down The Hatch

Over the past 18 months, visitors to state capitols have noticed many structural changes designed to enhance safety. But one change they won't get a chance to see is an old dumbwaiter that Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has converted into an escape route. BY Alan Greenblatt
Technology

Saving Billions On Computers

Three years ago, 15 Western states, frustrated by the steep prices they were paying for computer equipment, put together the Western States Contracting Alliance. BY Ellen Perlman
Politics

Opening Pension Fund Books Even Wider

Public pension funds have begun releasing data on their venture- capital investments, something they had not done in the past. BY Christopher Swope
Energy & Environment

Triggering A Backlash

State officials run political risks if they break 30-year-old promises to prevent severe ecological damage. BY Tom Arrandale
Economic Development

Sizing Things Up

For years we've debated how big our local governments ought to be-- without factoring in economic development. BY William Fulton