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Focus Archive - January 2012

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.

Evaluation of Evaluations (January 25)
Do public employee appraisals actually accomplish anything? More from Governing.

Cities May Face Long Road to Recovery (January 25)
Metro areas across the U.S. are seeing a glimmer of economic progress – but most still face a long, uphill climb toward a full recovery, according to a report released by HIS Global Insight as part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ U.S. Metro Economies series. More from MuniNetGuide.

A High Tech Revolution Opens for World Cities (January 25)
What can high technology do to help cities confront their thorniest problems — from police strategies to water systems, traffic control to waste disposal? More from Citiwire.

The Public Sector, Disrupted (January 25)
Government needs the kind of innovation that allows us to really get more for less. More from Governing.

Innovative State and City Government Solutions to Watch in 2012 (January 25)
Throughout the nation, governors and state legislatures and mayors and city councils are crafting innovative solutions to the problems facing their economies. More from The Atlantic Cities.

Supreme Court Shoots Down Warrantless GPS Tracking (January 25)
The opinion could have wide-ranging impacts on the techniques and practices that law enforcement agencies use when gathering evidence and investigating cases. More from Government Technology.

NACo Joins in Supreme Court Case (January 25)
NACo joined several of its sister organizations in filing an amicus curiae brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could affect state and local governments’ ability to hire affordable, high-quality outside legal counsel. More from NACo's County News.

Benchmarking Report Ranks Cities and States on Bicycling and Walking (January 25)
In a new report, Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2012 Benchmarking Report, the Alliance for Biking and Walking ranks all 50 states and the 51 largest U.S. cities on bicycling and walking levels, safety, funding, and other factors. More from the Alliance.

Municipal Bonds: Reflecting on 2011 (January 25)
Although the early part of 2011 was a rough patch for municipal bonds, the remainder of 2011 brought normalcy; and many expect 2012 to continue this trend. More from Public Management.

National EAS Test Considered a Success Despite Issues (January 25)
With the first national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) declared a success, federal officials and EAS participants are hoping that local emergency managers and public safety officials will become more engaged in the EAS and other alerting initiatives. More from Emergency Management.

New Studies Shed Light on the Density/Transportation Connection (January 19)
We have recently updated the MRSC page: "Transportation Efficient Land Use: Planning and Land Use Strategies that Reduce the Need to Drive." Of special interest is the section on "Compact Development/Transportation-Efficient Density" that features a number of recent, noteworthy studies on the density/transportation connection. More from MRSC.

Empowering Civic Engagement (January 18)
The Knight Foundation announces Engagement Commons, a comprehensive catalogue of civic engagement software. More from Knight Blog.

Picturing It: The Year 2020 (January 18)
Public Management asked managers around the world this question: “What do you think local government management will be like in the year 2020?” Here are their predictions.

The Perils of Evidence-Based Government (January 18)
It’s a powerful tool, but sometimes it might really be better to reinvent the wheel. More from Governing.

Be Unreasonable (January 18)
Any public executive who sets a stretch target can expect to be told: “It can’t be done.” And the only way to overcome this pragmatic response is to be unreasonable. More from Bob Behn's Performance Leadership Report.

Police Budget and Staffing Shortages (January 18)
Consider the benefits and cost savings of part-time, paid, reserve police officers. More from The Police Chief.

When Shops and Services are Within Walking Distance, We Walk More and Drive Less (January 18)
New research from Southern California has found that residents of neighborhoods with a central core of shops and services walk nearly three times more often than do residents of neighborhoods whose nearest shops and services lie along a major arterial roadway. More from Better Cities & Towns.

Broadband Access: An Economic Development Tool for Cities (January 18)
As evidenced by a recent surge of public investment in technology, the nexus between broadband access and a community’s economic wellbeing is becoming more defined. More from Nation's Cities Weekly.

2011 Puts the Brakes on U.S. Population Growth (January 18)
With the 2010 Census under its belt, the Census Bureau last week released the first set of state population counts for 2011. The news wasn’t heartening. More from Brookings.

EPA: Power Plants, Refineries Are Top NW Greenhouse Gas Polluters (January 18)
The Environmental Protection Agency issued a first-of-its-kind database Wednesday identifying the top greenhouse gas polluters nationally and in each state. More from EarthFix.

The Best Government Ideas of 2011 (January 12)
Governing reviewed all its Idea Center entries throughout 2011 to share a select few for their unique approach to common problems. More from Governing.

Report - Policing in the New Economy (January 12)
A new report from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, titled "The Impact of the Economic Downturn on American Police Agencies," attempts to document the early responses of American law enforcement agencies to current budget challenges. More from The Police Chief.

Can Public-Sector Job Security be Quantified? (January 12)
One study says it can't. What impact does job security have in evaluating public-sector compensation? More from Governing.

Retrofitting the Suburbs to Increase Walking (January 12)
Researchers look at the largely suburban South Bay area of Los Angeles to offer ways to retrofit auto-oriented suburbs for more pedestrian travel. More from Access.

County Financial Services Department Ebraces "Lean" (January 12)
Gwinnett County, Georgia, has concentrated on deploying Lean within the Department of Financial Services over the last two years. All underlying administrative processes must be continually improved to deliver and sustain superior service. More from Government Finance Review.

The U.S. Economy: Regions To Watch In 2012 (January 12)
New Geography highlights five regions, including the Pacific Northwest, that are most poised to flourish and help boost the national economy. More from New Geography.

Do Rankings Affect Our Opinions of Cities? (January 12)
Are our opinions of cities actually affected by statistics and rankings? Or is popular sentiment toward a city based more on nebulous, harder-to-quantify properties? More from The Atlantic.

America's 9 Newest Cities (January 12)
According to data collected by 24/7 Wall St. from the U.S. Census Bureau, nine new municipalities have incorporated in the last two years. More from The Bottom Line.

Top 11 Emergency Management Stories of 2011 (January 12)
Emergency Management lists the top 11 most read articles from 2011. More from Emergency Management.

Seattle Working on New Wireless Public Safety Network (January 12)
The city of Seattle is leading a multijurisdictional effort to build a new wireless public safety network in Washington state made possible by a public-private partnership. More from Government Technology.

IRS Sets 2012 Mileage Rate (January 05)
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) set the 2012 Standard Mileage Rate at 55.5 cents. Taxpayers can use this amount to compute their costs when traveling for business purposes. More from the IRS.

Stretch Targets (January 05)
A stretch target that is directly connected to the organization’s purpose invigorates and mobilizes people in a way that no ordinary target can. More from Bob Behn's Performance Leadership Report.

Web Sightings - Year in Review (January 05)
In case you missed them, here are all of our Web Sightings for 2011:

2012 Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference (January 05)
The Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference, April 9 - 11, 2012, at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, is the largest and most successful regional emergency preparedness conference in the Pacific Northwest. Register now.

What's Wrong with American Housing? (January 05)
Housing will not help lead the U.S. economy out of this recession, as it has done many times in past recessions. A major reason is that America’s housing industry suffers from nine deficiencies that limit its ability to meet our housing needs. More from Brookings.

Opinion: The Politicization of Land Use in America (January 05)
Of all the powers wielded at the local level of government, it is the use of land, of private property, that stands out as distinct from the powers exercised by the federal and state governments. More from Urban Land.

Americans Still Stuck at Home (January 05)
Americans used to be a nomadic bunch, uprooting themselves for better jobs, better housing, and better lives, but new Census data again confirms a trend first observed at the nadir of the recession: We’re becoming a nation of homebodies, and not by choice. More from Brookings.

Sea Science (January 05)
Marine spatial planning is changing the way we deal with oceans and coastlines. More from Planning.

New City Slogans of 2011 (January 05)
It might be hard to quantify the value of an official city slogan. But every year, cities and towns decide to update theirs in an effort to improve business and tourism. More from The Atlantic.

Outdoor Holiday Markets Spread Across America (January 05)
A heartening sign of Christmas, 2011: holiday festival markets are emerging and flourishing in and near central city squares across America, smartly following the model of the great Christmas markets of Germany and other European lands. More from Citiwire.

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