A majority of Dallas City Council members say they're inclined to support strengthening the city's anti-smoking ordinance, and several others are willing to consider such a move, a survey of council members indicates.
Such sentiment comes at a time when large cities, such as Houston, and entire nations, such as cigarette-loving France, have just passed comprehensive public smoking bans.
What's unclear, however, is whether Dallas council members possess the political will to unilaterally ban smoking in bars, outdoor restaurant decks, pool halls and tobacco shops – the city's few hazy refuges remaining for people looking to light up in public. To date, Dallas hasn't formally drafted an amended smoking ordinance, say nothing of reviewing one at the council level.
Instead, several council members, including Mayor Tom Leppert, say they'd rather first prompt a regional discussion on smoking bans in hope of bringing some uniformity to municipalities' notoriously incongruent ordinances – especially since the Texas Legislature appears in no hurry to enact a statewide smoking ban similar to those in other large states, such as California and New York.
As of Tuesday, Mr. Leppert had yet to broach the idea with Fort Worth or any of a dozen area suburbs contacted by The Dallas Morning News.
But officials in most of those municipalities say they're eager to listen to Mr. Leppert's ideas, perhaps under the auspices of the Metroplex Mayors Association, which meets monthly, or the North Central Texas Council of Governments, self-described as existing to "assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development."
Mr. Leppert said either organization may prove a good starting point. And Ellis County Judge Chad Adams, who is president of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, agreed.
2. Regional Insight: Attracting more entrepreneurs leads to more jobs - Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh, PA, USA
As 2007 drew to a close, three of the largest life sciences companies in the region made significant transitions. Respironics was sold to the Dutch conglomerate Royal Philips Electronics; Renal Solutions was sold to the German firm Fresenius Medical Care; and Precision Therapeutics announced a merger with a subsidiary of Greenwich, Conn.-based Oracle Healthcare Acquisition Corp.
These announcements are good news for the region in many ways. All three companies will remain here. All three will get access to significant capital and marketing resources from the acquiring firms, helping them grow and create new jobs here. The investors in all three companies will get a significant return, some of which they will hopefully reinvest in other local firms.
And all three companies demonstrate the impact of entrepreneurship. Respironics was created here in 1976 by Gerald McGinnis, and has grown to become the 11th largest manufacturing firm in southwestern Pennsylvania, with more than 1, 600 employees in the region. Precision Therapeutics was founded here in 1995 ...
In fact, such young, entrepreneurial companies as these represent a significant portion of the economy in most regions. In such regions as Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; and Minneapolis, more than one of every six workers (17 percent to 18 percent) is employed by a locally owned firm 10 years old or younger. In the Silicon Valley, more than one of every five workers (22.3 percent) is employed in a firm that young. But in the Pittsburgh region, only about one in every seven workers (14.3 percent) is employed by a locally owned firm 10 years old or younger.
... Pittsburgh region has the third lowest rate of startup businesses in manufacturing of any of the top 40 regions, and the lowest startup rate in every other sector, from retail to finance.
3. City plans goal-setting retreat Jan. 11 and 12 - Prescott Daily Courier - Prescott, AZ, USA
A greater emphasis on policy-making likely will characterize the Prescott City Council's annual goal-setting retreat later this week.
While planning for the retreat, new mayor Jack Wilson compiled a list of his own priorities for the coming year - most of which are different from the goals that the council approved at the 2007 session.
First on Wilson's list is regional cooperation - an issue that he said underlies many of his other priorities.
"It's the basis for all of the other issues, " Wilson said, adding that better cooperation would pave the way for several of his additional goals, including a regional "smart growth" plan; a regional boundary agreement with Prescott Valley and Chino Valley; and resolution of water issues that affect importing water from the Big Chino Water Ranch.
While acknowledging that regional cooperation has come up frequently at previous retreats, Wilson maintains that it still needs improvement.
"I don't think it's as smooth as it's been portrayed in the past, " he said.
Other issues that Wilson sees as top priorities include a four-year university; a regional workforce housing policy; a golf course privatization study; studies on a long-term water policy; a refocused economic development approach; and a Prescott 2050 plan.
Within the past year, the city accomplished several of its 2007 list of top priorities, which included: the Fann annexation; airport area annexations; boundary agreements with Prescott and Prescott Valley; rodeo grounds preservation; a bed tax increase; and arsenic treatment for the city's water supply.
Deputy City Manager Laurie Hadley noted that this year's retreat likely would be "slightly different than in years past."
For instance, she said she expects the council to focus more on policy issues than on specific projects.
4. Regionalism will harm roads - Roanoke Times - Roanoke, VA, USA
Abusive driver fees were not the only bad idea lawmakers built into last year's disastrous transportation plan. They also created regional transportation authorities to raise money for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Now Central Virginia wants an authority for itself. The General Assembly should prevent further fragmentation.
Richmond empowered the regional transportation authorities to impose local taxes and fees. The revenue would pay for road improvements in the most congested parts of the state. That took delegates and senators off the hook for coming up with the money themselves.
The Virginia Supreme Court recently heard arguments challenging the system, but questions about its constitutionality do not dissuade Richmond.
Del. Franklin Hall, D-Richmond, has teamed up with the head of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce to ask the assembly to allow their region to create its own transportation authority. If enough localities agreed, they would impose a gas tax and fees on car registrations, inspections and repairs. That would raise up to $105 million for transportation.
There's some naïve appeal to the whole thing. If the traffic is the worst in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and the Richmond area, let the people who live there pay for it. Why should the rest of the state foot the bill?
That is a dangerous line of reasoning.
Virginians have long managed and financed transportation as a unified commonwealth. We work together and pool our resources to ensure that sufficient roads, rails and so on exist across the state.
This new regionalism disregards that history. ...
Virginia's interconnected transportation system serves the entire commonwealth. It is a shared responsibility. Lawmakers should not fracture it further simply because they lack the courage to fund the state's transportation needs adequately.
5. Unite for roads - Daily Press - Newport News, VA, USA
I encourage all Virginians to insist that their General Assembly representatives repeal the regional transportation legislation
I know that the citizens of Winchester have been gloating that their taxes are not going to pay for highway projects in Hampton Roads or Northern Virginia. What they may not realize is that the next General Assembly could create a Shenandoah Valley Region, and they could find themselves paying regional taxes to widen I-81.
Eventually, all Virginians could find themselves in a transportation region, paying taxes to a regional authority to fund regional projects. Then it will be the General Assembly's turn to gloat: "We solved the transportation problem, and we didn't have to increase any state taxes to do so."
Let's reverse this divisive move toward regionalization and unite as Virginians to ...
6. DEED awards FIRST Grants for improving regional economic competitiveness - BusinessNorth.com - Duluth, MN, USA
Five groups will each receive $50, 000 grants from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to help them develop plans for economic growth in their areas.
The grants were awarded under a new program called Framework for Integrated Regional Strategies or FIRST.
The goal of FIRST is to bring together regional leaders in economic development, workforce growth and education as part of an all-inclusive strategy to increase the economic competitiveness of each area.
Local companies, workers, researchers, entrepreneurs and educators will work as partners to develop a long-term strategic plan for their region.
DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy said FIRST was created after a series of Minnesota Competes Forums last summer and fall.
“We found that most areas of the state do not have an integrated strategy for creating regional prosperity and community success, ” he said. “Forum participants said they wanted the ability to develop their own regional plans rather than having the state provide a one-size-fits-all model.”
Grant funds will be used for staff support, consulting help, meeting expenses, materials and related costs. The funding will be available for work completed through calendar year 2008.
Grants were awarded to the following entities:
Range Readiness Initiative, representing Koochiching, Itasca, Aitkin, St. Louis, Carlton, Lake and Cook counties in Minnesota and Douglas County in Wisconsin.
Grants were awarded to the following entities:
Range Readiness Initiative, representing Koochiching, Itasca, Aitkin, St. Louis, Carlton, Lake and Cook counties in Minnesota and Douglas County in Wisconsin.
Northwest Minnesota Foundation, representing ...
7. Think regionally of strategies on impacts - Gillette News Record - Gillette, WY, USA
Campbell County and its communities should look beyond their borders in planning for the future, according to local residents who attended Gov. Dave Freudenthal’s conference on “Building the Wyoming We Want.”
Freudenthal hosted the conference Thursday and Friday to get Wyomingites to think about structuring the state’s growth.
Local communities received praise at the conference for their history of dealing with growth — as seen in the city’s change from the ’70s to now. Yet their strategies for doing this have largely been limited to a local level.
“I just think the whole idea of planning or envisioning at a regional level is something we’re not doing, ” said Workforce Services Manager Elaine Roth.
State Rep. Tom Lubnau, R-Gillette, said the area’s economy is tied other places — such as Moorcroft, Sundance and Keyhole Reservoir —and that Campbell County leaders need to engage them as the area figures out how to deal with its own growth.
“Things that we do in Gillette have a direct effect on our friends in (other counties), so we need to think more globally than just ourselves, ” he said.
Details about how to do this, though, are still hazy. Lubnau said he didn’t want to put forth any ideas just yet because he wanted to “interact as a citizen rather than a bloviating legislator.”
Roth thinks the area needs a regional plan similar to Vision 20/20, a countywide document completed in 1998 that listed goals for Campbell County communities.
But School Trustee Gregg Blikre cautioned against starting on the regional plan ahead of the local plan. Freudenthal’s approach is designed to start locally and build up to the state level, he said. Each of the communities must first decide what their goals and values are individually before they can get together and hash out a plan ...
8. Birmingham's abandonment of a stormwater cooperative could be costly to taxpayers and the environment - The Birmingham News - Birmingham, AL, USA
Birmingham's pullout not only will hurt SWMA's revenue (the $775, 000 a year Birmingham residents pay is 40 percent of SWMA's budget), but it could drive up the costs of monitoring runoff, including construction-site silt and mud.
SWMA officials say it will be difficult for the authority to stay afloat without Birmingham. "It's like you took a shotgun and blew out the center of a spider web, " said Trussville Mayor Gene Melton, chairman of the SWMA board.
Of course, putting SWMA out of business is exactly what many of the large corporate landowners and developers want to do. They see SWMA as an impediment to building on or near waterways.
They launched a major assault on SWMA more than a year ago, with an organization they created called the Business Alliance for Responsible Development.
After SWMA proposed raising its fees to $12 a year for homes and $36 for businesses - which would have been the authority's first increase since its creation a decade before - BARD urged the county and area cities to ditch the cooperative, do the monitoring themselves and save money.
Some cities, including Hoover and Bessemer, bit on BARD's bait. Others, and the county, announced they were pulling out but had second thoughts and stayed after looking into the true costs of setting up a monitoring system, getting permits for it and doing the monitoring.
Birmingham at that time rejected the idea of leaving SWMA. Then-Mayor Bernard Kincaid said it would cost too much.
... doesn't believe the city intends to do monitoring the right way, but to give developers more control.
"It's not about the amount of money being sent to SWMA, " she says. "It's about SWMA watching over water quality."
So much for regional cooperation and being a good steward of the region's water resources.
9. US regional mall vacancy up in 4th quarter--Reis - Reuters – USA
Vacancy rates at U.S. regional malls rose and rents fell during the fourth quarter due to concerns about consumer spending and a potential slowdown in the national economy, real estate research firm Reis said.
A slowdown in both the growth of consumer spending and the hesitancy of retailers to sign leases in such uncertain times has contributed to a "change in trajectory" for regional malls, Reis chief economist Sam Chandan said.
"It's only one quarter, so we don't want to go too far, but the numbers are significant enough that we are starting to see that deterioration, " Chandan said.
Vacancy rates at regional malls rose 0.3 percentage point to 5.8 percent and asking rent fell 0.4 percent to $40.37 per square foot in the fourth quarter from the third quarter.
Regional malls typically have anchor tenants such as department stores and other retail chains that sell largely discretionary items that had seen strong consumer spending growth in recent years during the housing boom.
Those sources of consumer cash, such as refinancings and home equity loans have dried up in the housing downturn.
"We clearly see consumers are spooked and that is going to give them some pause when they are at the mall, " ...
Regional malls had been a savior of sorts as vacancies rose at U.S. neighborhood shopping centers in recent quarters. The rate rose another 0.2 percentage point in the fourth quarter to 7.5 percent, the highest in a decade.
The U.S. home boom pushed new community development far a field and spurring demand for neighborhood shopping centers for staples such as groceries. However, many neighborhoods lack residents in force, leaving newly developed areas with the weakest leasing environment for shopping centers, Reis said.
10. U.S. regional communities - sub-State, State or multi-State - in news articles. Highlighted words are Google search terms. In this and the following section, links to websites of organizations are added to the news excerpt when this is the first time an organization has been found. A goal of this newsletter is to find every regional council in the
.10 NH governor urges lawmakers to adopt regional initiative
Boston Globe - United States
New Hampshire's political leaders are getting behind a 10-state regional effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions to preserve the state's climate and way of life. Gov. John Lynch told a House committee Thursday that New Hampshire will benefit environmentally and economically if it approves the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative known as RGGI. ...
The Canadian Press -
The state of Montana is now part of a Canadian-US regional compact targeting global warming. The Western Regional Climate Action Initiative - formed early ...
.12 INL Signs Working Agreement With Pacific Northwest Economic Region
KPVI-TV - Pocatello, ID, USA
After years of informal collaborations, the Pacific Northwest Economic Region is taking its relationship with the Idaho National Laboratory to the next ...
.12 Wish list could rekindle Metro Detroit's economy
DetNews.com - Detroit, MI, USA
Get on the same page with our messaging. First, we need to recognize all of us are part of the "D." Later this year an innovative media management agency called the Dnewsbureau will be launched to build the reputation of the "D." It will communicate positive news, grounded in facts, about the region -- in the region as well as outside to tell the real story outside Detroit. ...
.13 Oregon's visionary land use system may get another Big Look
The Oregonian - OregonLive.com - Portland, OR, USA
... task force also suggested that a "one size fits all" land use system no longer works in Oregon and that a regionalized structure might be considered. A system could be devised that is based on a few widely supported goals, with policies adjusted by region, size of towns, growth rates and other factors. ...
.14 Newport: Managers to discuss regional fire service
Bangor Daily News - Bangor, ME, USA
With the intended consolidation of the state and county jail system as well as the proposed school consolidation plans, Ricker said, it was fiscally responsible to begin talking about the regionalization of other services and obligations. "Communications has been regionalized, " he said. "Why not response?"
.15 Losing More Ground?
WTAP-TV - Parkersburg, WV, USA
Keim notes education is also a factor, and an official of the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District says economic globalization, ...
.16 Suit filed over federal agency plan for southwest energy corridor
San Jose Mercury News - CA, USA
The idea behind an energy corridor through vast parts of Arizona and California was to keep electricity flowing in the region, a Department of Energy spokeswoman said. , , , "We believe the corridors are being rushed through to accommodate coal-fired power plants before a new administration takes action on global warming, which would make it considerably more difficult, " said Glen Besa, Appalachian Regional Director for the Sierra Club, which is a party to the litigation.
.17 Miami aims for regional approach to training businesses
Middletown Journal - Middletown, OH, USA
Officials announced Thursday the formation of the Miami University Corporate and Community Institute, a resource that will take a regional approach to providing training needs for personal enrichment and corporate training....
.18 Future needs sketched out
San Diego Union Tribune - United States
... Mayor Jerry Sanders looked beyond the city's financial challenges last night in an attempt to position himself as a regional leader poised to combat the county's firefighting and water woes. ...
.19 Job data not necessarily as pessimistic as the numbers might seem
Kansas City Star - MO, USA
Frank Lenk, economist at the Mid-America Regional Council, ... Lenk said he doesn’t get too worried over one month’s worth of seasonally adjusted numbers in the winter months; best to wait a couple of months to verify a trend ...
.20 USCA: Beef trade with Argentina is a bad idea
High Plains Journal - Dodge City, KS, USA
USDA quietly proposed a new beef importing plan last January. The little-known and little-publicized plan would allow for the importation of beef from select regions of Argentina, in spite of that country's long, documented history with FMD. ...
.21 Editorial: Regional solutions for local problems
Waco Tribune Herald - Waco, TX, USA
Many communities are served very well by regional law enforcement agencies that supplant local police. The result sometimes is less overhead and better use ...
.22 Aging Kentuckians: A Question Of Care
Kentucky Post - Covington, KY, USA
Dan Humpert, a Kenton County commissioner and chair of the Northern Kentucky Area Development District, said at a third of the cost of nursing homes, ...
.23 Forum to deal with homeless this week
Bowling Green Daily News - KY, United States
... Williams said the forum has a twofold purpose - to bring together agencies that provide services to area homeless people to develop a regional strategy ...
.24 Commission drives discussion on municipal cooperation
The Citizen's Voice - PA, USA
The Luzerne County Municipal Cooperation Commission is discussing the feasibility of regional police departments outside the Hazleton area and is working on a county health-care cooperative. The commission was created by county commissioners in 2004 to promote municipal cooperation and regional shared services. ...
.25 GBC Seeks Nominations for Region's Third Annual Bioscience Awards
Earthtimes - London, UK
The Greater Baltimore Committee is seeking nominations for the Third Annual Greater Baltimore Region Bioscience Awards ...
.26 GUEST VIEW: Smart growth makes cents
SouthCoastToday.com - New Bedford, MA, USA
... there are excellent technical assistance resources available at the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District or the state's ...
Six U.S. senators and 49 House members are advisers for a group working toward a Transatlantic Common Market between the U.S. and the European Union by 2015.
The Transatlantic Policy Network – ...
11. Other in the news: Highlighted words are Google search terms.
.10 Regions unable to close gap with London
Financial Times - London, England, UK
“We’ve been comparing our regions against a global financial city and finding them wanting. Any more rounded view shows there has been real and sustained progress, ” ... “We need to move on from a sterile north-south divide debate to one that respects the real achievements of all our regions.” ...
.11 Property in Wales: How the waterfronts relaunched a region
Telegraph-co-uk - United Kingdom
Research for The Sunday Telegraph by Savills shows how the region has changed in the past decade. There has been a 21 per cent rise in the number of jobs in ...
The level of economic freedom found throughout the world remained essentially unchanged over the last year, with overall gains in only two of the five regions examined in the 14th annual Index of Economic Freedom, ... .
.13 Six areas selected for 'lead market' initiative
eHealth, protective textiles, sustainable construction, recycling, bio-based products and renewable energy: These are the six areas with high growth and innovation potential identified by the Commission for its lead market initiative. ...
.14 6 Italian Regions Reject Naples' Trash, Sardinia Accepts
AHN - USA
But the Italian government apparently has more difficulty convincing other regions than its neighbor to take in Naples' tons of household garbage. ...
.15 Correa Says He Wants to Reorganize Ecuador Into Nine Regions
Bloomberg - USA
Seven of the regions will have their own cabinet minister, while the metropolitan areas of Guayaquil and Quito won't, Correa said ... the move would help the country overcome regional inequalities. ...
.16 Russia to develop national brand
RosBusinessConsulting - Moscow, Russia
The strategy is to be developed by the Economy, Industry and Energy, Foreign, Culture, Regional Development, and Tourism Ministries, ...
.17 Regional Board Mulls Wildfire Plan
Westcoaster - Port Alberni, BC, Canada
Prior to recent large fires in California and in the interior of B.C., there was a prevailing attitude of “it’ll never happen here, ” McIntosh told the regional board. Those fires raised awareness and helped people to recognize that preparation is valuable. ...
.18 "Barents Cooperation remains priority for Norway"
Barents Observer - Archangel, Russia
... important role of cooperation between people on all sides of the regional borders. –Norway and Russia are not yet finished with getting to know each other yet, he said. –People-to-people cooperation must continue, he stressed. ...
.19 A city in the mapping
Business Standard - Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
“This is a regional development plan, ” says GRK Reddy, managing director of city-based infrastructure development company Marg Constructions, ...
.20 Transport key for regional council
Rodney Times - Orewa, New Zealand
The regional council has ‘put runs on the board’ in several critical areas, says its chairman Mike Lee. But it is clear its focus remains heavily slanted ...
.21 Hanoi to develop three urban regions
VietNamNet Bridge - Hanoi, Vietnam
According to the draft, Hanoi will develop three urban regions: (1) the central urban area at the southern bank of Red River, which will include the old ...
.22 NSO survey: Rich-poor gap in RP remains wide
ABS CBN News - Philippines
Among the regions, the National Capital Region had the biggest share of the total annual family income, accounting for approximately one fourth of the ...
.23 REGIONAL MASTERPLAN CALLS FOR 47000 NEW HOMES
Express & Echo - Exeter, England, UK
.24 Action sought
Werribee, Hoppers Crossing Star - Pakenham, Victoria, Australia
The council wants the government, through the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development, to release the plan, which was prepared in ...
12. Blogs: Highlighted words are Google search terms.
.10 REGIONALISM - THE QUAD CITIES
To some it may sound as though I’m suggesting a form of metro government or somehow suggesting we lose some of our individual identity. I’m not. In fact each of the four cities in Jackson County and indeed all of the cities on the Coast must work to keep their unique character and identity. It tells the story of who we are and explains how we became the cities of the Coast. But the rebuilding of coastal Mississippi is so important that if one city fails at it, to a great extent we’ll all fail.
.11 University-Community Connection
By Creative Class Group
"If you asked me to name the most unique thing about Toronto's spatial structure, its geography, its regional urban character, it's this. It's the fact that it has a world-class university that is a seamless part of its geography. ...
.12 The Global "Go-To Think Tanks"
228 institutions were nominated by their peers and are public policy research, analysis and engagement organizations that have become recognized nationally, regionally and globally for producing rigorous and relevant research, ...
.13 State of the City
The year 2007 was a challenging one for Ypsilanti. The state economy declined, many businesses reduced staff or downsized and mortgage foreclosures almost doubled from 2006. Despite these problems, City Council, staff, and residents had successes during the year in business development, historic preservation, and regional cooperation efforts....
By regions. If you think global, it becomes obvious, why: It's more important to have someone understanding the local culture and speaking the local language than having someone understanding the local industry but not being able to communicate with them. ...
Greater Des Moines Partnership
Today, the cooperation between these important institutions is better than ever and our regional relationships are rock solid. We are delivering a new five-year investment campaign, “Partnership 2012, ” to keep us on track for business ...
.16 The Superblock Lives. Unfortunately.
By Simeon Bankoff(Simeon Bankoff)
From Spotlight on the Region, a publication of the Regional Plan Association Everyone knows the Superblock is dead. Jane Jacobs put a stake in its heart 47 years ago, with her convincing analysis that large blocks decrease street life ...
.17 NVTA public hearing update
By Bruce Wright(Bruce Wright)
The bicycle community needs to develop some Regional, cross-jurisdictional on-road bike routes that can be included in the future NVTA 60% Regional project list. 2. Those projects should be part of TransAction 2030. ...
In the November 1939 issue of Popular Science, New York commercial artist Nicholas DeSantis designed a "metropolitan skyport of tomorrow". ... floors under the “aerotrop-olis” would contain offices, restaurants, theatres ...
.19 Peak Capitalism? A Commentary
The Daily Scare - Cincinnati, OH, USA
In a regionalized world, an Industrialized North America needs South America as its own regional share of the Global South, along with whatever it can grab ...
.20 Education for Sustainable Development
Many national and most regional development strategies include some elements of education and awareness activities for achieving their goals and objectives. In practice, however, education has not been used to its full potential. ...
Global and regional cooperation is in full swing, and countries are increasingly interdependent. The international balance of power is changing in favor of the maintenance of world peace, and the overall international situation is ...
Minneapolis/St Paul cyclists that bragged about their 36-mile round-trip commute that they tackle all winter ... Stay tuned ... presentation to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, and Cincinnati's bicycle kegstands.
13. Announcements and Regional Links
.10 Working Paper 97-3: Open Regionalism - Peterson Institute for International Economics
“Open regionalism” represents an effort to resolve one of the central problems of contemporary trade policy: how to achieve compatibility between the explosion of regional trading arrangements 1 around the world and the global trading system as embodied in the World Trade Organization. The concept seeks to assure that regional agreements will in practice be building blocks for further global liberalization rather than stumbling blocks that deter such progress. ...
.10 Region's plans still inequitable - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (subscription) - Milwaukee, WI, USA
This could be a defining year for regionalism in Greater Milwaukee, and two main issues - both drivers of economic growth - will help determine whether those efforts succeed: water and transportation.
Gov. Jim Doyle and legislative leaders should lead a coordinated effort to pass the stalled Great Lakes compact, an agreement among the eight Great Lakes states to coordinate water conservation planning and diversion procedures. Efforts to draft a bill implementing the compact in Wisconsin ran into strong opposition in parts of Waukesha County, and it remains unclear if a compact bill can clear the state Assembly.
The state Transportation Department, meantime, has proposed spending $1.9 billion on rebuilding and expanding the stretch of I-94 between Mitchell International Airport and the Illinois state line. But the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail line is not part of the transportation upgrade and other regional transportation plans offer little or no new transit components, which tend to serve urban, lower-income populations.
City of Milwaukee politicians and activists are right to question whether such public planning is equitable.
I don't think it is. There isn't even an awareness that equity is a normal, reasonable expectation. And until that realization occurs, the good intentions wrapped up in the regional model in southeastern Wisconsin are going to be difficult to achieve, and even contradicted.
Planning for a regional water supply for southeastern Wisconsin is being carried out by a 32-member committee of experts created by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. The committee will spend about a million dollars, is utilizing paid consultants and will make powerful policy recommendations that will guide water-fueled development in the region for decades.
Yet this committee is entirely Caucasian and has no specific representative for the region's lower-income residents who are also heavily minority. ...
.11 Editorial: Beyond talk and on to solutions - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (subscription) - Milwaukee, WI, USA
Last year, the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board listened to community leaders as we convened 10 round tables to discuss the issues affecting metro Milwaukee's quality of life.
Today, we launch Agenda '08: Growing Metro Milwaukee.
We are taking the discussion to the next level: Solutions.
In a yearlong campaign, the Editorial Board will shed a light and try to make a difference on some key projects and problems that can spell improved quality of life. Left unattended, we believe, the problems will continue to contribute to a diminished ability for the region to compete.
And as the name suggests, the items we've picked for Agenda '08 reflect what we heard through much of the '07 round-table series.
• We live or die, improve or not, as a region. A strong Milwaukee is as important as a thriving Waukesha, Cedarburg or Germantown. Pewaukee's and Racine's woes and needs are very much Milwaukee's. It's about the region.
• Economic development is the wellspring from which all progress flows.
• But the region's social development will determine whether its waters can adequately sustain us or if that spring flows at all.
This all may sound grandiosely ambitious, but we recognize the need for incremental improvements. That's why we will target our efforts.
We cannot editorialize away poverty. We can, however, tackle teen pregnancy, that pernicious and entirely avoidable building block of poverty.
We can map out a route to meaningful health care reform that ensures people have universal access to affordable care regardless of their economic station.
These two items - teen pregnancy and health care reform - are the social development elements of Agenda '08. In truth, they are as critical to the region's economic well-being as any of the issues we've picked to move the needle in economic development.
Other menu sections available from this link include: regions, regional, regional community, region, Regional Council, regional development and other search terms. They can be sorted by date or relevance. These are among the 50 search terms I use to produce this newsletter.