Source: Charles K. Coe, Public Budgeting & Finance, Vol. 27 no. 3, Fall 2007
Some local governments face fiscal challenges due to mismanagement and declining economies. In particular, manufacturing states like Michigan and Ohio have been hard hit by the effects of international competition. To prevent fiscal distress from becoming a crisis, states exercise oversight over local government fiscal management. The three bond rating agencies consider the North Carolina oversight system a model. This paper discusses the North Carolina oversight system, including audit review, technical assistance, debt issuance, and power to take over the financial operations of distressed local units.
Source: Dan Seligman, Campaigns & Elections, Vol. 28 no. 10, October 2007
American Viewpoint’s client roster reads like a Republican Who’s Who. … So when Randall Gutermuth mentions his firm’s latest client at parties, it tends to raise some eyebrows. “The National Education Association has over a million Republican members, so it makes a lot of sense to me that they’d be reaching out to those members,” said Gutermuth, who is American Viewpoint’s director of political affairs. The firm is helping the teachers’ union reach out to those members–not a simple task for what many on the right view as the great bastion of liberalism. … So the union landscape this cycle is some pretty unique terrain. Politicians are bypassing union leadership to court individual workers, and unions find themselves trying to court their own members. The question is: Will the grout that binds these workers hold them together politically for yet another campaign cycle?
Source: Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, October 9, 2007
A political Web site set to launch on Tuesday plans to become a kind of Wikipedia-like destination specializing in elections, governments, and political candidates.
The idea behind PoliticalBase.com is to provide a neutral, one-stop source of information about politics (and politicians) to which anyone can contribute. Changes must be approved by a staff editor before they take effect.
From the Center for Media and Democracy:
• Coming this Week in Congress
• The 2008 U.S. Congressional Elections Portal
• U.S. presidential election, 2008
• Beta of LOUIS (Library Of Unified Information Sources) Database
Source: National Parks Conservation Association, State of the Parks, July 2007
From the press release:
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today released a report that highlights threats to the natural features and cultural sites in six national parks along the Great Lakes–Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana; Isle Royale National Park, Michigan; Keweenaw National Historical Park, Michigan; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan; and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan.
The report describes these sites and their significance, and summarizes resource conditions. Also noted are funding and staffing considerations, park planning efforts, resource education opportunities, and external support provided by volunteers and partner organizations.
According to NPCA’s Center for State of the Parks report, the Great Lakes parks face threats from air and water pollution, non-native species that are seriously damaging ecosystems, adjacent development, and funding shortfalls that are threatening every aspect of the parks.
Source: Eileen Prendiville and Mischa Gaus, Labor Notes, #344, November 2007
Leading a strike that one hospital administrator said cost her $1 million a day, 5,000 registered nurses at 10 Northern California hospitals in the Sutter Health chain walked off their jobs for two days in mid-October. Five facilities locked out striking nurses for an additional one to three days when the strike, the largest among nurses in a decade, was over.
Source: Tiffany Ten Eyck, Labor Notes, #344, November 2007
If you happen to be scanning the radio dial near two unique towns in the United States, you could stumble across something unusual: FM radio run by and for farmworkers. In Woodburn, Oregon and south central Florida, farmworkers have added low-power community radio to their organizing arsenal.
Source: Tom A. Peter Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 2007
A casino plan in Massachusetts is pushing two Connecticut tribes to expand their gambling operations.
… In New England, all eyes are on Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is proposing that the state allow three resort casinos to be built by 2012. He claims the casinos would create 20,000 permanent jobs and generate at least $400 million a year in tax revenues. By some estimates, the plan could cost Connecticut’s tribal casinos $700 million a year in lost business.
Source: Melanie Evans, Modern Healthcare, Vol. 37 no. 43, October 29, 2007
Medicare losses at general hospitals also up 20% to $18.6 billion, association says.
Hospital losses on publicly insured patients rose at double-digit rates while the cost of uncompensated care increased by 8% last year, the American Hospital Association said.
Source: Robert Puentes, Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Project, Congressional Testimony, Committee on the Budget United States House of Representatives, October 25, 2007
Debate on the nation’s transportation policy focuses narrowly on new revenues needed to bolster the federal program. In recent testimony before the House Budget Committee, Fellow Robert Puentes argues that we should start with a clearer articulation of the goals, objectives and desired outcomes.
Source: Martha Ross and Kathy Patrick, Brookings Institution, October 24, 2007
Focus groups of low-income Washington, DC residents conducted by the DCPCA Medical Homes DC project identified multiple barriers to health care access and problems within the system. The identified barriers are common across the country, especially among low-income and minority populations, and the paper recommends several promising practices that health centers can enact to improve access to care and the patient experience.