TABLE of CONTENTS October 2013Cover Story
BY John Buntin
After experiencing a homicide rate that earned it international attention last year, Chicago is upending the traditional style of policing and using social networks to rank people’s likelihood of killing and being killed.
Technology is changing the way citizens interact with local government.
Ride-sharing services and the uncertainty about how or whether to regulate them like taxi cabs illustrate a world where “ownership” is a rapidly changing concept.
Even the country’s most sprawling, least dense, most automobile-dependent city in America is trying to adapt to people’s preference for urban living.
To compete with the private sector and nonprofits these days, states and localities have to rethink their recruiting and hiring processes.
POLITICS + POLICY
Like many places, Takoma Park, Md., suffers from low turnout for local elections -- part of the reason it’s lowering the voting age to 16 starting next month.
Library systems in cities across the country are debuting Hoopla, a free and unlimited streaming service for music and movies -- though the selection won’t be quite the same as Netflix or Hulu.
In the hopes of helping immigrants and the unbanked, the city was the nation's first to offer cards that act as an ID and a prepaid debit card. For a product targeted at low-income people, though, critics charge the cards are too expensive.
We measure school performance by test scores because it’s easy. But no simplistic set of A-F grades can ever account for all the intangible ways schools nurture their pupils.
Some worry that the drop in the number of reporters covering state capitals and the slow death of print media are making public officials and institutions less accountable.
In the decade since the parties put politics aside to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, education policy has gone from pragmatic consensus to ideological division.
With most state-run social service programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps, funded by the feds, who decides whether gay couples will receive those benefits?
Recent TB outbreaks among the poor, homeless and immigrant populations of several U.S. communities have officials worried that the once-tamed disease will become more widespread and harder to contain.
Hemp – a substance that can't get you high but can be used to make products like paper and plastic – was banned along with marijuana because they have a similar chemical make-up. As states legalize pot, even more are legalizing hemp.
Public works projects should only be built when they have a clear purpose, but the United States hasn't always followed this philosophy.
As the cost of public safety continues to rise, some cities are thinking the once unthinkable: merging police and fire agencies into one.
The stimulus played a large role in propping up schools and other public-sector payrolls as agencies sought to stave off job cuts during the Great Recession. Where these jobs stand today, though, varies greatly.
A new book has it right: We need to change the way we budget.
For cities searching for ways to use mobile technology effectively, Boston's latest app offers a case study on how to do it right. It’s transforming the citizen/government relationship.
State and local governments need to change how they tell their story.