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Focus Archive - February 2011

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.

The Wisdom of the Crowd in New York City (February 23)
New York City government is rolling out many "crowdsourcing" tools that rest on the proposition that an informed (and sometimes even enraged) public can indeed provide wise counsel. More from Governing.

More Low-Down on Tall Buildings (February 23)
Growing research paints a decidedly mixed picture on their benefits — with significant implications for responsible best practice. More from New Urban Network.

President's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request Gets Mixed Reviews from Cities (February 23)
Although Congress has yet to complete work on the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget, last week President Obama released his $3.73 trillion budget request for fiscal year 2012. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Jon Stewart Discusses The Importance of The City with Edward Glaeser (February 23)
The Daily Show host interviews Edward Glaeser of Harvard University to discuss his new book, "Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier." More from The Daily Show.

Cities as Global Stars (February 23)
Neal Peirce discusses the increasing power and importance of cities, a dominant message in the new book "Triumph of the City" by economist Edward Glaeser. More from Citiwire.

ULI Awards for Excellence: No One-Size-Fits-All Solutions for Winners (February 23)
Downtown revitalization can be driven by dynamic, large-scale projects that create new centers of activity. Three 2010 ULI Awards for Excellence winners are recent examples. More from Urban Land.

Long-Term Open Source Solutions on Cities’ Radar (February 23)
In cities across the country, government officials are searching for ways to make meaningful data available and use the intelligence to solve social problems. More from Government Technology.

Improving Environmental Performance at Small Airports (February 23)
A new report from the Transportation Research Board, Guidebook of Practices for Improving Environmental Performance at Small Airports, outlines federal environmental regulations and requirements, and identifies activities in which airport operators can be proactive in promoting environmental stewardship.

Do Budget Cuts Drive Efficiency? (February 23)
Will spending cuts lead to greater efficiencies? Or merely a reduction in services? More from Governing.

Crowdsourcing: Government by the People? (February 23)
States and municipalities are pursuing the idea of government by the people, by using online tools to crowdsource ideas on how to allocate budgets, cut waste and reduce the size of government. More from Government Computer News.

WAPRO Announces Website and Spring Training Registration (February 18)
The Washington Association of Public Records Officers (WAPRO) is pleased to announce the official launch of its website! WAPRO was formed to promote a culture of transparency in Washington governments through education of its public records practitioners. The site has information about WAPRO, training events, and a Members Only section that includes FAQs, best practices, a toolkit, and training materials. REGISTRATION FOR WAPRO’s APRIL 2011 SPRING TRAINING EVENT IS NOW OPEN.

Introduction to MRSC Services: A Live Webinar on March 16 (February 17)
On Wednesday March 16, we will conduct our first live webinar on MRSC Services from 10:00 to 10:30 am. We will begin with a brief introduction to our organization followed by an overview of our website and a Q&A. We plan to conduct these live webinars on a periodic basis as well as post them on our website for on-demand viewing. Registration is free but in order to participate you must be an official or employee of a Washington city, town, county or one of the special purpose districts served by MRSC. Register now.

10 Best Cities for Public Transportation (February 16)
Obama announced more funding for high speed rail, but these cities are already excelling. More from U.S. News.

Municipal Utilities and the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010 (February 16)
Until the Federal Trade Commission revises its guidance, it is best for municipal utilities to begin enforcing their identity theft prevention programs. More from Washington Municipal Law Update.

A Measure of Financial Fitness (February 16)
A new online tool in North Carolina provides a systematic approach in analyzing financial conditions for local governments. More from Governing.

Making the Case for Regional Taxes (February 16)
Regions have supplanted cities as the nation's economic centers. Local tax structures don't recognize this shift. More from Governing.

New Strategies for Controlling Stormwater Overflows (February 16)
With stormwater a major pollutant, cities are coming up with innovative "gray" and "green" ways to control its impact. More from Governing.

Obama's Budget Creates Rift with Mayors, a Core Constituency (February 16)
Mayors across the country say that, if it's enacted, the administration’s proposed CDBG cut will be devastating to their residents and will compound the budgetary struggles city halls everywhere are experiencing. More from Governing.

Misplaced Pension Hysteria (February 16)
The real monster are other post-employment benefits (OPEB), not pensions. More from Governing.

The Rust Belt Has Arrived (February 16)
Interest in cities that have fallen on hard times in the Midwest and Northeast brings new cache to living and working in the Rust Belt. More from Governing.

Creating Pathways to Employment for Disconnected Youth: Lessons from Four Cities (February 16)
Perhaps no group has suffered more harm from the nation’s worst postwar recession than disadvantaged older youth. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Methane Production Pays Off for Counties (February 16)
Digging deep into landfills is paying off for some counties that are finding gas that is valuable in more than one way. More from NACo's County News.

Turning the Corner (February 09)
Using the corner store as a wedge for neighborhood density. More from Sightline Daily.

Should Public-Sector Websites be Moneymakers? (February 09)
With budgets tight, states and municipalities consider selling ad space. More from Government Computer News.

Fair Pay for Public Employees: A Question of Efficiency (February 09)
Finally, something everyone can agree on: Public employees should be compensated fairly. While excessive pay for public employees is unfair to taxpayers, inadequate pay is not only unfair to public workers, it's inefficient. More from Governing.

Web Sightings – Waterfront Development (February 09)
Waterfronts provide unique opportunities for economic development, recreational activities, and water dependent uses, such as marinas, port facilities, and ferry landings. Many cities have revitalized their urban and industrial waterfront or created shoreline parks and waterfront trails. This month we’ve selected a variety of resources on waterfront development.

General Waterfront Development Resources

Selected Washington Cities

Cities in Other States

The Future of the Strip: Downhill (February 09)
The era of strip development is coming to an end. Evolving consumer behavior, changing demographics, high priced gasoline, internet shopping — are all pointing to a new paradigm for commercial development. More from Citiwire.

Telework Program Implementation Guide (February 09)
A new report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, Implementing Telework: Lessons Learned from Four Federal Agencies, offering practical implementation advice to federal agency leaders will also be of interest to local government managers tasked with implementing local telework programs.

Keeping Track of What's Important (February 09)
A list of priorities and issues helps public officials remember what really matters in tough fiscal times. More from Governing.

Modeling Civility — It Starts With Local Officials (February 09)
Nothing is more fundamental to a culture of civility than the ability to empathize with those with whom we disagree. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

Agencies, Choose Your Clouds – Here are the 3 Basic Options (February 09)
Where will federal, state and local agencies turn for help in satisfying government mandates for moving their computing, data storage and applications to the cloud? More from Government Computer News.

Online Game for City Planners Addresses Real-World Problems (February 09)
City planners now have another tool at their disposal for optimizing management strategies with IBM’s free-to-use CityOne game simulation. More from Government Technology.

Police Put Social Media on the Trail of Crime Investigations (February 02)
Police departments these days are walking the beat via social media tools, increasingly employing social networking in criminal investigations. More from Government Computer News.

Cloud Computing in Government Explodes (February 02)
Cloud computing offers governments a clear and compelling value proposition: All the technological firepower you need without any of the headaches of ownership and maintenance. More from Governing.

Knowing What Works: Evaluating Evidence-Based Programs (February 02)
What if a program is not producing the results desired? Should state and local officials immediately scrap it? More from Governing.

Seattle Ramping Up Single Sign-On (February 02)
Seattle launched a new website this week allowing citizens to customize’s home page to display only the services relevant to them. More from Government Technology.

42 Ways to Fund Transit-Oriented Development (February 02)
A 25-page report from Reconnecting American summarizes 42 ongoing, institutionalized programs that provide direct funding or financial incentives. More from New Urban Network.

Engaging a Multi-Generational Workforce (February 02)
A new report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, Engaging a Multi-Generational Workforce: Practical Advice for Government Managers, examines six trends now occurring in the workplace and describes how managers can successfully engage a multi-generational workforce to be committed to the success of their organization.

Public-Sector Squeeze (February 02)
In response to deep economic pains in middle-class communities, major efforts are under way, from California to Maine, to balance budgets through major cuts in services, wages, benefits and employment. More from Truthout.

EPA Seeks Applications for Community-Based Environmental Grants (February 02)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of $2 million in grants in 2011 to reduce pollution at the local level through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

National Endowment for the Arts Creates New Grant Category for Local Governments (February 02)
A new National Endowment for the Arts grant program specifically to aid counties and cities aims to connect arts and culture to property redevelopment, landscaping, livability and urbanization. More from NACo's County News.

Funds for Skateboard Construction in Low-Income Communities (February 02)
The principal focus of the Tony Hawk Foundation's grant program is to help fund the construction of new, quality skateboard parks located in low-income communities throughout the United States.

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