City doesn’t track return on incentives | Cincinnati Enquirer

When the Enquirer asked Cincinnati about $250 million in incentives granted to business and developers since 2008 and how return on that massive investment is tracked, city officials couldn’t provide answers. The newspaper’s reporters then created and scoured a database of seven years’ worth of deals and determined the city gave tax breaks and other types of incentives more than 200 times since 2008, with beneficiaries ranging from Procter & Gamble to the owners of fraternity houses.


The mobile-home trap: How a Warren Buffett empire preys on the poor | The Seattle Times and Center for Public Integrity

Warren Buffett’s mobile-home empire promises low-income Americans the dream of homeownership. But Clayton Homes relies on predatory sales practices, exorbitant fees, and interest rates that can exceed 15 percent, trapping many buyers in loans they can’t afford and in homes that are almost impossible to sell or refinance, an investigation by The Seattle Times and Center for Public Integrity has found.


Women, incarcerated: Systemic abuses of women in prisons and jails | RH Reality Check

While women make up a small share of all those detained in local, state, and federal prisons and jails, their numbers are growing. The number of women in state and federal prisons jumped by 646 percent between 1980 and 2012—from around 25,000 to more than 200,000—one-and-a-half times the speed at which the incarceration for men increased during the same period. Because corrections systems were created with men in mind, the facilities, practices, and policies remain ill-suited to the particular needs of women behind bars.

Rolling Stone’s investigation: “A failure that was avoidable” | Columbia Journalism Review

Rolling Stone’s repudiation of the main narrative in “A Rape on Campus” is a story of journalistic failure that was avoidable. The failure encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking. The magazine set aside or rationalized as unnecessary essential practices of reporting that, if pursued, would likely have led the magazine’s editors to reconsider publishing Jackie’s narrative so prominently, if at all. The published story glossed over the gaps in the magazine’s reporting by using pseudonyms and by failing to state where important information had come from.

From patient to defendant: One of Springfield’s two health systems sues far more over debt | Springfield News-Leader

When it comes to medical debt incurred by their patients, Springfield, Missouri’s two health systems take very different approaches, including sometimes garnishing patient wages — taking a portion of paychecks before they ever make it into a bank account.


Baltimore’s City Council members often miss votes | The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore Sun review of nearly 700 City Council committee votes — every bill for which a record was kept at City Hall since the start of the current term, Dec. 8, 2011 — shows that most members often miss those votes. On average, council members miss about a quarter of their committee votes. Three members —Robert Curran, Warren Branch and Helen Holton — missed 50 percent or more. Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector missed 40 percent of committee votes.


Leap from legislator to lobbyist a short one in Minnesota | Pioneer Press

Pioneer Press analysis of registered lobbyists found that since 2002 alone, at least five dozen legislators have registered to lobby their former colleagues once their election certificates expired. Their ranks include three former senate majority leaders, former House and Senate minority leaders, former committee chairs, former lawmakers who worked for the state government and then turned to lobbying, and a host of others.

Minnesota law is silent on the matter. But a House rule calls for a one-year cooling-off period for retiring legislators. That instruction is routinely ignored. Meanwhile, Senate rules do not address the matter.


Insanity defense: Many Colorado killers walk free from state hospital | The Denver Post

A Denver Post review found that three-fifths of 41 killers determined “not guilty by reason of insanity” over the past 25 years in Colorado have been moved from the mental hospital into halfway houses and homes across the state, sometimes as soon as three years after their commitments.

An insanity acquittal in Colorado, as in other states across the country, means that killers are not responsible for their acts and therefore are not punished. They are held indefinitely until they no longer suffer an abnormal mental condition that is likely to cause them to be dangerous to themselves or others.