TABLE of CONTENTS June 2016

(AP)
Cover Story

How Obama Changed the Relationship Between Washington, the States and the Cities

BY Daniel C. Vock

States haven’t been the willing political partners President Obama once hoped they would be. He’s found some ways to work around that.

FEATURES

LGBT Battle Underscores the Powerlessness of Being Governor in North Carolina

The real power lies with the state’s increasingly conservative legislature, which may be hurting Gov. Pat McCrory’s chances of re-election in November. BY Alan Greenblatt

Who’s an Employee? The Uber-Important Question of Today’s Economy

Sharing economy companies like Uber and Lyft claim that the people who work for them are “independent contractors,” thus ineligible for most employee benefits. That argument may prove difficult to sustain. BY J.B. Wogan

Streetcars: If You Build It, Will They Come?

Slow to build and expensive to operate, streetcars could be the most maligned mode of transportation in America. Still, cities keep building them. BY Daniel C. Vock

Sweat the Small Stuff

At Denver’s innovative Peak Academy management program, there’s a big focus on celebrating small-scale wins. BY Brian Elms With J.B. Wogan

OBSERVER

Finance

Why States’ Tax-Cut Fever Has Subsided

After watching tax-slashing states struggle financially, some governors and legislators have stopped calling for cuts. But that doesn’t mean they won’t start again. BY Alan Greenblatt
Management & Labor

Why Mixing Business With Politics Is Becoming More Popular

Taking a stance can not only benefit a cause but also a company. BY Alan Greenblatt
Education

A School Construction Mess Proves Money Doesn’t Solve Everything

Despite $1 billion worth of investment, San Diego’s school buildings are still in disrepair. BY Alan Greenblatt
Public Safety & Justice

The Death Penalty’s New Skeptics

In states across the country, conservatives are starting to question the cost and legality of capital punishment. BY Alan Greenblatt

POLITICS + POLICY

Assessments

Why Affordable Housing Is Hard to Build

There are lots of ideas out there. None of them are working very well. BY Alan Ehrenhalt
Potomac Chronicle

Lobbyists Leave Capitol Hill for the States

Money that lobbyists once spent in Washington is being redeployed to fight battles in state capitals. BY Donald F. Kettl
Elections

Uncontested Legislative Races Are Becoming More Common

Some say political parties are missing opportunities to boost their numbers. But others argue quality is more important than quantity. BY Alan Greenblatt
Public Safety & Justice

How Jails Are Violating the Law

Most corrections facilities detain mentally ill people instead of providing them with timely care. BY Mattie Quinn
Infrastructure & Environment

Simulating a World Without Climate Change

A new tool could help cities test whether (and how much) specific energy policies can slow global warming. BY Elizabeth Daigneau
Economic Engines

Immigration and Income Inequality

Are mayors' open-door policies for illegal immigrants hurting their efforts to raise wages? BY Alex Marshall
Urban Notebook

The Urbanization of the 'Burbs

Regardless of where they live, urban amenities are no longer a bonus but a requirement for many millennials. BY William Fulton

PROBLEM SOLVER

Education

The Regional Job Credentials Gap

More and more employers are demanding college degrees -- but not all are created equal. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

The Tricky Trend That’s Blurring Budget Transparency

Governments’ increasing reliance on special funds can put them in financial and legal trouble. BY KATHERINE BARRETT & RICHARD GREENE
Better Government

A Mayor's Real Job

Running a city is mostly about building community -- and that's never easy. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

Dot-Govs Get a Much-Needed Facelift

Several big cities are decluttering and redesigning their government websites to make them easier to use. BY Tod Newcombe
Public Money

3 Ways to Take P3s to the Next Level

"Blended" models have the potential to bridge some big gaps in infrastructure finance. BY Justin Marlowe
Infrastructure & Environment

Introducing the World’s “New” Longest Floating Bridge

The titleholder has been replaced -- by itself. BY Elizabeth Daigneau