From Madison to Columbus, Public Employees Under Fire

Updated Friday afternoon

For years, public employees enjoyed relative job security and some of the best benefits in the Great Lakes states. Now, as states slash their budgets and restructure their operations, they are under fire.

It’s a big debate across the region and Changing Gears plans to keep you posted. To begin, here are some stories following the public employee crisis. Continue reading “From Madison to Columbus, Public Employees Under Fire”

Leadership: Mayor Daley and Chicago’s Economic Transformation

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (Photo courtesy of Kate Gardiner, WBEZ Flickr)

Throughout the Midwest, Chicago is known as the city everyone wants to come to – but that’s a huge change from 22 years ago, when Mayor Richard M. Daley took office.  The city’s even changed dramatically from when I lived here before, in the late 1990s. This is the last of our three-part series on leadership, where I look at the region’s – and arguably, the country’s – most famous Mayor: Richard M. Daley.

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More from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson

Mayor Frank Jackson (photo: City of Cleveland Photographic Bureau)

As part of our series on leadership this week, we profiled Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, a man whose style is steady and reserved. He doesn’t crave attention and doesn’t believe his job description includes cheerleading. You can listen to the profile here. The Mayor doesn’t like to talk much about leadership style. Nevertheless, our sit-down revealed how he thinks and how he sees himself in Cleveland’s history. Next are some extended excerpts from our conversation:
Continue reading “More from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson”

Leadership: Dave Bing Reimagines Detroit

Mayor Dave Bing wants to reshape Detroit. Photo by Kate Davidson.

DETROIT — How important is the quality of leadership to the economic vitality of a city? And what role can leaders play in the transformation of our region? Changing Gears is exploring these questions in a three-part series on leadership, starting with the man who may have the toughest job of any big city mayor: Dave Bing of Detroit. He has to keep his economically depressed city running, while convincing residents that Detroit must shrink to survive.[display_podcast] Continue reading “Leadership: Dave Bing Reimagines Detroit”

Coming the week of Feb. 14: LEADERSHIP

What difference can a strong mayor make in the success of a city? What are the challenges our mayors and civic leaders face as we reinvent ourselves, and what are their plans to move forward?

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing

In a three-part series, Changing Gears looks at LEADERSHIP. Kate Davidson reports from Detroit on Mayor Dave Bing’s efforts to shrink and revitalize his struggling city. Dan Bobkoff reports from Cleveland, where a decidedly low-key mayor hopes to get results, and where county residents hope a new form of government will drive out corruption.

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A Fine Line At The Chicago Auto Show

A trip around the floor of the Chicago Auto Show reveals two conflicting messages: horsepower and fuel economy.

Chevrolet is allowing show visitors to take test drives of the plug-in Volt, only a few yards from the stage where it unveiled the Camaro ZL1 super-charged convertible. Ford has mounted an F-series pickup truck equipped with a fuel-efficient Ecoboost engine atop a sign for the Ford Mustang. \And Dodge is promising a gutsy “man van” that will appeal to men who normally would not be caught dead in minivans, even as it declares, “cars can be fuel efficient without being neutered.”

It might seem confusing, but there’s a good reason for both approaches.

Automakers are slowly climbing out of the worst industry sales in decades. Last year, they collectively sold 11.5 million cars in the United States, up from a devastating 2009 that saw General Motors and Chrysler go through bankruptcy.

January sales were hotter than anyone expected, thanks to what some in the industry say was a price war started by G.M. and joined by Toyota. And there’s great desire among executives to see those stronger sales continue. That’s where hot cars and trucks come in. Even if buyers don’t take home the latest models, they might purchase something else. And, 25% of people who attend auto shows go car shopping within the year, industry statistics show.

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Good News For Another Car Company: Toyota

The worst may be over for Toyota.

On Tuesday, the Transportation Department said it found no electronic problems on Toyota vehicles that led to reports of sudden unintended acceleration over the past several years.

The announcement followed 18 months of questions over the safety of Toyota automobiles. The findings are in a 10-month study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, otherwise known as the NHTSA/NASA report. A preliminary report last year drew the same conclusion.

“We feel that Toyota vehicles are safe to drive,” said Ray LaHood, the Transportation Secretary and a former Illinois congressman. In fact, said LaHood, he advised his daughter to purchase a Toyota Sienna minivan. Continue reading “Good News For Another Car Company: Toyota”