TABLE of CONTENTS October 2013

Cover Story

Social Media Transforms the Way Chicago Fights Gang Violence

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.

FEATURES

The Demise of the Public Hearing

Technology is changing the way citizens interact with local government.

How Will the Sharing Economy Change the Way Cities Function?

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. BY J.B. Wogan

Houston: The Surprising Contender in America’s Urban Revival

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. BY J.B. Wogan

Millennials Face Hurdles Breaking into Public Sector

To compete with the private sector and nonprofits these days, states and localities have to rethink their recruiting and hiring processes. BY Mike Maciag

POLITICS + POLICY

Politics

Takoma Park, Md., Gives 16-Year-Olds the Right to Vote

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. BY Mike Maciag
Politics

State Treasurers Caught in Politics’ Crosshairs

As finances grow tighter and pension liabilities stay in the spotlight, treasurers in several states have been clashing with their peers about how best to manage the money. BY Mike Maciag
Education

Hoopla: It's Like Netflix for Libraries

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. BY Zach Patton
View

Oakland's Debit-ID Cards That Aim to Help Unbanked, Immigrants Catching On

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. BY J.B. Wogan
Columns

School Scandals Reveal the Problem with Grading Schools

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. BY J.B. Wogan
Dispatch

Can Online News Outlets Help Fill Statehouse Reporting's Void?

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. BY J.B. Wogan
Potomac Chronicle

Leaving ‘No Child’ Far Behind

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. BY J.B. Wogan
FedWatch

How the DOMA Ruling Could Affect State Social Services Programs

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? BY J.B. Wogan
Health & Human Services

Tuberculosis Outbreaks Spark New Worries Over an Age-Old Disease

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. BY J.B. Wogan
Infrastructure & Environment

Why Hemp (Not to Be Confused with Pot) is Making a Comeback

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. BY J.B. Wogan
Economic Engines

Infrastructure Lessons from the Irish Potato Famine

Public works projects should only be built when they have a clear purpose, but the United States hasn't always followed this philosophy. BY J.B. Wogan
Urban Notebook

Are Police and Fire Department Mergers Catching On?

As the cost of public safety continues to rise, some cities are thinking the once unthinkable: merging police and fire agencies into one. BY J.B. Wogan

PROBLEM SOLVER

By the Numbers

The Recovery Act Saved Public-Sector Jobs, But Can Governments Retain Them?

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. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

Is Earmarking the Best Way to Fund Projects?

It's not black and white, but understanding the pros and cons increases your chances of coming to the right answer for a particular project. BY Mike Maciag
Better Government

The Enemy of Good Management

A new book has it right: We need to change the way we budget. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

Boston's New App Rewards Citizens for Reporting Problems

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. BY Mark Funkhouser
Public Money

The Murky Muni Market in the Post-Detroit Bankruptcy Era

State and local governments need to change how they tell their story. BY Mark Funkhouser
Infrastructure & Environment

October 2013 Last Look: Who Let the Dogs Out?

The site of the now-demolished Detroit Tigers baseball stadium is now home to “pop-up dog parties.” BY Mark Funkhouser