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Focus Archive - January 2005

Please note that Focus section links were valid at the time of their original posting. However, since Web sites and addresses change frequently, we cannot guarantee that all links will remain operative.

State of the Cities 2005 Report (January 26)
The Association of Washington Cities recently released its State of the Cities 2005 report based on a survey completed by three-fourths of Washington's cities and towns, representing 94% of the state's municipal population. More from AWC.

Community Involvement in a Post-Rotary Club Era (January 26)
A new generation of civic groups are integrating personal and professional networking opportunities with socially-motivated, locally-focused programming. More from the Next American City.

11 Better Practices to Improve Program Performance (January 26)
In a recent report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, Performance Leadership: 11 Better Practices That Can Ratchet Up Performance, Robert D. Behn, Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, focuses on leadership activities or practices which can spur improvements in program performance.

Smart City - What Makes a City Unique? (January 26)
What makes a city unique? Is it the people? Its history? The buildings? Its natural setting? This week's guests on Smart City'sTM talk about how cities develop unique qualities and how they can then capitalize on their uniqueness for economic advantage.

National Response Plan Training Available Online (January 26)
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced the release of a new online distance-learning course that introduces emergency management practitioners to the National Response Plan. More from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Wanted: Language and Cultural Competence (January 26)
Increasingly, city and county governments are making a quiet investment to gain a better understanding of the cultural differences among their residents. More from Public Management Magazine.

Innovations in Policing: Virtual Partner Enhances Officer Safety and Efficiency (January 26)
The Delray Beach, Florida Police Department made remarkable advancements in efficiency and increased productivity with their officer-designed "Virtual Partner" program, enhancing traffic law enforcement with the same staff and with less inconvenience to the public. More from The Police Chief.

Performance-Based Contracting - Promise and Pitfalls (January 26)
Seedco, a nonprofit organization in New York City, has just released The Promise and Pitfalls of Performance-Based Contracting. The report looks at two growing government trends-the contracting out of government services to non-government organizations, and the increased use of performance-based contracts in those situations.

King County Tops Grants Performance Index (January 26)
As an organizational priority, King County, has made pursuing grants an important endeavor as reflected in their top standing on the eCivis grants performance index. More from ICMA.

Report on Public Housing Reform (January 26)
A report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, Public Housing Reform and Voucher Success: Progress and Challenges (Adobe Acrobat Document741kb), examines the progress and pitfalls of recent efforts to overhaul America's public housing and rental voucher programs.

Technology Boosts Parking Management (January 26)
New technologies are allowing parking operations to share data with other departments, generate revenue and streamline operations. More from American City & County.

Draining Resources (January 26)
Local governments are losing hundreds of millions of dollars on billions of gallons of water that never reach their customers. More from American City & County.

Report Urges Caution on Convention Centers (January 19)
A new analysis shows the convention and tradeshow business is ailing - a decline that began even prior to 9-11 - raising questions about the massive state and local investments in convention venues made in the name of economic development. More from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

Finding and Getting Grants: The Basics (January 19)
The National Association of County Official’s latest Hot Topics (Adobe Acrobat Document114kb) publication focuses on finding and getting grants to support your county's services.

Smart City - Changing Public Behavior (January 19)
What if we could change the public behavior we find threatening - behavior like speeding or reckless driving or even shootings? Smart City’s™ guests this week will tell you it is quite possible. In fact, they will tell you how they are doing it.

Finding Resources - Addressing Prisoner Transport Costs (January 19)
The King County Police Chiefs Association recently convened a summit of criminal justice agencies to address the issue of prisoner transport costs in King County. More from The Police Chief.

The Global Baby Bust (January 19)
Most people think overpopulation is one of the worst dangers facing the globe. In fact, the opposite is true. More from Foreign Affairs.

Toward a New Metropolis (January 19)
A report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, Toward a New Metropolis: The Opportunity to Rebuild America (Adobe Acrobat Document321kb), answers the question: How many new homes, office buildings, and other physical structures will need to be built to accommodate future growth?

Demographic Trends to Shape Future U.S. Housing Markets (January 19)
Three powerful demographic forces will shape housing in the future, determining who will buy homes, where they'll buy them and what they will be like. More from Housing Zone.

DHS Unveils National Response Plan (January 19)
The U. S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced completion of the National Response Plan. More from NACo’s County News.

ERP Market Dynamics for Midsize Governments (January 19)
The "second tier" enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems market provides an important solution to small and midsize governments that cannot afford SAP, Oracle, or PeopleSoft systems. More from Government Finance Review (Adobe Acrobat Document1968kb).

Creative Class: Yes, it is About the Artists: The Tacoma Story (January 12)
Tacoma’s lengthy quest for revitalization finally has started to take hold. An economic development strategy that focuses not just on the arts, but also on the artists, has yielded $1 billion in public and private investment downtown in the last five years. More from The Next American City.

Online Auctions as Tools for Asset Management (January 12)
A report from the Center for the Business of Government, Government Garage Sales: Online Auctions as Tools for Asset Management (Adobe Acrobat Document4593kb) describes how many government agencies are succeeding at selling both everyday items and high-end goods via online auctions.

Top 10 Issues to Consider when Building a City-Wide Wi-Fi Network (January 12)
Technology today is as vital to economic growth as transportation and utility systems were in the past. With every passing day, it seems, another local government announces, with much fanfare, plans to deploy a wireless network. More from Strategic Technology Collaborative.

APA Offers Affordable Housing Reader (January 12)
The American Planning Association (APA) has assembled more than 100 documents and articles from APA publications that examine the affordable housing problem in the U.S. and identify and evaluate various solutions. More from APA.

The Big Band Era (January 12)
The quest for rapid and robust Internet access has cities grappling with how to bring the best of broadband to their businesses and residents. More from Governing.

Sharing Equipment Saves (January 12)
A cluster of small towns in metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul is saving money through an informal arrangement for borrowing heavy equipment and attachments. More from American City & County.

Washington State Starts E-Learning (January 12)
Washington State launched a statewide e-learning network that will provide more than 70,000 employees at its 83 state agencies with access to 1,200 online courses. More from Federal Computer Week.

Public Opinion on Reforms in Policing (January 12)
What specific changes, if any, does the public want to see in police practices? Surprisingly, this question has seldom been investigated. More from The Police Chief.

NRMC Launches Workplace Safety Toolkit (January 12)
The Nonprofit Risk Management Center (NRMC) has launched its new Workplace Safety Toolkit, a free online resource to help you build a safer workplace. More from the Public Entity Risk Institute.

Smart City - Leading America's Most Livable City (January 12)
The latest Smart City™ radio show features an interview with Vera Katz, long-time mayor of Portland, Oregon, talking about what made the city a national model, the challenges it now faces and what's next.

Is Government Your Next Broadband Provider? (January 04)
Last-minute negotiations between Philadelphia and Verizon rescued a proposal to build the largest metropolitan Wi-Fi network. But many still are asking: Should government get into the broadband business and compete with the private sector? More from Mobile Pipeline.

Get MRSC Web Site Updates and Quarterly Newsletter by E-mail (January 04)
Subscribe to MRSC's free bi-weekly Web site updates and quarterly newsletter and get all of the latest local government news and information delivered right to your desktop.

Planetizen’s 2004 Top 10 Book List (January 04)
Planetizen’s editorial staff offers their list of top 10 books published in 2004 for the urban planning, development and design professions.

Web Sightings - 2004 (January 04)
In case you missed them, here's a look back at 2004's Web Sightings:

Rental Housing Out of Reach for Most Low Wage Earners (January 04)
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) report, Out of Reach, shows that the cost of rental housing in the U.S. is out of reach for the vast majority of low wage earners. The report provides a comparison of wages and rents in every county, Metropolitan Statistical Area, and state in the United States. More from the NLIHC.

Locals Plan to Fill Jobs Left by Retiring Baby Boomers (January 04)
A handful of local governments are developing innovative strategies, including leadership training for younger employees, to deal with the coming baby boom bust. More from American City and County.

Smart City - A Compelling Vision for Cities (January 04)
What makes a compelling vision for a mid-size city in America? Tucson City Manager Jim Keene and Greenville, South Carolina Mayor Knox White, take up this question in a recent Smart City" radio show.

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be (January 04)
A paper from the Victoria Transit Institute, "The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be - Changing Trends And Their Implications For Transport Planning," (Adobe Acrobat Document588kb) examines various demographic, economic and market trends that affect travel demand, and their implications for transport planning.

Phone Firms' Cable TV Plans Hit Local Obstacle (January 04)
The phone companies, forging ahead with bold plans to jump into the cable TV business, are hitting a speed bump: local governments. More from USA Today.

Evaluating Rail Transit Criticism (January 04)
A report from the Victoria Transit Institute, Evaluating Rail Transit Criticism, (Adobe Acrobat Document200kb) examines claims that rail transit is ineffective at improving transportation system performance, and that rail transit investments are not cost effective, and finds that critics often misrepresent issues and use biased and inaccurate analysis.

Cities and Counties in the News (January)
Here are the latest news clippings from around the state highlighting current events, trends and other news affecting Washington city and county governments:

Free Streaming Media Workshop (January 04)
The Washington Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (WATOA) is sponsoring a free workshop, "Streaming Media: A New Tool for Local Government," Tuesday, January 11th , 1:30 – 3:30pm, at the City of Bellevue, City Hall.

Need more information?

Feel free to Ask MRSC. Washington cities, counties, and our contract partners can call or email MRSC for more information and advice - free of charge.