Thank you for visiting.

I post my sudden thoughts and second thoughts here from time to time -- usually having something to do with Philadelphia and governmental accountability, but occaisionally on something more (or less) interesting. Check out my Recent Writing for issues of the day and take a look at some more in-depth writing in Brett's Books. Or, view the Bulldog Budget, which represents a wonderfully visual way to conceive and account for how our government works (or doesn't work) for us.

Let me know what you think.

Most recently, I wrote


A little perspective is a good thing, even if it takes a good amount of time to develop.

At the end of the 20th century, American cities needed a little hope and some guidance. Decades of urban crises -- and the resulting population and job loss -- left many convinced that cities, themselves, were an anachronism.  To help challenge that notion, I wrote the book Philadelphia: A New Urban Direction (1999, Saint Joseph’s University Press).  With the assistance of my colleagues in the City Controller's Office, I examined the trends and issues affecting the city and laid out a plan to make Philadelphia a preferred place to live, work, and visit.  

Now, more than a decade and a half after its first publication, some recent developments (and a lack thereof) help illustrate an important truth about cities.  The city remains, most fundamentally, a place to live.  When we cultivate the city as a place to live, it thrives.

(read more)