Miriam Rodriguez lived the welfare life, 15 empty years of soaps
and snacks and midday walks to nowhere. Every day she changed
the diapers, cleaned the apartment, washed the dishes, cleaned
the apartment again, and every day she knew tomorrow would not
be another day, but the same day. Still, the routine had its charms:
$1,018 a month in cash and food stamps, complete health benefits
for her and her four kids, affordable public housing. She had
grown up with nothing, no money and no plumbing, sharing a single
dingy bedroom with both her parents and all six of her siblings.
Now she had a family's best friend: steady money. And an absurdly
The national media have proclaimed a new conventional wisdom for the city formerly known as Nap Town: this is now the Golden Age of Indianapolis, and Stephen Goldsmith is the mayor with the Midas touch. He may not be as well known as Rudy Giuliani of New York, Richard Riordan of Los Angeles, or even Ed Rendell of Philadelphia, but he has become the official prototype for the New Breed of Urban Mayors, those paragons of pragmatism who are reviving America's cities, rolling up their sleeves and reinventing municipal government.