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Focus Archive - February 2010

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.

Cutting Costs Without Cutting Benefits (February 24)
Instead of looking to explain what you can't do without, look hard at how you can make the most of what you've got. Doing so will create a culture that encourages innovation and protects those who advocate for innovations that increase accountability while improving results. More from Governing.

Making Mergers Work in Government (February 24)
While much has been written about corporate mergers, public agency consolidation is somewhat more mysterious. More from Better, Faster, Cheaper.

More Hidden Keys to Reforming Support Services (February 24)
Savings, improved services can be realized by discarding old, erroneous ways of thinking for new ways of thinking. More from Governing.

Parking Pricing Guide (February 24)
A new report from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Parking Pricing Implementation Guidelines, offers guidance on parking pricing and examples of successful parking pricing programs.

Cook County, Ill., Puts Local Government Checkbook Online (February 24)
In an effort to enhance transparency, Cook County, Ill., put its check register online, a move that will not only allow the public to track local tax dollars, but could create a wave of similar transparency measures across the state. More from Government Technology.

Case Studies for Transit Oriented Development (February 24)
A report prepared by Reconnecting America, Case Studies for Transit Oriented Development, summarizes 10 strategies being implemented by communities to encourage successful transit-oriented development.

America's Most Miserable Cities (February 24)
Cleveland leads a slew of Midwestern towns on Forbes annual ranking of America's most miserable cities, but thanks to high taxes New York and Chicago make it too. More from Forbes.

Happy Cities (February 24)
Silicon Valley is America's happiest big metro-region and Washington, D.C. is second, according to a new survey of America's 52 largest metro regions by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. More from The Atlantic.

Taking Stock (February 24)
Recalling 22 years of assessing the ebb and flow of states and localities. More from Governing.

How the Recession Has Changed American Migration (February 24)
The old saying that Americans have been moving from the Snow Belt to the Sun Belt fails to capture either what has been happening from 1990 to the onset of the current recession in 2007 or what is happening today. More from The American.

Pursuing the Next Big Thing (February 17)
Many agencies and towns are on Facebook and Twitter. BART jumped ahead by integrating a growing social game to promote transit. More from Governing.

An Era of Opporunity for Cities and Regions? (February 17)
For America's cities and regions, this seems the worst of times. But take a look at their partnership with the federal government. It's a rapid turn for the better. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Seeing Through Transparency (February 17)
Transparency isn't all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes, it does actual damage to the public at large. More from Governing.

Municipal Medal Winners (February 17)
The National League of Cities (NLC) presented its 2009 Awards for Municipal Excellence at the Congress of Cities in San Antonio in November. More from American City & County.

5 Great Cost Saving Ideas (February 17)
Why everybody hasn't embraced these five 'innovations' befuddles this columnist. More from Governing.

Cisco Plans to Make a Massachusetts City Smarter, Rather Than Build One From Scratch (February 17)
Cisco signed a deal recently with Holyoke, Massachusetts to transform the onetime mill town into a "Smart+Connected Community" over the next six-to-twelve months. More from Fast Company.

The Results of ROWE (February 17)
Hennepin County, Minnesota’s telework manager shares how she worked with employees, managers and unions to implement a results-based work environment (ROWE). More from Governing.

National Broadband Plan could Derail (February 17)
NACo fears the FCC will use the National Broadband Plan to take significant rights-of-way (ROW) management authority away from local governments. More from NACO's County News.

Furlough Fever (February 17)
Are four-day workweeks the beginning of a permanent trend or a passing phenomenon? More from Governing.

Talking Money (February 17)
10 steps to secure an interoperable communications grant. More from American City & County.

A Decade To Remember (February 17)
Now that the New Year's champagne has lost its fizz, it's time to size up the state of American federalism. More from Governing.

Social Web Sites Catching on in Counties (February 10)
Communicating directly with individuals is easier than ever with the proliferation of social media Web sites, but a NACo survey shows 55 percent of counties don’t make use of these tools. More from NACO's County News.

Cross-Checking for Sales Tax (February 10)
Figuring out if and where there is sales tax revenue missing may be as easy as cross-checking local and state lists of businesses. More from Governing's Idea Center.

Rules for Engagement (February 10)
Reading through how different entities approach social media may help state and local agencies create a plan for maximizing the use of social media in their operations. More from Governing's Idea Center.

Stemming the Tide of Homelessness (February 10)
Rapid re-housing might just be the answer to the nation's growing homelessness problem. More from Governing.

Cities Look Abroad To Prosper At Home (February 10)
Are we ready to retire the old bugaboo that any American mayor better think twice before visiting a foreign city — that the press back home will pillory him or her for “junketeering”? More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Home Sizes Continue to Shrink (February 10)
Survey data from the NAHB and Better Homes and Gardens indicates that builders and consumers are thinking smaller. More from Custom Home Online.

A Chronicle of New Urbanism and Exurban Decay (February 10)
Faced with aging infrastructure, higher maintenance costs, and growing numbers of poor, the suburban landscape we once aspired to and now take for granted is changing before our eyes. More from Fast Company.

Crime Prevention Matters (February 10)
With violent crime poised to increase, the costs of crime escalating, and U.S. citizens believing that crime is getting worse, government leaders need to chart a new course for crime prevention. More from The Police Chief.

Empty Lot Syndrome (February 10)
The typical large city has 15 percent of its land sitting vacant or abandoned, according to the National Vacant Properties Campaign. More from Governing.

Closing the Knowledge-Practice Gap (February 10)
Evidence-based management can help close the gap between knowledge and practice. More from Bob Behn's Performance Leadership Report.

Google Fiber for Communities (February 10)
Google is planning to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country. From now until March 26th, they are asking interested municipalities to respond to a Request for information (RFI), which they will use to determine where to build their network. More from Google.

Web Sightings - Affordable Housing (February 03)
Communities are seeking innovative ways to encourage the development of affordable housing. This month we’ve selected a variety of Web sites that address affordable housing:

General Affordable Housing Resources

National and State Affordable Housing Sites

Washington Cities and Counties

Other Housing Organizations

The Aughts: The Decade of Infrastructure (February 03)
As the decade ends, there's little to cheer save a notable exception: infrastructure. More from Governing.

The Great Recession and the State and Local Government Workforce (February 03)
Hiring freezes, pay freezes, layoffs, and furloughs top the list of ways that local and state governments are cutting costs, according to a Center for Excellence online survey of government managers. More from The Center for State & Local Government Excellence.

Issue Brief - Pension Obligation Bonds (February 03)
A recent Issue Brief from The Center for State & Local Government Excellence, "Pension Obligation Bonds: Financial Crisis Exposes Risks," examines POBs, evaluating whether they represent viable pension financing instruments or are simply a device used by cash-strapped governments.

Fighting Foreclosures Using Emergency Management Tactics (February 03)
Local governments are building ad-hoc networks to tackle housing foreclosures. More from Governing.

A Bike-Ped State of the Union (February 03)
Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2010 Benchmarking Report is an essential resource and tool for government officials, advocates, and those working to promote bicycling and walking. More from the Alliance for Biking & Walking

Cities Embrace Mobile Apps, 'Gov 2.0' (February 03)
Twitter, iPhones, and new sites like SeeClickFix make it increasingly easy for citizens and governments to communicate. More from CNN.

The Technology Touch (February 03)
Evolving high-tech trends that are driving communities into the future. More from American City & County.

The Push to Consolidate (February 03)
Cities and counties must work together if they're going to survive the current economic downturn. More from the 13th Floor.

TVW Report on County Budget Challenges (February 03)
Commissioners Josh Brown, Kitsap County; Todd Mielke, Spokane County; and Steve Stuart, Clark County were recently interviewed on TVW's "The Impact" about the challenges counties are facing as a result of the economic downturn. More from WSAC.

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