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 - .15
Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .05
Announcements and Regional Links … 13.01 - .05
Financial Crisis …14.01 - .03
Bold Italic highlights research terms and/or phrases of interest.
Listening to public opinion and garnering the people's support for multimillion-dollar projects is an important part of democracy. It's not the only part.
In Norfolk, city leaders were right to mine the public for potentially incredible ideas no one had thought of.
But here's what the survey about Waterside revealed: most of us are not smart enough to make long-term decisions about the region's future. We have not crunched the numbers or read the annotated research papers. We are reacting based on gut or what we read in a tour book about Portland as though city planning were as simple as a giant game of "SimCity."
No offense, but there are few visionaries among us to choose the right path.
Ask the public how to spend city resources, and we're like the crazy uncle at Thanksgiving. We want the impossible (casinos at Waterside) or to relive the past. We want the illogical: better roads at no cost. We are short-sighted.
And because it's too hard (not too mention way too wonky) to come up with ways to fund transportation plans or keep the city payroll on budget, people instead spend their time saying things like how awesome a petting zoo would be at Waterside. (A petting aquarium is a better idea.)
No one should take it too seriously.
Hampton Roads is chock full of planning organizations committed to regionalism. They have long acronyms and tidy mission statements. But when it comes to mapping the future, the solution too often is to ask more people. Surveys. Questionnaires. Focus groups about focus groups.
The vision for the future does not require unanimity. City leaders are elected to do just that, to lead - to make hard and unpopular decisions and to take calculated risks that will pay off. …
2. Meeting in State College, Pennsylvania Mayors Address Funding Woes - StateCollege.com - State College, PA, USA
Pennsylvania's urban municipalities face nothing short of a financial crisis, mayors from across the state said …
Already, 19 Pennsylvania municipalities have entered the local-government equivalent of bankruptcy. … preliminary suggestions that the task-force members discussed …
* Diversification of revenue sources. Municipal leaders said they need the state to grant them more options for generating local income, now largely limited to property-tax and income-tax revenue. Some useful options might include an increase in the local-services fee that a municipality may seek from workers employed within its borders, they said. That fee has been $52 -- unchanged -- for about six years. Municipal officials cited several other fee-and-tax ideas, including local sales-tax, payroll-tax and drink-tax options.
* Renewed incentives for the "regionalization" of local public services and the consolidation of some municipalities. The state can make it easier for communities to share services -- such as libraries and garbage collection -- in some cases, thereby making it easier for municipalities to streamline expenses, municipal leaders said.
* Reformation of state Act 111. The act governs collective bargaining for police and firefighters. But it doesn't take into account a municipality's ability to pay, municipal leaders said. Many would like to see the state change that.
* A service fee for nonprofit organizations, which don't pay property taxes. In State College, for instance, 46 percent of the land mass is exempt from property taxes. (That 46 percent includes the land that's counted as the University Park campus.) Urban municipalities tend to have a higher concentration of non-taxed land than their suburban counterparts do, as nonprofit groups and other public-, government- and socially oriented functions often cluster in urban areas. That's a boon to community life, but it take a toll on the tax base, leaders have said.
Regionalism has proved, and will continue to prove, it can work for the Great Lakes Bay Region.
That’s what Eric Gilbertson, Saginaw Valley State University president, discussed Tuesday morning at the first Bay Area Chamber of Commerce “Eye Opener Breakfast” of the season ... Gilbertson, the keynote speaker of the event, highlighted projects that succeeded because of regionalism, including SVSU and Delta College.
“As a region you can do things that you can’t do within a regional neighborhood,” said Gilbertson, citing MBS International Airport as an example. “We could not have this as individual communities.”
Gilbertson said hundreds of people in 1964 from Saginaw, Bay and Midland counties came together to raise about $2.4 million — about $28 million in today’s standards — to finance a new college in the area that could provide higher education for the rapidly approaching baby boomer generation.
“It’s hard to imagine life without Delta or SVSU; we’re about a $180 million operation,” said Gilbertson, noting about 75 percent of that money comes from outside the Great Lakes Bay Region and 70 percent of it goes back in. “We are one of those organizations bringing money into this region.”
Gilbertson’s speech, “BACC, GLBR, SVSU & Other Vital Abbreviations,” also focused on how regionalism can continue to help the Great Lakes Bay Region and the problems facing the region today.
Gilbertson said the region must continue to try to increase its population through cultural activities and education because a low population affects our employment, earnings and quality of life.
The Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance was formed last year and is operated through a volunteer board of chamber of commerce executives representing Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties.
4. PMSer's in Local Government? - PublicCEO.com - Elk Grove, CA, USA
Back in November of 2007, at an Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Conference, keynote speaker and author Jack Schultz yelled at the top of his lungs at Elk Grove City Council members Sophia Scherman and Pat Hume, "Are you listening? Do you understand that small businesses in this city are suffering?
Throughout the speech, Schultz referred to his "7 ½ Keys to Success." What is the key to any city's success according to Schultz? Small businesses and raising up strong leaders.
Now it is three years later and small businesses in Elk Grove are still suffering. Many have closed, and more are closing every day. Is anyone listening? Elk Grove is not alone. Are small businesses suffering in your city?
Four years ago, the Elk Grove City Council voted to spend $750,000 of taxpayer money over a five year period on then newly formed Economic Development Corporation. Unfortunately, we still haven't seen any results. Could that money have been better spent in retaining the small businesses whose windows now show "vacancy" signs? When does retention trump recruitment?
Schultz validated what many Elk Grove citizens have been screaming at the podium during council meetings for years to "embrace the concept of regionalism." Schultz was very blunt, saying if our leaders aren't listening, get rid of them. He asked the room, "Do you have a sense of place?" Is Elk Grove living up to its potential? The same could be asked by any resident at any city council meeting. Is your city living up to its potential?
… residents throughout California already know, reinforcing that we must get back on the right track, no matter the odds, with our vision and mission for our respective cities by helping small businesses by creating more viable alternative services and resources. …
5. Barnstable County Matters-Know the past to chart the future – The Barnstable Patriot - Barnstable, MA, USA
“Planning for the future without a sense of history is like planting cut flowers.”
Persons elected to positions in government often arrive there without any significant depth of knowledge about how that particular system of government really works. Yet in running for office, one hears from candidates about change, doing things differently but better, and most certainly at less cost. And that is really why many people run for office, because they truly want to make things better for the people they serve and to make changes that make government more efficient and less costly.
In order to do that, however, it is most important to know what governmental services currently exist, how long they have existed, how much they cost, and what their value is to the community.
Regionalization has captured the imagination of many of us in local and state government, especially here on Cape Cod. The efficiencies of regionalizing services are apparent and have drawn the expertise and interest of some of our local leaders who have already begun the process of evaluating how our towns can benefit from a different way of doing the business of government. While we explore these opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies, we must also be cognizant of how these services came to be. In other words, understanding the history of why the services exist and their value to the citizens of Cape Cod. Change is best accomplished when it is planned and managed. It is fortunate that those already engaged in regional planning are being thoughtful and are aware of these important components of change.
All three county commissioners are very committed to being involved in the regional planning initiatives but we, too, know that we must gain that true sense of history in planning for the future. ...
6. One Region, One Vision in race to win - nwi.com - Munster, IN, USA
The dean of regionalism in Northwest Indiana passed on the baton Friday before 350 people at the Anniversary Overview of One Region, One Vision.
"My grandfather's generation built a lot of steel mills and refineries in Northwest Indiana," U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky told his audience at the Radisson Hotel. "My father's generation built more steel mills, the Toll Road and saved the Dunes. Now it's our chance to move Northwest Indiana ahead."
The congressman was the keynote speaker in the middle of the two-hour conference, which brought together leaders from government, business, education and community service organizations from seven counties.
Many of those attending have been working for up to two years on six initiatives that make up One Region, One Vision -- a movement started by Times Publisher Bill Masterson Jr.
Those initiatives are Success by 6, which coordinates early childhood education; A Gathering of Spirit, a group of Lake County clergy; a Mayors' Roundtable; the Northwest Indiana Healthcare Council, made up of hospital CEOs and others; the Gary and Region Investment Project, which aims to develop transformative projects; and Dare to Dream, a seven-county cooperation panel convened by Ivy Tech Community College.
Visclosky said transformational projects like the Marquette Plan for lakefront development, which he advocated for more than two decades, are just a start. It is now up to One Region, One Vision and others to push the region forward.
Gov. Mitch Daniels addressed the gathering by video, not mincing words and speaking about the region's "sad history of bad local government" and fractured communities. But he also held out hope.
"In Indianapolis they call us 'The Region,'" Masterson said. "Well if they are going to call us that, we need to embrace it."
7. Arkansas River Rivalries Cool - The Times Record - Fort Smith, AR, USA
It is often said that a little competition is a healthy thing.
Those in local government circles are coming to realize a little cooperation also has its advantages.
Disputes over territorial jurisdiction could thwart law enforcement in making an arrest or firefighters from battling a blaze on the other side of the city limits or county line.
Sebastian County Judge David Hudson pointed out rivalry is a part of Sebastian County history. There were animated disagreements over whether to locate the county seat in Fort Smith or Greenwood, leading to the construction of two separate courthouses.
Until the implementation of Amendment 55 in 1977, the county’s two courthouses operated separately, with separate budgets …
“It’s natural to have pride in your community. And that’s good. You want to have that,” he said.
But he said it is important to realize the value of working with other communities to make the whole region better.
“The emphasis on regionalism has been enhanced over the past 10 years,” Hudson said, adding the attitude has been encouraged by the federal government.
“Especially in the area of homeland security grants,” Hudson said, explaining a regional approach is needed to qualify for funding of many programs.
Gosack said in his 11 1/2 years with the city, the attitude toward regionalism has changed “almost 180 degrees” on the part of leadership in both Fort Smith and Crawford County.
“They realize we all need to react more regionally than locally,” he said.
“When making proposals for federal assistance, competing voices will probably result in no funding,” …
“Using federal funding on a joint project is OK. But on the local level, money can’t travel across lines. If the taxpayers in one county pay for something, it has to stay in that county,” …
8. Regional cooperation stressed in Blueprint Birmingham (with poll) - The Birmingham News - Birmingham, AL, USA
The Birmingham Business Alliance and government officials joined with hundreds of metro citizens in Railroad Park on Thursday to unveil Blueprint Birmingham. It's a plan heavy on details and strategy that shows the seven-county metro area how to accomplish key objectives, but in need of broad support.
The five-year economic development plan had more fans than detractors at the event, which revealed the plan to the public and kicked off the implementation phase.
Barry Copeland, BBA interim president, said a fundraising effort has started to fund the $22.5 million in work to be done in the implementation phase. He said BBA has $7 million in commitments at the time of the launch.
The business community's lead in creating the plan will help make it successful, Birmingham Mayor William Bell said in an interview at the event.
"I'm enthusiastic about it because it comes from the private sector," Bell said. "This should prevent one elected official having to be against something because another elected official proposed it."
If "regionalism" is still a dirty word in Birmingham, several elected and corporate leaders needed their mouths washed out with soap in Railroad Park Thursday night.
The fragmented metro area has shown few examples of strong, lasting regional cooperation, but the goals in Blueprint Birmingham make it a requirement.
Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos, who shared the stage with Bell in a show of unity, said in an interview later he believes the metro area is closer to accepting regionalism than many believe.
"We have in our community and our region much more in common than not in common," Petelos said. "We need to capitalize on addressing those issues that matter to us all and work together. This is the most excited I've been about something in some time."
9. Without a Plan, Sprawl Will Continue to Hollow Out Cleveland Region - DC.StreetsBlog.org
... metro Cleveland’s regional planning agency, NOACA, has maintained a neutral policy regarding sprawl — which is to say, it has no policy. Regional land use planning has been a political non-starter for the agency, which is governed by a board of roughly three dozen politicians, representing urban, suburban and exurban interests in approximately equal measure.
A few weeks ago, however, NOACA’s governing board quietly took a small step forward — one that could have big ramifications for the region. Board members passed a resolution agreeing to apply for a federal grant to conduct regional land use planning through the Obama administration’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. With support from the local philanthropic community, the Cleveland area will be pursuing a planning grant, in coordination with the regional governing bodies in nearby Youngstown and Akron.
… the grant would require the Cleveland region to determine which areas are appropriate for future development and which are not. This document would, for the first time, guide transportation and planning decisions with an eye toward sustainability.
Regionalism has been a buzzword in northeast Ohio for years. Urban and suburban leaders alike have been repeatedly exposed to the message that they should be cooperating, coordinating, even consolidating. And the urgency of the message is undeniable. Within Cuyahoga County, home to the city of Cleveland, there are 59 municipalities — each with its own council clerk, streets department and safety forces. The cost of maintaining often duplicative services makes the local tax burden in northeast Ohio relatively high, a fact that is off-putting to businesses the region desperately needs to attract.
But change doesn’t come easily in this part of the country. Where governmental consolidation has taken place across the state, it’s been fraught with costly litigation. In some cases, consolidation efforts have been outright rejected by the voting public. ...
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 DOT & HUD receive nearly 1,700 applications for TIGER II and Community Challenge grants
Initiative for Sustainable Communities and States - Washington, DC, USA
The U.S. Department of Transportation received nearly 1000 applications for TIGER II construction grants, while DOT and the Department of Housing and Urban Development together received nearly 700 applications for TIGER II/Community Challenge planning grants. Applications were received from all 50 states, D.C., and territories. As part of the Sustainable Communities Partnership’s efforts to break down departmental silos, DOT, HUD, and EPA are participating together in the application review process.
.02 Winners of i6 Challenge - NIH, NSF & EDA Partner to Recognize Six Projects in Competition to Reward American Innovation
National Institutes of Health - News release - Bethesda, MD, USA
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced on September 23rd the winners of the i6 Challenge, a new $12 million innovation competition led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Locke made the announcement during his keynote remarks at an event on regional innovation clusters co-hosted by The Brookings Institution. The i6 Challenge seeks to identify and support the nation’s best ideas for technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in six different regions of the country. The winning team from each region will receive $1 million from EDA to support their project and may be eligible for additional awards from NIH and NSF. The winning teams from each region are:
* Atlanta Region: The Global Center for Medical Innovation, a not-for-profit corporation, will implement three major initiatives to accelerate the development and commercialization of next generation medical devices and technology.
* Austin Region: New Mexico Technology Ventures Corporation will develop an infrastructure for the successful maturation of technologies developed under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program into commercially viable enterprises.
* Chicago Region: University of Akron Research Foundation and Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron – Innovative Solutions for Invention Xceleration will increase innovation and minimize the time from ideation to commercialization of new technologies by bringing together world-class scientists, physicians, engineers, researchers, and entrepreneurs in the biomedical device/product and polymer science industries of northeast Ohio.
* Denver Region: BioGenerator, Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri at St. Louis, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis County Economic Council, and the St. Louis Development Corporation will advance bioscience technology commercialization through collaborative targeted pre-company translational research, company creation, and first funding, and build an entrepreneurial infrastructure that is market-based around the needs of existing bioscience firms and investors.
* Philadelphia Region: Innovation Works, Inc. and Carnegie Mellon University will create the "Agile Innovation System," to accelerate the commercialization of technologies being developed within the region’s universities and small businesses.
* Seattle Region: The Oregon Translational Research & Drug Development Institute, the Oregon Nanoscience & Microtechnologies Institute, and the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center are joining forces to create the first comprehensive, innovation infrastructure — the Oregon Innovation Cluster — to address gaps in the commercialization continuum for three broad industry/technology clusters.
.03 Two NE Indiana Organizations to Merge –Inside INdianaBusiness.com Report – Ft. Wayne, IN, USA
The general public probably has little awareness of the Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council (NIRCC) and Region III-A. And yet, the work of NIRCC and Region III-A surrounds everyone. From the roads we drive on, the trails we bike on, the air we breathe, and in some instances the broadband we access and community facilities we enjoy, these two organizations do the behind the scenes work to make Northeast Indiana a livable region. Rather, two separate livable regions. NIRCC does the work for DeKalb, Allen, Wells and Adams counties, while Region III-A plans for Steuben, LaGrange, Noble, Whitley, Huntington and Wabash counties. Until now, the work of the two organizations has been divided but equal. The county lines marked borders between the two regional planning bodies. But over the course of the next month, the two organizations are implementing a collaborative merger - one single body, referred to as the Northeast Indiana Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee, to facilitate region-wide planning efforts in Northeast Indiana. A priority goal of Vision 2020, a six-month visioning process staffed by the Northeast Indiana Fund, will be realized, as infrastructure planning will be strengthened and better coordinated across county lines throughout the ten-county region. This critical collaboration will also be a key activity in better positioning Northeast Indiana to leverage federal funds. … NIRCC serves as the primary transportation planning organization for the metropolitan area and both NIRCC and Region III-A serve as rural transportation planning organizations for the Federal Highway Administration. Region III-A is designated as an economic development district by U.S. Economic Development Administration. These planning functions and the designation help leverage federal funds for transportation, environmental and economic development projects in the region.
NIRCC - http://www.nircc.com
Region III-A - http://www.region3a.org/
Vision 2020 - www.NortheastIndianaVision.com
.04 Seven county tourism coalition a leader in regional marketing
Chesterton Tribune - Chesterton, IN, USA
In a time and place where regionalism is an all too common buzzword, Porter County residents may be surprised to find out that their county’s convention and visitor bureau is already part of one of the nation’s most acclaimed partnerships for regional development. For the past twenty years, the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission has been carrying out efforts to lower program costs, enhance destination development and products, integrate research in strategic business planning, and spur economic growth for Porter and six other partnering counties: LaPorte, St. Joseph, Marshall, Elkhart, Kosciusko, and LaGrange. … Respect Equals Success - Weimer, who is also the current president of the NITDC board and has been for the last five years, said there is a family-like component in the partnership that has been able to foster success because of that level of respect. Weimer said consultants that work with the unit tend to be amazed at how a seven-partner organization can sustain such a relationship. She said that partnerships cannot be forced and that each individual CVB has equal power with the rest of the group. Working towards the same goal, the group is able to come forward about the problems they see and can work them out with the group. Weimer said allowing partners to come together to work out solutions they cannot do on their own embodies the concept of regionalism. “People who truly believe in regionalism work towards creating positive, collaborative efforts with their partners. Forced mergers and takeovers don't mean regionalism. They are the opposite of regionalism and actually hurt regional efforts by all the negativity that is associated with them,” said Weimer. …
.05 Real estate crystal ball for Northern Colorado: Conference offers positive vision for region in 20 years
Loveland Reporter-Herald - Loveland, CO, USA
If perception is reality, did the 220 real estate agents and bankers in a Hilton Hotel room need a reality check about Northern Colorado’s commercial real estate market? ... conference provided data, research and insights into Northern Colorado’s real estate market ... asked the audience to envision Northern Colorado 20 years from now, asking if any of the region’s cities will remain in the top five of anything. “We start with the future, then we work backward,” Laposa said during his presentation, “Are You Poised for the Next 20 Years?” Laposa discussed the results from an Everitt Real Estate Center study that identified 27 American cities in 1980 and 1990 that were similar to what Fort Collins and Loveland are like today. The study analyzed how those cities grew or declined over the past 20 to 30 years, and why. ... most plausible comparisons, Laposa said, are Ann Arbor, Mich., Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C., Eugene-Springfield, Ore., and Tallahassee, Fla. ... panelists ... feedback ... Loveland and Fort Collins will need to find a balance between population growth and expanding the gross metro product, which is the value of goods and services produced within a metro area. ... need for establishing a regional brand. “To me, it doesn’t mean some logo,” Klein said, explaining that the brand should be about “a diverse and vibrant economy” with a balance of large, medium and small businesses. The panelists pointed out the importance of fostering regionalism, technology and entrepreneurship to support growth, as well as continuing to support higher education. ...
.06 Jefferson Co. Explores More Ways Governments Can Work Together
WTOV9.com - Steubenville, OH/Wheeling, WV, USA
As money continues to be tight for local governments across the Ohio Valley, there is a renewed focus on regionalization and exploring ways that different governments can work together to be more efficient. Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison said when she took over last month, one thing she wanted to focus on was working together with other government agencies, including the county commission. Now, city and county leaders have embraced that idea and are talking about short- and long-term projects. County commissioners said regionalization is something everyone in the Jefferson County can benefit from, and currently, the city and county are working on projects including a sewer system in Pottery Addition, a green space project between the new city building and the court house and other street projects as well. The dialogue that has picked up over the past several months since the new city manager took over in Steubenville. Although it's just in the beginning stages, it's something commissioners feel can be a big benefit down the road. ...
.07 Ontario officials urge Los Angeles to relinguish international airport
Valley News - Fallbrook, CA, USA
The city of Los Angeles should relinquish control over Ontario International Airport to the city where the beleaguered facility is located, Ontario officials said in a report released Tuesday. Such a move could stop a continuing slide in the numbers of flights and passengers using the Inland Empire airport, ... Ontario officials said their report is the "first comprehensive look at why ‘there is grave reason for concern’ about the future of what should be a major component of the region’s air transportation system." ... The report charged that Los Angeles World Airports, the city department that operates Los Angeles International Airport as well as the Ontario, Van Nuys and Palmdale airports, has a conflict of interest because it "is focused on aggressively courting service for Los Angeles International Airport at Ontario International’s expense." ... Ontario officials said that if officials of Ontario and Los Angeles return the 87-year-old airport to local control, "leaders in both regions can focus on their respective facilities." ... The Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments sided with the city of Ontario. It issued a statement on Sept. 2, saying, "SCAG believes that under local operating control, ONT can recover from the economic downturn of the past several years, while positioning itself for long-term growth which would be consistent with the ‘reorganization’ of the air traffic contemplated in the SCAG’s Regional Transportation Plan." "By transferring control of ONT to the city of Ontario, ONT will operate on the same basis that airports in Burbank, Orange County, Long beach and Palm Springs operate as a low-cost secondary airport under local control," the statement added. The full text of the report is online at http://www.ci.ontario.ca.us/index.cfm/71595/71554
.08 Editorial: Regional cooperation saves money for Western Massachusetts communities
The Republican - Springfield, MA, USA
There’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of regionalization over the past several years, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty most cities and towns aren’t so eager to share their resources with other municipalities. That’s beginning to change, however, as cash-strapped communities look for ways to economize in the face of cuts in state funding. Take the towns of East Longmeadow, Wilbraham and Ludlow which are considering joining a regional dispatch operation for police and fire. ... The state’s Regionalization Advisory Commission, which issued a report in April, for example, makes recommendations for shared services in the areas of education, elder services, municipal finance, energy, housing and economic development, information technology, libraries, public health, public safety, public works, transportation and veterans service. Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, who held a series of hearings on the issue earlier this year, recognizes that regionalization can’t be forced on communities. “People have to understand it and feel comfortable with it.” We think it’s time to expand the comfort zone. Regionalization makes sense - for the costs it saves and the efficiencies that come with it.
.09 2030 Group raises $2 million to push for regional transportation, economic initiatives
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C., USA
A group of 20 powerful local business leaders has raised more than $2 million aimed at funding research, focus groups, polls and forums to encourage local officials to make a greater commitment to regional transportation and economic concerns as the region grows. ... the 2030 Group ... has already funded research by two top local economic and policy researchers, Stephen S. Fuller, director of George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis, and Jacques S. Gansler, who directs the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise at the University of Maryland. Buchanan said the group formed because of concerns about the region's inability to handle what Fuller says will be 1.6 million net new jobs and 1.7 million new residents by 2030. The group plans to stay in existence for only five years, a period during which it hopes to provide a big boost to plans for roads and other infrastructure that have languished on drawing boards. ... group also hopes to lobby for metropolitan area initiatives.
Gansler, a former undersecretary for defense under President Bill Clinton, said an increasing number of federal agencies -- including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Energy and the Economic Development Administration -- are focused on giving grant money on a regional basis. "The federal government is now moving very heavily towards regionalism with their funding of different efforts, and I think that's a very positive thing. So I think the timing is right for this and we need to get people to think differently," he said. David Robertson, executive director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, said he was encouraged by the 2030 Group's efforts. COG has had to remove ideas for transit and road improvements from a regional plan because of funding shortages. "The problem that we've had this last year, and I don't know it will get hugely better next year, is we've been taking things out of the plan ... because you can only include things that you can reasonably fund," he said.
.10 A One On One With John Zappala
The Lakewood Observer - Lakewood, OH, USA
… issue of business in Lakewood, Zappala wants to help develop a kind of “business ambassadorship” for the county that would work to incentivize business owners to come to the region. He feels that additionally, work could be done to find out how to better utlize the existing infrastructure to help provide opportunities for these businesses to develop and grow. “I think the county needs to take the lead because they can put pressure on getting things changed at the state level and then encourage local communities to get involved,” said Zappala. “That is where regionalism works best. There needs to be some cooperation for utilizing infrastructure because it is so vital to making other issues go away. Tax receipts go up and there are stronger families. What is happening now is the antithesis of all that.” “Once a business owner opens up his checkbook, he now has a stake in the community and the people in it.” Leadership can come from all levels of the county government, but Zappala feels that someone needs to help build a coalition within the region to generate ideas and visions that people can get behind. He cites the fact that recent discussions about regionalization of police and fire have not been happening in a way that “people are excited about” and therefore aren’t moving forward. ...
.11 Sunset Chicago government
Chicago Now - Chicago, IL, USA
Now that we've cleansed ourselves of all the why questions about Mayor Richard M. Daley's retirement, we can get on to the serious stuff. ... here's my post-Daley agenda for the next mayor: ... ● Get transportation priorities right. First step: Halt the wasteful and useless attempt to expand O'Hare International Airport. Other cost-effective and safer alternatives are available for improving O'Hare, without gouging airline passengers, taxpayers and the airlines for Daley's overwrought expansion. Keep it up and United and American will find better locations for their hubs. Fight to spend transportation money on mass transit that otherwise is planned for that high-speed rail fantasia. Get on board the more cost-effective south suburban airport, which was the consensus solution until Daley stepped in to block it. Rebuild the lakefront Meigs Field. ● Restore regionalism. Daley dealt it a deathblow with his blind insistence on O'Hare expansion at the expense of its neighbors. It will take years to restore the trust that had been growing in the interlude between the all-consuming provincialism of the two Mayor Daleys. ...
.12 Wastewater pipeline agency dealt blow - LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL - Las Vegas, NV, USA
Clark County has added its voice to the chorus calling for an end to the Clean Water Coalition, a government partnership created in 2002 for a wastewater pipeline that probably will never be built. … That doesn't mean there's no need for a Clean Water Coalition, said Henderson City Councilman Steve Kirk, a coalition board member. "Let's not be rash here," Kirk said. "Let's figure out: Is there a place for a regional wastewater agency, and are there some efficiencies that can be gained by doing that? The city of Las Vegas is crying for consolidation on every single issue, but on wastewater they don't want any part of it. It just doesn't make sense." Regionalization and consolidation aren't new in Southern Nevada. Las Vegas and Clark County have a combined police force and a shared library system. Water, transportation and affordable housing are addressed using regional boards, and local governments are exploring the consolidation of functions such as business licensing, park maintenance and purchasing. "I saw some real opportunity for us to collaborate regionally on wastewater," Kirk said. "We could demonstrate to the Legislature that we are collaborating."
Everyone involved is concerned about the lawsuit against the state, even if they disagree about the coalition's future. …
.13 Reform proposals go beyond liquor sales
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Richmond, VA, USA
Booze might be getting all the buzz, but liquor privatization isn't the only big idea being trotted out by Gov. Bob McDonnell's government reform commission.... Other ideas, such as a plan to create incentives for regionalism, still are being developed in individual committees. ... Still in the early stages is exploration of a statewide regionalism program to promote cooperation among localities. Such a plan might bolster economic development while encouraging outsourcing and shared services among localities, creating savings, said John O. "Dubby" Wynne, vice chairman of the Council on Virginia's Future and a member of the commission. "We've been relying on voluntary regional activities among localities, and that won't work," Wynne said. "The political structure promotes too much competition." He noted that the Tidewater area's largest localities each want their own coliseums rather than a single regional facility. "You all got that right in Richmond," he said, "but there's a lot of illogic out there. There's just too much internal competition that the state has encouraged over the years that is dysfunctional." Wynne said previous attempts at regionalism have fallen short because of hard boundaries -- formed around localities decades ago to halt annexation -- and the state's long-standing Dillon Rule, which limits the powers of local government to those bestowed by the state. "The Dillon Rule makes every community stand on its own completely," he said. For a new approach to work, he said, the state should re-examine the Dillon Rule while building a plan to give incentives for regional cooperation, using a performance-based model. The rewards would be increased autonomy and additional funding for higher performance. "The key here is state action," he said. "And if we get it done right, I think we've got an opportunity to make a big difference in the state for a long time to come."
.14 Tourism Officials Looking to Bring More History Buffs to Richmond
WTVR.com - Richmond, VA, USA
The Richmond Region, an area that occupied center stage during the Civil War and throughout African-Americans' struggle for freedom, is readying itself to play a starring role in the nation's commemoration of next year's dual 150th anniversaries of the Civil War and the beginning of Emancipation. The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and the Richmond National Battlefield Park/National Park Service have designated Historic Tredegar as Your Gateway to the Civil War, with the 8.3-acre site serving as the Region's official Civil War 150th Visitor Center under the banner, "The Story Starts Here." The designation expands upon an existing partnership between The American Civil War Center and the National Park Service, which share the Historic Tredegar campus, once the largest munitions foundry in the South. As the official Gateway to the Civil War, the Civil War and Emancipation 150th Visitor Center will not only orient visitors to Historic Tredegar and the Region's 13 Civil War battlefields, but NPS Park Rangers and Center staff also will help direct tourists and locals alike to the Region's other historic sites, such as the Virginia Historical Society, the Museum & White House of the Confederacy, Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia and Richmond Slave Trail among others. The Center also will provide information on visiting other historic Civil War sites beyond Central Virginia. ... "The 'On To Richmond' component of our regional tourism promotion strategy is designed to position the Richmond Region as the most comprehensive resource for Civil War and Emancipation exploration and education anywhere in the country," said Jack Berry, RMCVB president and CEO. "We know that, historically, 10 percent of our visitors come to Virginia specifically to experience our Civil War history. ...
.15 Eileen M. Decker: There will be no backing down on a safe Los Angeles
Daily News - Los Angeles, CA, USA
When he first took office, the Mayor Villaraigosa pledged to make Los Angeles a world-class model for emergency preparedness and homeland security. Since then, he has worked with our regional partners to achieve this goal by opening the Joint Regional Intelligence Center and creating the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System. Once completed, LA-RICS will provide a single, regional communication system, allowing the LAPD, the LAFD, the county of Los Angeles, and every first responder in the greater Los Angeles region to seamlessly communicate, whether during routine operations or large scale emergencies. ... The mayor has been clear - and we must never forget - that safety is the foundation of any successful city. Safety sets the stage for a growing economy, quality public schools, and vibrant communities. Los Angeles is well on its way to becoming the safest large city in America. Even as we've dealt with historic budget shortfalls, he has never backed down from his commitment to keeping our city safe and he never will.
.16 Commuter rail referendum: Politics or a chance to be heard?
Wisconsin State Journal - Madison, WI, USA
On Nov. 2, voters in at least 42 Dane County municipalities will weigh in on whether they support a half-cent sales tax to pay for commuter rail. But the results of the advisory referendum aren’t likely to make any difference. While some residents see the vote as a chance for the public to be heard on local commuter rail, others dismiss it as disingenuous politics, "The powers that be don’t understand how the public feel about it outside the city of Madison in terms of wanting to have a vote on the issue," said Sup. Bill Clausius, of Sun Prairie, who unsuccessfully asked the County Board to hold a countywide referendum. Clausius said he plans to vote "no" on the proposal, which he said will inform the Regional Transit Authority Board to reconsider including commuter rail in their transit plans. But RTA Board Chairman Dick Wagner emphasized that the vote in November is not the official vote promised by the RTA and that the results won’t instruct the process going forward. ...
.17 Task force holds open meeting to discuss needed changes in Metro's governance
The Washington Post - Washington, DC, USA
The head of the National Transportation Safety Board, who had been critical of Metro, on Friday praised the agency's response to an NTSB report on safety deficiencies related to the June 2009 Red Line crash. "We are very heartened by their commitment," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. She spoke before a public session of a joint task force set up by the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to review Metro's governance structure. The public-private task force, set up in June, is focused on examining different governance models and identifying how to improve decision-making by the board. A study is expected by early November. "What we know is the current governance structure is not sufficient," said Jim Dinegar, president of the Board of Trade. ...
.18 Is Effective Decision-Making Possible at the Regional Scale?
Next American City - Philadelphia, PA, USA
Talk to people about public transportation in the Bay Area, and you’ll always hear the same sort of thing: There are too many conflicting interests, and they’re working at cross-purposes. It’s an odd reflection on a region with some of the nation’s best transit, and thus sometimes it’s difficult for outsiders to understand. But for people who are pushing for improvements in the day-to-day commutes of the hundreds of thousands of people in the area who rely on public transportation, it’s a frustrating reality. And it puts into question whether other regions with similar political divides will be able to work effectively as a unit. “It’s a very fragmented government,” said Tom Radulovich, a member of the BART rapid transit board. Though one agency, BART, provides service to much of the region, most of the other transit operators are confined to their limited districts. This means that buses in San Francisco are run by one group, while those in Oakland and San Jose are operated by two others. Each has its own staff, own maintenance facilities, and own priorities. ... Despite having on its board elected officials from throughout the region, the MTC is structurally suburban-oriented because each county, rather than city, is represented. This, according to Rebecca Saltzman of Living in the O, has produced a strange situation in which “Oakland has no seat on the board.” That city has a population of 450,000. ... also means that expansions of the transit system off into the low-density suburbs often take priority over improvements in the dense urban areas. At the regional level, building new lines in places where people don’t currently have access to acceptable transit is more politically palatable than spending on areas that already have good transportation, even if the latter community is more transit-reliant and more in need of expensive investments. Thus the MTC is not necessarily even working for the “needs” of the greater region, however defined. Even so, ...
11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents
.01 The principle of decentralization in the new constitution
Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review - Istanbul, Turkey
… decentralization will be one of the toughest issues to be handled in the new constitution. Turkish doesn’t have such concept. The word used is in Arabic means “no center.” Experts use “decentralization,” “devolution,” and “deconcentration,” though none are Turkish. “Regionalization” and “regionalism” are two expressions that we are scared to death of. In fact, this administrative principle stands a deep political meaning. Indeed it has been carried into the political agenda with “democratic self-government” concept used by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, … Therefore, it has been regarded as if it has some sort of negative meaning. We desperately need to discuss ways and means of “decentralization” Turkish administrative system. Not to satisfy Kurdish political demands per se but for better and efficient governance all over the country. In fact, all other countries which we compare ourselves, including France, have a sort of decentralized system. Yet discussions over the concept are next to nothing. Some push for revamping Council of Europe’s European Charter of Local Self-Government of 1985 http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/treaties/html/122.htm which has never been put in practice although it was ratified in 1993 by Turkey. But the document can only be effectively implemented if it is in line with the Constitution of the State Party. That means the Charter is irrelevant in Turkish legal system. Therefore, what we should do initially is to introduce the concept of decentralization in the new Constitution. ‘Indivisible entity’ and region - The 3rd article in the existing Constitution on territorial integrity, official language, flag, national anthem and the capital city states: “The Turkish state, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. ... In the draft constitution ... no clause on “decentralization”. ... Reform and decentralization of the French administrative system by which Turkish system has been inspired since the 19th century is a reasonable process to foster debates in Turkey over the issue. The French have overhauled their outdated and excessively decentralized system since 1982. Though slowly, reforms targeting reinforcement of local initiatives, stimulation of regional economic development and making public services more active are changing the central system. European regions getting calmly and seriously stronger with the support of the European Union’s Regional Policy have a tremendous share in this. First, the state handed over authority on urban administration and social welfare to local administrations as of 1983. Regions were accepted as legal administrative bodies. Elected presidents of regional councils became the heads of local administrations instead of governors appointed by Paris. ... The principle of “indivisible republic” was enriched with the principle of “administrative organization of the country is decentralized” in the 1st article of the Constitution. This is a critical point for us: Concepts of “indivisible republic” and “decentralized administration” might be brought together though seem contradictory. This is more obvious in the 2nd article of the 1978 Spanish Constitution which is built on the principle of “indivisible unity of the Spanish nation” while on the same time it “recognizes and guarantees autonomy of the nations and regions of Spain.”
.02 A champion for our communities
Telegraph-Journal - New Brunswick, CA
Lise Ouellette's commute to work along the Bay of Chaleur coastline takes her across one of the hundreds of invisible dividing lines that are crippling New Brunswick and undermining its democracy. Ouellette lives in Petit-Rocher Nord and drives to work at her office in the village of Petit-Rocher. Petit-Rocher Nord is situated in an area that, in New Brunswick administrative jargon, is called a Local Service District. Residents of Local Service Districts pay property taxes, have no local government and have the delivery of their scant services (for which there is a tax shortfall) administered by the provincial government.
The village of Petit-Rocher, population 2,000, is an incorporated municipality, has a local elected government that collects property taxes and struggles to deliver basic services to its residents. Ouellette's commute from disorganized to organized New Brunswick covers seven kilometres and takes eight minutes. She is the directrice generale of the Association francophone des municipalities du Nouveau-Brunswick, a group that represents more than 50 cities, towns and villages and for more than two decades has been advocating for local government reform. "It's cracking all over," Ouellette says. "We can't continue in this way. Everybody recognizes the need for change, but it's just not moving ahead. We believe this must be a priority in the mandate of the next government. "This is one of those issues that absolutely has to be bipartisan. It is a sensitive issue, as it is in many countries." ... Since 1971, 22 reports on local government reform have been received and shelved, including the latest, written by veteran public administrator Jean-Guy Finn, that laid out a comprehensive and pragmatic plan to eliminate Local Service Districts, regroup existing cities, towns and villages, and create between 50 and 55 municipalities within 12 regional service districts. Finn recommended that each new municipality have a population of at least 4,000 and a tax base of $200-million in property assessments. "The present local government system is neither self-sufficient nor sustainable," Finn wrote. "It has too many government entities for the population it serves and deprives many New Brunswickers of effective participation in the affairs of their communities." Finn found that the current system "promotes duplication, fragmentation, ineffectiveness and inefficiency of services."
.03 Federation of Small Businesses in plea to Eric Pickles
Training Zone - UK
Insufficient input from small business and lack of clarity over how new Local Enterprise Partnerships will be funded and operated risk undermining their effectiveness, warn employer bodies. LEPs, made up of representatives from business, local authorities and cities, are being introduced to replace Regional Development Agencies and local Business Link services, which are due to be abolished next year. So far the coalition government has received 59 bids from groups wanting to set them up. But the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has written to the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles outlining concerns that small businesses have not been adequately represented in some bids. ... that the number of bids mean that LEPs could be "too small to be effective", too "parochial" or even "toothless talking shops", however. ... "The danger is a return to the parochial approach to business support of the 1980s and 90s. Close-knit networking is not enough and prescribed, vaguely-defined business support is not practical or cost-effective." ... One of the key concerns at the moment, however, was that small businesses could end up paying more in local taxation for poorer services. A survey of the Forum's Training and Skills panel revealed that the majority wanted training to be a key remit of LEPs on top of providing local infrastructure improvements and supporting economic growth. ...
.04 Trying to plug the population drain
Telegraph-Journal - Saint John, NB, CA
The statistics frustrate Mayor Ivan Court. Presented at common council's meeting last week, they showed how dramatically Saint John's population has shifted over the last half-century. Within city boundaries, the population peaked in the early 1970s, then slowly eroded over the next 35 years. By 2006, about 68,000 people lived in Saint John, a slightly lower figure than in 1951. ... The mayor said it's all about economies of scale and saving money by creating, for example, one regional police and fire service. "Many people who live in the valley recognize this. But their politicians get in the way because they think they won't get re-elected. In some point in time, regionalization will take place. If it's in my time, or a future time years down the road, the sooner it happens, the better for our sustainability." Peacock offered a variation on the same theme. "I don't want to do the politicians' job for them, but I do believe that the smartest and most compelling urban regions build up as opposed to building out." The researcher said municipal politicians in the city and the suburbs had to have a frank debate about what is best for the Saint John economy as a whole. "If we do create a hollow core, that over the long-term is of no benefit to the outlying suburbs."
.05 Town and Country Planning Department introduces New Land Use Planning System
Ghana News Agency - Accra, Ghana
The Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) of the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology (MEST), has introduce a New three-tier Land Use Planning System to streamline the use and management of land in a sustainable manner. According to Mr. Lawrence Dakurah, Deputy Director, TCPD, the current Land Use Planning System under the Land Administration Project (LAP), was beset with countless problems. "The legal framework for land use planning, the CAP 84 of 1945, had become obsolete and ineffective and therefore led to the absence of any link between socio-economic development policies and plan with spatial and land use". ... Mr. Dakurah said the new land use system would align socio-economic planning with spatial planning and promote a system of planning which recognises both national and regional development objectives, as the framework and guidelines for Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the discharge of their mandate as planning authorities. He said it would also ensure a system of planning that is based on a hierarchy of conformity, with each level of plan being compliance with the one above it and also involve stakeholders, especially the residents and land owners in all the stages of the planning process. He said entire system involves three levels of plans made up of Spatial Development Frameworks, Structure Plans and Local Plans and would link land Management to land administration saying pilot projects had already been carried out in six districts in Ghana with positive feedbacks ...
.06 Regional policy hanging by a thread? Lessons from Europe
On Line Opinion - Australia
... Australia has had a regional policy agenda for many years, both federally and among state governments. But historically it has been relatively marginal in the broader scheme of Australian politics. The situation in the European Union is radically different. Regional policy warrants much greater attention and investment in regional programs is more than one-third of the European Commission’s annual budget. This has been driven by the big internal disparities in standard of living and economic activity amongst the 293 European regions. ...The situation in the European Union is radically different. Regional policy warrants much greater attention and investment in regional programs is more than one-third of the European Commission’s annual budget. This has been driven by the big internal disparities in standard of living and economic activity amongst the 293 European regions. ... Broadly speaking, the regional policy focus of the European Union can be summarised as the four “C”s: convergence, competitiveness and co-operation, which are grouped together in what is now termed Cohesion Policy. The underlying focus is improving the capacity for economic competitiveness, through investments in infrastructure, vocational training and job creation activities, environment and sustainability initiatives, and research and innovation. Some of the funds are targeted specifically to the poorest regions, while some funds (particularly innovation and research) are open to all regions, including those in urban settings. So what does this mean for an Australian Government which must suddenly give much greater priority to regional policy? In the first place, one important warning is to avoid being caught up in ad hoc and politically-driven project funding. ...
.07 Yorkshire 'bonfire of quangos' to slash public jobs
Yorkshire Post - Yorkshire, UK
THOUSANDS of public sector workers across Yorkshire are facing deeply uncertain futures as dramatic new cost-cutting proposals reveal the scale of the job cuts facing the region. The quangos set for axe in Yorkshire - The National Policing Improvement Agency, which employs 200 people in Harrogate, the Health Protection Agency, which has more than 150 staff across Yorkshire, and British Waterways, which has 150 employees in Leeds, all feature on a leaked Cabinet Office hit-list naming scores of public bodies which face the axe. The draft document also includes the closures of regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, which has 400 staff in the region, and public spending watchdog the Audit Commission, which has 143 employees around Yorkshire. The Appointments Commission, with 54 workers in Leeds, and the School Food Trust, with 42 staff in Sheffield, are also set to close. The proposals suggest around 180 quangos will go in total, with a further 125 facing mergers and several more privatised. ... The leaked document follows David Cameron's announcement last summer that he intended a fresh "bonfire of the quangos" if he came to power, promising many organisations would be "slimmed down radically", with others abolished altogether. ...
.08 Push For Siberian 'Nationality' Riles Russian Politicians, Religious
Eurasia Review - Madrid, Spain
Russian politicians and religious leaders surveyed by a Moscow news agency are overwhelmingly upset by and critical of calls by Siberian regionalists for those living east of the Urals to declare “Sibiryak” as their nationality in the upcoming Russian census, even though census officials allow for such declarations. The Regions.ru news agency has asked six Russian parliamentarians and eight religious leaders and specialists for their reactions to the “Real Siberian” virtual community’s call for people living in the Russian Federation east of the Urals to declare themselves Siberians by nationality in the census. According to Regions.ru, dividing up the Russian people “into particular ethnographic groups” and even identifying the results as separate nations “has a long history,” one that some but far from all would say includes the earlier emergence of the Ukrainians and Belarusians out of “a single Russian people.” And the agency adds that there have been other more recent efforts to divide up the Russian people, including Cossack nationalism and Siberian regionalism, efforts that most Russians as well the Regions.ru commentator as well believe are artificial, promoted from the outside, and doomed to failure. But the comments the news agency has assembled in this case suggest that many of Russia’s leading politicians are clearly disturbed by any manifestation of regional identities but that at least some religious leaders and specialists believe that Moscow has only itself and its policies to blame for this trend. …
.09 Recipe for regional policing: What it would be like to combine forces in the capital region
The Vancouver Sun - Vancouver, BC, CA
It's hard to imagine anyone actually designing a policing system like that of the capital region, where four municipal departments and three RCMP detachments serve 13 municipalities with a combined population of just 350,000. Yet changing it would be like trying to rebake a cake. Regionalization would require reconciling dissimilar workplace cultures, policies, languages and funding structures, let alone such obvious differences as logos and ranks. Our cops don't even shoot the same guns -- most Mounties carry a Smith and Wesson, while the municipal officers pack a Glock. Here's a look at what regionalization would mean to the capital region. ... Would regionalization save money? Probably not. The start-up costs -- providing everyone with the same cars, uniforms and so on -- would be steep. ... an inspector from the Niagara Regional Police Service: "Regionalization will not save money. The operating budget will go up. The benefits are the economies of scale: more efficient recruiting, purchasing, and more flexible deployment." The mayor of Milton, Ont., said: "It's not cheaper, but it is better." ...
.10 'Raw, blind politics' blocking police reform: experts
The Vancouver Sun - Vancouver, BC, CA
Reforms to B.C.'s fragmented policing system are being blocked by "raw, blind politics" despite the potential risk to public safety, critics say. The deadly rampages by serial killers Clifford Olson and Robert Pickton in the Lower Mainland and the Peter Lee multiple-murder suicide in the Victoria suburb of Oak Bay all exposed problems with the jumble of municipal police departments and RCMP detachments in B.C. But the provincial government refuses to force Greater Victoria or Greater Vancouver to create regional police departments. "The need for co-ordinated policing is self-evident," Solicitor General Mike de Jong said in a recent interview. "Where I stop short is (at) the view that the provincial government should dictate to communities how their policing service is going to be delivered."
.11 Europe Seeks Public Input on Atlantic Ocean
AFLOAT.ie - Ireland
The European Commission invites on-line public input to explore how the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP: 2007) could be implemented in the European Atlantic Area. In the context of the IMP-2007, the Commission is developing strategic approaches to Regional Sea Basins where there is a demand and a perspective of clear value added. Regional (Sea Basin) Strategies have been completed for the Baltic Sea, the Arctic, the Mediterranean and are at a planning stage for the North Sea. The Commission now invites interested parties in the Atlantic region to input to the development of an Atlantic Strategy. Such a Strategy would define common priorities; improve regional governance; identify opportunities for smart economic growth and for clustering, synergies and economics of scale. … Contributions may be submitted by using an online questionnaire. http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/partners/consultations/atlantic_ocean/index_en.htm
.12 The Balkans and the EU: CoR President Bresso supports the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion
Europa News Release - Brussels, Belgium
After the initiative to form a new Adriatic-Ionian "macroregion" was launched at a Committee of the Regions conference in April, representatives from the regions concerned have drawn up a roadmap in preparation for the upcoming EU planning period in 2014 and the next wave of accessions by Balkan countries. On 17 September, discussions were held in Bari, Italy, on South East Europe's macroregional integration model and the CoR president, Mercedes Bresso, stressed the role of the regions and local authorities in launching the strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion. "The EU can use macroregions to bolster the integration process in the Balkans. Alongside partner States and regions, the CoR will direct its efforts to ensuring that a strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion can be implemented from 2014," said CoR president Mercedes Bresso on Friday 17 September at Bari's "Fiera del Levante" event, during the conference organised by the Region of Puglia and Italy's foreign affairs ministry with representatives of the Italian regions. ...
.13 Expanding Regional Governance in an Energy Anticommons
Social Science Research Network
Abstract: Energy drives economies and quality of life, yet accessible traditional fuels are increasingly scarce. Federal, state, and local governments have thus determined that renewable energy development is essential and have passed substantial requirements for its use. These lofty goals will fail, however, if policymakers rely upon existing institutions to govern renewable development. Renewable fuels are fugitive resources, and ideal property for renewable technology is defined by the strength of the sunlight or wind that flows over it. When a renewable parcel is identified, a new piece of property is superimposed upon existing boundaries and jurisdictional lines. The entities within these boundaries all possess rights to exclude, and this creates an anticommons tragedy, which hinders renewable development. This Article argues that the many exclusion rights within renewable parcels must be consolidated and governed by a regional agency to address the anticommons challenge, and it analyzes elements of existing regional institutions to suggest the ideal structure of this agency. Once formed, the regional framework should be applied to other areas of energy planning. States and municipalities share oil and gas reservoirs, electricity transmission constraints, and energy generation needs, and collaborative governance in these areas is necessary for a secure future.
.14 "BURSTS: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do" - Albert László Barabás - Video
Authors@Google - USA
"In BURSTS (April 2010), Barabasi, Director of the Center for Network Science at Northeastern University, shatters one of the most fundamental assumptions in modern science and technology regarding human behavior. Barabasi argues that, rather than being random, humans actually act in predictable patterns. We go along for long periods of quiet routine followed suddenly by loud bursts of activity. Barabasi demonstrates that these breaks in routine, or "bursts," are present in all aspects of our existence— in the way we write emails, spend our money, manage our health, form ideas. Barabasi has even found "burstiness" in our webpage clicking activity and the online news cycle." This event took place on June 30, 2010.
.15 Internet regulators may face Swedish Waterloo
The National - Abu Dhabi, UAE
Best known for pillaging Vikings and the pop supergroup Abba, Sweden is now hosting its own version of the internet – one without government controls. At a time when many of the world’s governments are demanding access to mobile phone records and Google is accused of openly collaborating with the CIA, Sweden is home to an unregulated version of the internet. Protected by that country’s liberal laws, a legitimate Swedish political party, the Pirate Party, is attracting the growing support of Swedish citizens and is determined to provide an alternative to the highly regulated internet envisaged by governments such as the US and service providers such as Google. Iceland is also drafting legislation to protect freedom of information on the internet. Whether the regulated version of the internet or Scandinavia’s liberated vision wins will determine which services, applications and products will be available online for at least a generation to come. “We see it as our duty to bring internet anonymity to the world,” says the Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge. “We are really a conservative party as we only want to preserve the right to anonymity people already have when they post a letter. We are fighting for the freedom of the individual across the world.” ...
12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents
.01 Knowledge in Cities
Everyone interested in urban and regional economic development must check out this new MPI study, ”Knowledge in Cities.” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1673492 Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network database – O*NET – it identifies 11 key types of regions by the knowledge, skill, and work they do. ... Enterprising Regions like Chicago, L.A., Miami, and Toronto have high knowledge about sales and marketing, economics and accounting, customer and personal service, and information technology and telecommunications. ... three types of regions – Engineering, Enterprising, and Building Regions – have higher levels of productivity and earnings per capita, while Teaching, Understanding, Working, and Comforting Regions have lower levels of economic development.
From the report summary: “ For example, officials from Athens, Georgia, would likely benefit
more from a site visit to State College, Pennsylvania—a fellow Teaching Region—than
from trying to emulate the policies that are effective in nearby Atlanta. Likewise, officials
in Athens would be better off using State College and other Teaching Regions as
benchmarks to gauge changes in regional economic indicators.”
.02 A Commitment to Clusters
The Avenue - The New Republic Blog
There were some lively moments during our big event on regional innovation clusters last week. But arguably none were more significant than the remarks made after lunch by Jason Furman, the deputy director of the National Economic Council. ... And then he concluded: "[President Obama] recognizes the constraints we face, but he also knows that Americans have an unparalleled capacity to come up with innovative and entrepreneurial solutions. Regional innovation clusters are an example of this innovation. The federal government’s role is modest but important, helping with some of the foundations that entrepreneurs, workers, businesses and regions can build upon. We are starting to do a better job in aligning disparate federal resources designed to promote regional development. By encouraging projects driven by strong performance targets, the federal government can ensure clusters deliver the maximum benefits in terms of increased employment and income growth. We all need to work together to make sure we are working smarter, and using federal dollars more effectively, to achieve the most impact." No, this might not sound like the most soaring rallying cry in the history of regionalism, but it should be duly noted that these sentences and Furman’s remarks may well represent the most substantial, technical, and high-level acknowledgment of the importance of regional economic activities to the nation … perhaps ever. ...
.03 Density Hubs Across the USA
Density is a key factor in innovation and regional economic growth. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve looked at density of human capital, the creative class, and high-tech innovation. Instead of measuring these factors on a per capita basis, we looked at them in terms of land area, or per square kilometer. ... map ... plots the top 10 metros on each of the basic density measures, charting human capital, creative class workers, artistic and cultural creatives, patented innovations, and high-tech workers per square kilometer. ...
.04 Iowa's Agro-Metro Future
As farming transforms, cities thrive, and other areas shrivel, Iowa in changing, splitting into two states as its regions diverge, and becoming increasingly metropolitan in character. ... People's opinions of Iowa are largely shaped by which of these two states they are looking at. More people tend to think about the struggling parts because that fits the traditional coastal media narrative and those places look big on a map. Iowa's thriving metro regions are often overlooked because they are smaller and don't fit the mold espoused by big city urbanists. Des Moines might not look like a Boston or Chicago, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t prosperous - and growing at almost Sunbelt rates. Like all of America, Iowa is a state in transition. And while it faces challenges to be sure, it's managing that change better than most. Iowa's future is likely to be very different from its small town past. It will be a more urban state, with several thriving metro regions. Farming will remain important, but will increasingly as a big business operation. Iowa’s future will be neither small town nor “hip cool” big city; it will represent the kind of agro-metro future that is emerging across wide swaths of America’s heartland.
.05 Replay: Spheres of Influence
The Common Census Project http://www.commoncensus.org/ draws various maps of the United States based on votes received from participants. The idea is to create a grass roots, non-scientific view about how the people themselves identify their communities apart from arbitrary political boundaries. The main map is based on an answer the following question: “On the level of North America as a whole, what major city do you feel has the most cultural and economic influence on your area overall?” From this, they created a map of various “spheres of influence” of cities. ...
13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents
The Regionalist Papers were developed by the Future of Hampton Roads (FHR), a public service, non-profit organization. At the very beginning of a multi-year study of regional collaboration practices, including national comparative analysis, FHR used the Regionalist papers as one of the early ways to manage regional research. This effort was designed to jump start the Regional Structure Project. It was effective in doing so, and it, especially, served to assist the broader FHR organization to become comfortable with and to learn much about current day, state-of-the-art policies and procedures used elsewhere in the United States. ...
.02 NCI Charrette System™: Stories of Community Transformation Documentary - National Charrette Institute – Portland, OR
A 13-minute video, edited from the full documentary about the Charrette System is available online. Training options for 2010 are also listed.
.03 Innovation and Opportunity: Transforming Government through IT - September 26-29 National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) 2010 Annual Conference - Loews Miami Beach - http://bit.ly/NASCIO2010
The NASCIO Enterprise Architecture & Governance Committee released its latest issue brief in a series on business analytics, “DO YOU THINK? OR DO YOU KNOW? The EA Value Chain, the Strategic Intent Domain, and Principles.” This and other reports are available for download www.nascio.org/publications
.04 Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities - ICMA
Many rural communities are facing challenges, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and loss of working lands. This report focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities. These strategies are based around three central goals: 1) support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands; 2) help existing places to thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values; and 3) create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don’t want to leave.
.05 Debunking the Myth of the Overcompensated Public Employee - Economic Policy Institute - Briefing Paper #276
Thirty-seven states are struggling with substantial budget deficits. Several governors have identified excessive public employee compensation as a major cause of their states’ fiscal duress. The remedies they propose include public employee pay freezes, benefits reductions, privatization, major revisions to the rules of collective bargaining, and constitutional amendments to limit pay increases, each as a necessary antidote to the public employee overpayment malady.
The data analysis in this paper, however, indicate that public employees, both state and local government, are not overpaid. Comparisons controlling for education, experience, hours of work, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity and disability, reveal no significant overpayment but a slight undercompensation of public employees when compared to private employee compensation costs on a per hour basis. On average, full-time state and local employees are undercompensated by 3.7%, in comparison to otherwise similar private-sector workers. The public employee compensation penalty is smaller for local government employees (1.8%) than state government workers (7.6%).
14. Financial Crisis. Contents
.01 Housing Prediction: Bottom in 2014, Then a Decade of Stagnation - oftwominds.com
Take a wild stab at when housing will bottom, and you can find an analyst's opinion to support your guess: one respected housing expert sees a bottom in six months, while equally experienced observers see a bottom in 2013, followed by a decade of slow improvement.
If history echoes, as it tends to do, then the last mini-bubble, bust and aftermath offers us an instructional model of how housing bubbles play out.
Why is this so? For two reasons: human psychology reliably swings between euphoria and caution in the marketplace, and the business cycle of rising debt and over-expansion followed by contraction of credit and retrenching is a feature of free markets.
One standard way of assessing the underlying valuation of housing is to compare it with income. When homes are soaring in value, they rise above the historical average of 4 times median household income. When houses fall in value, they dip to 3.5 times median household income.
... Baby Boomers will be selling relentlessly for the next two decades. Demographics are against another housing mania as Boomers will be selling their real estate holdings to fund their hip replacements, retirement living, etc. Buyers from the smaller follow-on generations will simply not be numerous enough or wealthy enough to buy these millions of homes and vacation properties at anything close to today's prices.
.02 PREPARING FOR AND LEARNING TO SURVIVE THE COMING PERFECT STORM: PART 1 - FinancialSense.com - Audio
Nicole Foss: Nicole M. Foss is co-editor of The Automatic Earth, where she writes under the name Stoneleigh. She and her writing partner have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and real politik in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it. Prior to the establishment of TAE, she was previously editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and finance.
Her academic qualifications include a BSc in biology from Carleton University in Canada (where she focused primarily on neuroscience and psychology), a post-graduate diploma in air and water pollution control, the common professional examination in law and an LLM in international law in development from the University of Warwick in the UK. She was granted the University Medal for the top science graduate in 1988 and the law school prize for the top law school graduate in 1997.
On this week’s Financial Sense Newshour, Nicole lays out her ominous thesis of a coming deflationary depression, made worse by peak oil. Nicole believes that the depression will cause demand for energy to go down, creating further energy shortages and less and less economic growth.
Dr. Antony Froggatt: Antony Froggatt is a Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House. He has worked on international energy and climate issues for over 20 years …
.03 FSN IN DEPTH: JOSEPH A. TAINTER PHD, THE COLLAPSE OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES - FinancialSense.com - Audio
The Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology)
Political disintegration is a persistent feature of world history. The Collapse of Complex Societies, though written by an archaeologist, will therefore strike a chord throughout the social sciences. Any explanation of societal collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all such societies in both the present and future. Dr. Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory that accounts for collapse among diverse kinds of societies, evaluating his model and clarifying the processes of disintegration by detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Chacoan collapses.
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