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Focus Archive - December 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.

Learning to Think and Act Like a Region (December 28)
Planning across boundaries - or regional collaboration - is slowly emerging as an essential component of land policy and planning in the twenty-first century. More from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Risk Management - Free Online Training Courses Offered by PERI (December 28)
The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) is rolling out the first of its new collection of E-Training courses featuring a range of risk management topics. More from PERI.

Telecommunications - The Golden Egg? (December 28)
Can municipal wireless networks solve economic development challenges for rural communities? More from Government Technology Magazine.

Emergency Preparedness Report for Counties (December 28)
The National Association of County Officials' "Focus on Emergency Preparedness" (Adobe Acrobat Document349kb) report encourages counties to review their emergency management plans or take advantage of knowledge already acquired by counties across the country in preparing for a natural or manmade disaster.

Place Making: Creating a Sense of Community (December 28)
Creating authentic places with a mix of uses that provide an identity and a sense of community is a complex process that requires a variety of approaches. More from the Urban Land Institute.

Juvenile Holdover Programs (December 28)
Law enforcement officers face the dilemma of what to do with juveniles once they are detained if no legal guardian can be found. A juvenile holdover program can assist in the placement needs for youth in these situations. More from The Police Chief.

Katrina Index Report (December 28)
Using a wide array of economic and social indicators, the Brookings Institution's report, "Katrina Index: Tracking Variables of Post-Katrina Reconstruction," provides the first in a series of monthly snapshots of economic and reconstruction trends, finding that the area remains mired in a state of emergency still.

2006 Indoor Air Quality Grants Available (December 28)
The National Association of Counties' (NACo) Indoor Air Quality Program is now accepting applications from counties and regional county coalitions for small indoor air quality grants for 2006. More from NACo's County News.

The Young and the Restless in a Knowledge Economy (December 28)
A recent report from CEOs for Cities, "The Young and Restless in a Knowledge Economy," argues that the calculus of urban economic success has changed, and that talent, particularly well-educated young adults, now plays a decisive role.

Smart City - Important Demographic Trends in Cities (December 28)
Two demographic trends with major implications are America's aging population and adolescent pregnancy. This week's Smart City radio show guests explore what communities are doing to tackle problems associated with a growing number of aging citizens and too many teen mothers.

Top 12 Public Squares in the U.S. and Canada (December 20)
The Project for Public Spaces lists the top 12 public squares in the U.S. and Canada as shining examples to inspire the growing movement to bring back town squares. More from Making Places.

Smart City - What Makes Cities Successful? (December 20)
Sean Safford and Saskia Sassen from the University of Chicago talk about critical factors for successful cities in this week's Smart City radio show.

King County Parks Taking Citizen Feedback Online (December 20)
King County parks users now have an open line to parks managers when they fill out an Internet survey at the county's parks and recreation survey site. More from Government Technology.

Guide to America's Best New Development Projects (December 20)
A report from the Sierra Club, "Building Better: A Guide to America's Best New Development Projects," shows that by reinvesting in existing neighborhoods and creating more walkable, transit accessible places to live and work, a select subset of the nation’s development leaders are raising the bar for neighborhood design.

The Role of Local Government in Smart Growth (December 20)
A new report, "Public Sector Leadership: The Role of Local Government in Smart Growth," (Adobe Acrobat Document956kb) prepared by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), examines the role of public sector leadership on growth and development issues.

Information Technology - The Year in Review (December 20)
As 2005 draws to a close, a note of optimism has crept back into public-sector IT conversations. More from Government Technology.

Traffic Safety - X Marks the Spot (December 20)
Crashes are twice as likely to occur at intersections where there is a signal compared to those with no controls (no signs nor signals) at all. More from the Institute of Transportation Studies' Berkeley Magazine.

EPA Issues Guidance to Control Urban Runoff Pollution (December 20)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released "National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Urban Areas." The comprehensive 512-page guidance will help local governments and others protect water resources from polluted runoff that can result from everyday activities and urban development.

DOC and WASPC Launch Electronic Monitoring Program (December 20)
The Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) have launched a new program to use electronic monitoring devices as alternatives to incarcerating offenders who violate the terms of their community supervision. More from the Department of Corrections.

Does Light Rail Pay for Itself? (December 20)
Among the arguments rail advocates use is that rail transit costs less to operate than buses. The savings, they say, will soon pay for the cost of rail construction. More from the Thoreau Institute.

Labor Law Poster Services Targeting Businesses Again (December 20)
Attorney General Rob McKenna and Labor and Industries Director Gary Weeks warned consumers today to be on the lookout for private companies mailing notices that threaten businesses with up to $17,000 in fines, lawsuits and audits for not displaying labor law posters. More from the Department of Labor & Industries.

Let's Outsource the Whole City! (December 15)
Are there limits to what local governments can contract out? We may know soon. An Atlanta suburb has decided to privatize virtually its entire government, and it has turned to a single company (CH2M Hill) to manage everything from tax collection to street maintenance. More from Civic Strategies.

NLC's National City Network (December 15)
The National City Network, a service of the National League of Cities (NLC), is an easy-to-use comprehensive resource that connects city leaders and engaged citizens with the knowledge needed to build stronger communities.

Housing - Out of Reach 2005 (December 15)
A new report from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) highlights the persistent gap between what hard working Americans earn and what they must spend in order to obtain decent housing. The data can be viewed for each state as a whole or for specific counties or metropolitan areas. More from the NLIHC.

County Officials can Help Prepare for Influenza Pandemic (December 15)
Preparedness for pandemic influenza does not require a whole new effort or set of plans. More from NACo's County News.

Police Turnover (December 15)
High turnover rates have threatened many police agencies' ability to keep a sufficient number of well-trained, experienced officers on-duty. More from The Police Chief.

Emergency Management - The Katrina Effect (December 15)
A recent report from New York University's Center for Catastrophe Perparedness and Response, "The Katrina Effect on American Preparedness," (Adobe Acrobat Document973kb) reviews the lessons Americans learned in watching the Katrina catastrophe unfold.

2005 Digital Cities Survey (December 15)
The Center for Digital Government recently announced the results of its fifth annual Digital Cities Survey. The survey examines and assesses how city governments are utilizing information technology to operate and deliver quality service to their customers and citizens.

Defending Against a Deluge (December 15)
The disaster in New Orleans has prompted a nationwide examination of man-made levees, as well as interest in restoring natural floodplains. More from Governing.

NTIA Telecommunications Grant Deadline (December 15)
The federal National Telecommunications and Information Administration has set February 7, 2006 as the deadline for applications for matching grants through their Public Telecommunications Facilities Program for the planning and construction of public telecommunications facilities.

Web Sightings - City and County Impact Fees (December 15)
Web Sightings - City and County Impact Fees Cities and counties assess impact fees on new development to recover costs incurred in providing public facilities such as roads, schools, and parks that are required to serve them. This month's Web Sightings focuses on city and county impact fees:

Selected Washington Local Government Impact Fee Information

IRS Sets 2006 Standard Mileage Rate at 44.5 Cents per Mile (December 09)
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently set the 2006 standard mileage rate for business use of private vehicles at 44.5 cents per mile, down from the rate of 48.5 cents that was set for the last four months of 2005. Local governments may (but need not) reimburse employees at 44.5 cents per mile without having to report the reimbursement as taxable income. More from the IRS.

Attorney General Meth Task Force Report and Recommendations (December 06)
Attorney General Rob McKenna’s Meth Task Force recently released their report, "Operation: Allied Against Meth," (Adobe Acrobat Document161kb) with recommendations for demand reduction, clean-up and governance, and criminal sanctions.

A Toolkit for Sharing Justice Information (December 06)
A recent publication from the Center for Technology in Government, Sharing Justice Information: A Capability Assessment Toolkit, provides a process for assessing where capability for information sharing exists and where it must be developed in order to achieve public safety goals.

NLC's Youth-Only Website (December 06)
The "Youth as City Leaders" website, created by the National League of Cities' (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, will be a place for high-school aged youth who are involved in city government to meet, share ideas and receive advice. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

New Policy Brief on Block Grants (December 06)
A new Brookings Institution policy brief, "Block Grants: Flexibility vs. Stability in Social Services," reviews from the the history of federal block grants for social services, the academic literature examining block grant outcomes, and recent federal proposals.

Rethinking Readiness (December 06)
State and local leaders are pushing back against suggestions that the federal government be put in charge of disaster relief efforts, saying they are best equipped to handle catastrophes that strike their communities. More from American City & County.

Is Wal-Mart Really Going Green? (December 06)
The mega-retailer has announced a slew of environmentally friendly policies. Is this an honest attempt at change or just more greenwashing from the Biggest Box of Them All? More from Grist Magazine.

New Grant Funds Available for Food Stamp Program Outreach (December 06)
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the availability of at least $1 million of grant funds to state and local governments to improve access to and awareness of the Federal Food Stamp Program. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Municipal Wireless Networks Continue to Thrive (December 06)
Cities and towns are deploying municipal wireless networks for several reasons, including economic development, better communication among public safety and other government agencies, and more affordable Internet service to their residents. More from Federal Computer Week.

Getting the lead OUT (December 06)
Reducing lead in the nation's drinking water supply is fast becoming a national priority. More from American City & County.

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

The Katrina Breakdown (December 01)
Coordination and communication problems between levels of government must be addressed before the next disaster strikes. More form Governing.

Internet Sales Help Downtown Smart Growth Revival (December 01)
Widening use of the Internet by small retailers is enlivening downtowns across the country by enabling merchants to market niche products to a national and global Main Street. More from the Michigan Land Use Institute.

Citizens in Edmonds can "Ask the Attorney" (December 01)
The "Ask the Attorney" feature on the City of Edmond's Web site gives citizens the opportunity to ask questions and get answers about local issues from the city attorney.

Gas Prices: The Tipping Point Toward Better Development? (December 01)
The findings of a recent Urban Land Institute (ULI) study suggest that higher gas prices may be the "tipping point" that causes a general shift in consumer attitudes toward more concentrated development that is less reliant on autos for mobility. More from ULI.

Working Families Pushed Out of Town, Into Debt (December 01)
One way to close the gap between affordable home prices and rising transportation costs is putting people, homes, and jobs in closer proximity. More from the Michigan Land Use Institute.

New AGO re Regulating ORV's on City/County Roads (December 01)
A new attorney general's opinion (AGO 2005 No. 18) concludes that cities and counties may not permit the operation of off-road vehicles (ORVs) on roads within their boundaries unless such roads meet the definition of "nonhighway road" in RCW 46.09.020(7).

Update for Jurisdictions with Adelphia Cable Franchises (December 01)
Adelphia has been in bankruptcy for quite some time, and there are some events coming up that you should be aware of. For more information, see the November 2005 Adelphia Bankruptcy Update from the Baller Herbst Law Group.

Smart City - New Ideas for Land Use (December 01)
After millions of acres have been consumed by sprawling development, many are calling for a new vision of land use in America. Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt describes that vision on this week's Smart City™ radio show.

Traffic Calming Practice Revisited (December 01)
A recent artilce appearing in the Institute of Transportation Engineer's (ITE) journal compares the current traffic calming practices of 21 leading jurisdictions to practices that were documented in a 1997 study. More from the ITE Journal (Adobe Acrobat Document818kb) .

Seattle Tops in Internet Literacy (December 01)
Seattle ranks as the country’s top Internet literate city, one of the factors that helped it become the most literate city in 2005, according to an annual study. More from Federal Computer Week.

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