Regional Community Development News – October 14, 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.

U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State – news articles10.01 - .17

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .10

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .02

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .02

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

Custom search: region, regions, regional communities … 15.


Top Regional Community stories

1. Counties share $700K in federal stimulus funds - Rutland Herald – Rutland, VT, USA

Four southern Vermont counties will receive nearly $700,000 in economic stimulus money to promote energy efficiency.

Independent Sen. Bernard Sanders, who heads the Senate Environment Committee's Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, authored legislation that established the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.

"The block grant program recognizes the importance of local efforts to create good-paying jobs in developing sustainable energy and promoting energy efficiency," Sanders said. "What I particularly like about this approach is that it relies on local initiatives and grassroots participation."

The grants were designated for county governments and Vermont, which does not have county government, was initially ineligible for the money. Sanders, along with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch, appealed to the Department of Energy to create county equivalent governing bodies, which opened the door for regional planning commissions to apply for the money.

"We had great support from all three offices in our federal delegation," said James Matteau, executive director of the Windham Regional Commission [ ], which will receive $130,800 in stimulus money.

Peter Gregory, executive director of the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission [ ] in Woodstock, said his organization would use the $193,300 it is sharing with the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission to perform energy audits of municipal buildings and provide money for retrofit work.

The Addison County Regional Planning Commission [ ] will also use some of its $153,700 for energy audits of as many as 30 municipal buildings, said executive director Adam Lougee, …

The grants hopefully will help the planning commissions to create programs that are self-sustaining, Gregory said.

"Although this is stimulus money and it will end at some point, we are trying to establish a program that will outlive its funding source," Gregory said.

The Rutland Regional Planning Commission [ ] will receive $189,700

2. Eros Triumphs…At Least in Some Places, Mapping Natural Population Increases - New Geography

As with other advanced capitalist societies, the US population is aging. About 30 percent of US counties experienced natural decrease – more deaths than births – in the 2000-2007 period.

Nevertheless, the most exceptional feature of the United States remains its unusually high level of natural increase, and significant degree of population growth. This is often attributed to the high level of immigration, especially from Mexico, illegal as well as legal, and their high fertility. This process is indeed critical, even though most of the migration is in fact legal, and the share from Mexico is not as high as commonly perceived. Also most of the Hispanic population in the United States is native, not immigrant.

Perhaps a more important feature of US society contributing to a smaller decline in fertility than in most other advanced countries is the extraordinary cultural traditionalism of perhaps half the American population. This is reflected in the so-called “culture wars”: a more educated modernism, pejoratively dubbed as “secular humanist,” versus a more traditional, religion-observing “moral majority.”

Conservatives campaign against abortion and even contraception, and maintain an amazingly high level of religiosity and skepticism of science, creating a climate favorable to a level of fertility above replacement levels (2.1 per female). The super pro-child Mormon Church alone claims millions of members, and evangelical groups boast even more. This creates a fascinating, future-influencing tension between a younger-growing, more educated population choosing lower fertility on average, and a more traditional population more successful at reproducing themselves!

Natural increase, then, can be expected in the following kinds of areas. …

Geography of Natural Increase

Figure 1 maps natural increase by five levels, …

Map 2 sorts counties according to in or out migration, population gain or loss, and the role of natural increase versus net in-migration. … border region counties ……at-least-some-places-mapping-natural-population-increases

3. Globalization, but also regionalization -

In this era of globalization, countries do still pay a great deal of attention to matters of national interest and concern. Against the belief of some, globalization does not erode or diminish the role of nation states, it, in many ways, augments and fosters it.

But countries should be paying much attention to globalization, as it has become a reality and active engagement with it is a must.

" In the Middle East, for example, collaboration has been either minimal or not up to expectations. Borders and many old-fashioned regulations, procedures, attitudes, prejudices and biases greatly hinder (at times totally obstruct) not just the flow of persons and goods, but also basic levels of coordination and cooperation, and implementation of good ideas "

Then there are many who stress the importance of engaging at both national and global levels. But few are talking about another important level of engagement: regional.

Countries are often clustered in regions. This is why one talks, for example, about the Arab world, Southeast Asia, Central America, the Middle East, etc. As such, matters concerning regions should receive much attention.

Some regions have been paying good (at time excellent) attention to their affairs, coordinating matters of mutual concern skillfully and efficiently. Many examples can be cited from Europe, Southeast Asia and North and South America to illustrate models of good regional cooperation.

Other regions have not witnessed much cooperation among countries making them up.

In the Middle East, for example, collaboration has been either minimal or not up to expectations. Borders and many old-fashioned regulations, procedures, attitudes, prejudices and biases greatly hinder (at times totally obstruct) not just the flow of persons and goods, but also basic levels of coordination and cooperation, and implementation of good ideas. …

4. Logistics dream: Chamber wants to remake region's roads, rail, airports into global hub -Crain's Detroit Business - MI, USA

Three hundred years ago, the Detroit region was a thriving trading post of fur trappers and frontier settlers, a strategic gateway into the virgin American interior and worthy of geopolitical maneuvering by the great powers of the day.

Now, the Detroit Regional Chamber wants to remake the region into a modern inland air-sea-rail-ground port worthy of its colonial history through an economic development and jobs-creation initiative designed to take advantage of U.S. logistics spending forecasted to grow to $14 trillion from $4 trillion now.

To do so will require money, time, patience and cooperation.

For starters, the chamber's effort to create a global logistics hub out of Detroit and surrounding metro areas — known as Translinked — needs $1.5 million to lay a foundation by the end of next year.

The chamber has applied for government grants and private funding and expects to know in coming months if it will get the money, said Melissa Roy, the chamber's senior director of government relations and the point person on the Translinked effort.

Answering those questions together is important before we embark on a regional governance model or plan,” Roy said. “It is a challenge.


“It's often difficult to get the region on the same page for anything,” Roy said.

Besides the regional and state political leadership, the chamber is targeting entities such as port authorities, economic development corporations, managers of transportation systems and private industry.

5. Officials sidetrack county's rail plans - - CA, USA

The scenic railway that threads along San Diego County's coast has been in need of expansion and renovation for years.

So when the federal government recently launched its economic stimulus program, San Diego's regional planning agency sought $377 million to pay for improvements, including laying new track and replacing creaky bridges.

Most of the request never made it to Washington.

Instead, state officials decided to seek rail stimulus money for a single big-ticket project: a bullet train that doesn't include San Diego in its initial development.

Critics argue that the region — part of the second-busiest rail corridor in the nation — was robbed of a chance to move ahead with a series of shovel-ready improvements so the state could seek money for a project that's fatally flawed.

To Jim Mills, the former state senator who helped shape San Diego's modern-day rail system, the request shows misplaced priorities.

“This was a good opportunity to improve existing rail service,” said Mills, known as the father of the San Diego Trolley. “San Diego County got shortchanged.”

San Diegan Lynn Schenk, a California High-Speed Rail Authority board member, said the rail system will ultimately bring huge benefits to the region, including thousands of construction jobs as well as congestion relief.

Although not the first phase of the project, construction of a Riverside-to-San Diego leg could begin by 2014, with completion by 2022, Schenk said.

Schenk and others say the coastal railway is a worthy candidate for other sources of government money, including state transportation bonds.

The San Diego Association of Governments, the region's planning agency, identified the $377 million in rail improvements between San Clemente and downtown San Diego.

6. White House on board to fix Detroit's bus mess – Detroit Free Press - Detroit, MI, USA

Federal officials are coming soon to figure out what can be done to help Detroit's struggling bus system, the Obama administration's top transportation official said Tuesday.

"It's the most common thing I've heard," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday, after a two-day visit to Detroit. "We need to figure out what they need. Is it more money, more equipment?"

The city -- facing a budget deficit -- has cut bus routes and 113 jobs in the Detroit Department of Transportation, leaving some bus riders stranded. …

Ed Cardenas, spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing, said the city looks forward to working with the Obama administration, "and we appreciate the offer of support."

Transit is going to be a federal priority as President Barack Obama pushes for pedestrain-friendly communities.

"One of the most critical aspects that we'll be looking at is there has to be a regional collaboration," he said. "There isn't enough money to do these things single-handedly."

In the late 1970s, the region walked away from $600 million in federal money to help build a light-rail system from downtown Detroit to Oakland and Macomb counties because city and suburban officials couldn't agree. In 2002, Gov. John Engler vetoed a bill that would have created a regional transportation authority.

"You all have to get your act together on this. It's not that complicated," LaHood said.

Metro Detroit leaders have agreed on a master plan, but they still must get the Legislature to create a regional transit authority, …

7. Federally funded regional consortium to test ways to improve education - The Kansas City Star – Kansas City, MO, USA

With federal dollars flying at education at the speed of a national emergency, the Obama administration would like to know the money is fueling ideas that work.

Answers to that billion-dollar question soon may come from Kansas City.

Five universities from Kansas and Missouri are teaming up with at least 32 area school districts, plus Catholic schools and charter schools, to create an education research laboratory that is garnering national attention.

“We are at a real crucial time in public education,” John Q. Easton, a Department of Education administrator, recently told a group of educators and researchers in Kansas City.

Easton spoke of the burden weighing on himself and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

“We’re spending billions of dollars,” Easton said. “And he (Duncan) said we don’t want to wait to find out five or six years down the road what ideas are successful and what aren’t.”

Kansas City is an unlikely — but potentially effective — source for quick answers.

The region is unlikely because education data are splintered between two state systems and across a diverse field of small to medium-size school districts.

Only a few of the larger Johnson County districts serve more than 20,000 students. Kansas and Missouri also use different performance tests that resist comparisons across the state line.

All of that makes it hard to amass the kind of usable data that have marked a successful research collaboration between Chicago-area universities and the 400,000-student Chicago public schools.

8. Upcoming conference will focus on regional development - Times-West Virginian - Fairmont, WV, USA

The Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University and the Economic Development Administration are coming together to focus on regional development during an upcoming conference.

Randall Jackson is director of the WVU Regional Research Institute and also a professor in the university’s geology and geography department. The RRI, founded in 1965, focuses on regional economic development research.

“Our mission over all of those years has centered on the study of regional economic development with a focus on lagging regions,” he said. “Our research is not limited just to West Virginia or the Appalachian region, (but) we obviously take special interest in research that has application to our own region.”

As a public service, the institute publishes the Web Book of Regional Science [], which is a fairly extensive collection of reference materials that instructors around the globe use for course materials and that professionals and planning agencies also utilize. …

WVU’s Regional Research Institute and the Economic Development Administration are co-hosting a conference in Morgantown this month. The First Annual EDA Economic Development Research Symposium will take place at the Clarion Hotel Morgan on Oct. 21 and 22. The symposium is titled “Charting the Course for Regional Development.”

The EDA is looking to be informed about the work that is being done and examine how those endeavors can be leveraged for future projects and policies, he said. The symposium will include presentations of research projects and a variety of panel sessions and discussions.

“These are all issues related to regional economic development strategies,” Jackson said.

He said discussion topics will include regional innovation systems, educational institutions and levels of research and development, workforce issues, the characteristics most conducive to presenting a healthy economy, and much more.

9. Philadelphia Launches Web Site to Focus on Regional Social Innovations and Social Entrepreneurs - PRNewswire - USA

On October 14 Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal (, the first regional web-based journal of its kind, launches to bring together Philadelphia's top social innovators and entrepreneurs to recognize and solve current social issues. The quarterly Journal will provide a forum for the Greater Philadelphia region's top social innovators -- those who have demonstrated an exceptional capacity to recognize social problems and apply entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage high-impact social change locally, regionally and beyond.

"Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal will build a pipeline of social innovations for expansion, meeting our community's needs. Now more than ever, we need to invest in programs that work and find innovative, effective solutions to our nation's most serious challenges," comments Michele Jolin, Senior Advisor for Social Innovation for the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal co-founders Nicholas Torres of Congreso and Tine Hansen-Turton of National Nursing Centers Consortium and Public Health Management Corporation want to bridge formal research with practice. Inspired by Stanford Social Innovation Review, also a sponsor of the Journal, Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal pioneers a new avenue, bringing attention to the current and ongoing innovative work in the Greater Philadelphia nonprofit and social sector business community with respect to access to health care, human capital, education and workforce development, and violence prevention.

"The Philadelphia region leads in creating cutting edge social innovations, many of which go unnoticed," says Torres. "Many of our region's organizations and their leaders receive a great deal of regional, state, national, and in some cases international recognition; yet, we see very little opportunity for these agencies to publish their own social innovations, share best practices or lessons learned. Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal presents that opportunity."

10. U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State - in news articles.

Bold font words are Google search terms. Bold italic words considered worth noting. In this and section 11, 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 U.S. in a news story as well as recognizing other regional organizations. In most cases, where a full name is present, a Google search will quickly get one to that organization. News reports do not always get the organization name correct. Contents

.01 Mayors in Rhode Island look at consolidating for savings

Providence Journal - RI, USA

The regionalization of public-safety and public-works services in seven metropolitan Providence communities is the goal of enabling legislation that Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline plans to submit to the General Assembly. The legislation, drafted after discussions with the other municipal leaders, is aimed at clearing potential hurdles to regionalization that may exist in city and town charters, state law or regulations so that the seven communities — Providence, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, North Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls — could begin making plans for creation of metropolitan police, fire and public-works districts. The goal of regionalization, Cicilline says, is to maintain services and to cut costs in difficult economic conditions. “I think all of the mayors recognize that these are extraordinary times, and while we’re working very hard to grow our economies … at the same time I think we have to be willing to look at new models for the delivery of services … so that we can realize some savings because of the economies of scale,” Cicilline said. Planning for exactly how the metropolitan districts would work in a region that represents some 43 percent of the state’s population would not begin in earnest unless the legislation is passed, the mayor said. ...

.02 Tri-State Summit highlights results of cooperation - Hannibal, MO, USA

The road to prosperity is built with regional cooperation and support for businesses that are willing to take risks. Speakers hammered home the message at Monday’s Tri-State Development Summit in Fairfield, Iowa. The event, the eighth such gathering in 13 years, stressed the needs of workforce, infrastructure, incentives and livability in 35 counties of Northeast Missouri, West-Central Illinois and Southeast Iowa. Entrepreneurial expert Deb Markley said businesses don’t worry about geographic boundaries, especially during hard times. “Regionalism is essential,” Markley said. “Half the battle is getting people to think regionally. That’s happened here.” … George Walley of the Hannibal-based Northeast Missouri Development Authority said regionalism leads to a “better use of resources” in promoting growth. ...

.03 Clayton County Transit to Fold under Budget Pressure

Public Broadcasting Atlanta - Atlanta, GA, USA

The public transportation service that helped more than 2 million Clayton County residents get around last year will stop on March 31st. The County's Board of Commissioners voted yesterday to shut C-TRAN down in the face of funding challenges, rather than modify it. ... The Commission may revisit the decision if state funding becomes available. But Tom Weyandt of the Atlanta Regional Commission says it's unlikely that the General Assembly would consider C-TRAN alone ... "It seems to me that the issue probably needs to focus on how we're going to focus on developing a sustained source of transit funding for all the transit operations we have in the region. It's not clear how Clayton might get that any sooner. The Assembly did not approve recent attempts to allow for regional transportation funding. So C-TRAN riders will likely have to find back-up plans for transportation." ...

.04 Regional forum on levee plan is Wednesday – Hannibal, MO, USA

… invitation letter for the forum, commissioners say the plan “holds much promise for most areas, but could cause huge amounts of damage to the crops, livestock, homes and businesses in the eastern part of Pike, Lincoln and St. Charles counties.” Mike Klingner is a Quincy, Ill., engineer with extensive experience in river studies worldwide. He is a member of the Upper Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri Rivers Association, which has endorsed the plan. Klingner said the proposal is not set in stone and there is room for it to be “fine-tuned.” The key, he said, will be regional cooperation, because Congress won’t authorize funding if there isn’t agreement on both sides of the river. …

.05 Speak your mind in a Northeast regional energy survey

Pine Journal - Cloquet, MN, USA

The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) and Iron Range Resources (IRR) are working in collaboration to survey and assess activity and needs related to energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy projects in northeast Minnesota. The results of this survey will guide efforts to develop financial and planning assistance outreach programs for communities working on energy related projects. ... The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) is a regional comprehensive planning and development agency serving the counties of Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis in Northeast Minnesota. ARDC’s mission is to serve the people of the Arrowhead Region by providing local units of government and citizen groups a means to work cooperatively in identifying needs, solving problems and fostering local leadership.

.06 New Mexico remakes itself a hub for emerging Smart Grid

New Mexico may become the epicenter of the cleaner, more efficient Smart Grid shaping up all over the country. A proposal unveiled by state governor Bill Richardson today calls for a massive electric transmission station in Clovis, N.M., dubbed the Tres Amigas Super Station, designed to connect the U.S.’s three main power grids and better channel solar and wind energy. The proposed project, which would take about five years to build beginning in 2011 or 2012, would be the largest power converter in the world, covering 22 square miles and fundamentally changing how electricity flows across the country. New Mexico, which would benefit tremendously from the jobs and revenue created by the facility, was chosen because it is located nearest to where the three power grids — referred to as the East, West and Texas interconnections — meet up. On top of that, conditions in the state would allow it to generate up to 27 gigawatts of solar and wind energy. ... Tres Amigas would route energy through underground superconductor pipelines (measuring 3 feet in diameter) equipped with AC/DC converters to provide seamless transmission between one region and the next. …

.07 Wrong way on FasTracks funds

Denver Post - CO, USA

Putting new rapid transit money in untouchable silos, reserved for certain FasTracks lines, might seem like a safe approach for suburban politicians who feel their towns have been shortchanged by the multibillion-dollar transit expansion plan. But it's a strategy that threatens to undermine the regionalism on which the project was founded while ignoring the true reason for RTD's present difficulties: unrealistic revenue and cost estimates. ... We hope a new, realistic set of projections will spark realistic discussions about how to get the project done in a way that will serve all of those who bought into the idea that FasTracks would unite the metro area both politically and through mass transit.

.08 Atlanta unfairly blocks reservoirs

Atlanta Journal Constitution - GA, USA

Metro Atlanta has been blessed with a deluge of late-summer rains. But the downpours will do little to address a historic drought and our long-term water crisis. We need new strategies now to ensure that the water needs of metro Atlantans can be met, and we need to work together — and not at cross-purposes — to create more water storage capacity in our region. This came into sharp focus when U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled July 17 that Congress never intended for Lake Lanier to be used for water-drinking purposes. Judge Magnuson gave the region three years to resolve two decades of water conflicts with Florida and Alabama. Failing a new congressional resolution allowing metro Atlanta to use this critical water supply for drinking purposes, metro Atlanta’s water withdrawal, the judge ruled, must revert back to 1970s levels. But of course, our growth has exploded since the 1970s. ...

.09 New Jersey's tax structure warps land-use decisions - NJ, USA

A recent Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll revealed, to no one's surprise, that New Jerseyans are not happy about paying the nation's highest property taxes. But the poll also offered some surprising insights into what we are willing to do to change this state of affairs-including taking some significant steps that would improve the way land-use decisions are made, and allow for more regional governance and cost-sharing. ...

.10 Residents voice concern with bullet train plans

Gilroy Dispatch - Gilroy, CA, USA

Local skeptics of the California High-Speed Rail Authority's grand vision of bullet trains zipping up and down the state at 200 mph voiced their concerns ... resident asked how the lawsuit filed against the rail authority would affect the project. ... "That's up to the judge and attorneys," said Dave Mansen, a regional project manager for the rail authority. "Our attorneys have asked us not to comment on the specifics." Mansen would say, however, that the presiding judge chose not to issue the stop work order requested by the plaintiffs. ...

.11 ACLU raises questions about intelligence center plans

The Daily Texan - Austin, TX, USA

The American Civil Liberties Union is expressing concern about the privacy policy draft for the soon-to-be established Austin Regional Intelligence Center, citing unclear language regarding military involvement and the administration of information. The center will be a single intelligence-gathering entity led by the Austin Police Department with participating agencies from across Central Texas, including the Round Rock Police Department and the sheriff’s offices of both Travis and Williamson counties. ... APD gave the ACLU a Sept. 3 draft of the center’s privacy policy, and the ACLU then submitted their concerns, including the lack of a clause that specifically states military participation in domestic intelligence-gathering be forbidden in compliance with federal law. ...

.12 Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone Adds Five Counties to its Region

Reuters - USA

The US Foreign-Trade Zones Board approved a broad expansion of the Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone Inc. (GFTZ) - a move which widens the organization's reach into Middle-Georgia and paves the way for numerous companies to reap economic benefits from the program. ... The expansion represents the successful effort for the GFTZ to take a more regional approach and management to what has been largely a metro Atlanta initiative. GFTZ had maintained sites in seven counties surrounding the Atlanta metro region - Clayton, Fayette, Cherokee, Muscogee, Spalding, Gwinnett, and Henry. GFTZ has also sponsored multiple FTZ subzone applications at individual company facilities throughout Georgia. Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization responsible for oversight of Foreign Trade Zone #26, located in Atlanta. ...

.13 Business competition prize doubled to $200000

The Post-Standard -

New York’s Creative Core Emerging Business Competition is doubling its prize money for the company that shows itself to be the most innovative and growth-oriented emerging business in the 12-county central Upstate region. The Central Upstate Regional Alliance, the group that has sponsored the annual competition since its launch in 2007, plans to announce today that the top prize next year will be $200,000, twice as much as the $100,000 grand prize awarded each of the last three years. Allen Naples, president of the Syracuse Division of M&T Bank and chairman of the Regional Alliance, said the increase makes it the largest privately-funded cash prize of its kind in the nation. ...

.14 Tonight on TribTV: Community leaders to take residents' questions at regional forum Wisconsin Rapids, WI, USA

Leaders from nine south Wood County municipalities will be available to answer residents’ questions at a first-of-its-kind forum tonight. Sponsored by River Cities Community Access, the event is designed to give community members the opportunity to better understand collaborative efforts of local municipal officials and to find out more about regional issues. ...

.15 Ping Identity Helps Regional Information Sharing Systems® Extend Information Sharing Across Law Enforcement Agencies

Three years after launching its Trusted Credentials Project (TCP), more than 1,200 law enforcement officers are logging into their native systems and gaining immediate access to Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) resources with the help of Ping Identity. RISS users can also access resources on other systems using Ping Identity. A federally funded program with more than 8,500 member agencies, RISS supports efforts to combat terrorist activity, illegal drug trafficking, organized criminal activity, and other criminal priorities across jurisdictional lines. ...

.16 Metro audit brings 54 recommendations

Portland Business Journal - Portland, OR, USA

Officials from Metro, the Portland area’s regional government that oversees land use and planning issues, said the agency’s audits last year yielded 54 recommendations that will improve the agency’s operations. ... The agency reported that it has three audits under way. One, which will analyze operations in the Oregon Zoo, is expected to be completed next month. A regional transportation study will be released in January while Metro’s financial conditions audit comes out in May. Metro is also planning audits on the region’s natural areas, the agency’s budget and the way it oversees large contracts.

.17 Bay Bridge motorists could soon pay $6 to cross span

The San Francisco Examiner - CA

Driving across the Bay Bridge could cost $6 as early as the middle of next year. The suggested toll hike is one of three proposals that would have Bay Area drivers paying more to cross the seven state-owned bridges in the region. The money would raise more than $160 million for regional infrastructure projects. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 Buses running again but row far from over

New Zealand Herald - Auckland, NZ

Auckland's main bus fleet is due back on the roads this morning, but a week-long lockout of drivers has left community leaders seething over damage to the credibility of public transport in the region. The five-month dispute between NZ Bus and its unionised workforce remains far from settled after 500 drivers and cleaners yesterday voted down a revised pay offer in a secret ballot by a 95 per cent margin. ... "Auckland is the loser ... There has been a huge credibility loss by the provider. "All they have done is put us back a couple of years into the mindset that says every time there needs to be a negotiation we can't count on the buses being there - that's a huge loss." Mr Barnett, who is also deputy chairman of the Auckland Regional Council, said he held the bus provider fully accountable for the disruption rather than its drivers. Regional chairman Mike Lee believed the company was "taking an almost colonial approach" and feared it would take months if not years for bus patronage to recover in difficult political times for securing enough money for the region's transport needs. ...

.02 EU, China hold high-level meeting on regional policy

China View - China

The European Union and China held … the 4th high-level meeting on regional policy to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field. This annual meeting is taking place within the framework of the EU-China dialogue on regional policy, aiming to agree on a joint working program for 2010 to pursue a mutually beneficial exchange of experience on regional policy. "The regional policy dialogue is one of the most successful aspects of cooperation in the overall EU-China policy dialogue, " European Commissioner for Regional Policy Pawe Samecki said in a press release ahead of the meeting. "We still have a lot to learn from each other to tackle our respective regional policy challenges," the commissioner added. The meeting has mainly focused on the publication of a joint study on EU-China regional policies. The study, which should be ready by the end of the year, will compare key aspects of regional policy in China and the EU including the classification of regions, regional governance issues, and the role of regional policy in promoting innovation and competitiveness. ...

.03 Russia attaches great importance to cooperation at regional level with China: Russian PM

China View - China

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said here Tuesday Russia attached great importance to cooperation with China at the regional level. He made the remarks in an interview with Chinese media Tuesday during his first official visit to China since he took office as prime minister last May. China and Russia concluded a bilateral planning outline of regional cooperation between northeast China and the Russian Far East Region and Eastern Siberia in September. "China has worked out a plan for revitalization of its northeastern industrial bases and Russia has plans for developing its Far East region, Baikal region and Eastern Siberia", said Putin. "It will be mutually beneficial for both countries to coordinate regional development." ...

.04 Fashola Challenges World's Lawyers for a New Legal Order

THIS DAY - Nigeria

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola SAN, has called for a new legal order on the African continent that would reverse the current trend where the gun is cheaper than the hoe and the recurrent and tragic issue of genocide is reversed. Fashola who was speaking at a session of the African Regional Forum of the International Bar Association … ‘I predict that so much of the survival of the planet will depend on Africa’s blessings and resources and most importantly, on her people’, he said. ‘She must therefore be approached with respect’ he said to great applause.

Fashola who spoke with the IBA President, Fernando Pelaez-Pier, present also called for a review of the principle of non-interference by sovereign states. ‘The principle and policies on which the world was re-ordered after World War II, the principle of non-interference, should be revised. Rwanda, for instance, happened and everybody stood back’ he said. Fashola whose speech was interrupted several times by spontaneous applause called for ‘A new legal order that lifts the veil of sovereignty’, declaring, law was made for man and not man for the law.

He challenged the world’s lawyers, particularly members of the African Regional Forum, to take action ‘that would unleash the new legal order’. …

.05 SCO states must share vision on regional peace: PM

Daily Times - Pakistan

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Wednesday to adopt a “shared vision of trans-regional cooperation” for peace and development in the region. “I have no doubt that by collective wisdom and concerted efforts, we can contribute to building a prosperous future,” Gilani said while addressing the eighth annual meeting of the SCO council of heads of governments – which was attended y Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Secretary General Bolat Nurgaliev and heads of other SCO governments. The prime minister said that challenges facing the region – especially the financial crisis, terrorism and extremism and the energy crisis – needed to be addressed on priority. ...\10\15\story_15-10-2009_pg7_1

.06 Ensuring regional cooperation, integration promote Africa's interest: State Minister - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

... 6th Session of the Committee on Trade, Regional Cooperation and Integration held in Addis Ababa at the UN Conference Center. Regional integration in Africa has been a challenge mainly due to, among others, weak infrastructural development, weak institutional infrastructure, and lack of stakeholders’ capacity in terms of finance and human resources. “Regional integration is not an end by itself. It is rather a tool that contributes towards achieving sustainable economic growth and reducing the level of poverty,” the minister noted. ...

.07 Troms County chair of Barents Regional Council

... first area of priority is to improve the structures of cooperation in the Barents Region and develop a closer contact between the different regions. As important is the work to implement other regional cooperation structures in the north, and also the EU efforts in the north like the Arctic strategy and the Northern Dimension. The second area which Troms will prioritize is to promote sustainable constraints in the north. The Barents Region has a large amount of various natural resources. Therefore it is important to promote research on climate and environment and the use of modern technology. The oil and gas activity outside the coast of Barents Region will create possibilities and synergies in the High North. The opening of the Polar region for transport is an additional potential for activity in the region. Svendsgård urged politicians of the north to join resources in a common plan on how to face the common challenges and possibilities of the years to come. ... The third important area of priority for the Troms Chairmanship is to promote culture and business development. The aim is to strengthen the political focus on business development, and cultural understanding is a central factor to accomplish this. Through cultural awareness Troms wish to dismantle obstacles and create close relations across the borders, and thus develop the fundament for better business relations. …

.08 Dealing with China: African countries must model a regional approach - Andani

Joy Online - Ghana

The Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana has asked African countries to model a regional approach in their dealings with China in order to get proper dealings and returns from the relationships. Alhassan Andani said China presents such a huge opportunity for African countries to exploit to develop their respective countries. Mr. Andani however cautioned that dealing with China on bilateral basis might not be the most ideal way of advancing the larger interest of the individual countries. ...

.09 President Ben Ali's address at Tataouine Governorate Regional Council's special session

Tunisia Online News - Tunisia

... I am pleased to chair today the special session of the Regional Council of the Governorate of Tataouine, as part of the tradition we have established to follow up the development process in all regions of the country and enrich it with the necessary measures and decisions. I take this opportunity to greet and pay tribute to the inhabitants of the Governorate of Tataouine, for their unswerving adherence to the choices of the Change, and their active endeavour to promote the development process in their region and make strides forward in all fields. ... Regional development is a support base and a source of enrichment for national development; and the latter can be comprehensive, fair and balanced only when all efforts and energies are joined to make best use of the natural, cultural, tourist and economic specificities of each region, producing that convergence that is so vital for developing our economy, enhancing our potential and spreading quality of life throughout our country.”

.10 Template on disaster risk to be adopted

Business Mirror - Makati City, Philippines

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) will launch in the regions beginning next month the guidelines in determining the various sources of disaster and finding the ways at reducing their impact on lives and properties. It will also ask the local governments to factor into the template the possible aggravating effect of climate change as manifested in the two recent devastating typhoons. Director Susan Jose of the Neda Regional Development Coordination Staff said the guidelines on Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in the regions and provinces will be launched for application in the regions “to help the local governments delineate the hazards and identify the characteristics of these sources of disasters.” ...

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 Regionalism

The Prosperity Blog

I went to a really great discussion today at the University of Washington: remarks and a panel featuring Bruce Katz, the vice president and founding director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. Katz was in town to give a lecture on Tuesday night as part of the UW’s Danz Lecture Series, and he hung around Wednesday morning to do a more intimate session with a bunch of local bigwigs and leading regional thinkers (note: I am neither, but I got to go anyway).

Anyway, the discussion was really fascinating, centering on how the central Puget Sound can more successfully act as a region, and be an economic and policy leader for the country’s recovery and beyond. But, as Gene Duvernoy of the Cascade Land Conservancy – one of the panelists – pointed out, there was one big problem with the conversation.

That problem, of course, was that it was mostly “preaching to the choir.”


So what are we going to do about it? Katz thinks it’s a vision thing:

The metropolis does not have a crisp collaborative vision, critical in today’s hyper-global competition. There are pieces of a vision, given the fine work of groups like the Puget Sound Regional Council, Cascade Land Conservancy, and SkillUp Washington. Now is the time to pull these disparate activities together, forge a common vision and then align federal and state investments in service of the goal.

I actually disagree. We’ve got plenty of vision, like VISION 2040 and the Cascade Agenda. And it’s not that we lack agreement on them or that they’re flawed documents; it’s that people don’t know about them. ...

.02 Gorham vs. Berlin vs. Randolph

Last Print Journalist

I skipped the Berlin city council this evening to attend a public hearing in Gorham about expanding ATV trail usage ... One final thought: some people (including Chris Gamache from the Bureau of Trails) spoke of regionalization. I've heard that term a lot lately, from talking about schools to local government to economic development. But then, back at each town hall and city council chambers, I hear councilors and selectmen talking about how they want the businesses in their town to benefit, that they don't care about the community down the road. The Grand Hotels, Grand Adventures initiative argues the region doesn't have a critical mass to draw people in any one town, but as a region they do. But the region isn't a region; it's like Afghanistan or Africa—carved out of a map by people disconnected from its past, its future, its economy and its people. Gorham doesn't like to be associated with Berlin, and Berlin resents Gorham's success. No one there talks to Lancaster or Errol, and Colebrook is off by itself. Grand Hotels, Grand Adventures is an effort to make this appear a cohesive unit outside Coös County, but there is no effort to make it a cohesive unit within Coös County. It would be a shame if Gorham scoops the ATVers away from Berlin, if for no other reason than it will heighten the animosity between the two. The two communities will continue fighting each other, instead of cooperating to make each other stronger.

Mayor David Bertrand said in an interview today the current council thinks outside the box, something past Berlin city councils haven't done. But when it comes to regionalism, this council is in step with past councils. Provincialism runs deep, and it seems to be a box the region can't find its way out of. In a city and a region searching for useful answers to complex questions, it's a shame to see so much animosity directed at people stuck in the same boat.

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 56th North American Regional Science Association International (RSAI) Conference - San Francisco, November 18 - 21, 2009

The Conference is sponsored by the North American Regional Science Council (NARSC) and the Western Regional Science Association (WRSA). For information about the conference:

.02 Regional Studies Association Winter Conference 2009 - Global Recession: Regional Impacts on Housing, Jobs, Health and Wellbeing - 27th November 2009, The Resource Centre, London, UK

Information and registration:

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

.01 The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

UC Television Video

Elizabeth Warren presents her comparison of family expenses 1970-71 to 2005-06 and talks about the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class in a 2007 lecture. The data show how changes in costs affect spending patters so that the current two-income family of four is in worse shape than their single income parents 35 years before. The research work led to her concerns about the credit problems in the U.S. and vulnerability of families to economic setbacks. Ms. Warren is currently Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP funds.


Background Interview:

.02 The Great American Bank Robbery


William K. Black, the former litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board who investigated the Savings and Loan disaster of the 1980s, discusses the latest scandal in which a single bank, IndyMac, lost more money than was lost during the entire Savings and Loan crisis. He discusses the political failure behind the current economic disaster and answers questions from the audience. Black teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and is the author of “The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One.” See it at Google books:“The+Best+Way+to+Rob+a+Bank+Is+to+Own+One.”&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=9EWTSuLiFMPhlAeR4fyYDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result#v=twopage&q=&f=false

15. Custom search: region, regions, regional communities Contents

To search on topics like those in Regional Community Development News use this custom search engine which utilizes over 2000 regional related sites.

My name is Tom Christoffel. I've worked in the field of intergovernmental and regional cooperation since 1973. As a consequence, "I see regions work.” Regional Community Development News is published bi-monthly based on news reports as of Wednesday of the publication week

Making visible such cross-boundary planning, collaboration and cooperative action at multi-jurisdictional networked regional scales, public, private and NGO is my purpose. "Think globally, act locally" was innovative in its time. Today the local scale is often too small to address today's needs and opportunities. "Think local planet, act regionally,” is my candidate paradigm. No one said we're only allowed one paradigm.

We can see that “regional communities of communities” are organized locally and now act both to avoid tragedy in the commons and gain benefits. An effective multi-jurisdictional regional community has DNA. It is geographically Defined; has a common Name and its Alignment is inclusive of smaller communities and participatory in larger communities. So, by scanning this compilation, reading articles and checking organizations - you too will be able to see the regional communities that already exist.

News references are found using the Google News search service. Media article excerpts and links are “fair use” to transform globally scattered reports to make regional approaches visible. Links go to the publisher and do not compete with it. Such publishers are likely to have related stories and thus be seen by new customers. “Regional” is an emerging news category. There is no charge for this service and no profit is made from its use, though any user can become more aware of the topic itself.

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