TABLE of CONTENTS September 2006

Cover Story

Charter Changeover

BY Rob Gurwitt

After Katrina wiped out one of the worst school systems in the country, New Orleans has seized the chance to redesign its whole approach to public education.

Features

Mississippl's Urbanist Odyssey

The ravaged Gulf Coast has a rare opportunity to recreate itself. But it has to decide what it wants to look like. BY Christopher Swope

A Dose of Transparency

State-sponsored Web sites are enabling consumers to compare hospital and physician prices and performance. BY Penelope Lemov

Prozac in the Water

Sophisticated new tests reveal small amounts of steroids and other drugs in drinking water. How big a threat are these contaminants? BY Tom Arrandale

The Clean-Coal Contest

Illinois and Texas are competing to host a demonstration project they hope will ignite a whole new industry. BY Christopher Swope

Pumping Corn

It looks like farmers can turn almost any crop into fuel. But can they make money at it without government help? BY Josh Goodman

Up Front

Potomac Chronicle

Fiscal Candor

A new report tells governments something they need to know--but would rather not hear. BY Jonathan Walters
Politics

100-Proof Zoning

Telling people not to drink is usually futile. Telling them where to drink may serve a public purpose. BY Alan Greenblatt
Politics

Cleanup Man

Miami built some reform momentum, then squandered it. Pete Hernandez will try to bring it back. BY Alan Greenblatt
Politics

Sudan Squeeze

Disinvestment remains a powerful human-rights weapon--as long as it's done carefully. BY Alan Greenblatt
Politics

Read Their Lips

Congress hates to raise taxes--unless it can force other levels of government to collect them. BY Alan Greenblatt
Economic Development

A Smarter Dig

Huge cost overruns are the rule on major public works projects. But they aren't inevitable. BY Alan Greenblatt
Economic Development

A Smarter Dig

Huge cost overruns are the rule on major public works projects. But they aren't inevitable. BY Alan Greenblatt
Infrastructure & Environment

How Rail Impacts Retail

A successful transit line means a more intense commercial life around the stations, and that means higher property values, higher rents and the invasion of chain stores. BY Alan Ehrenhalt

The Business of Government

Technology

Boosting a Biotech Future

Arizona plans to lure high school students to the biology lab and beyond. BY Ellen Perlman
Technology

Blacktop Blues: Road Repair is a Pain in the Gas

The steep climb in gas prices is not only hitting drivers' wallets. It's also smashing holes in transportation department budgets for road repairs. BY Ellen Perlman
Technology

Blacktop Blues: Road Repair is a Pain in the Gas

The steep climb in gas prices is not only hitting drivers' wallets. It's also smashing holes in transportation department budgets for road repairs. BY Ellen Perlman
Technology

Storm Stracking: Texas to Scan ID Bracelets for Evacuees

Amid the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina, families were separated in the evacuation and sent to different cities. In some cases, it took weeks before they were reunited. Texas officials don't want that to happen should a disaster strike their state. To avoid it, they plan to track evacuees using scannable ID bracelets. BY Elizabeth Daigneau
Technology

The Persistence of Paper

Despite all the advances in online services, e-governments are still stuck in the paper chase. BY Mark Stencel
Energy & Environment

Carbon Copy: A Boost for the Business of Buying Pollution Credits

King County, Washington, has become the first county to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, a commodities market where members buy and sell pollution credits. "We're looking at this as a good decision from a business perspective," says County Executive Ron Sims. BY Zach Patton
Smart Management

When Boomers Retire

A number of states are looking to career-building programs to grow their workforces of the future. BY Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Health & Human Services

Guess Who's Coming to the ER?

It turns out that lower-income people are not the ones clogging up emergency rooms. BY Penelope Lemov
Infrastructure & Environment

Bouncing Down the Block

Some cities have sidewalks made of recycled tires. BY Ellen Perlman
Public Money

Seat-Belt Budgeting

There's economic turbulence ahead that state budget and fiscal systems may not weather well. BY John E. Petersen
Public Money

Seat-Belt Budgeting

There's economic turbulence ahead that state budget and fiscal systems may not weather well. BY John E. Petersen
Public Money

Seat-Belt Budgeting

There's economic turbulence ahead that state budget and fiscal systems may not weather well. BY John E. Petersen
Economic Development

A Film Star is Born

New Mexico reaps rewards from its Hollywood "give-aways" BY Ellen Perlman
Economic Development

A Film Star is Born

New Mexico reaps rewards from its Hollywood "give-aways" BY Ellen Perlman
Technology

Leadership's Challenge

When it comes to solving the problems of state and local governments and delivering services to citizens, cutting-edge technology isn't the answer. BY Zach Patton