TABLE of CONTENTS April 2009

Cover Story

See-Thru Government

BY Ellen Perlman

"A new level of transparency" is what President Obama says he wants as state and local governments spend economic-stimulus dollars. But what does that mean?...


Risky Business

In 2006, Georgia's information technology systems were a borderline mess. No one was a harsher critic than the man in charge of them. "Our business model... BY Jonathan Walters

Long Lens of the Law

It's Friday night, a few minutes past 9 o'clock, and people are pouring into the 13,500-seat Baltimore Arena. They're here to see one of the biggest... BY John Buntin

Bordeaux vs. Budweiser

There are people in Johnsburg, New York, who still won't set foot in the Tannery Pond Community Center, even though it was built in part... BY Rob Gurwitt

Shades of Greywater

Laura Allen is no one's idea of an unrepentant lawbreaker. But under California's state plumbing code, that's exactly what she is. Allen, a soft-spoken elementary... BY Josh Goodman


Hidden Section

Ready-to-Go Regionalism

It's time to give metropolitan planning organizations real power. BY Alan Ehrenhalt

Politics + Policy


Slumping Slots

Gambling proponents typically overstate the amount of revenue that lotteries and casinos will generate for state treasuries. But the numbers rarely fall as far short... BY Alan Greenblatt
Public Safety & Justice

A Little Bit of Gun Control

A flurry of gruesome shootings nearly always brings the issue of gun control back into public debate. That's happening again, in the wake of cop... BY Alan Greenblatt
Health & Human Services

Gay Rights: The Not-So-Lethal Issue

Last month, the Iowa Supreme Court threw out a state law banning gay marriages, while the Vermont legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto to allow same-sex... BY Alan Greenblatt

Second Chance in San Antonio

For a few months in 2005, people in San Antonio were talking about Julián Castro as the Hispanic Barack Obama. The city councilman, educated at... BY Josh Goodman

Virginia Firebrand

Jeff Frederick won't give up. Ousted as chairman of the state Republican Party last month, he may seek the post again at the party convention... BY Alan Greenblatt
Health & Human Services

Rx for Reform

I live in Massachusetts, where 97 percent of the population now has health insurance. Yet state leaders are scrambling to cut costs in the face of... BY David Osborne
Potomac Chronicle

When the Well Runs Dry

The stimulus won't last forever. That's worth remembering. BY Peter Harkness

Three Tracks to Vegas

The federal stimulus package provides $8 billion for high-speed rail--and a lot of tough questions. As states fight for this pot of money, they'll have to... BY Josh Goodman
Economic Development

Great Park Takes Shape

Ask 10 people what a park should be, and you're likely to get 10 different answers. Some think parks are for strolling, hiking, bicycling or rollerblading. Others... BY Christopher Swope
Economic Engines

Why the Shovels Matter

The time to do strategic thinking is before you need to. BY William Fulton
Urban Notebook


The cul-de-sac, that symbol of suburban bliss, seems to be going out of favor. BY Christopher Swope

Problem Solver


Find Me the Money

Winter Haven, Florida, imposes an accident- response fee-for services rendered when police officers and firefighters ride to the rescue. Wisconsin triples the price of its... BY Penelope Lemov
Smart Management

No Time for Budget Busting

Stimulus or no stimulus, cost overruns are as dangerous as ever. BY Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Tech Talk

Broadband -- at Any Price

Small cities are eyeing stimulus money to bring high-speed Internet to all. BY Ellen Perlman
Public Money

Buffett's Bad Bet

The financial genius overestimates the risk of default on insured muni bonds. BY John E. Petersen