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Carl Smith

Senior Staff Writer

Carl Smith is a senior staff writer for Governing and covers a broad range of issues affecting states and localities. For the past 30 years, Carl has written about education and the environment for peer-reviewed papers, magazines and online publications, with a special focus on conservation and sustainability. He has guest-edited special issues of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health focused on the Precautionary Principle and the human rights dimensions of environmental degradation. Carl attended the University of Texas and the University of Georgia. He can be reached at carl.smith@governing.com or on Twitter at @governingwriter.

Wildfires aren’t caused by forests, but the default approach to fire prevention is to clear them. Climate may be the real problem, and preserving trees a big part of the solution.
Ongoing efforts to find election irregularities might serve the ambitions of some in politics, but they aren’t viewed favorably by many Americans. A new report documents the spread of unconventional “audits” to new states.
Registered apprenticeship can bridge the gap between job seekers looking for a living wage and employers who need skilled workers. The system, established during the Great Depression, is experiencing a renaissance.
Civil debate about American democracy is possible if it’s grounded in civic literacy. The new president of the Center for Civic Education says civics and constitutional education offers a chance for special unity.
In the public sector, customer service can easily devolve to “our way or the highway.” The head of the Arlington, Texas, planning department is transforming its service culture into a place where your “dream comes true.”
Dissatisfied voters targeted election administrators in 2020. Accustomed to working behind the scenes, many were cast as villains and now fear for their personal and professional safety.
Stockton emerged from bankruptcy years ago, but a culture of caution lingered that wasn’t conducive to growth. Harry Black, its new city manager, aims to speed resurgence and innovation through data-based plans and programs.
Building enough charging infrastructure to capture the anticipated economic and health benefits will be an enormous undertaking. But can the country’s power grid handle the strain of so many EVs plugging in on a daily basis?
The average number of workers available for every open job is half what it has been for the past 20 years. The government sector faces the biggest shortage of all, with 5 times as many open jobs as workers to fill them.
The breach of a Florida water treatment system that could have poisoned citizens sent shockwaves through local government. No-cost assessment tools and low-cost fixes can increase security in this sector.