TABLE of CONTENTS March 2014

Cover Story

State Anti-Hunger Efforts Limited without Federal Support

BY Zach Patton

Americans are hungrier now than they've been in generations. Some states are fighting it, but they can only do so much with a Congress committed to cutting budgets.

FEATURES

Chicago ‘Reinvents’ Community College

The city is retooling its community colleges to graduate more students ready for the workforce. Some worry the changes aren't focused on finding graduates the best kind of jobs. BY Chris Kardish

Bankrupt Cities? What About Distressed Cities?

Bankruptcy grabs the headlines, but distressed cities are a more widespread problem – one that few states know how to address. BY Liz Farmer

Is the Cost of 311 Systems Worth the Price of Knowing?

311 systems have revolutionized the way cities gather information, allowing them to tackle small problems before they get too big. But running them can be extremely costly. BY Tod Newcombe

The Sounds of Silence in Prison

In the 1800s, Philadelphia built a prison that isolated inmates so they could meditate and become genuinely penitent. But as views on isolating inmates evolved over time, the prison was forced to close its doors. BY David Kidd

POLITICS + POLICY

Finance

Is Increasing the Minimum Wage a Good Way to Alleviate Poverty?

Wage hikes have become the highest-profile antipoverty proposals in states and localities. But some advocates say boosting the Earned Income Tax Credit would be better for the working poor. BY J.B. Wogan
Politics

Politicians’ “Peanut Butter Problem”

Government officials are intensely aware of the political need to spread out resources equally but doing so means there probably won’t be enough to make a major impact anywhere. BY Alan Greenblatt
Infrastructure & Environment

Fighting Traffic One Paint Brush at a Time

Frustrated by government inaction, citizens in cities across the country are taking traffic problems into their own hands. But the cities aren't always thankful. BY J.B. Wogan
Management & Labor

Facing Obamacare Mandate, Governments May Turn to Temps

Many states and localities are cutting their employees' hours to avoid having to offer them health insurance. Some say they'll make up the workload by hiring more temporary workers. BY Mike Maciag
Assessments

Bill de Blasio: The Neighborhood Mayor

After years under Michael Bloomberg, known to many as a “downtown mayor,” New Yorkers are looking to their new mayor to refocus resources on communities. BY Alan Ehrenhalt
Dispatch

Anonymous Blogging: Helpful or Hurtful?

Some media websites allow people to blog without disclosing their identities, but some worry that can confuse readers and spread misinformation. BY Paul W. Taylor
Potomac Chronicle

Poverty Won't Be Solved by Congress

Since Congress has trouble tying its shoes, states and localities must take the lead reversing the dangerous trends of rising inequality and stagnant mobility. BY Peter Harkness
Headlines

Chicago Mayor Calls for National Fee to Respond to Train Spills

As the U.S. enters an energy boom and rail remains the chief way of transporting it, cities need to get behind national efforts to improve safety, oversight and emergency response, Rahm Emanuel says. BY Chris Kardish
Health & Human Services

Cure for Managed-Care Migraines? Slow Down.

As many states embrace managed care in an effort to provide quality, affordable health care, some are rushing the switch from fee-for-service care and running into problems. BY David Levine
Infrastructure & Environment

Should Localities Be Allowed to Ban Pesticides?

A few municipalities have banned the use of pesticides on private property, but some state lawmakers don't think it should be up to the localities to decide. BY Elizabeth Daigneau
Economic Engines

How to Harvest Good Ideas

Just as seeds need fertilizer to grow well, innovation requires nurturing too. BY Aaron M. Renn
Urban Notebook

Gentrification's Not So Black and White After All

Despite complaints about well-educated white people buying up houses in low-income minority neighborhoods, recent studies show that gentrification often helps the original residents. BY Tod Newcombe

PROBLEM SOLVER

Infrastructure & Environment

Public Transportation’s Demographic Divide

People who use public transportation are disproportionately poorer than other commuters in nearly every U.S. city, according to an analysis. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

Happy Birthday, World Wide Web

In its 25 years, the Internet has drastically changed how government works. BY Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Better Government

A Better Way to Link Policy Analysis and Performance Management

Results-based accountability measures results in the real world. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

A Little Neighborly Competition Can Help Reduce Water Usage

Allowing drought-plagued Californians to see how much water their neighbors use inspired customers to consume 5 percent less. BY Steve Towns
Public Money

Double Whammy

Confronting social inequality is harder when a city is struggling. BY Frank Shafroth
Urban

March 2014 Last Look: Movie-Inspired Architecture

The design for part of one of Los Angeles’ airports was inspired by the spacecraft from the film The War of the Worlds. BY David Kidd