TIME Innovation

Why the Next Leader of the U.N. Should Be a Woman

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. After 70 years of men in charge, the next leader of the U.N. should be a woman.

By Gillian Sorensen and Jean Krasno in the Washington Post

2. Here’s how to design a better Monday.

By Studio 360 and IDEO

3. What brought some cities back from the economic brink? Making peace with their suburbs.

By Nancy Cook in the National Journal

4. There’s an app to document and salvage Nepal’s cultural heritage.

By Annette Ekin at Al Jazeera

5. Elon Musk just made growing weed easier.

By Wes Siler in Gizmodo

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Crime

How the Feds Went Soft on Baltimore

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts MARSHALL PROJECT
Alex Brandon—AP Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts surveys the corner of North and Pennsylvania avenues during protests in the city on April 30, 2015.

The city's involvement in a Justice Department program shows the softer side of intervention

This story was written by Simone Weichselbaum for The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that covers the U.S. criminal justice system. Sign up for their newsletter, or follow The Marshall Project on Facebook or Twitter.

Six months before Baltimore exploded in anger at the city’s police, Justice Department officials were already busy examining the record of brutality and misconduct that had plagued the force for years.

But unlike other cities that have come under investigation by the department’s Civil Rights Division after complaints of excessive force, Baltimore, found its way into a less-onerous and adversarial Justice program that emphasizes cooperative support for local law-enforcement agencies. In fact, Baltimore requested the intervention.

That Justice program, called the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance, was created in 2011 by the department’s Office of Community Oriented Police Services, or COPS. Compared to the avenging lawyers of the Civil Rights Division, the program’s consultants might be considered the good cops.

Where the Civil Rights Division is known for filing lawsuits in the federal courts to compel recalcitrant police agencies to stop discriminatory practices or the excessive use of force, the COPS plan offers expertise and training to help change-minded police departments implement new policies on their own.

“There are 18,000 police departments in this country, and the idea that we can sue our way into reform, or put every police department under a consent decree, is just not viable,” the director of the COPS office, Ronald L. Davis, said in a telephone interview with The Marshall Project.

(On Friday, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced she had filed criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who was arrested on April 12 for allegedly carrying a switchblade knife and died a week later from injuries he suffered while in custody.

The Baltimore police chief, Anthony W. Batts, had known Davis for years when he telephoned him last fall to ask for the COPS program’s help. The call came just days after the Baltimore Sun reported that the city had paid out $5.7 million in court judgments and settlements to resolve more than 100 police misconduct lawsuits since 2011.

Before taking over the Baltimore department in 2012, Batts had been the police chief in Oakland, Calif. At the time, Davis – a 19-year veteran of the Oakland force – was leading the police department in East Palo Alto, a small city 31 miles across the San Francisco Bay.

Davis said he had only a professional relationship with Batts, but knew his work as a chief in Baltimore, Oakland and Long Beach, Calif. Davis also emphasized that while the Collaborative Reform program necessarily gives priority to police agencies that are eager to change, it does not offer them an end-run around the Civil Rights Division.

In Baltimore’s case, Davis said, he consulted with officials of the division’s Special Litigation section to make sure they had not begun a preliminary investigation into a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing there. He added that the Civil Rights Division can also step in later, if a police force fails to make good on its promises to make changes in the collaborative program.

“The COPS office is not an investigatory body,” he said. “If we don’t see the same earnest effort that you committed to, we will cease and desist our program and turn everything we have over to Civil Rights.”

Batts and the Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced within days of the Sun article that they, too, had sought the Justice Department’s intervention, and they issued a 41-page reform plan that they described as a set of parameters for change. The steps in that plan included increasing accountability for rogue officers, tracking misconduct more closely, and possibly providing body cameras to record officers’ actions.

But some local officials remained unconvinced. The City Council president, Bernard C. “Jack” Young, had written to then-Attorney General Eric Holder on Oct. 1 requesting “a full review of the Baltimore City Police Department’s policies, procedures and practices.” Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said the councilman had specifically sought the involvement of the Civil Rights Division and would submit a new request to Holder’s successor, Loretta Lynch.

Officials of the Civil Rights Division said in recent interviews with The Marshall Project that while they have stepped up their enforcement efforts in recent years, they continue to struggle with the limitations of a Special Litigation staff of only about 50 attorneys, some of whom work on issues other than police accountability.

“Would the Civil Rights Division and the country benefit from having more people to focus in on these issues? Absolutely,” the acting assistant attorney general who heads the division, Vanita Gupta, said in an interview. “I would be an idiot to say that I don’t want more people.”

The Collaborate Reform Initiative represents what is effectively a second track on which the Justice Department can push for change with local law-enforcement agencies. But — particularly in cases like that of Baltimore, in which a force might be looking for some relief from public criticism — it requires careful vetting, current and former department officials said.

“The COPS program doesn’t have any enforcement authority,” noted William Yeomans, a former Civil Rights Division official. “So the department has to conclude that here is a police department that can take voluntary measures to improve itself. You have to have confidence in the leadership of the police department.”

Another former Justice Department official, Robert Driscoll, who served in the George W. Bush administration, said he was suspicious of how the Obama administration had decided on the less-invasive option for Baltimore, a city governed by Democrats.

“That is a nice way out of a difficult problem, when people say, `What are you going to do in response to the Baltimore Sun article?’” he said. “The difficulty of the way this is being handled is figuring out who gets the COPS approach and who gets a full-blown (Civil Rights Division) investigation.”

Baltimore is one of eight cities that have been or are being “assessed” – not investigated – by the Collaborative Reform Initiative. In Las Vegas and Philadelphia, teams of federally funded consultants have recommended dozens of reforms in such areas as use of force guidelines, internal investigations, firearms training and the recording of witnesses to shootings by the police.

“It is really an alternative,” a Justice spokesman, Kevin Lewis, said. “Before it gets to a place that it is so escalated that you need a pattern and practice (lawsuit), what the Department of Justice is doing is providing an option.”

But the department’s softer side is not always welcomed, either.

After a series of police shootings in Las Vegas, the ACLU of Nevada requested an investigation by the Civil Rights Division. When the Justice Department decided it would use the COPS program instead, ACLU lawyers wrote to the Justice Department expressing dismay. “We were very apprehensive,” said Tod Story, ACLU of Nevada’s executive director. “We thought what was happening here was worthy of a full-scale civil rights investigation.”

Ronald Davis, the COPS director, said he had no illusions about the extent of the challenges that police reformers faced in Baltimore.

“The powder keg that exploded in Baltimore has been simmering for generations,” he said. “And the idea that us starting an assessment in October somehow would have stopped that – I think I would disagree with.”

TIME cities

These Are the World’s 10 Most Youthful Cities

Young man on bridge with city skyline
Getty Images

See what cities are most popular among people ages 15 to 29, according to a new survey

New York City is the most popular city for people ages 15 to 29, according to a survey published Thursday.

The Toronto-based YouthfulCities surveys thousands of young people each year about various city-specific topics, including culture, employment, sports, and produces this ranking of the world’s most youthful cities.

“The word youthful is used to describe attributes of youth and it is a universally positive concept,” including connectivity, openness and inventiveness, according to the project’s mission statement.

New York City, thanks to its strong scores in the arts, climbed to the top spot from No. 3 last year. Toronto, which took the crown in the 2014 list, slid this year to No. 6.

Here are the top 10 most youthful cities:

  1. New York City
  2. London
  3. Berlin
  4. San Francisco
  5. Paris
  6. Toronto
  7. Chicago
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Mexico City
  10. Amsterdam

See the full list of 55 cities here.

MONEY Best Places

See How Your Neighborhood Ranks As a Place to Age

Powell & Mason Cablecar Line, Taylor Street, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco
David Wall—Alamy Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Use this tool to see how livable your town or city is for retirees.

Should you stay or should you go? That will be a key question in an aging America, as people try to decide if their homes and communities still work for them as they grow old.

A new online tool from AARP can help with answers. The free Livability Index grades every neighborhood and city in the United States on a zero-to-100 scale as a place to live when you are getting older.

There is no shortage of lists and rankings of places to live in retirement. Many are superficial, measuring factors such as sunshine, low tax rates or the number of golf courses. More thoughtful studies reframe the question to consider quality-of-life issues that affect everyone—affordability, health care, public safety, public transportation, education and culture (See Reuters’ version at reut.rs/13Bcl4h).

The new AARP tool adds value by making it possible to score any neighborhood and community in the country – and drill down into the details. Just plug in an address to see how a location scores for seven key attributes: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, civic engagement and opportunity.

Overall, the highest-ranking large city is San Francisco with a score of 66 and rose to the top due to its availability and cost of public transportation, walkability and overall levels of health. The top medium city is Madison, Wisconsin (68) and the top small town is La Crosse, Wisconsin (70).

It is telling that even the top-ranked locations get just mediocre scores. “The numbers are telling us that no community is perfect – and most are far from perfect,” says Rodney Harrell, director of livable communities at the AARP Public Policy Institute. “The goal here is to provide a tool that helps people make their communities better.”

The timing is right for discussions to get under way about making communities better places to age. The number of households headed by someone age 70 or older will surge 42% by 2025, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Most of those households will be aging in place, not downsizing or moving to retirement communities.

What exactly is aging in place? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.”

Of course, that definition does not oblige you to age in your current place. The smart move is to assess your current location – and make a move if necessary.

That is the plan recommended by gerontologist Stephen M. Golant in his new book Aging in the Right Place (Health Professions Press, February 2015).

He challenges the orthodoxy about aging in place, explaining why it is not always realistic to stay where you are. In particular, he makes the case that a home must get a cold-eyed assessment as a financial asset, with an eye toward the cost of living in it (mortgage, taxes, and insurance) and any possible repairs or remodeling that might be needed to adapt the home as you age.

But that can be a tall order, considering the emotional ties to place that we all develop.

“It’s one of the biggest issues people face, and they don’t have a lot of information about these issues,” Harrell says. “People do build emotional ties to friends and community, but they also need information to help them make sound choices.”

TIME cities

Anxiety and Anger Hang Over Baltimore as City Seeks Normalcy

Suspect Dies Baltimore
Matt Rourke—AP Protesters march on April 29, 2015, in Baltimore.

(BALTIMORE) — Cars rolled through the streets, students returned to class and a symphony played on a sidewalk Wednesday, offering the city a slice of normalcy as it recovers from the rioting and looting earlier this week.

Still, anger and anxiety hung over Baltimore.

Hundreds of protesters, many of them students wearing backpacks, marched through downtown, calling for swift justice in the case of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered critical injuries while in police custody.

Authorities carefully monitored the rally after teenagers started the violence Monday afternoon, throwing bricks and bottles at officers who had gathered near a major bus transfer point. The situation escalated from there, overwhelming police as protesters set fire to cars and buildings and raided stores.

Schools closed Tuesday because of the mayhem, but reopened Wednesday, after the city’s first night of a curfew went off without the widespread violence many had feared.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake talked to fourth- and eighth-graders at New Song Center in West Baltimore, not far from where Gray was arrested. She said she was impressed by the children’s perspective.

“They understand very clearly the difference between demonstrators that have a righteous purpose and those who are preying on this opportunity for their own benefit,” she said.

About 3,000 police and National Guardsmen descended on the city to help keep order, and life wasn’t likely to get completely back to normal anytime soon: The curfew was set to go back into effect at 10 p.m.

And in what was one of the weirdest spectacles in major-league history, Wednesday afternoon’s Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards was closed to the public for safety reasons. Press box seats were full, but the grandstands were empty.

Earlier in the day, protesters outside the office of Baltimore’s top prosecutor said they supported State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who took office in January and pledged during her campaign to address aggressive police practices.

Mosby’s office is expected on Friday to get investigative findings from police on Gray’s death. She will then face a decision on whether and how to pursue charges against the six police officers who arrested Gray.

The curfew got off to a not-so-promising start Thursday night when about 200 protesters ignored warnings from police and pleas from pastors and other community activists to disperse. Some threw water bottles or lay down on the ground.

A line of officers behind riot shields hurled tear gas canisters and fired pepper balls at the crowd, which dispersed in a matter of minutes.

Police said 35 people were arrested after the curfew went into effect.


Associated Press writers Ben Nuckols, Juliet Linderman, Matthew Barakat, Tom Foreman Jr., Jessica Gresko, Brian Witte and Jeff Horwitz contributed to this report.

TIME Crime

How Curfews Have Changed Through History

Tensions In Baltimore Continue To Simmer After Days Of Riots And Protests Over Death Of Freddie Gray
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Police officers relax on April 29, 2015, in Baltimore

New calm in Baltimore underlines a division between two types of curfews

On Wednesday morning, as a calmer Baltimore awoke, it appeared that the city’s emergency curfew had helped quiet the unrest that swept the area following the funeral of Freddie Gray. Shortly before the planned 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew ended, the city’s police commissioner announced that the city was stable.

The declaration of success draws attention to one of the stranger things about curfews: the word has two similar but in practice very separate meanings. As William Ruefle, a professor of criminology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg who has done research into the effectiveness of curfews, explains, emergency curfews and permanent juvenile curfews can’t really be lumped together.

And considering that difference, it’s not a surprise that the emergency curfew may have helped contribute to the calm in Maryland. “I don’t think there’s any question that [emergency curfews] are needed and legitimate, whereas with the permanent ones there was some question,” Ruefle says. In fact, the lack of dispute about emergency curfews is such that there’s been very little research actually done on the topic—Ruefle says that can’t think of anything he read in all his research that even talked about them—and it’s hard to pin down their history.

There wouldn’t have always been such a split between the two types of curfews. As Yvonne Vissings explains in an essay in the book Juvenile Crime and Justice, the first curfews were imposed under England’s Alfred the Great, who ruled in the ninth century. The word itself is from the French for “cover fires”; instituting a special time of night at which fires had to be doused or covered. This could have served several purposes: it lowered the risk of a spreading fire, it got townspeople who congregated around public fires to go home and it was a useful tactic in times of trouble. Emergency curfews were used in the U.S. at least as early as the Civil War.

But, as explained in a very thorough entry in the encyclopedia The Social History of the American Family, the original idea of covering fires so that townspeople would go home also meant that those in power could control the rights of lower-class populations, who wouldn’t have had private places to congregate. By the 1700s in Europe and the U.S., cities instituted permanent curfews for workers and slaves. At that time and into the 1800s, most of those curfews were aimed at controlling laborers. When child-labor laws came along, the reasoning got swapped: adults were now working in factories (often at night, making curfews unappealing to the bosses) and children were at home without supervision, getting into trouble. Curfews as a tactic to suppress crime became linked with age restrictions on movement. By the middle of the 20th century, many cities had permanent youth curfews.

The U.S. Department of Justice bulletin on curfews cites 1975’s Bykofsky v. Borough of Middletown as the first federal court test of the constitutionality of those curfews; the court decided that the curfew in question was allowed, as any infringing on parents’ rights to make decisions for their children was outweighed by Middletown’s interest in protecting them. In general, the DOJ sums up, a constitutionally acceptable juvenile curfew must come with a demonstrated reason and be precisely written in a way that addresses that reason. For example, a city could demonstrate that juvenile crime during certain hours is a problem and that the curfew applies to those hours.

A rise in crime often coincides with a rise in permanent juvenile curfews, and vice versa. Even though many dispute the effectiveness of juvenile curfews, they’re a frequent tactic when a city is looking for solutions. “In general, in the early ’90s when violence was such a hot topic, curfews were something many cities were trying,” says Ruefle. “I haven’t had a call about this in a decade. It’s faded away because crime has faded away.”

Still, many cities continue to keep permanent juvenile curfews on the books, whether or not they’re enforced. Baltimore is included in that group. In fact, last August Baltimore made news by tightening its policy. That means that, even after next week, Baltimore’s will be a tale of two curfews: one that ends when the emergency does, and one that will keep on going.

TIME cities

Baltimore Mayor Defends Handling of Riots

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake talks to TIME about criticism of how she handled the riots that erupted Monday

Barely 24 hours after the city she leads was engulfed in a spasm of violent riots, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake defended her handling of the crisis in an interview with TIME.

“I’m not green to these types of issues. I’ve been mayor for five years. I’ve led a city. And directed a police department. I know how to use resources. We’ve done it and we responded to protests,” she said Tuesday evening, hours before police began enforcing the first night of a week-long 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. “I’m comfortable with how we’ve responded in very, very challenging times.”

MORE: Baltimore Mom Explains Why She Smacked Son at Riot

As Rawlings-Blake spoke inside City Hall, some of the 2,000 National Guard troops mobilized by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan were stationed outside the building. Hogan deployed the soldiers Monday night after rioting broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray, 25, who died on April 19 after sustaining an injury in police custody. But Hogan made clear that he was ready to do so earlier had the mayor requested, and implied that Rawlings-Blake was unreachable during a critical stretch as the riots were escalating. The remarks were among a series of incidences that highlighted the frosty relationship between the Republican governor and the Democratic mayor.

Rawlings-Blake fired back at Hogan on Tuesday. The governor “didn’t have a full understanding of all things that were being put in place,” she told TIME. “When we are in the midst of dealing with an issue, you have to be very judicious about the use of the National Guard. They’re viewed by the community as a sign of militarization. They’re viewed by many as a sign of escalation of an incident.”

Rawlings-Blake said she asked Hogan to activate the Guard only when the situation was more than city police and their reinforcements from other neighboring agencies could handle. “When it was very clear that the situation was changing and changing fast and we needed people that had the authority to hold ground while we went into do the enforcement,” she said, “that’s when we called them.”

Read next: The Pain of Watching Baltimore Burn—Again

TIME cities

This Transit Authority is Apologizing for a Horrible Winter With a Day of Freebies

MBTA Offers Hope For Faster Recovery; Baker Blasts Keolis
John Blanding—Boston Globe/Getty Images Passengers wait as MBTA commuter rail train pulls into the North Beverly station in Beverly, Mass. Feb. 17, 2015, running on a special storm schedule because of the snow.

The T is free on Friday

After a record-breaking snowy winter, Boston is apologizing for months of terrible commutes with a free Friday on public transit.

In addition to free rides on the T, businesses around the city are offering discounts and freebies on Friday to anyone with a CharlieCard, the pass to use Massachusetts transit, the Boston Globe reports. Riders can get a free doughnut at Dunkin’ Donuts or a coffee from Alltown or Cumberland farms. Discounts are available at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Franklin Park Zoo the New England Aquarium and others. The measure will reportedly cost the Department of Transportation $5 million.

[Boston Globe]

TIME cities

This Los Angeles Neighborhood Is Fighting to Allow Topless Sunbathing on Its Beaches

The council voted on a measure to OK topless sunbathing on Tuesday

A neighborhood council in California wants to let women sunbathe topless. After a vote on Tuesday, Venice Beach became one step closer to giving topless tanning the green light.

The charge to bring nearly nude sunbathing to Venice Beach is being led by a community officer who’s calling it an equality issue, according to the Los Angeles Times. The council also says topless sunbathing will bring the beach more in step with the Italian city it’s styled after.

“Venice Beach was founded and designed around the European culture of Venice, Italy…topless [sun]bathing is commonplace throughout Europe, much of the world, and many places within the U.S.,” the council argues. In Los Angeles, however, it’s illegal to bask in the sun in one’s birthday suit.

Though the vast majority of the Venice Beach Council voted for the measure, the city council member who represents Venice says he’s got more important issues on his plate. “Right now my priorities for Venice are increasing public safety, housing the homeless, and protecting affordable housing,” Mike Bonin said, according to the LA Times.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

TIME cities

Big Ukulele Gathering in Los Angeles Fails to Break Record

A county in southern England holds the current record

More than 1,100 ukulele players gathered in Los Angeles to play in what they hoped would be the world’s largest ever ukulele ensemble.

But despite the fun atmosphere as they strummed along to the Ukulele standard “Pua i Ka Ua,” the Los Angeles Times reported. The group fell short of the Guinness record by about more than half.

Saturday’s attempt, which included people from both local communities and faraway places like Taiwan and Honolulu, was the city’s second annual bid to break the current record held by Hampshire County in England, which grouped together 2,370.

[Los Angeles Times]

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