TABLE of CONTENTS May 2012

Cover Story

Kitzhaber: Three-Time Governor Turning Oregon’s Tide

BY John Buntin

John Kitzhaber once called Oregon “ungovernable.” Now, he’s forging bipartisan alliances that are making it one of the best-governed states in the nation.

FEATURES

Emergency Financial Managers: Michigan's Unwelcome Savior

In Michigan, financial advisers take control of cities on the brink of bankruptcy. BY Ryan Holeywell

Citizens United’s Corporate Candidate

Now that private-sector groups are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money in state elections, who’s really running for office? BY Alan Greenblatt

'Green' Municipalities Cut Ties with Utilities

A growing number of cities and counties dedicated to energy efficiency are deciding that local sustainability initiatives can’t coexist with for-profit utilities. BY Dylan Scott

Revisiting the Hope VI Public Housing Program’s Legacy

Hope VI developments, which replaced huge projects with smaller units that matched the scale of the neighborhood, were supposed to represent a new way of thinking about low-income housing. They didn’t always get it right. BY David Raskin

POLITICS + POLICY

Politics

Caucus System Cracks Revealed During 2012 GOP Primary Season

Several states were embarrassed by faulty counts in their caucuses, which are run by political parties rather than by public officials. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Politics

Governors Have 'The Best Job in Politics'

In his new book, political scientist Alan Rosenthal professes that no one gets what they want more than governors. Find out why. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Finance

Stockton, California’s Bankruptcy Makes 'Normal' Cities Nervous

Unlike many high-profile bankruptcies, Stockton’s financial woes are the result of many different factors that are not unusual for many localities. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Lawmaking

50-State Legislation Now Searchable by Smartphone

The new Open States app lets users identify and contact their state reps, scroll through voting records and follow bills through the legislative process. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Infrastructure & Environment

San Francisco Parking Program Eases Congestion

San Francisco hopes that by raising some prices based on supply and demand, it can ensure there’s always at least one open spot on every block. According to a New York Times analysis, it may be working. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Dispatch

Mayor Brenda Lawrence Walks a Mile in Their Shoes

In Southfield, Mich., the mayor takes early morning walks with her constituents – a move that’s changed the physical and civic health of her city. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Potomac Chronicle

The Affordable Care Act: A Case Study for Cooperative Federalism?

If the health reform law is upheld, the flexibility it will give states on health insurance exchanges could be a model for healthy federal-state relations. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Finance

Financing Water Infrastructure Like Transportation

One idea floating around on how to help cities pay for water infrastructure has already helped finance big transportation projects with large, low-interest loans directly from the feds. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Health & Human Services

Mental-Health Medications May Become Limited in Utah

For now, Utah is one of only a handful of states that still allow nearly unrestricted access to psychotropic drugs. Does limiting access to their meds put the mentally ill at risk? BY Caroline Cournoyer
Energy & Environment

Cities Get Green Certifications for More Than Just Buildings

Cities and counties can now earn eco-certification for everything from the roads they build to the vehicles that ride on them. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Economic Engines

Silicon Valley Considers Personal Rapid Transit System

Can an innovative transit idea keep Silicon Valley -- home to tech giants like Google and Microsoft -- from choking on congestion? Or is the answer to their problems much simpler? BY Caroline Cournoyer
Urban Notebook

City Hall Buildings Fall Victim to Local Budgets

The upkeep and restoration of older city halls often become casualties of budgets squeezed by the Great Recession. BY Caroline Cournoyer

PROBLEM SOLVER

Health & Human Services

Food-Safety Audits Keep Leafy Greens Clean

Consumption of leafy green vegetables is growing, as is the risk of E. coli contamination. California and Arizona are taking the lead in keeping them clean. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Smart Management

Government Performance Auditors at Risk of Becoming Endangered

Many governments have shifted into reverse, cutting and even eliminating auditing offices. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Tech Talk

Cities Share Data, Software Applications

An informal group of seven city CIOs is launching its first project: a website that will house standardized data from each city. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Public Money

Stockton, California’s Debt Problems May Set Precedent

How Stockton's story unfolds could have major consequences for public employee pensions and bondholders nationwide. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Politics

Alex Morse: 23-Year-Old Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts Tackles Job Creation

Alex Morse, a recent college graduate, is in charge of a town with one of the nation’s worst unemployment rates. But he has plans to change that. BY Caroline Cournoyer