TABLE of CONTENTS October 2007

Cover Story

Terrified to Testify

BY Anya Sostek

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


Fresh Perspectives

Much of the time in government, change is brought about by those on the inside. Over the years, we have often told the story of career public servants who knew precisely how to transform troubled institutions once they got the chance. BY Ellen Perlman

Fresh Perspectives

Much of the time in government, change is brought about by those on the inside. Over the years, we have often told the story of career public servants who knew precisely how to transform troubled institutions once they got the chance. BY Ellen Perlman

The Unwelcome Mat

States are at their peril when they try to ease rules to make life in the U.S. less difficult for illegal immigrants. BY Josh Goodman

Deals and Ideals

Forest City Enterprises makes communities pay big money for many projects it builds. But it builds some good ones. BY Rob Gurwitt


Before dawn on April 29, the driver of a gasoline truck in Oakland, California, lost control of his rig and flipped it on an Interstate connector... BY Rob Gurwitt

Going after GASB

When public finance officers met this summer in Anaheim, their association's outgoing president kicked off the convention with an all-out assault on an accounting board.... BY Penelope Lemov

Up Front


Moving Outside

John Kitzhaber has been to the top in politics. He thinks he may be able to achieve more working from the bottom up. BY Sarah Harney

Scheming Magnolias

Republicans have most of the power in Mississippi. They'd like more. BY Sarah Harney
Health & Human Services

Putnam's Paradox

Diversity accomplishes many things--but it may not make us better citizens. BY Sarah Harney

Bridgeport's Burdens

Is the city's problem bad election choices--or something deeper? BY Sarah Harney

Alec Smarting

A powerful legislative lobby copes with internal conflict. BY Sarah Harney
Hidden Section

Rent-Control Revival?

Now that the days of easy credit are over, people who would have been buyers are willing to be renters. BY Alan Ehrenhalt

A Vote for Better Design

A year of electronic forensics has failed to resolve what went wrong at the polls in Florida's Sarasota County last November, when 18,000 voters mysteriously appeared... BY Mark Stencel
Potomac Chronicle

Delayed Conversation

The feds don't spend much time hashing out mutual problems with states and localities. It's time they started. BY Jonathan Walters

The Business of Government

Infrastructure & Environment

Candid Camera: Traffic Lights in the Red

After Sioux Falls, South Dakota, installed red-light cameras at a key intersection, it saw its revenue from tickets for red-light infractions plummet. BY Sarah Harney
Public Safety & Justice

Solid Brass

Just how natural became apparent one day in 1975 when Bratton, a rookie sergeant with the Boston Police Department, got a call that would have made a veteran blanch: bank holdup; shot fired; possible hostage situation. BY Sarah Harney

Policy Fulcrum

Fabian Nunez doesn't think compromise is a dirty word. California's Assembly speaker has played a classic legislative leadership role as the bridge between a Republican governor and a strongly liberal majority Democratic caucus, helping to forge and shepherd through a long list of impressive legislation over the past couple of years. BY Sarah Harney


To say that Christine Gregoire's start as governor of Washington was inauspicious would be an understatement. After an apparent 130-vote win in November 2004, the election was marred by multiple recounts and a lawsuit. When the Democratic majority in the legislature moved to certify her election, Republicans mustered on the front lawn of the statehouse chanting, "Revote! Revote!" BY Sarah Harney

Guiding Growth

When Debra Campbell talks about urban planning, she sounds a little like Mr. Rogers. "Neighborhoods are the most important part of a city," she says. "They're where it all happens. They're the building blocks of a community." BY Sarah Harney

Fiscal Guardian

Natwar Gandhi knows how to make red ink turn to black. This spring, he was approached by Amtrak, which hoped to lure him to erase an enormous deficit as he had already done as chief financial officer for Washington, D.C. City officials did everything they could think of to keep Gandhi in his current position, including boosting his salary by nearly $100,000. And this money maestro, who arrived in America from India 40 years ago with $7 in his pocket, chose to stay put. BY Sarah Harney

Encyclopedia Virginia

Almost as soon as the election returns are in, every new governor must decide on a chief of staff. Most of them pick their campaign managers, party operatives and longtime confidantes. In this context, the choice of Bill Leighty by Virginia Governor Mark Warner was an aberration. BY Sarah Harney

Cool Pragmatist

In his first inaugural speech, Bill White urged Houston to "embrace strangers." At the time, the new mayor didn't know just how much his call for inclusiveness, a big theme in his 2003 campaign, would be put to the test. Less than two years later, Hurricane Katrina would ravage Louisiana and Mississippi, and more than 100,000 strangers--neighbors, White likes to say--showed up on Houston's doorstep. Mayor White, and his city, gave them a bear hug. BY Sarah Harney

Common-Sense Compliance

Having worked on both sides, Coughlin is passionate in his belief in the assisted-living philosophy, and that belief drives the way he approaches regulation. A key part of assisted living, he points out, is a resident's right to autonomy, but autonomy poses safety risks. BY Sarah Harney

Change Agent

Two years ago, Missouri's new governor, Matt Blunt, and the state's new chief information officer, Dan Ross, had a vision: an efficient, centralized, streamlined IT operation that delivered each cabinet agency the services it needed while relieving the agencies of the considerable burden of managing an IT shop. Accomplishing this goal meant consolidating the technology operations of 14 agencies, with thousands of employees and more than $250 million in funding among them. BY Sarah Harney
Smart Management

The Future Is Now

It's one thing to attract young people to government jobs. It's another to keep them there. BY Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Health & Human Services

The Coverage Conundrum

They're on the rise - again. Health insurance premiums are up 6.1 percent on average this year - a relatively modest increase - but overall they're 78... BY Penelope Lemov
Public Money

Diving into the Hedges

Public pension funds are being drawn like bears after honey to these risky, unregulated but high-reward investments. BY John E. Petersen
Energy & Environment

Going for Green Grades

Schools are finding that green classrooms do more than save energy. BY Sarah Harney
Energy & Environment

I'll Fly Away: Florida Stomps on Styrofoam

Florida is enlisting the aid of machines to "densify," "palletize" and "smush" polystyrene, the familiar coffee cup and packaging material known by its trade name Styrofoam BY Sarah Harney
Economic Development

Tax Sale: Arizona Cashiers an Incentive

Local governments in Arizona have been in a bidding war for retail development for years. Now the legislature has ordered a ceasefire. BY Sarah Harney
Economic Development

Rolling the Dice in Kansas

A state is taking a chance on casino operations. BY Sarah Harney