TABLE of CONTENTS May 2015

Chesapeake officers tag videos as evidence and review footage at computer terminals. (Photos by David Kidd)
Cover Story

What We Can Learn From the Police That Pioneered Body Cameras

BY Mike Maciag

Police across the country are being outfitted with body cameras, but managing all the hours of footage comes at a price and poses unintended consequences.

FEATURES

Are Predatory Business Loans the Next Credit Crisis?

Unlike mortgage and payday lenders, the growing number of institutions that offer quick cash to small businesses are still largely unregulated. Chicago is the first trying to change that. BY Liz Farmer

Getting Out of Jail and Back to Work in 'Second Chance City'

In Jersey City, N.J., ex-offenders are getting an opportunity to start their lives over again -- and so is a familiar public figure trying to help them. BY J.B. Wogan

Los Angeles Sets the Track for the Safest, Smartest Train

Cities are supposed to implement positive train control by the end of this year, but many are lagging. Los Angeles, however, got a head start years ago. BY Daniel C. Vock

Cities Give Alleys New Life

Several cities are starting to see more potential in once dangerous and usually underused backstreets. BY Elizabeth Daigneau

OBSERVER

Politics

Lawmaking Behind Closed Doors Under Fire in States

As the saga of Hillary Clinton’s emails has shown the world yet again, looking like you might have something to hide immediately arouses suspicion. BY Alan Greenblatt
Urban

In Some Cities, Your Bus Fare Now Depends on Your Income

Seattle is the latest city to offer discounted rates to low-income riders. Some say it's a misguided attempt to address income inequality. BY Daniel Luzer
Management & Labor

The 'Anti-Yelp' for Government

The new app's focus on positive feedback helps cities improve services and boost employees’ morale. BY Mary Ellen McIntire
Education

How Many Undocumented Immigrants Are Actually Getting In-State Tuition?

State Dream Acts have drawn passionate responses from both advocates and critics. But evidence suggests these measures have had limited impact. BY J.B. Wogan

POLITICS + POLICY

Assessments

How Well Can a City Predict Its Future 20 Years Out?

In 1994, Seattle won praise from urbanist thinkers nationwide with its 20-year plan for population and economic growth. BY Alan Ehrenhalt
Potomac Chronicle

Washington’s Education Stalemate

Why improving our schools looks hopeless on Capitol Hill. BY Peter Harkness
Politics

Government Accountability? GOP Says No Thanks, Wisconsin

Republicans are attacking the state’s ethics board for engaging in partisan witch-hunts, particularly for its investigation of Gov. Scott Walker. BY Alan Greenblatt
Health & Human Services

Courts Are Keeping Assisted Suicide Laws Alive

Supporters of "aid-in-dying" have had little success in state legislatures, so they're turning to the courts for help. BY Chris Kardish
Infrastructure & Environment

Looking to Rent Energy-Efficient Housing?

In an effort to make rentals more sustainable, 14 college towns banded together to create a website that shows people what they would pay in utilities. BY Elizabeth Daigneau
Economic Engines

The Other Digital Divide

Will small cities be able to exploit technology the way bigger cities have? BY Aaron M. Renn
Urban Notebook

How to Design a Pedestrian Mall That Works

Once inaccessible and crime-ridden, Charlottesville, Va.’s now-popular pedestrian mall offers a blueprint for other cities. BY Scott Beyer

PROBLEM SOLVER

Management & Labor

What Cities Need to Close the Skills Gap for 'Smart Jobs'

"Advanced industry" jobs are expected to drive economic growth. But cities must invest in training and education to build a qualified workforce. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

When Licensing Has Gone Too Far

License requirements are intended to improve the safety of services like nail salons. But in many other professions, the negative effects of licensing can outweigh the positive. BY Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
Better Government

The Fantasy World of Financial Reporting

The rules that governments work under have little to do with reality. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

The Payoffs of Financial Transparency

Most cities are failing to tell their fiscal stories well or at all. New York and Chicago, though, offer models of true transparency. BY Tod Newcombe
Public Money

The Costly Double Whammy of Aging

There are two primary ways retiring baby boomers will impact revenues. BY Frank Shafroth
Infrastructure & Environment

What’s All the Buzz About Bees?

The dwindling number of bees has a direct impact on the economy, which is what keeps state beekeepers like Tammy Horn going. BY David Kidd