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The Troubled Relationship Between Texas and FEMA

May 27, 2015 Over the past two weeks, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster for 46 different counties. Two dozen counties made that list on Memorial Day, as extreme weather marked by tornadoes and flooding continued to sweep across the state. “I have, as governor, declared disaster declarations literally ...

9 Things You Need to Know About the National Mall's Newest Museum

May 10, 2015 Ten years ago, the National Museum of African American History and Culture had a staff of two. There was no site locked down for the building. No design attached to it. And no stuff to put in it. "We knew we were going to have to raise millions of dollars, ...

Grading Baltimore's Mayor on Her Own Advice for Police

May 3, 2015 Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake couldn't have known in January that a citywide standoff between protesters and police was coming. But she was thinking about it. Back in the winter, she and several other mayors assembled to write a set of city guidelines for improving the relationship between police and the ...

Cities Don't Need Smoking Bans to Be Smoke-Free

April 23, 2015 In the early hours of Wednesday, smokers pulled their last drags and stubbed out their last butts in bars in New Orleans. As of midnight, the city became the latest to adopt a policy prohibiting smoking in bars, restaurants, and casinos. As Willie Nelson once said: Turn out the lights, ...

Why a Seattle Suburb Legally Defined What a 'Family' Is

April 7, 2015 In Bellevue, a satellite city outside Seattle, the City Council and Planning Commission have been working on a new housing policy for coming on two years now. It's a resolution that aims to solve a land-use issue facing a number of Bellevue neighborhoods. All the council had to do to ...

Why Cities Should Pay People To Eat Their Veggies

April 6, 2015 All the talk about "food deserts" dried up years ago. It turns out that truly barren concrete wastelands are harder to find than people figured. More recently, the conversation's turned toward "food swamps": places where food sources are abundant, but most of it's junk. Focusing on food swamps and food ...

Photo ID Cards Won't Stop Food Stamp Fraud

March 27, 2015 Fraud is a real problem for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Some places want to target SNAP fraud (or "trafficking" as it's called in the food-stamp policy sphere) through a controversial means. Legislators have proposed and in some states enacted laws that require SNAP beneficiaries to carry food-stamp cards with ...

Will a U.S. City Ever Host Another Olympics?

March 26, 2015 The Olympics might not have fared much better in any other U.S. city. Asked last October, only a slight majority of respondents in Washington, D.C., said they supported bringing the rings to the nation's capital. In San Francisco,support for the Olympics was much stronger, however. One poll found that 70 ...

The Department of Justice Is Asking Ferguson To Do the Impossible

March 5, 2015 Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded its civil-rights investigation in Ferguson, Missouri, issuing a scathing report on the practices of the Ferguson Police Department and the city's municipal court system. Today, the city's law-enforcement agency and justice apparatus begin the long road to reform. But the directives given by ...

Oregon Homebrewers Get Set to Experiment With 'Sewerage Brewerage'

February 20, 2015 Clean Water Services of Portland, Oregon, wants its customers to understand one thing: Its water is clean. Really clean. Like, homebrewed-beer clean. Homebrewers are very particular about the water they use when they practice their art. That's why homebrewers in Portland, Hillsboro, Beaverton, and other places along Oregon's Tualatin River ...