Regional Community Development News – September 16 & 23, 2009 [regions_work]
A compilation of news links about and for regional communities pursuing local and regional development.
Published on line since November 11, 2003.
Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.
Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet … 11.01 - .13
Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .03
Announcements and Regional Links … 13.01 - .03
Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02
The new on-line “Regional Council Self-Assessment and Resource Toolkit” is intended to assist executive directors of regional councils, along with policy board members, in conducting a basic organizational analysis.
The toolkit is based on extensive interviews, observations and input from national, state and local leaders involved in the regional council industry (including EDA’s 381 Economic Development Districts). The toolkit is intended to help policy officials and executive directors think through the various aspects and challenges of governing and operating a highly successful regional council. It does not necessarily cover every aspect of regional council management, but it does provide a starting point for conducting an honest self-assessment of the overall condition of the organization.
Regional councils serve a unique role in public management. The positions of regional council executive director and policy board member offer major challenges and opportunities. The best training for executive directors is often on-the-job training and peer mentoring, even though most directors have post-graduate degrees in regional planning, public administration, business management or public policy. Since regional councils typically lack the traditional powers of local government, such as tax and bonding authority, regulatory enforcement, and planning and zoning ordinances, regional council leaders and staff must rely on a specific set of skills. These include building consensus and ownership, establishing credibility through the power of ideas and knowledge, and serving as public entrepreneurs and innovators.
Regional councils are political entities that must function politically—yet also in a nonpartisan manner—to be effective. ...
The toolkit is organized as follows:
1. Era of New Regionalism: Positioning Your Regional Council in a New Landscape
2. Your Regional Council’s Role in a Modern Era of Regionalism: Checklist for Action
3. Seven Significant Issues Facing Regional Councils
4. Managing An Effective Regional Council Policy Board
5. Becoming an Effective Regional Council Leader: Checklists and Resources for Executive Directors
6. State Associations of Regional Councils
7. Regional Council Snapshots: Innovations and Noteworthy Practices
8. Peer Resource Exchange: Food for Thought on Key Organizational Issues
9. Concepts of Leadership
The toolkit is a product of a partnership of:
NADO - the National Association of Development Organizations - http://www.nado.org
Toolkit PDF: http://www.nado.org/pubs/toolkit.pdf
Note: This publication should be of interest to other executives of regional organizations as well as staffers who have such a position as a career goal. Ed.
2. Editorial: Is it time to reconsider local government? - Old Colony Memorial and
Between 1643 and 1812,
Between 1997 and 2000, eight of the states’ counties were abolished; six, including
Yet, how efficient is municipal government, based on political boundaries established many years ago that yielded 351 cities and towns, all with local governments? That’s a lot of police and fire departments, public works departments and school districts…
Is there a better model for local governance? Tom Calter thinks so.
Calter, D-Kingston, is serving his second term as a state representative. … He’s seen the inner workings of town government. And he doesn’t like part of what he sees.
“Municipalities can’t make the current form of government work,” he told a gathering of regional business and civic leaders … “Quite simply, they are no longer able to increase their budgets to provide the next level of services our citizens have come to expect.”
It’s time for local governments to consolidate services, he said, just as business has been doing for decades. And he said the fastest way to do that is by using county government.
“We can’t afford to keep everything local,” he said. “We need to regionalize schools, police officers and fire departments. Although we may end up with the same amount of police, firemen and teachers, we could do away with costly bureaucracies, sell surplus buildings and benefit from greater economies and operating efficiencies.”
There are countless examples of regionalization across the Commonwealth. With the help of 13 Regional Planning Agencies in the state and the collaborative effort of neighboring municipalities, there are many opportunities for cities and towns to combine resources. Shared services can have a positive impact on the participating communities, providing more efficient processes and cost-saving solutions. Whether it is by creating regional 911 communication centers, intercity recycling programs, or sharing local accounting programs, there are a number of successful examples that communities can learn from as they consider regionalizing certain local services that make sense for their community.
Note: See listing of Resources including MA Regional Planning agencies. Ed.
4. Meadowlands trains-to-game show potential of regional rail - The Star-Ledger - NJ.com -
The inauguration of the special game-day trains marks a small but important first step in the regionalization of passenger rail service, whereby trains from the three commuter railroads that serve
This autumn, before 1 p.m. kickoffs for either Jets or Giants games, three NJ Transit trains will run from
… all three commuter railroads are setting new ridership records annually and expect more growth before the big projects come on line. Facilities like Penn Station must be used more efficiently at nominal cost.
Running trains through the station will not require new platforms or tracks. By not "dwelling" at a platform until its scheduled return trip, as most trains do now, a train that runs through creates a new platform slot for another to use.
This seems a simple and inexpensive idea, but it has eluded railroads for years because of a lack of vision in the statehouses, an entrenched rivalry among the railroads and their managers, and geographically restrictive labor agreements.
"The barriers to regional rail are less geographic and more institutional, labor and political," said Elliot Sander, who pushed for the football trains while MTA chief, as did NJ Transit
For regional rail to fully blossom, one technical obstacle that must fall is the different ways railroads collect electricity. …
The rail agencies believe the three-year football train pilot will show they have set aside rivalries to operate a high-quality service between states. Already, tickets are available on the commuter railroads for the entire trip.
Governor M. Jodi Rell announced the release of the state’s first-ever Economic Strategic Plan – a detailed, statewide blueprint for keeping and growing jobs, making the state more business-friendly and investing in the infrastructure and technology that will keep Connecticut competitive in the 21st Century.
Governor Rell said: “The plan outlines the smart, targeted investments we need to make in housing, our transportation system and work force development. It spells out the commitments needed from government leaders in both the Executive and Legislative branches to work together to eliminate roadblocks to growth and build on a climate for success. And it makes clear that these steps must be taken with the principle of Responsible Growth foremost in mind – preserving the charm and character of our state for our children and for generations to come.”
The full text of the nearly 550-page plan is being posted today on the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Web site at www.ct.gov/ecd
As the plan was being developed, DECD held public meetings in 10 cities and towns in late 2007 and early 2008 to gather input from residents, business leaders and lawmakers. Since then, the global economic downturn has taken a tremendous toll on
* Creating a $100 million, public-private student loan partnership, offering loan forgiveness in most-needed occupations such as science and engineering and depending on the length of career spent in
* Creating a $25 million International Opportunities Program to encourage global technology companies to locate their North American headquarters in
* Implementing an Angel Investor Tax Credit, giving a tax break to individuals, corporations or institutions that invest in qualified start-up enterprises in areas such as biotechnology, digital media and “green” technology.
* Continuing the development of regionalism – programs and policies that have cities and towns working together rather than competing with one another.
6. Passenger rail service brought $7B in investments, jobs, developer says - Dayton Daily News -
A land developer from
The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission [http://www.mvrpc.org/] hosted Martin’s visit to
The 3C plan would establish rail service connecting
Critics have questioned whether such a large investment in rail service is justified in
Martin said the same questions were raised in
The service, which started in 2001, has exceeded all ridership projections. Among the major related investments, Martin said, was Mattsun Development’s redevelopment of a more than 100-year-old mill property on
About 30 people attended a presentation by Martin at the planning commission’s Center for Regional Cooperation in
7. Joel Cayford: Ministers are grabbing the real power for city
Who will plan
But it is an important question and it is important it gets answered publicly because
Few disagreed with the need to strengthen
However, there has not been universal agreement about the institutional arrangements needed to deliver this sensible objective - hence the efforts of a royal commission and a parliamentary select committee.
Important questions about organisational structures, political representation, and the jobs of more than 6000 local government employees need to be answered, but so does the question about how Auckland will be planned, and who will plan it.
Recent events suggest Government wants
The strongest and most worrying indication of this shift in decision-making are the pet transport projects being peddled by Minister of Transport …
… Government-driven interventions strike at the bedrock of
8. The Business Case for the Arts -
The arts allow us to imagine a new way to live and envision the world. Artists and cultural organizations create a world in which art and business collaborate to spur development and revitalization in
It is no surprise that Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the
The arts also contribute to the economic fabric of the region. The non-profit arts and culture industry in
Locally, there is a history of successful business-arts partnerships. The world renowned Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra acts as ambassador for our city through its international tours and performances. The Orchestra has partnered with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliate the
Nationally there is a trend to connect art and business sectors in order to generate new ideas, ingenuity and efficiency. In February 2004, Harvard Business Review exclaimed, the "MFA is the new MBA," giving master of fine arts degrees the same relevance as a master of business degree in the business sector.
9. Megaregions and
It has been almost five years since the concept of "megaregions" surfaced and gained recognition among urban planners and regionalists in the
The idea that our planning processes ought to take into account the scale at which travel patterns, electric grids, business relationships, housing markets and natural systems actually occur is straightforward. But the concept has been slow to take hold in federal policy — except in transportation. There, the recent infusion of funding for high-speed rail has highlighted the important role of megaregions in planning and building support for high-speed rail corridors.
While high-speed rail may set the stage for megaregions
Over the course of the past year,
Our reasoning for regional organization is this: …
Bold font is used to add emphasis to key words and phrases. A goal of this newsletter is to find every regional council in the
The Big Four didn’t quite hold hands and sing “Kumbaya,” but the tone at a Friday panel discussion at the Tri-County summit at
.03 Green Coast goes to
With the Obama administration nudging climate change toward the top of the political agenda, the new energy economy was a timely topic as 25 business and community leaders from the Tri-Counties convened for a day of discussions hosted by U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara. Capps said she was encouraged by efforts to develop a regional economic development plan to encourage clean technology companies under the umbrella of a Green Coast Alliance. “This is an opportunity for the entire region to develop jobs at a time when the economy is weak,” Capps said. “We come from a position of being in a deficit compared to the rest of the world.” ...
.04 Regional gang initiative grant award announced
.05 3-state collaboration receives national grant to address nursing shortages
Tufts Health Plan Foundation in
.06 Shining Light Awards Honor Three for Outstanding Commitment to Region
The 2009 "Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards" will be awarded to Judge Damon J. Keith, Mariam C. Noland and Brittany Galisdorfer for the important contributions they have made to regional cooperation, progress and understanding in Metropolitan Detroit. ... This award recognizes an individual in the public spotlight who is taking risks and demonstrating courage to improve regional cooperation and understanding. ... The Detroit Free Press and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition launched the Shining Light Awards in 2007 to highlight the critical importance of regional cooperation to the success of
.07 Civic Innovation Lab Has $9.4 Million Economic Impact on Cuyahoga ...
The investments and activities of The Civic Innovation Lab, the Northeast Ohio grassroots economic development organization that provides mentorship and $30,000 in funding to early stage entrepreneurs, generated economic impact in
.08 Salazar Launches DOI Climate Change Response Strategy -
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar launched the Department of the Interior’s first-ever coordinated strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change on
’s land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources on September 14. The secretarial order establishes a framework through which Interior bureaus will coordinate climate change science and resource management strategies. Under the framework: America
* A new Climate Change Response Council, led by the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Counselor, will coordinate DOI’s response to the impacts of climate change within and among the Interior bureaus and will work to improve the sharing and communication of climate change impact science, including through http://www.data.gov/ ;
* Eight DOI regional Climate Change Response Centers, serving Alaska, the Northeast, the Southeast, the Southwest, the Midwest, the West, Northwest, and Pacific regions – will synthesize existing climate change impact data and management strategies, help resource managers put them into action on the ground, and engage the public through education initiatives; and …
With three months left in 2009, the number of metro
Regionalism died last week. Don’t blame Russell Investments. It took cynical advantage of provincial rivalries for fun and profit. Its owners in the cosmopolitan city of
Planet Weekly -
Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), is promoting regionalism in development for the State of
.12 Coast fielding statewide hopefuls
Regionalism has strongly influenced the inner political workings of the Legislature over the years, pitting representatives from the Delta against those from northeast
.13 RDA debate draws 200
Gary Post Tribune - Indiana,
The future of the Regional Development Authority and
.14 Urban Land Institute will use greenways to start connecting ...
Improving regional dialogue on important issues is the most pressing of seven new initiatives recently established by the Urban Land Institute Memphis, the new chairman says. "Right now, regional topics don
.15 UB Report Shows Little Savings from Downsizing
The UB Regionalism Institute and the UB Law School released a report Thursday that examined the benefits and costs associated with downsizing governments. The institute did an analysis of all 44 local village, town and city governing boards. The study comes at a time when some municipalities are considering downsizing the number of legislators representing them. … Joyce Kryszak talked with the Institute
Link to full report: http://www.regional-institute.buffalo.edu/Research/Series.cfm?ID=63&Series=20
.16 Secrets of the city
The battered abandonment, the veritable concrete jungles and the wrecked streets give
.17 Two-town alliance pondered
Nashoba Publishing –
The Regionalization Planning Committee voted unanimously at its Sept. 1 meeting not to pursue the three-town system it had envisioned. In a way, it was no surprise. As the deadline approached, proponents were clear about the sticking point -- state transition money. Although not promised, there was hope it could be found, somewhere. It was not. "We never heard back from the governor
.18 Charity forms regional alliance
Eight local corps of the Salvation Army have formed an alliance to better publicize the work they do in the Triad region. "We really hope it will increase an overall awareness of the services that are comprehensive and available to folks throughout this service area," Maj. Terry Israel, the corps officer in
Looking to stop putting patchwork Band-Aids on three rural roads, the Muskegon County Road Commission is considering crushing them back into gravel as a longer term cost-saving measure. ... More than 20 of
.20 Prisoners of the Census: How the Incarcerated are Counted Distorts our Politics
Stateside Dispatch - Progressive States Network
Currently the Census Bureau counts prisoners as residing at their place of incarceration. While this serves the constitutional purpose of the census - determining the relative populations of the states for congressional reapportionment - it has in the past few decades resulted in significant unintended consequences. The two main secondary purposes of the census are state and local legislative reapportionment, and determining funding for federal grants that are based on population or demographics. For these uses the distortions in population counts caused by prisons can and do throw the process out of whack. …
.21 AP source: Census worker hanged with
The Associated Press
A U.S. Census worker found hanged from a tree near a
.22 Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West
Dead forests, of course, are fuel for the dramatic, massive wildfires you now see so regularly on the TV news. We had quite a few of those wildfires this summer in
.23 VeriFone VTS Taxi Payment & Media Systems Now in
Barwood is the first taxi company in the
11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents
.01 Top 100 Urban Thinkers
Planetizen readers have spoken. After more than 14,000 votes, the urban planning community has named the 100 top urban thinkers. Atop the list: Jane Jacobs.
The poll was active for one month, from August 7th to September 7th, 2009. We would never claim that this is a definitive list; voters were given free reign to submit and vote for whomever they liked. Overall, the list includes some of the brightest, most influential and most controversial figures in the development of cities and places.
The Top Ten Urban Thinkers:
1. Jane Jacobs
2. Andres Duany
3. Christopher Alexander
5. Kevin A. Lynch
6. Daniel Burnham
7. Lewis Mumford
8. Leon Krier
9. William H. Whyte
10. Jan Gehl
See the full list of Planetizen
.02 Media seminar on secularism and militant regionalism
WITH THE upcoming of Maharashtra state elections starting October 13, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC) and the Press Club of Mumbai organised a seminar on increasing regionalism in politics … Sudhaman who initiated the discussion, stated that despite all its setbacks, India is one of the few countries in the world where democracy has thrived in such a large scale. “One simply can’t deny the fact, democracy has actually led to substantial development of the country”, Sudhaman stated. He also credited Rajiv Gandhi for completely changing the political thinking in the country. … Ganesh Kanate, editor, TV9, opined that the root cause of militant regionalism was due to lack of ideology in political parties in
.03 Battlelines drawn to save region
"The war’s not yet over." That’s the word from
.04 Council of Atlantic Premiers Launch “Let’s Right the Future” Wellness Campaign in
Helping children to live active and healthier lives is the goal of a new Atlantic wellness social marketing campaign, “Let’s Right the Future,” launched today by the Council of Atlantic Premiers in
.05 $100 Bil. Set for Regional Development
The government will spend a total of 126 trillion won over the coming five years on the country
World Press Review - Worldpress.org
.07 Progressive internationalism
P.J. Patterson, this year
.08 Acquiring political points on quarrels:
“Strained relations and frequent incidents among the states from the region are not unusual and unexpected after the earthquake which happened during the disintegration of
.09 Tadić tells party end of crisis is "near"
DS leader Boris Tadić told his party
Livemint.com - The Wall Street Journal
A new international convention, known as the Rotterdam Rules, on the carriage of containerized freight by sea and involving an inland journey, is taking shape. The draft United Nations (UN) Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea will be open for signature by all member states at a ceremony on 23 September in the Dutch port city of
The Thai government’s recent U-turn on its decision to remove monks in temples in environmentally-protected areas has once again underlined the conflicting ideologies over forest conservation in
.12 Carbon Financing and Community Forestry
The following is a text of a Call for Action issued after the First Regional Forum for People and Forests: Carbon Financing and Community Forestry. The three-day event brought together key people to analyze the risks, opportunities, and constraints that carbon financing presents for Asia-Pacific’s forest-dependent people. ... As forests in the Asia-Pacific region can potentially absorb a large proportion of global carbon dioxide emissions, the need for healthy and sustainable forest ecosystems cannot be understated nor undersold. But we must go beyond carbon to promote and ‘sell’ biodiversity, watershed conservation, and sustainable forest management as an essential holistic package. Local people hold the key to healthy forests in this region. They have the closest direct stake in forest resources and will affect the outcome of any forest management strategy, including those aimed at climate change mitigation. For carbon financing to succeed, it must learn from three decades of community forestry experience and actively engage and benefit local people.
.13 Oh No! Global Warming Is Affecting Beer Production
The quality of Saaz hops, which are required to make pilsner lager, has been decreasing lately, and climatologist Martin Mozny of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute thinks he knows why: Global warming. Indeed, Saaz hops are delicate and the higher air temperatures in the
12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents
A "Transit Summit" was held in
* Scott Bernstein, a national expert on transit and regional economies, said southeastern
.02 40/40/20 demonstrates the pitfalls of regional transportation planning
I’ve had a couple arguments in recent weeks over the merits of regional transportation governance reform, ... Now, I don’t question the need for regional transportation planning and cooperation; buses, trains, cars and trucks cross city and county lines, so it would be stupid for our roads and transit not to interoperate. And I don’t question either the need for suburban buses, or the fact that service to these less dense areas necessarily requires a larger subsidy per passenger mile than more crowded, and thus more cost-efficient, city routes. (The fare to expense ratio in Metro’s Seattle-centric West area was roughly 26% in 2007, compared to 14% for the East area.) But when the political compromises necessary to facilitate “regional governance” result in rigid, sub-area allocations like Metro’s 40/40/20 rule, or Sound Transit’s subarea equity provisions, it can’t help but hamper the ability of
.03 Four Officials From
Huffington Post (blog)
Four prominent leaders from Aspen, Colo., Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore. and Sante Fe, N.M. will share their experiences and thoughts in an evening forum, Wednesday, Sept. 23, titled "Separated at Birth: Insights from Kindred Communities." ... several topics, including:
* How a city
* How university cities navigate issues of "town and gown."
* How cities work regionally, integrating community issues within larger growth areas.
* How cities develop sustainable "green" policies.
* How a city
13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents
.01 6th Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable - September 30 – October 1, 2009 -
Smart and Sustainable – Local & Regional, State and Multi-State -
How will planning contribute to achieving these goals of the citizenry?
For: Planners and Elected and Appointed Officials, Business Persons and Citizens
Sponsored by: Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division, American Planning Association and APA Chapters: Delaware, Maryland, National Capital Area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia to allow no admission cost to participants.
Hosted by: Metropolitan
Historic Roundtable Support: AMPO, NADO, NARC
.02 Studies Identify Trouble Ahead for
Three new studies are sounding a warning bell for Pennsylvania municipalities and the state as a whole: without major changes in the structures and laws that govern municipalities and the way they are financed, and unless communities are empowered to work more closely together, their fiscal and physical integrity is at grave risk and the state’s economy will continue to struggle in the coming decades. The independent studies released by three major research institutions concurrently today are:
* an assessment of the fiscal health of
* an update of the 2003 "Back to Prosperity" report, entitled "Committing to Prosperity," prepared by the Brookings Institution for The Campaign to Renew Pennsylvania; and
* "Strengthening Rural Pennsylvania," a policy brief on rural issues authored by a team of researchers from The Pennsylvania State University.
"Sometimes we have a tendency to think of rural areas as being separate from urban and suburban areas, and we make decisions about each in a public-policy vacuum," said Ted Alter,
The issues rural Pennsylvanians identified as most critical are parallel to those of residents of more densely populated communities. Yet, rural development policy has tended to focus on specific economic segments, rather than address the complexity of rural communities. The report outlines a place-based policy approach that works to leverage a region’s unique assets, encourages regional cooperation among local governments and between the public and private sectors, and takes a more holistic view of economic development.
.03 Genuine Progress Indicator – Wikipedia
The genuine progress indicator (GPI) is a concept in green economics and welfare economics that has been suggested to replace gross domestic product (GDP) as a metric of economic growth.
GPI is an attempt to measure whether a country
14. Financial Crisis. Contents
.01 Why capitalism fails - Boston Globe - MA,
Since the global financial system started unraveling in dramatic fashion two years ago, distinguished economists have suffered a crisis of their own. Ivy League professors who had trumpeted the dawn of a new era of stability have scrambled to explain how, exactly, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression had ambushed their entire profession.
Amid the hand-wringing and the self-flagellation, a few more cerebral commentators started to speak about the arrival of a “Minsky moment,” and a growing number of insiders began to warn of a coming “Minsky meltdown.”
“Minsky” was shorthand for Hyman Minsky, a hitherto obscure macroeconomist who died over a decade ago. … He predicted, decades ago, almost exactly the kind of meltdown that recently hammered the global economy.
Minsky called his idea the “Financial Instability Hypothesis.” In the wake of a depression, he noted, financial institutions are extraordinarily conservative, as are businesses. With the borrowers and the lenders who fuel the economy all steering clear of high-risk deals, things go smoothly: loans are almost always paid on time, businesses generally succeed, and everyone does well. That success, however, inevitably encourages borrowers and lenders to take on more risk in the reasonable hope of making more money. As Minsky observed, “Success breeds a disregard of the possibility of failure.”
As people forget that failure is a possibility, a “euphoric economy” eventually develops, fueled by the rise of far riskier borrowers - what he called speculative borrowers, those whose income would cover interest payments but not the principal; and those he called “Ponzi borrowers,” those whose income could cover neither, and could only pay their bills by borrowing still further. …
Once that kind of economy had developed, any panic could wreck the market. …
.02 Is your bank ‘underwater’? Check its debt level – msnbc.com
Banks with heavy debt loads are concentrated in a few states. The map shows the percentage of banks in each state that ended the second quarter with "troubled asset ratios" greater than 100, meaning they have more troubled loans than capital and loan loss reserves to cover them. Click through a state to look up any bank in the
15. Custom search: region, regions, regional communities Contents
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Thomas J. (Tom) Christoffel, AICP - http://www.regional-communities.com/