John Buntin is a staff writer at GOVERNING. He covers health care, public safety and urban affairs. A graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, he is the author of two books, "Governing States and Localities" (CQ Press) and "L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City" (Harmony Books).

John Buntin
July 1, 2019

Should a Private Tech Giant Be Designing Cities?

Google’s sister company wants to build the city of the future on Toronto’s waterfront, raising concerns over privacy and the role of government.
March 27, 2019

Evangelicals' Power Isn't Eroding in the Age of Trump. It's Adjusting.

Pundits keep predicting the religious group's decline as a political force. But they may actually be gaining influence.
August 31, 2018

Disney Walks Away From Millions in Economic Incentives

Is one of corporate America’s savviest companies reconsidering its reliance on subsidies, or is it seeking to avoid further regulation?
July 3, 2018

Amid Scandal and Explosive Growth, Nashville Ponders Its Future

Like many other Sunbelt cities, Music City is trying to figure out what kind of place it wants to be.
April 9, 2018

Outside Disneyland, a Reminder for Governments to Be Careful What They Wish for

Cities have become increasingly focused on doing whatever it takes to attract large corporations. But it's hard to govern a one-company town. Just ask Anaheim.
January 24, 2018

Police Departments Grapple With Who Should Hold Them Accountable

Scandals surrounding abuse and corruption are spurring cities across the country to adopt civilian oversight boards. But some argue they have the opposite effect that advocates are looking for.
November 27, 2017

Can Other States Tap Tennessee’s Secret Sauce for Government Efficiency?

Once seen as a laggard in public administration, the state is now a leader.
October 10, 2017

The Fight to Fix America's Broken Bail System

Jails are filled with low-risk offenders awaiting court dates. There's bipartisan support to change that, so why is it still hard to get anything done?
July 6, 2017

In Extreme Community Policing, Cops Become the Neighbor

One of the most dangerous small cities in the country, an hour outside Chicago, is paying officers to live where their relationship with residents is most broken.
May 3, 2017

In the Elusive Search for Affordable Housing, Clues Emerge

Economists, sociologists and political scientists have recently identified single-family zoning as a major obstacle to building more of it. Could that change soon?
May 1, 2017

A Sarasota Scenario

One Florida developer's battle to build affordable housing.
January 12, 2017

Meet the Goodmans: Las Vegas’ Flamboyant Political Family

They’re into more than showmanship. They’re struggling to turn the gambling mecca into a thriving 21st century urban place.
November 28, 2016

David Brown's Career Highlights Difficulties of Reforming Police

The Dallas police chief was hailed as a national leader, yet his own cops wanted him to quit.
September 1, 2016

25 Years Later, What Happened to 'Reinventing Government'?

The ambitious public management crusade of the 1990s has made a mark on governments everywhere. But it’s fallen short of some of its goals.
April 11, 2016

Synthetic Drugs: An Emerging, Evolving Threat

While states are focused on the opioid epidemic, they may not be paying enough attention to the lab-created drugs that are hard to control.
March 22, 2016

How One City Solved Its Domestic Violence Problem

Can the strategy, which was originally developed to reduce gang violence, be replicated elsewhere?
November 19, 2015

The Man Supposed to Fix America’s Relationship With Cops

Obama called on Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey, among others, to change the future of law enforcement. Will his unorthodox ideas make a difference or just alienate his fellow officers?
September 3, 2015

Assessing the Nation’s Most Ambitious Education Reforms, 1 Year Later

As states around the country embrace Tennessee’s turnaround model, the experience of one Memphis high school shows policymakers about its potential and perils.
August 3, 2015

A Model for Decriminalizing Mental Illness in America

America’s jails are filled with people suffering from severe psychological problems. But largely thanks to one judge, Miami found ways to keep the mentally ill out of incarceration and in treatment.
March 1, 2015

In Memphis, Revolt Overshadows Education Reform's Successes

Driven by fear and frustration, protesters are starting to drown out the supporters of the nation's most ambitious attempt to fix failing schools.
January 1, 2015

Changing a Culture Inside and Out of School

Fixing a failing school may require a complete change in culture. That’s not an easy thing to achieve, but Memphis is trying.
November 1, 2014

What If States Just Sold Marijuana Themselves?

Voters legalized pot in three more places Tuesday, and now they have to decide how to regulate it. Some favor the government selling the drug directly to consumers over creating a for-profit pot industry.
October 1, 2014

The Nation’s Most Ambitious Effort to Fix Failed Schools

What happens in Memphis will reveal the power -- and limits -- of education reform.
August 1, 2014

Does Eric Garcetti Have a Big Enough Vision for L.A.?

In breaking with his predecessors, the mayor isn’t focused on one or two big priorities. Instead, he’s sweating the small stuff -- at least for now.
June 1, 2014

America’s Biggest Drug Problem Isn’t Heroin, It’s Doctors

Painkillers prescribed by both well-intentioned doctors and so-called "criminals in white coats" are driving the overdose epidemic. States and cities are pioneering ways to control it.
April 1, 2014

Rural Hospitals Are on Life Support

Hospitals may be rural America’s single most important and most endangered institution. Between having to serve some of the sickest and most expensive populations and federal cuts, can small town America save more from closing?
January 1, 2014

A Battle Over School Reform: Michelle Rhee vs. Diane Ravitch

As the No Child Left Behind era ends and Common Core begins, two education heavyweights face-off over what we’ve learned and where we’ve gone wrong.
December 9, 2013

William Bratton is the Right Man for the Job. Really.

New York City's new police chief, who previously led the force under Rudy Giuliani, is a controversial choice. But to understand why Bill de Blasio picked him, look at what Bratton accomplished in Los Angeles.
October 1, 2013

Chicago Fights Gang Violence with Facebook

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.
September 23, 2013

10 Questions with One of Obamacare's Architects

On the eve of the implementation of one of Obamacare’s most significant provisions, Governing spoke to Harvard economist David Cutler.
September 1, 2013

California Republicans Try to Reenergize the GOP

The California Republican Party’s willingness to embrace unconventional leadership may provide insights into what the GOP will need to do to win elections nationally in the coming era of the white minority.
March 29, 2013

Should Local Government Be Run Like Silicon Valley?

Cities are contracting with Code for America -- what some call “the Peace Corps for geeks” -- in an effort to seed Silicon Valley virtues in local government.
February 28, 2013

The Power and Danger of Setting Extreme Goals

Extreme goals are ambitious and attention grabbing. They also often seem impossible -- and that can be a problem.
September 28, 2012

Milwaukee Police Give 911 a Facelift

Milwaukee has overhauled how it responds to serious crimes -- but not without criticism. Are the risks of challenging policing's status quo worth the rewards?
June 29, 2012

Cathy Lanier Changes Policing in D.C. and Maybe Nation

The police chief's rejection of zero-tolerance policing that’s driven urban crime fighting for a generation may change the future of public safety in America.
June 26, 2012

Neighborhood Watch

Rob Sampson’s Great American City points the way toward a new understanding of how cities function.
May 31, 2012

Can Universal Health Care Work Without a Mandate?

President Barack Obama and the 26 states trying to overturn his federal health reform law say no, but some states have some real-world experience that could answer that question.
April 30, 2012

Kitzhaber: Three-Time Governor Turning Oregon’s Tide

John Kitzhaber once called Oregon “ungovernable.” Now, he’s forging bipartisan alliances that are making it one of the best-governed states in the nation.
March 30, 2012

Ex-Police Chief William Bratton Discusses Government Collaboration in New Book

In Collaborate or Perish!, William Bratton and Harvard Kennedy School senior researcher Zachary Tumin tell governments how they can work together more often and more effectively.
February 28, 2012

Connecticut Moves Away from Medicaid Managed Care

Connecticut’s Rod Bremby is finding novel ways to connect health and human services.
January 31, 2012

How Game Theory is Reinventing Crime Fighting

Elected officials across the nation from both political parties have begun to examine ways to replace a tough corrections policy with a smart one.
January 24, 2012

Managing Care without Managed Care

North Carolina is achieving big savings with a very different approach.
January 3, 2012

A Doctor's Fix for Health-Care Delivery

Commonwealth Care Alliance CEO Bob Master has a plan to change health-care delivery — and it doesn’t involve Medicaid managed care.
December 30, 2011

Legislative Issues to Watch in 2012

These nine topics will shape debate in state legislatures in 2012.
November 30, 2011

Red States, Green Jobs

The South has more green jobs than any other region. But will politicians keep investing in something many Southern voters don’t believe in?
November 29, 2011

Thinking Through Health Exchanges

TennCare Director Darin Gordon has distinguished himself by asking hard questions about the impact of the Affordable Care Act.
October 25, 2011

Gov. Shumlin and the Push for Single-Payer Health Care

At a time when states are struggling to comply with healthcare reform, Vermont's governor sees his state's push for a single-payer system as common sense.
September 26, 2011

Health Reform’s IT Challenge

Health reform threatens to overwhelm state health IT systems. Virginia's health IT program manager discusses how his state is using newer and legacy systems to manage caseloads.
August 31, 2011

What Experts Think of Five Medicaid-Savings Strategies

States are testing several strategies in an effort to reduce Medicaid costs. Experts assess those approaches.
August 23, 2011

Coordinating More Care in Oregon

Mike Bonetto is leading Oregon's efforts to move more people on the Oregon Health Plan into coordinated care organizations that could improve health outcomes and decrease costs.
July 26, 2011

Dealing with the Dual Eligibles

Former Indiana Medicaid director Melanie Bella is leading the effort to build bridges between Medicare and Medicaid programs.
June 30, 2011

Is It Time to Retire Jane Jacobs' Vision of the City?

Triumph of the City author Edward Glaeser challenges long-accepted views on urban planning, promoting a more market-friendly set of policies.
June 30, 2011

Medical Residencies Serve as a New Model for Police Training

One officer’s battle with cancer inspired him to take a new approach to policing.
June 28, 2011

Rethinking Health-Care Payments in Arkansas

Arkansas Medicaid Director Gene Gessow is leading the state's efforts to create the nation’s first statewide payment system.
May 31, 2011

Ending Medicaid As We Know It

Is Medicaid in its current form sustainable? And if not, is welfare reform the right model for change?
May 24, 2011

The Single-Payer Solution

Harvard professor William Hsiao brings Taiwan’s health-care system to Vermont.
April 26, 2011

A Closer Look: Utah's Health Insurance Exchange

Governing's John Buntin speaks with the new director of Utah's health exchange on how it's progressing.
April 25, 2011

The Triumph of the City

Is it time to retire Jane Jacobs’s vision of the city? In two book reviews, John Buntin explores recent releases that challenge traditional urban theory in the 21st century.
March 31, 2011

Does Government Work Require Government Employees?

Volunteers are taking on jobs once performed by public employees.
March 22, 2011

Maryland's All-Payer Answer

Once dismissed as a relic, Maryland's all-payer rate setting system is getting a second look.
February 24, 2011

Managing Medicaid

The new head of the National Association of Medicaid Directors discusses the challenges of heath reform.
January 31, 2011

The Nation's Only Health Insurance Commissioner Takes on the Health-Care System

Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher Koller set out to transform an industry.
January 26, 2011

Hoosier Health IT

Indiana's health information exchanges show what electronic medical records can do.
December 21, 2010

A Governor's Take on Fixing Health Care

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen discusses health reform, the future of health IT and how states should approach regulating private insurers.
December 1, 2010

A Cap-and-Trade Program That Works

Northeastern states have developed an efficient way to reduce greenhouse gases. So why won't the feds follow suit?
November 23, 2010

A Closer Look at Medicaid and CHIP

Diane Rowland, chair of a commission to look at Medicaid and CHIP, explains how the group will study the federal-state programs' ability to provide affordable, quality care.
November 1, 2010

Harrisburg's Failed Infrastructure Project

A new incinerator was supposed to earn Harrisburg, Pa., $1 billion. Instead, it’s a cautionary tale for what happens when an infrastructure project goes bad.
October 26, 2010

Lessons from Maine’s Health Reform

In 2003, Maine passed the at-times controversial Dirigo Health reform initiative. Seven years later, what has Maine learned to help other states reform health care?
October 1, 2010

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's Evolving Leadership

Bobby Jindal took office with a mandate to change state government. Three years later, it’s the governor’s approach to leadership that has changed instead.

A Model for State Health Insurance Exchanges

Massachusetts' Jon Kingsdale discusses health insurance exchanges and the opportunities -- and challenges -- of health reform.

Health Reform Comes to Colorado

Lorez Meinhold is leading Colorado's efforts to implement health reform.
August 6, 2010

Readings: Interview with Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program Senior Fellows

John Buntin interviews Brookings' Alan Berube and Bill Frey on the Metropolitan Policy Project's latest report, "The State of Metropolitan America."
July 30, 2010

Mississippi's Corrections Reform

How America's reddest state -- and most notorious prison -- became a model of corrections reform.
July 30, 2010

Fixing New Orleans

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has a rare chance to turn the city around.
July 28, 2010

California's Health Information Exchange

Cal eConnect will oversee the state health care system's move from a paper-based industry to one reliant on electronic health records.
July 27, 2010

Down on Parchman Farm with Mississippi's Corrections Commissioner

Christopher Epps thought he would follow the path of his family members and get his Ph.D. Instead, he made a career at one of Mississippi's most fabled prisons, working his way up to state corrections commissioner.
July 15, 2010

Readings: Growth Trends and Green Hopes

The Brookings Institution's "State of Metropolitan America" offers a look at the demographic future of America's 100 largest metro areas. In this installment: The growth patterns of the last decade don't bode well for those with green hopes.
July 8, 2010

Readings: The State of Metropolitan America

The Brookings Institution's "State of Metropolitan America" offers a look at the demographic future of America's 100 largest metro areas. In this post to kick off a series: the "cultural generation gap."
July 6, 2010

Will Washington Throw States a Lifeline, or Tell Them to Swim?

Policymakers in Washington are debating whether states need more stimulus money, or whether it's time for them to start cutting.
June 30, 2010

The Future of Los Angeles' Police Stations

Is the LAPD misplacing something important in the process of building the next generation of police stations?
June 30, 2010

Brotherly Love for Immigrants, Too

Israel "Izzy" Colon is spearheading Philadelphia's efforts to become an immigrant hub.
June 29, 2010

Visualizing New Orleans

A striking infographic shows how New Orleans has fared since Katrina.
June 28, 2010

A Big Week for State and Local Government

Health care action, Supreme Court rulings and justice nominations makes this week one with huge impacts for state and local government.
June 24, 2010

Traffic Circles, Rotaries, and Roundabouts

A helpful, complete rundown by USA Today explains rotaries, roundabouts, traffic circles, and everything full circle.
June 8, 2010

Remapping the United States

The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Studies Program's maps offer a wonderful look into the changing demographics of the United States.
June 2, 2010

How To Motivate Employees

A delightful animation of Dan Pink's ideas on how to motivate employees.
June 2, 2010

The Amazing Health Data Giveaway

HHS is putting an amazing amount of health data out on the Web for free, including Community Clash, Google Hospital Finder, and Bing Health Maps.
June 1, 2010


Ohio's school planning director embraces green schools.
June 1, 2010

A Medicaid Fraud-Stopping Model

Five years ago, New York state was burned by revelations of pervasive Medicaid fraud. Now the state is showing other states how scams can be stopped.
May 21, 2010

Do Sin Taxes Pay?

Cigarette and alcohol taxes should be higher. Soda taxes are a good idea too.
May 11, 2010

Talking Heads Over the Years

Talking to the feds is easier — and more important — in the Obama era.
May 5, 2010

Getting a Handle on Health Reform

The most recent issue of the Columbia Journalism Review includes a guide to health reform (PDF), courtesy of the Commonwealth Fund. Although it's designed ...
May 1, 2010

Mile-High Health Reform

Dr. Patricia Gabow molds Denver's public health system into a national model.
May 1, 2010

Protecting and Preserving the Tenderloin

Can police Chief George Gascón clean up this San Francisco district without pushing the poor out?
April 20, 2010

Downtown L.A.: The Future of San Francisco's Tenderloin?

I recently "put to bed" (as we say in the magazine biz) a story about San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon's efforts ...
April 2, 2010

Urban Planning: Urgent Necessity or Dangerous Distraction?

Today's Guardian has a story that describes the urban mega-city as "the greatest design challenge" of our time. Given the numbers that ...
April 1, 2010

Waste Not

Elkridge, Md.'s material recovery facility sorts 65 tons of recyclable material per hour.
April 1, 2010

DNA Becomes Routine in Crime-Solving

It was as if, Detective Phil Stanford sometimes thought, Washington Park was being burglarized by ghosts. Most burglaries follow a pattern. Typically they occur during...
March 31, 2010

The Wave of Influence

In this era of instant climate information from The Weather Channel, and, the United States' 49 state climatologists might seem like dinosaurs....
March 26, 2010

How to Apologize Like Tiger Woods

We all make mistakes. If it's a really big mistake (say, an unauthorized "hike along the Appalachian trail") and you're an ...
March 23, 2010

Will Health Reform Result in Financial Armageddon?

That, basically, is the question taken up by health economists Michael Chernew and Katherine Baicker and Dr. John Hsu in their latest New England Journal ...
March 22, 2010

Ultimate Fighting + 2010 Census = ?

A promising innovation? That seems to be what Nevada thinks. In last month's issue of Governing, my colleague Josh Goodman examined how state local ...
March 11, 2010

Mapping State Efforts to Nullify Health Reforms

One of the most controversial tactics in the fight against health reform has been the conservative push to nullify health reform at the state level. ...
March 9, 2010

Boots on the Ground (Or, Adventures with David Kidd)

David Kidd is behind the camera, capturing John Buntin interviewing Sonny Jackson, public information officer with Denver Police Department. Governing has long been committed to ...
March 1, 2010

Boston's Hip, New Chief of Staff

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is an urban legend - the closest thing the East Coast has to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. So when Menino stood...
February 18, 2010

Is Health Reform Happening After All?

A big day in the health reform world. First, Kaiser Health News reports that insurers across the nation are raising insurance premiums dramatically -- and ...
February 18, 2010

Fixing Utah's Health Exchange

In the February issue of Governing, my colleague Josh Goodman wrote about Utah's health exchange -- a free-market alternative to the Massachusetts Commonwealth Connector. ...
February 16, 2010

Health Reform Moves to the States: The Case of Minnesota

The apparent collapse of health reform in Washington has shifted attention back to the question of what (if anything) states can do to control prices, ...
February 1, 2010

Health-Care Reform: Similar States, Different Views

Twenty-nine-year-old Samantha Brooks has a health problem: She just got a job. In October 2008, Brooks went into the hospital for an emergency gall bladder operation....
February 1, 2010

Health Care for the Needy

As the complex debate over health-care reform rages, local government hasn't really been figured in. While lawmakers in Washington at least considered the impact of...
February 1, 2010

San Francisco's Populist Public Defender

Public defenders are often seen as the Rodney Dangerfields of local government: They get respect from neither the prosecutor-loving public nor other public officials. Not...
January 22, 2010

Health Reform: The Beginning of the End?

What does Scott Brown's victory mean for the future of President Obama's health reform agenda? In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's vote, ...
January 19, 2010

Would health reform be good for Massachusetts?

All eyes are on Massachusetts special Senate election, which pits Republican state senator Scott Brown against Democratic attorney general Martha Coakley. Brown has sought to ...
January 15, 2010

Health Reform: The End Game

For the next 2-3 weeks, Washington will be consumed by one thing -- health reform. Although the House only returned to work yesterday (and the ...
January 7, 2010

How Exactly Will Health Reform Affect the States?

Despite the renewed attention on counterterrorism, health reform promises to be the issue that will consume Washington's attention this month, as negotiators from the ...
January 4, 2010

For Health IT Programs, There's Still Billions in Unclaimed Stimulus Money for States and Cities

Among the many goodies doled out by last year's stimulus package were some $2 billion for innovative health IT programs at the state and local ...
December 31, 2009

Bernard Melekian

If all you knew about Bernard Melekian was that he had spent 13 years running the police force in Pasadena, California, you might wonder why the...
December 31, 2009

Fighting Foreclosures Using Emergency Management Tactics

As a young paramedic in Sarasota County, Florida, Bob Stuckey learned to respond to emergencies using a protocol known as the Incident Command System. Originally...
December 8, 2009

The Public Option and State-Level Competition

This week, the Senate is taking up the controversial issue of whether health reform should include a public option -- that is, a government-run health...
December 8, 2009

Police Stations, Civic Architecture, and Story Ideas

Is excellent individual design what public buildings should aspire to, or is there still a place for civic architecture?
December 4, 2009

Arizona's Harsh Stance Against Illegal Aliens (The Outer-Space Kind)

A decade ago, a group of computer scientists in the Bay Area launched the first large-scale distributed computing project, SETI@Home. Its mission: to harness ...
November 30, 2009

Health-Care Reform and Grandpa's Care

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan saw a chance to realign the relationship between Washington and the states. He offered to switch government responsibilities: The states would...
November 30, 2009

Turning Golf Courses into Parks

Ellen DiIorio, a resident of Union County, New Jersey, had always dreamed of building a first-class archery range. But while the county Parks Department was...
October 31, 2009

Swift and Certain: Hawaii's Probation Experiment

Steven Alm was no courtroom novice when he started handling felony cases as a circuit judge in Hawaii. He'd already been a judge for three...
August 31, 2009

Did Bill Bratton Succeed in Changing LAPD's Culture?

Dragnet. 77 Sunset Strip. As a boy growing up in Boston, Bill Bratton lapped up the exploits of the Los Angeles Police Department through his television....
August 31, 2009

'Death Panels' Rationed Care 50 Years Ago

Amidst the recent furor over so-called "death panels" and whether or not they are in national health care reform proposals, there's a side story that's...
August 6, 2009

To Protect and To Serve

It's been a day of encomiums for retiring LAPD police chief Bill Bratton, and no wonder. As my own post of yesterday made clear, the ...
July 31, 2009

Job Freedom

Can the lessons of welfare reform be applied to the prison system?
May 31, 2009

Seniors and the City

More than two decades ago, Michael Hunt noticed something interesting about Hilldale, a well-established neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin. Elderly people were moving into its apartment...
May 20, 2009

Turnaround secrets

In 2004, former Wayne County, Michigan, prosecutor Mike Duggan became the chief executive of the troubled Detroit Medical Center. On day one, he was told the ...
April 30, 2009

Long Lens of the Law

It's Friday night, a few minutes past 9 o'clock, and people are pouring into the 13,500-seat Baltimore Arena. They're here to see one of the biggest...
April 30, 2009

A Baltimore Camera In Action

The Balitmore Police Department provided GOVERNING with footage from one of the city's cameras, located in a western section of downtown Baltimore. Police Commissioner Frederick...
March 31, 2009

A Matter of Record(s)

Ron Stollings believes in electronic health records, as both a family physician and a state legislator. Two years ago, he and the three doctors he...
March 23, 2009

Immigrants, Apples and Successful Cities

Friday night I was in Baltimore for the Lil' Wayne concert. I didn't actually go to the concert; I watched it with the Baltimore ...
March 10, 2009

Rethinking foot traffic

Urban planners tend to applaud when pedestrians replace cars (something NYC is now considering for Times Square.) But officials in Boston are now considering the ...
March 6, 2009

View from the Counties: Hard Times Through 2010, Real Help from D.C.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) begins its annual legislative conference tomorrow in Washington, DC. Earlier this afternoon, NACo President Don Stapley, a county supervisor ...
February 28, 2009

Health Care Comes Home

Dr. Jugta Kahai had a problem. One of her patients, a 9-month-old boy with asthma, kept showing up in the emergency room. He was struggling...
February 28, 2009

What Is a Medical Home?

North Carolina has built a coordinated medical system for the poor that includes old-style house calls. And it's making a big difference. The patient-centered medical...
February 23, 2009

Bad Times -- and Weapons

What is it about bad times and weapons? The Los Angeles Times is reporting that courthouse screeners in L.A. County seized banned weapons last ...
February 9, 2009

Knowing What Works

It's hard to know what's more heartening -- the fact that "broken windows" policing seems to be working in Lowell, M....
February 1, 2009

Minding the Detailers

It's a gray Friday morning in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Kristin Nocco is in the parking lot of Primary Care Associates, putting on her game face. She's...
January 14, 2009

Explaining the Current Economic Mess

Confused by credit default swaps? Baffled by the fact that most municipalities can't issue debt at affordable rates? Fuzzy about Gödel's critique ...
January 6, 2009

City Life = Brain Damage?

The evidence is surprisingly strong, some neuroscientists say. Attention and self-control are particularly harmed by urban life. The best antidote seems to be a big ...
November 30, 2008

Markets, not Mandates

For years, efforts to expand health insurance seemed like an exclusively "blue state" activity. Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine enacted sweeping proposals designed to expand...
November 19, 2008

Public university cuts, a surefire way to cut income

Among economists, one of the most talked about books of the past year has been The Race Between Education and Technology . This blandly named, data-rich ...
October 16, 2008

Are Drug Courts Our Best HOPE?

The New York Times has an interesting update on drug courts. Here's the money quote: "[R]ecidivism rates for participants are reduced by about 10 ...
August 6, 2008

Skid Row-style Health Care

First, Los Angeles area hospitals were caught dumping destitute patients in Skid Row. Now, they're allegedly filling beds (and bilking Medicare) by recruiting patients from ...
July 31, 2008


To some, Parkland Memorial Hospital will always be remembered as a place of death -- the hospital where President John F. Kennedy succumbed to gunshot...
July 29, 2008

Prison construction as economic stimulus?

Does a new prison boost the local economy? The Nacogdoches, TX, Daily Sentinel investigates... (Hat-tip to Crime and Justice News .)
June 11, 2008

Thinking About Crime

James Q. Wilson, perhaps the nation's most influential criminologist (though he'd hate that label...), is guest blogging on Vololkh conspiracy this week. Here's a wonderfully ...
May 31, 2008


Every day, a kid is brought in -- head hung, wrists cuffed behind his (or, occasionally, her) back, a police officer on each arm, steering...
May 5, 2008

Is Urban Violence a Virus?

Sunday's New York Times Magazine examines a "violence interruption" program in Chicago that is premised on an affirmative answer to this provocative question. ...
May 2, 2008

"Green-Collar" Jobs -- Great Idea or Gimmick?

By now, anyone following the Democratic Presidential nomination has heard a great deal about so-called "green-collar" jobs. Barack Obama has promised five million ...
November 1, 2007

Solid Brass

Just how natural became apparent one day in 1975 when Bratton, a rookie sergeant with the Boston Police Department, got a call that would have made a veteran blanch: bank holdup; shot fired; possible hostage situation.
March 1, 2006

Land Rush

Inner cities are becoming hot places to live. Does government have any business telling developers to keep out?
December 1, 2005


Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson can charter a new school anytime he wants. That gives him lots of power--and lots of headaches as well.
September 1, 2005

Battle of the Badges

Tense relations between police and fire departments, long a fact of life in many cities, are now emerging as a serious domestic- preparedness problem.
August 1, 2005

Plague of Errors

Hospital infection rates are rising and killing 90,000 patients a year. Can the states put a stop to it?
July 1, 2005

Rainbow Strategist

Anthony Thigpenn has spent years promoting reconciliation among blacks and Hispanics. L.A.'s new mayor needs him.
March 1, 2005

Father Time

There's a growing focus in welfare policy on a long-neglected part of the problem: fatherhood.
August 1, 2004

Relying on Faith

When it comes to delivering social services, church-state cooperation is rife with possibility--and controversy.
June 1, 2004

Sugar Daddy Government

A new generation of billionaires is remaking American cities. The cities are better off; the democratic process sometimes suffers.
December 1, 2003


Bill Bratton is going after crime in L.A. the way he did in New York. But it's a different place. Gangs are huge and the police force is very small.
November 30, 2003


To the casual motorist driving west on Wilshire from downtown Los Angeles, MacArthur Park comes as a pleasant surprise. With its wide lake and palm...
October 1, 2003

Texax Counties In The Driver's Seat

State cedes power to get new toll roads built.
September 1, 2003

Setting Colleges Free

Higher ed wants to offer states a deal: Let us run things our own way, and then judge us by the result. Should states accept?
August 1, 2003

Shrink Vs. Shrink

Ever hear of 'prescribing psychologists'? One state thinks they can fill gaps in mental health care. Psychiatrists doubt it.
May 1, 2003

Spouting Off

St. Louis has the Gateway Arch; Seattle has the Space Needle. So when Dayton, Ohio, began redeveloping its waterfront as an urban park three years ago, civic leaders decided on a fountain as the defining landmark for their downtown skyline.
April 1, 2003

Courting Big Phrma

So far, it's Maine, zero; the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, two. The state's two attempts to pressure drug companies to extend lower Medicaid prices for medications to certain non-Medicaid recipients have been turned back by the courts.
October 1, 2002

Special Ed's Dark Secret

The number of children with learning disabilities is surging. Some say the real problem is schools' failure to teach students how to read.
July 1, 2002

Not Your Father's Bus

Light rail may have sex appeal, but a growing number of cities are jazzing up a more affordable alternative--bus rapid transit.
June 1, 2002

Murder Mystery

In the 1990s, New York and Boston achieved dramatic decreases in homicide. One of them is still improving. The other is getting worse again. Why?
March 1, 2002

ADA's Independence Days

The Supreme Court's Olmstead decision has states picking up the pace on home and community-based care--or else.
November 1, 2001

Dead-End Revolt

Cul-de-sacs have fallen out of favor with many urban planners.
October 1, 2001

The Incredibly Expansive Medicaid Machine

Capitalizing on new flexibilities in health insurance for the poor, states are inching closer to health coverage for all.
July 1, 2001

Budget Shocks

States have been feasting on the bounty of a booming economy for half a decade. Now what?
March 1, 2001

Long Journey to Work

Improving mass transit is one way to help inner-city and rural welfare recipients get to where the jobs are. But it's not the only way.
December 1, 2000

Make Room for the Elderly

Nursing homes are out of favor. Assisted living is in. Should regulators keep their hands off this fast-growing form of care?
September 1, 2000

Rx Relief

With prescription drug costs soaring, states are taking bold steps to bring them down.