TABLE of CONTENTS August 2013Cover Story
BY Dylan Scott
The city, which is one of the nation’s poorest and most obese, is resorting to creative measures to get people to eat healthier. There are signs that its efforts are working.
The fatal explosion earlier this year at a Texas fertilizer plant that hadn’t been inspected since 1985 brought attention to the nation’s dysfunctional and ineffective system of keeping employees -- both in the public and private sectors -- safe.
Hit by tornadoes and earthquakes, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Greensburg, Kan.; and San Francisco all learned how to turn local tragedy into a new and vibrant vision. Their lessons are a playbook for local officials dealing with disasters.
After years of development, Los Angeles reached a milestone that few other, if any, major cities can claim: Every single traffic light -- all 4,398 of them -- can be monitored and controlled remotely.
The results of a Governing survey paint a portrait of a public sector hard-hit by budget cuts, pay freezes and a lack of advancement opportunities. But employees have reasons for optimism.
POLITICS + POLICY
Many states ended fiscal year 2013 with a surplus, but experts warn that it doesn’t mean their financial woes are over.
At least three states already allow and more are considering allowing localities to charge citizens for what can be dangerous and expensive rescues that occur when recklessness (like kayaking during a flood) is involved.
The state is making an unprecedented effort to cut health costs by instituting performance pay into its health-care industry and paying doctors based on quality instead of quantity.
Doctors can write a parks prescription for patients that gives free admission to one of South Carolina’s 30 state parks.
The wealthy Virginia county outside Washington, D.C., has been free of the nasty political environment home to its neighbors – until now. Causing the controversy is a proposed streetcar, which nearly a dozen cities are building.
A little lie the Seattle mayor told his constituents about a gun buyback program may now cost him his re-election. It’s a lesson for all public officials about dealing with reporters.
The combination of a limping economy and tight federal budgets has led many state and local governments to ever more imaginative -- and risky -- revenue sources like violence and buzzkill taxes.
One Congressman hopes to solve the problem of overseas tax havens and failing infrastructure with one piece of legislation.
Gay marriage is more than a social issue -- it’s a public health issue. New research suggests prohibitions on gay unions may take a psychological toll.
With so many states and localities pruning money from parks and tree-planting programs to balance budgets, a free app helps public officials put a monetary value on the benefits of growing them.
New York City’s first bike-sharing program, which is the nation’s largest, has the potential to revolutionize city life -- and not just in the Big Apple.
Bridges localities own are more than twice as likely to be considered structurally deficient as those on state roads. View detailed bridge inspection data for your state.
Thanks to recent revenue increases, some states are unfreezing public workers’ pay for the first time since before the recession. But looking at pay levels rather than total compensation hides a great deal of the story.
Bureaucracy allows us to do big things. But like every tool, it needs to be maintained and wielded with care and control.
From the moment an IT project is launched, there’s political pressure from agencies to back off business changes that would deliver results.