TABLE of CONTENTS August 2014

Cover Story

Does Eric Garcetti Have a Big Enough Vision for L.A.?

BY John Buntin

In breaking with his predecessors, the mayor isn’t focused on one or two big priorities. Instead, he’s sweating the small stuff -- at least for now.

FEATURES

More Pedestrian Deaths Occur in Poor Neighborhoods

Many cities have made pedestrian safety a priority, but their efforts rarely focus on poorer areas, which have approximately double the fatality rates of wealthier communities. BY Mike Maciag

John Hickenlooper: The Man in the Middle

Can the geologist-turned-brewpub owner-turned-governor of Colorado lead as a centrist when there’s no political center? BY Zach Patton

Pushing the Community Reinvestment Act into Uncharted Territory

A handful of communities are putting CRA funds toward more than just housing projects. BY Jonathan Walters

States Try to Prepare for the Economy’s Wild Ride

Partially because of tax policies, state budgets have become increasingly unpredictable. But a few states are finding ways to manage the craziness. BY Liz Farmer

POLITICS + POLICY

Education

The Wyoming GOP's Civil War over Education

The state's Tea Party-backed superintendent created an intraparty rift over schools. Now, she's taking the fight to the next level and trying to unseat the incumbent governor from her own party. BY J.B. Wogan
Infrastructure & Environment

California Has a Lot of Fracking but Only a Little Oil

The recent discovery that the state has 96% less recoverable oil than previously thought may have helped the case for regulating instead of banning fracking. BY Chris Kardish
Management & Labor

Hawaii Wants to Enter and Win the Digital Age

After years of underinvesting in IT, the state is seeking to transform from one of the worst to one of the best digitally run in the country. BY Liz Farmer
Education

Will Oregon Be the First State with a College Trust Fund?

It's up to voters in November to decide whether the state will change the way it funds public college scholarships. BY Liz Farmer
Assessments

Court Case Could Challenge Houston's Hands-Off Approach

America's fourth-largest city has never had a zoning code. BY Alan Ehrenhalt
Potomac Chronicle

Why a VA Scandal Is Unlikely to Happen at the Local Level

Measuring performance is hard to do. But it's even harder to do when you're measuring it from hundreds of miles away -- as is the case for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. BY Donald Kettl
Election

2014 Elections Where Third-Party Candidates Could Make a Big Difference

In at least five gubernatorial races this fall, the outcome may depend on how well a third-party candidate fares. BY Louis Jacobson
Health & Human Services

States Trying to Get Drugs to the Dying Faster

A few states want to make experimental drugs available to terminally ill people without the FDA's approval -- an idea popularized by the movie "Dallas Buyers Club." Critics say the laws could be harmful to public health. BY Chris Kardish
Infrastructure & Environment

Water Utilities Are Starting to Take Their Own Conservation Advice

Wastewater treatment plants are often the biggest consumers of electricity in their areas. Gresham, Ore., and Washington, D.C., are making moves to change that. BY Elizabeth Daigneau
Economic Engines

The Death or Life of a Sidewalk Ballet

Are Jane Jacobs’ lively streets disappearing for good? BY Alex Marshall
Headlines

Atlanta Shows What a Senior-Friendly Neighborhood Looks Like

Regional planners showcased a neighborhood with easy access to transportation, health services and entertainment. But it only lasted two days. BY Daniel Vock

PROBLEM SOLVER

Urban

The Implications of Older Housing Stock for Cities

Old homes can pose a unique set of challenges for local governments. View detailed housing data for hundreds of cities. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

How Does a City Lose a Backhoe?

From guns to backhoes to vehicles, many municipalities struggle to keep track of their inventories. BY Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
Better Government

How to Get Public Workers to Care About Their Jobs

A book by a government HR expert explains what drives public-sector workers and how that differs from the private sector. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

Texting 911: The Tech Is There but Cities Aren't Ready

Only 100 emergency call centers out of more than 6,000 across the country are capable of receiving and responding to text messages. BY Tod Newcombe
Public Money

Should Someone Audit Government Auditors?

There's a push for local governments to establish independent audit committees. BY Justin Marlowe
Politics

Vermont's Race Car-Driving Lieutenant Governor

Last year, Phil Scott became the first acting governor to drive a stock car professionally. BY Elizabeth Daigneau