Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.
Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet … 11.01 - .13
Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .03
Announcements and Regional Links … 13.01 - .04
Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02
Bold italic highlights “grist for the mill of local- regional thought and action.”
… Localism Bill.
Although many were unsure of what the Bill was going to look like before it was released last month, given the Conservatives' great disdain for regional government organizations it was expected that the Bill was undoubtedly going to remove the middle tier of governance. The Provincial Governments of Canada, who are responsible for creating and managing municipal governments, have conducted several experiments with regional governance.
… Premier of the Province of Alberta … made the bold decision to abolish the Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) that were in charge of overseeing regional planning issues in the Province's larger metropolitan areas. The absence of a framework for regional governance has had dangerous consequences for Alberta's two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton.
While the City of Calgary is based on a Unicity concept, the City of Edmonton is not. …
Due to its fragmented form the Greater Edmonton Area has started to lag behind its unified provincial rival as the Calgary Metropolitan Area has been able to more efficiently and effectively manage its growth. However, mandated amalgamation has not been able to help Calgary completely avoid complicated regional planning issues.
While amalgamation allows the City of Calgary to avoid having to deal with regional issues between immediate neighbours, it is of limited use when it comes to dealing with regional problems with more distant municipalities that are still within commuting distance. The lack of a regional organization, like the former RPCs, to help coordinate urban development and growth has caused numerous problems for the City of Calgary.
If the Conservatives fully understood how local governments operate and were aware of the issues they face, they would have ensured that the Localism Bill crafted a dedicated space in the reformed system of local governance that will allow regional frameworks to emerge. …
2. Eighty-eight counties just won't cut it - Crain's Cleveland Business - Cleveland, OH, USA
Memo to Ohioans: If you think the past couple years have been bad — what with the global financial meltdown and all — batten your hatches and tighten your seat belts.
You are in for a rough ride.
By now, most people who can read or hear know that the state is facing an enormous budget deficit over the next biennium. It's been estimated at $8 billion, and the real gap could be higher.
Few would argue that government — in all its forms — hasn't grown to an unwieldy size … The intent of the new governor and speaker to reduce the payroll is a message that resonates with many Ohioans fed up with ever-expanding government agencies.
This next budget cycle is sure to be the harshest seen in generations, and to succeed, we'll need more challenging thinkers such as Ned Hill, urban affairs dean at Cleveland State University. He urged radical changes in his remarks last week to a couple hundred folks who gathered in Akron to consider the future of that city and its metro area.
Cut the number of counties until each has at least 750,000 people. Ohio's 88 counties were drawn so that every resident could get to and from the county seat in a single day's buggy trip. We could probably come up with more logical boundaries.
Force regionalization, he advocates; the heck with parochial thinking. Turn welfare oversight back to the state and administer it from six “super-center” offices, not by sluggish bureaucracies in each county. Focus all energy on product development and business creation and stop focusing on “quality of life” amenities. If towns want swimming pools, or community theaters, or rec centers, they'll need to pay for them.
We have to rethink Ohio. It's our only chance.
Heading into 2011, the newly inaugurated chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber will continue to emphasize the importance of “working together as a region” to promote economic development.
He also aims to promote a positive and confident attitude for the region, among other initiatives.
On Tuesday, the Tulsa Metro Chamber inaugurated Dr. Gerard Clancy, president of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, as its 2011 chairman of the board of directors. …
Tulsa has been impacted by the national recession, but it also has persevered with the help of tremendous leaders and tough decisions made in both the public and private sectors, said Walker, the 2010 chairman.
“The secret to the Tulsa region’s success has been our continued spirit of free enterprise,” Walker said. “If a community is given the incentive, reasonable regulations and low taxes, then businesses can lift the region to new heights, where jobs are plentiful, where opportunities are abundant and where prosperity is deep and widespread.
“I believe working together as a region we will succeed, but independently we will fail ... we need to partner rather than compete,” Walker said.
Clancy, likewise, echoed the call for a coordinated regional focus, where Tulsa works together with surrounding communities, area mayors, city councils, county commissioners, legislators, small business owners, companies, foundations and higher education to further economic development.
“It is time for us to develop economic planning initiatives at the regional level. Our competitive focus should not be within our region. It needs to be out there -- 200, 300, 400 miles away,” Clancy said.
In today’s global marketplace, the Tulsa area no longer competes with other same-size cities, but with other U.S. regions and the world.
The area has a lot to learn from the successes and failures of others, …
4. Haslam plans a mini-regional approach to economic development in Tennessee - knoxnews.com - Knoxville, TN, USA
Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Haslam said he doesn't have a single strategy for economic development but rather plans to divide the state into 10-14 regions and focus on the assets and advantages that each region has to offer. There will be some "very, very specific" strategies for each section of the state, he said.
Haslam said his No. 1 goal is to make Tennessee the place to be for high-quality jobs, and that means not only competing successfully with other states -- from Alabama to Oregon -- but also with countries around the world.
"If you're going to compete, know what your competitive advantage is," he said. "My job is to find strategic advantages everywhere."
Tennessee has strengths, which need to be exploited, but also weaknesses that need to be addressed, the Republican from Knoxville said.
Only 21 percent of Tennesseans over the age of 25 have college degrees, and that lags behind the national average, which is closer to 30 percent, Haslam said.
As mayor of Knoxville, one of the advantages was the partnership with Innovation Valley and its many resources, Haslam said. "We have something not a lot of others have," he said, citing the presence of ORNL, UT, Y-12, TVA and many companies that support the economic development in the region.
"Once we lost that 'boundary mentality,' real progress got made," Haslam said. His job now is to figure out how to make things work for the whole state, he said.
During the forum, Milhorn and Mason talked about some of the key developments in the UT/ORNL work on energy systems, including a national leadership role in biofuels and the budding work of the Tennessee Solar Institute.
RC’s - Tennessee Development Districts: http://www.tn.gov/tacir/infrastructure.html
5. 2010 State Land Use and Growth Management Report - Pennsylvania State of Innovation - Harrisburg, PA, USA
The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code mandates the Governor's Center for Local Government Services to prepare a comprehensive State Land Use and Growth Management Report every five years. The 2010 report is the first update following the inaugural report in 2005.
The 2010 report evaluates contemporary land use issues, significant historic and projected trends, and statewide and regional development patterns. It makes a number of recommendations - specific opportunities for the Commonwealth to positively impact future growth and development patterns.
The report talks about change. The latter half of the decade brought an economic recession and dramatic declines in building and development, plus fiscal stress for state and local governments. Pennsylvania's population is one of oldest in the nation. Households continue to be more one or two persons and less families with children. The state is diverse and land use issues vary from region to region. Marcellus Shale natural gas, not foreseen in the 2005 report, is a major issue today.
Planning and the character of land use and development are important to the above issues. Pennsylvania and its communities need to look to the future, understand demographic, market, and technological changes, and be ahead of others in embracing new economic opportunities presented by the changes. We need to understand what community assets are most critical to retaining and attracting people and businesses. These include basic infrastructure and services, plus historical, cultural, and natural features that make Pennsylvania stand out as a place to live, work, and enjoy. State and local governments must act strategically and cooperatively to invest shrinking resources in these priority assets.
6. Battle over water system exposes region's rifts -Detroit Free Press - Detroit, MI, USA
This week's latest round of sparring over control of metro Detroit's water system proves again how hard regional cooperation is in southeast Michigan.
Regional leaders admit metro Detroit remains behind most major urban areas when it comes to cooperating across city and suburban lines. Solutions to problems like regional transit and the water system continue to elude even well-meaning leaders.
"It is a one-step-forward, two-steps-back challenge that we have" when it comes to regionalism, said Paul Tait, executive director of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments or SEMCOG, a regional planning agency.
The latest and most impressive: a new regional authority that has run the Cobo Center for more than a year. The board spiffed up the convention center, hired a manager, and borrowed $80 million for more improvements.
That tentative success leads to the question: Is more regional cooperation possible on other key issues?
Despite years of calls for more regional cooperation, metro Detroit still lacks a regional transit authority. And the decades-long feud over control of the city-owned water system that serves southeast Michigan shows no signs of resolving itself.
"We're clearly still behind when you look at the regions of the country that are prospering," said Paul Tait, executive director of the regional planning agency SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
Yet regional cooperation is a reality on a handful of important issues. Southeast Michigan voters continue to approve millages for regional assets, including the Detroit Zoo and the suburban SMART bus system. And Lansing lawmakers recently agreed to let residents vote on support for the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Regional hopes to assemble an Aerotropolis -- a concentration of transit-dependent businesses around Detroit Metro Airport -- have led to a multiparty agreement with local governments on zoning and other issues.
7. YDR Opinion: Regionalize fire services - York Daily Record - York, PA, USA
Two seemingly unrelated news stories from this week lead to the same conclusion: Regionalization of government services in the greater York area makes a lot of sense.
It's a conclusion that is apparently starting to dawn on local government officials. Strapped by tight budgets and dwindling tax revenues and still having to provide a level of service that taxpayers expect while not raising taxes, they are looking at every means available to wring as much efficiency as possible from available resources.
One story dealt with Manchester Township entering talks with York Area United Fire & Rescue to join the regional fire department. It's not a done deal, but it looks promising.
As it is, firefighters from York Area United and the township have trained together and have worked cooperatively during fire calls, so making the transition should be fairly smooth. The township does have a list of concerns that must be addressed, such as what to do with fire equipment and fire stations and how to handle pensions and current employees. …
The other story described North York Borough signing a contract to essentially rent York City Fire Chief Steve Buffington. Chief Buffington will serve as North York's fire chief, working 10 hours a week for the borough. The borough will pay the city $10,000 a year for the service.
This sounds like a potential first step toward merging the borough and city fire departments. Chief Buffington said the city and the borough haven't talked about a merger, but added, "I think it's something that's worth looking at."
In both of these cases, the primary obstacle seems to be turf, officials wanting to protect their turf and retain control over their municipalities. ...
8. EDITORIAL: The lesson of Camden - York Dispatch - York, PA, USA
Emergency services represent one of the largest expenses for most municipalities.
The cost of providing fire and police protection continues to rise at a brisk clip, even while revenues stagnate or only creep upward.
But few public officials have the stomach for making cuts in those areas, which many taxpayers consider the most vital.
Consider, for example, the outcry this week after officials in Camden, N.J., a crime-ravaged but financially struggling city, laid off half its police force and a third of its firefighters.
In the aftermath, which the police union declared in a full-page newspaper advertisement will be "a living hell" for residents, officials in Camden County, which includes the city, have called a meeting to discuss the idea of countywide regional police and fire services.
Just an "idea" now, it might be inevitable in the near future, as other cities struggle to maintain services.
Regionalization is a way for municipalities to manage these costs by pooling their resources and eliminating the duplication of services.
To our credit, York County has been at the forefront of regionalization.
The Northern York County Regional Police department was the first of its kind in the state back in the 1970s, as was the York Area United Fire and Rescue when it launched in 2008.
Although several more municipalities have combined their police departments in the past 10 or 15 years, there are many other opportunities out there.
Just recently Manchester Township officials agreed to meet with York Area United to discuss merging Alert Fire Co. with the department.
Better service for less money now, versus a possible "living hell" later ...
Not much of a choice. So why aren't more municipalities making it?
9. My Top 10 wishes for the Montreal region in 2011
The Gazette - Montreal, Ontario, CA
Early days of the new year are a time to think about what ideally ought to happen over the next 12 months. Here, in no special order, are my Top 10 hopes for the Montreal metropolitan region in 2011.
* The Quebec government should consider public financing of provincial and municipal election campaigns, …
* The mayors of off-island suburbs should cease resisting tough controls on sprawl when the Communaute metropolitaine de Montreal draws up a land-use plan. Provincial law (Bill 58) requires it to do so by Dec. 31.
* The Tremblay administration should end years of dithering over how to make motorists pay more for public transit. It should abandon its recently revived idea of charging tolls: bridge tolls would deter off-islanders from coming to the city and thus encourage employers and entertainment venues to spring up off the island. The city should push for a regional gas tax, which would do no such harm to the city. Unlike tolls, it would also cost nothing to administer.
* The Charest government should declare a moratorium on exploitation of shale gas, whose deposits lie on the fringes of the metropolitan region and much of the St. Lawrence Valley. The government needs to balance its zeal for this resource with far more environmental rigour than it has shown to date. Bear in mind that these hopes are not the same thing as predictions. Given the torpor, laxity and loyalty to special interests that have afflicted Montreal in recent years, I wouldn't be surprised if none of these desired developments comes to pass.
Delicious Bookmarks: http://delicious.com/I.see.regions.work
10. U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State - in news articles.
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 Regional unity is almost a tradition now
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Richmond, VA, USA
Regional unity exists in Richmond. For the second consecutive year, the capital region's nine localities agreed on a list of priorities for needed legislative actions in Congress and the General Assembly. Let's say that again: All nine agreed on one joint list. On Jan. 4, the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission invited local and state officials to review the 2011 legislative agenda that was hammered out after five months of discussion and debate among 33 commissioners, said James B. Donati Jr., the commission's chairman and a member of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors. The consensus, Donati added, means the Richmond region wants representatives in Congress and the General Assembly to "make it happen." Last year marked the first time the commission wiped away years of dysfunction and orchestrated what's called a wish list for the General Assembly. ...
.02 Tough Times Break Down Resistance to Local Cooperation
Digital Communities - USA
... A growing number of local government officials believe financial desperation will drive cities, counties and other jurisdictions to partner on shared application initiatives. Working together to purchase and host applications can help cities and counties reduce costs substantially and lighten their IT workloads. Given that local governments often struggle to persuade their own agencies to share technology, this may seem far-fetched. ... Where is city/county collaboration likeliest to occur? Ken Price, director of Information Services for Littleton, Colo., identified common local services like public safety, roads and bridges, parks, libraries and museums. These usually have technology components. For example, most police departments use computer-aided dispatch programs and record management systems. “Every city that has a law enforcement agency will have to have the same technology infrastructure in place,” Price said. “Some cities can afford to have their own systems, but some can’t. If they can band together and go after technology solutions, then they can afford them.” ... Governments faced with the necessity of collaboration have several initiatives they could use as templates. ... Colorado is becoming a hotbed of government shared services collaboration. One group fueling that activity is the Government Shared Services Council, a standing subcommittee of the Colorado Government Association of Information Technology (CGAIT). Vosburg said numerous shared service initiatives have been inspired by CGAIT, including a regional consortium of cities in the Boulder region that formed around a wide area network initiative. The cities partnered on acquisition of technology and the management of a Wi-Fi network. ...
.03 REGIONALISM REIGNS: Perdue visits Triad, offers state assistance
The High Point Enterprise - High Point, NC, USA
The monumental effort to find new jobs for up to 1,500 people losing paychecks from American Express Co. will require a regional response over an extended period of time, Gov. Beverly Perdue said Thursday. Perdue met with business and political leaders from across the Triad to discuss how state and regional officials will cooperate and respond to the closing of the American Express customer service call center. ... American Express announced Wednesday that it will phase out its operation by the end of this year as part of a corporate restructuring, which could result in a net loss of 1,500 jobs. Just as regionalism has been touted as a way to promote the Triad, so now will regionalism come into play helping laid-off workers from American Express find new opportunities, the governor said. However, former employees at American Express will enter a work force in which local unemployment rates still hover around 10 percent, and they will compete with many job-seekers who have desperately sought work for a year or longer. Even with the waning impact of the recession, the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan jobless rate was 10.5 percent in November, the most recent month for which figures are available from the N.C. Employment Security Commission. Perdue acknowledged that the American Express announcement represents “a hard day for the Triad.” ...
.04 Segregated housing rooted in government policy, panel shows
People's World - Chicago, IL, USA
Racism is much more than backward attitudes harbored by individuals, a recent panel of experts here showed. "From Redlining to White Flight, the History of Housing Segregation and the Importance of Regionalism" - a joint program of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Oakland University and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion – [ http://www.cooley.edu/newsevents/2010/110910_redlining_auburnhills.html ] presented shocking details of how government and industry played a big role in segregating our neighborhoods and schools. Metropolitan Detroit is one of the most racially segregated communities in the entire country. How did Southeast Michigan - and many other communities in the U.S. - become so segregated? Cooley law student Amy Marino began by giving an overview of how federal law increased residential segregation of city neighborhoods, which in turn led to racially segregated schools. The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), created in 1933, and the Federal Housing Administration Act of 1934 were created to encourage home ownership and spur jobs in the housing industry during the Great Depression.
... One approach for who received the loans could have been "who needed housing the most," ... Another approach, she said, "could have been an individual's ability to repay the loan or their credit worthiness. That's not exactly what happened either. Instead your eligibility for mortgage insurance was based on the rating your neighborhood got." Surveyors hired by the HOLC were sent into the neighborhoods of 240 American cities. In all of those 240 cities, they created color-coded maps of neighborhoods using factors like race, nationality and class, but the race of the inhabitants was the dominant one. The whole process and thinking were rooted in racism and inequality: the future trajectory of a neighborhood's property values - and the probability a bank loan would be repaid - would be based on its racial composition. ...
.05 Asian carp fight to rage on
Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee, WI, USA
The Michigan attorney general who sparked the legal fight to force the federal government to take dramatic steps to protect the Great Lakes from an Asian carp invasion has left office, but a bitter regional fight that has pitted Illinois against a coalition of neighboring states will drag on. New Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced he has no plans to abandon the lawsuit initiated by his predecessor and fellow Republican Mike Cox that pushes for an emergency closure of two Chicago navigation locks. The lawsuit, backed by Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania, also seeks to re-establish the natural separation between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River basin that the Chicago canal system destroyed over a century ago. The five states remain undaunted, despite the political wave that washed across the region in the midterm elections, a federal judge's ruling in December against an emergency lock closure and the fact that Cox is no longer steering the fight. ... Comments ... Sould the lakes be separated? Yep! Will it stop the Asian carp from getting in the lakes? Nope! They're spread to far, been neglected too long. Studies and lawsuits? worthless, time consuming, detract from the real issues. Everybody wants a monopoly on our lakes and rivers, ...
.06 Schumer says cuts to emergency radio system puts region at risk
Times Union - Albany, NY, USA
If the Capital Region were ever under the threat of terrorism, it could be vulnerable. ... Schumer issued the warning after a cut of $913,000 meant to pay for radios that enable emergency agencies throughout the region to communicate. "Our first responders behind us need the resources," Schumer said. He said the region has the 10th-busiest train station in the country in Rensselaer and is an international leader in nanotechnology, with plants in Albany and the emergence of GlobalFoundries in Saratoga County. It also holds important assets as the state's capital. All of those factors make the Capital Region more likely to be threatened ... Schumer did not specify how much money it would take to buy the equipment, and only said he wanted funds back to 2009 levels. "As 9/11 becomes further and further away, some forget how important it is to make inter-operation a reality," he said. As it stands, police, fire and other emergency responders in the five-county area spanning Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie and Saratoga counties do not have the technology it takes to be able to communicate with each other via radio. Schumer said technology would be essential during a large-scale disaster such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a major ice storm or a pandemic. ...
.07 Counties cautiously support Brown's plan to realign services
The Sacramento Bee - Sacramento, CA, USA
County officials in California Monday offered qualified support for Gov. Jerry Brown's "vast and historic" plan to give counties a slew of programs now run by the state. County officials say they support the plan in principle and agree with Brown's argument that local government is better positioned to provide public services. But they also say they need more details before they can fully support the governor's realignment plan, a key part of the budget he proposed Monday for the fiscal year starting July 1. Brown wants to turn over responsibility for a wide range of services: local incarceration of "lower-level" criminal offenders, juvenile justice, adult parole, and mental-health programs, among others. The key question for local leaders: How will counties pay for the services? ...
.08 Chambers offer dual-membership deal
Business Courier - Cincinnati, OH, USA
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the Northeast Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce have created a dual-membership agreement. Under this new agreement, current members of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber that are headquartered in Warren County will automatically become members of the Northeast Cincinnati Chamber and current members of the Northeast Cincinnati Chamber will have the opportunity to join both chambers for one charge and receive benefits from both organizations. Joint networking events for members of both chambers are planned. “This agreement represents regionalism, collaboration and partnership in action,” John Bosse, vice president with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, said in a news release. ... The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber is the nation’s fifth-largest chamber, representing the interests of more than 5,000 member businesses.
.09 Q&A with Scott McDonell
The Verona Press - Verona, WI, USA
Scott McDonell has been the County Board chair since 2005, ... he represents a downtown Madison district known for being on the liberal side of county politics. ... You were one of the champions of the RTA, which has taken some flak lately. All of that is in flux. The RTA board is struggling with this. Not having high speed rail was a big blow for a lot of reasons. … It would have been a huge boon to our economy, it would have been a wonderful connection throughout the Midwest, but it would have also lowered the cost of commuter rail. I think, this commuter rail dominated everything, but even just having a better bus system would be a huge improvement. There’s a lot of people in my district in downtown Madison that work at Epic and would use the bus if it could get them back and forth quickly. We looked at express bus, we looked at lowering fares for seniors, I think that’s a really good first step. The important thing for me is that we have a regional governance system and not just for Madison. Traffic doesn’t respect municipal borders. ...
.10 Chambers rail against Metra change
The Courier-News - Aurora, IL, USA
The Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce is among a dozen area chambers opposing a bill that would dissolve the membership of the Metra Board of Directors. Senate Bill 3943 calls for the board to be replaced with members nominated by the governor and confirmed with the advice and consent of the Illinois Senate. ... “We support continued improvements in our regional transit and transportation systems that provide for further efficiencies, service improvements and increase capacity,” the letter stated. “We do not believe dismantling the regional governance structure achieves that goal.” DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin agreed. “A regional body fosters cooperation and consensus between Metra, county government and local governments,” he said. “I believe that is the best model for our region and will best serve the communities of DuPage.” Opponents of the bill said under the current system, no single county, municipality or elected official dominates or controls Metra’s governance, service or finances. Because taxpayers in the collar counties contribute financially to the Metra system, their interests should continue to be represented through appointments made by local governments. ...
.11 Bernero is optimistic in State of the City speech
Lansing State Journal - Lansing, MI, USA
Months shy of needing to resolve the city's budget woes with $15 million in cuts, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero stood under the roof of the historic Knapp's building tonight and spoke optimistically of the year ahead. He backed up his State of the City speech's theme - "It's Happening in Lansing!" - by mentioning the projects that are changing the city's landscape:
... Bernero infused his annual State of the City pep talk with an urgency for the city to "plant the seeds of renewal." Bernero also hyped the need for regionalism, announcing that he soon will unveil a Blue Ribbon panel of regional leaders from the public and private sectors mutually interested in reinventing local government and regional shared services.
.12 Governor's budget poses challenges for cities, towns
SouthCoastToday.com - New Bedford, MA, USA
Gov. Deval Patrick is proposing a 7.8 percent cut in unrestricted aid to cities and towns, setting the stage for what could be another difficult budget season for cities and towns. However, some local officials were pleased that Patrick is also proposing cost-saving measures for municipal governments that could help make up for the lost revenue. "After three years of state aid cuts, any more cuts would make the town budget more difficult to balance," ... To ease the pain of local aid cuts, the Patrick administration also proposed changes to reduce municipal health insurance costs. It proposes requiring all cities and towns to join the state's insurance program or start an equivalent program by July 1. It also wants to require local governments to move eligible municipal retirees into Medicare. "I am confident better days lie ahead so long as we all work together," Patrick said in a statement. "With the initiatives announced today, our cities and towns, and their public employee unions, can contain health care costs, continue to assure quality, affordable care for workers and maintain public services."... Freetown Selectman Jean Fox said cities and towns will need to continue discussing ways to pool their resources and save money through regionalization of services. ... "We have a national crisis in health care that is going to take more than the town of Freetown to fix," she said.
.13 Beloit International Film Festival spreading its wings
The Janesville Gazette - Janesville, WI, USA
Organizers of the 2011 Beloit International Film Festival hope that expanded film showings at a Janesville restaurant will be just the beginning of the growing event spreading its wings in the region. At a reveal party Thursday night at Olde Towne Mall in downtown Janesville, founders and financial backers unveiled the itinerary for the upcoming festival Feb. 17–20, talking about plans to expand the festival and giving details about the choice to host film showings this year at the Metropolitan, a restaurant in downtown Janesville. Beloit International Film Festival Executive Director Rod Beaudoin said organizers added a venue in Janesville to broaden the festival’s base and offer it to a larger and more diverse group of people. ... Diane Hendricks, Rock County 5.0 co-chair and festival supporter, said she views the festival expansion as a chance for the cities of Janesville and Beloit to work and play together but also as an opportunity to offer Janesville residents a new experience. ... attendance of the festival has doubled since its start six years ago. The festival, which is in its sixth year, will feature more than 100 films produced in 30 different countries, some of which were shot regionally and even locally. ... festival plans to add a venue next year in Rockford, Ill. “This is a logical step for us,” Nief said. “People give lip service to regionalization, but this (festival expansion) could really become a model for others.”...
.14 U.S. recovery not enough to dig R.I. out of hole
The Providence Journal - Providence, RI, USA
... 2011 the bellwether year when public officials, pushed by taxpayers, have to prioritize which services they want to provide and how to restructure government, whether through consolidation or regionalization, to pay for them. ... This is not the year to try to paper over the crises, as officials have done in the last few years, and push them off on someone else in the future. While the challenge is huge, it can be met by the new slate of city and state leaders who took office in January and who should make public finance a top priority. Most were elected to fix the economy and create jobs. But they also have to make their constituents understand that they can’t do that if public finance remains an uncertain mess. Business owners and investors will not put their money and resources here, and create jobs, if they don’t know what the tax burden or level of services will be. “Rhode Island can no longer afford to operate as an unfriendly business state,” wrote Mazze and Tebaldi, in their forecast for the New England Economic Partnership, a nonpartisan, regional group. “Rhode Island’s economic outlook will improve once the state solves its fiscal and regulatory problems,” they said. ...
.15 Geographies of scope: an empirical analysis of entertainment, 1970–2000
Journal of Economic Geography - Oxford, UK
Abstract: The geographic clustering of economic activity has long been understood in terms of economies of scale across space. This paper introduces the construct of geographies of scope, which we argue is driven by substantial, large-scale geographic concentrations of related skills, inputs and capabilities. We examine this through an empirical analysis of the entertainment industry across US metropolitan areas from 1970 to 2000. Our findings indicate that geographies of scope (or collocation among key related entertainment subsectors and inputs) explain much of the economic geography of entertainment even when scale is controlled for, though our regressions over time suggest the role of scope is decreasing. Furthermore, we find that the entertainment sector as a whole and its key subsectors are significantly concentrated in two superstar cities—New York and Los Angeles—far beyond what their population size (or scale effects) can account for, while the pattern falls off dramatically for other large regions.
.16 New York Archdiocese to close 27 schools in reconfiguration plan
Catholic News Service - Chicago, IL, USA
Twenty-seven Catholic schools in the New York Archdiocese -- victims of low enrollment and rising costs -- will close at the end of the school year in a move that archdiocesan education officials describe as part of a strategy to ensure long-term success of the overall system. New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and Timothy McNiff, superintendent of schools, announced the closings Jan. 11. The schools -- 26 elementary schools and one parish high school -- were among 32 cited in November as "at risk" of losing their archdiocesan subsidies and likely to close. ... The closings are in line with the strategies of "Pathways to Excellence," a wide-ranging strategic plan that focused on the "3 R's" of reconfiguration, regionalization and reinvestment over the next three years. The goal is a modernized school system that is academically excellent, fully enrolled and affordable. ...
.17 CHOP, Virtua will work together
Philadelphia Business Journal - Philadelphia, PA, USA
... Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia ... CHOP’s strategy for more than a decade, Altschuler said, has been to expand its presence throughout the region in order to provide care closer to patients’ homes, and to use its West Philadelphia hospital to care for the most critically ill patients. “If you look at pediatric care and where it is going in the future (under health-care reform), the need for regionalization becomes quite important,” he said. “[This partnership] will allow us to provide the right care in the right venue at the right cost.” Under the partnership, Virtua will pay CHOP for services its doctors deliver at Virtua facilities.
11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents
.01 Focus on food waste for future food security, says Worldwatch
Finding ways to increase global food production has been increasingly in the spotlight, as world population is on target to hit the seven billion mark later this year, and is forecast to reach nine billion by 2050. Food shortages and high prices sparked riots in many countries around the world in 2008, and served to underline the urgency of the situation. But in its annual State of the World report, the environmental research organization Worldwatch Institute suggests that the focus should shift away from producing more food, toward encouraging self-sufficiency and reducing food waste in rich and poor nations alike. ... Estimates vary as to how much of the global food supply is wasted, from a quarter to a half, even in some of the most sophisticated supply chains. “On a regional and national basis there is potential to reduce waste,” Halweil said. “There is no question that on a global level there’s enough scope to feed everyone…The problem in the chain is not a lack of production. Even in hungry countries there are often crops being produced in abundance.” ... “Any food business that isn’t looking at ways to regionalize its supply chain is really behind the curve at this time,” he said. “And there are certain other benefits to this regionalization, including preventing large scale food safety disasters. That is not to say that outbreaks don’t happen in local and regional food systems but the outbreak will not be on the same scale as we saw with spinach and peanut butter.”
.02 OECD Praises Switzerland's Regional Policy
Tax-News.com - Brussels, Belgium
According to the findings of a recent study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Switzerland’s new regional policy is well positioned, given that it is orientated towards competitiveness and towards added value in the Confederation’s regions. Compared to other OECD countries, the Swiss regions are in good economic health, the OECD maintains, adding that there are no great disparities between them. There is scope to improve the promotion of innovation, however, the OECD notes.
Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) recently requested for the first time that the OECD evaluate the Confederation’s new regional policy (la nouvelle politique régionale – NPR). Details of the study’s findings were presented in Coire during a conference on the promotion of innovation. In application since 2008, the modern regional policy or NPR is based on growth and competitiveness. The shift in focus – the decision to abandon the promotion of basic infrastructure and to focus instead on competitiveness, innovation and the creation of value – was judged a success by the OECD. In its evaluation, however, the OECD suggests that the Confederation extend its policy to the whole of the country – up until now limited to rural zones – to include in future mountain and border regions or at least to better coordinate regional and urban policy. ...
.03 A kicking idea: using sport to forge an Asean identity
Bangkok Post - Bangkok, Thailand
... Asean leaders like to set goals and the latest target is to forge an Asean Community - One Vision, One Identity, One Community - by the year 2015. The relevance of Asean, what it has achieved and how it has benefited the people of this region, may be understood and appreciated by the various officials and some businesses who have worked or benefited from the cooperation among member countries. The reality is that Asean has no meaning for the majority of the 600 million citizens living in the region. They do not understand what Asean has done for them. They have no real feeling of being a member of an Asean community. Cultural and education exchanges help forge better understanding. But to get people with different religious, social, cultural and historical roots to feel as one requires much more. Perhaps this dream needs a catalyst - a goal or even event - which ignites the passion and captures the imagination of the ordinary man that would help Asean move forward towards realising this goal they call Asean Community. The proposal for Asean to bid for and host the World Cup in 2030 could be that much-needed catalyst. ... Once given the green light, World Cup Asean 2030 will be placed on the list of 15 key projects Asean will pursue when Indonesia assumes its chairmanship. "This is an effort to use sport to create an Asean identity," one Asean source told me over the weekend. "This is a community building effort. It will excite the youth [of the region]. It will engage the people. It will inspire the imagination of Asean. Asean needs an Asean identity. Whether we get it [selected as host] or not is beside the point. The fact that Asean comes together and competes as a bloc to host the World Cup will already bring a tremendous sense of community and common identity," the source said....
.04 Ugly politics causes a roadblock to development?
SiliconIndia News - Banagalore, India
Diversity is the trademark of India and it can be found in every nuke and corner of our country. However, six decades since independence, India stands tall in the world map with a fastest growing economy which even survived the global economic downturn without serious damages. But the dream of becoming a super-power by 2020 seems to be far beyond our reach and in all likelihood, is not achievable with the complex and dirty political rivalries that stop the country from overall development. Every political party dilutes their ideologies with their vote bank politics, which makes many think that the political parties are responsible for the antisocial elements such as terrorism, regionalism, separatism, unemployment and poverty. Regionalism is a major roadblock to development as it not only divides cities and state into separates administrative regions, but it encourages a protectionist economy and a closed culture not available to compare itself with other different cultural local units. The Telangana issues can be cited as the best example which almost paralyzed the functioning of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The political disorder not only stops any new development projects, but also forces the investors to move away their existing projects from the state. ...
.05 Regional strategy roadshow to hit town
Londonderry Sentinel - Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK
A ROADSHOW offering the public a chance to have their say on a revised strategy to tackle climate change and population growth, to plan the location of jobs and houses, and to balance the economy, will arrive in Londonderry at the end of this month. Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy launched the consultation on the review of the Regional Development Strategy (RDS) for three months until March 31, 2011. The Minister said: "The Regional Development Strategy provides an overarching strategic planning framework to facilitate and guide both the public and private sectors. "The speed and direction of change in our society and economy requires a new approach to spatial development. "The revised RDS therefore addresses key challenges on climate change, rebuilding and rebalancing the economy, population growth, the location of jobs and houses, infrastructure provision and the protection of our natural and built environment. ... The consultation document and associated Impact Assessments are available on the Internet at: www.drdni.gov.uk/shapingourfuture
.06 Czech, Slovak regional heads to jointly seek EU subsidies
Prauge Daily Monitor - Prague, Czech Republic
Czech and Slovak regional governors want to jointly seek subsidies for their regions from the European Union for 2014-2020, Tibor Mikus, head of the Slovak regional governors, told journalists Thursday. The governors plan to meet representatives of the European Parliament and the European Commission to promote their issue. Mikus's Czech counterpart Michal Hasek said these meetings should produce a list of priorities that the regions' heads would like to be paid from EU funds. Hasek said he believes the EU money would at least partly replace the lower revenues of the state and individual regions. Mikus said Czech and Slovak regions have a better chance of succeeding in lobbying and voting on the subsidies if they proceed jointly. ...
.07 Province provides funding for biotech
The Daily Gleaner - Fredericton, New Brunswick, CA
The provincial government has invested in biotechnology research in an effort to help New Brunswick compete with the energy giants of Western Canada. ... New Brunswick needs such facilities to catch up with the rest of Canada. "Atlantic Canada would be the furthest behind in adopting bio-energy, at having companies successfully develop these projects," he said, emphasizing the need to use resources already found in the region. "Right now we're behind, but I think we can come even with the rest of Canada and even ahead by developing technologies that are very unique to this region." Alward agreed the province needs to draw on its strengths and further develop partnerships with local businesses to be successful.
.08 Time for reform: Secretary of State Clinton delivers straight talk to Arab nations
Las Vegas Sun - Las Vegas, NV, USA
On a trip this week to meet with Arabic leaders in the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saw great potential to expand economic opportunities in the region but also took notice of its high unemployment. That set the stage for her appearance Thursday at the Forum for the Future, a regional development conference in Doha, Qatar, where she made references to the lack of political reform in the Middle East. Clinton aptly said: “While some countries have made great strides in governance, in many others people have grown tired of corrupt institutions and a stagnant political order. They are demanding reform to make their governments more effective, more responsive, and more open.” In recognizing the distinct challenges facing each Arabic nation, she later said that “in too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking in the sand.” ...
.09 NEDA conducts regional consultation on PH Development Plan for Region X and ARMM
American Chronicle - Beverly Hills, CA
Socio-Economic Secretary and NEDA Director General Cayetano Paderanga III graced the regional consultation on the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2011-2016 hosted by NEDA Region X (NRO-X) Jan. 6, 2010 at a local restaurant in Cagayan de Oro City. "The importance of this national development plan need not be overemphasized as this translates the President´s development agenda as contained in his ´Social Contract with the Filipino People´ into strategies, policies, programs and activities for 2011-2016," said Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Cruz, Regional Development Council-10 chairman. "We recognize the collaborations made by the planning committees and the NEDA Secretariat with the RDC particularly in the conduct of the regional consultations," Cruz said in his welcome remarks. "All of these pave the way for a meaningful exchange of inputs and information that will ensure consistency in national and regional thrusts and priorities." ...
.10 Forum to explore economic diversity: Pictou County’s creative potential untapped, says development officer
The Chronicle Herald - Halifax, Nova Scotia
Pictou County is fortunate to have Sobeys, Michelin and some other large employers, but big companies aren’t the only businesses that drive the economy. Pictou Regional Development Agency project officer Kate Nelson believes the area is ripe for a creative economy; that is, one driven by ideas, culture and creativity. "We have so many great elements here," she said, noting the area’s well-preserved history, natural beauty, rural-urban balance, friendliness and creative talent. A surge in new residents seeking a different quality of life, a strong entrepreneurial sector and a community of artisans all contribute to an economy based on people getting paid for their ideas. "But what’s the glue? How do we put it all together?" she said. Nelson hopes an upcoming workshop will help answer her questions and those of a committee fostering a creative economy in northern Nova Scotia. ...
.11 A new strategy for ENGOs and labour to send oil politics to the bottom of the barrel
rabble.ca - Toronto, ON, CA
Of all the things that oil mixes poorly with, politics might be the most difficult solution to make. Oil politics has divided Canada, blocked environmental change and for the most part has been a disaster for progressive politics. On the edge of another federal election, oil politics continues to rise to the top of the Canadian barrel, forcing all other politics and choices into layers below. Conservatives are virtually assured of the vast majority of seats from the Western oil-producing regions. The domination of oil politics has regionalized Canada and intimidated the opposition to the point where there are virtually no concrete alternatives on the nation-defining issues that arise from our oil and bitumen economy. The latest Nanos poll on key issues has environment dropping in relative importance, a familiar consequence of economic hard times. Consequently action on climate change will not be on the short list of ballot choices offered by any of the parties. ...
.12 Why did Japan crash as Asia's lead goose?
The Japan Times - Tokyo, Japan
ASIA'S FLYING GEESE: How Regionalization Shapes Japan, by Walter Hatch. Cornell University Press, 2010, 304 pp., $24.95 (hardcover) As we slog into the third decade of the Lost Decade, the enigma of Japan is why, given dire developments, change and reform happen so slowly, if at all. The process of transformation is fitful and incremental, zigzagging and backtracking while bypassing many eddies of continuity. In this important new book, Walter Hatch offers an original and convincing explanation for some of this stasis, examining how regionalization strategies sustained Japan's model of capitalism well past its sell-by date. By replicating their distinctive economic model in Asia, one Hatch terms "selective relationalism," and transplanting practices, patterns and relationships in regional economies, Japan's business elites with extensive support from the government, managed to postpone adjustments at home. This is a fascinating story of how Japan managed globalization, and resisted its impulses temporarily through a strategy of regionalization. ...
.13 How to Pick the Perfect Brand Name
Fast Company - USA
Even more than the crazy wigs and high-protein clothing, it's the name that makes Lady Gaga. If her name were Bethany Cranston (or, say, Stefani Germanotta), forget about it. Everybody wants a Gaga name for their new product/website/startup. But if you've ever brainstormed about names, you know how deflating the process can be. The URLs for every four-letter word in the English language have long since been snatched up. Yet you crave something unique, something legally protectable. So here come the artful misspellings ("Gene-yus") and the syllable mashups ("TechnoRiffic"). Later, as you review your whiteboard full of gawky names, someone walks by with a BlackBerry and you seethe with envy. That's how it's done. (Hey, has anyone trademarked Graype?) No one in the naming world has generated more envy than a boutique firm called Lexicon. You may not recognize the name. But Lexicon has created 15 billion-dollar brand names, including BlackBerry, Dasani, Febreze, OnStar, Pentium, Scion, and Swiffer. Lexicon's steady success shows that great names do not come from lightning-bolt moments. (Nobody gets struck 15 times.) Rather, Lexicon's magic is its creative process. ... "Most clients feel that they're going to know the perfect name as soon as they see it, but it doesn't happen that way," Placek says. Even "BlackBerry" was not easy to sell. The client had been leaning toward more descriptive names such as "EasyMail." ...
Comment: ... once you find a name, if you want to look for a domain name, and social media handle, and trademark for it all at once, you can run it through the name search engine: www.namecheck.com
12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents
.01 Webinar: Learn how regional clusters of industries can boost economies in rural areas
The Rural Blog
Some rural regions have found economic success in the development of clusters, in which related industries support each other, directly and indirectly. The phenomenon will be explored Thursday, Jan. 27, from 2 to 3:30 EST, in a free webinar, "Rural Approaches to Regional Clusters." This webinar is open to all interested stakeholders in rural economic development, including journalists, but the content is specifically designed for economic development planners, university centers, local elected officials and members of the private sector. The webcast will explore current practices in rural regions that have adopted statewide cluster strategies intended to drive economic growth in a more cohesive manner.
.02 Chicago: The Cost of Clout
The Chicago Tribune has been running a series on the challenges facing the next mayor. One entry was about the Chicago economy. It described the sad reality of how Chicago’s economy is in the tank, and has been underperforming the nation for the last few years. I’ll highlight the part about challenges building an innovation and tech economy in Chicago: The region also has lagged in innovation, firm creation and growth in productivity and gross metropolitan product over the past decade, according to economic development consultant Robert Weissbourd, president of RW Ventures LLC. Daley’s two long-held dreams of Chicago emerging as a high-tech center and a global business center remain just out of reach … Why Clout Is Toxic to the Innovation Economy When you think about these cultural impacts of clout on Chicago, it becomes obvious why the city has failed to build an innovation economy. Innovation is fundamentally about new ideas, new ways of doing things, new players in the game, those from the outside, about merit, about dynamism. Clout is about what happened yesterday, the fruits of long years of efforts, and the same old – sometimes really old – players, about insiders, about connections, about stasis. As Jane Jacobs noted, “Economic development, no matter when or where it occurs, is profoundly subversive of the status quo.” Innovation driven economic development is fundamentally about disrupting the status quo. Clout is all about preserving it. Innovation welcomes the outsider, the clout-fueled Nexus abhors the Other. Innovation and clout are enemies. ...
.03 Regional Growth Strategy wins near-unanimous support, as Steves sounds warning on ALR
Geoff Meggs Vancouver City Councilor
Richmond city councillor Harold Steves, who probably has done more than any other individual to save BC’s agricultural land from urban sprawl, was the sole vote against adoption of the Regional Growth Strategy at Metro Vancouver yesterday. Although Steves supports the rest of the strategy, developed after nine years of consultation and more than 40 public forums and meetings, including nine in Vancouver, he would not endorse a plan that appears to leave some land open to removal from the Agricultural Land Reserve. … No one disagreed, but after so many years of debate, the majority believed it was time to send the plan out to councils for ratification. Steves may take some consolation from the fact that this plan, unlike the Liveable Region Strategic Plan it replaces, has an Urban Containment Boundary. For the first time, planners not only must acknowledge the value of agricultural land, they must work within firm boundaries intended to contain sprawl.
13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents
Smart Growth America is pleased to host the following webinar on February 1, 2011: Overcoming Obstacles in Regional Planning
Did you apply for or receive a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant? Are you trying to start or advance a regional plan? Join Smart Growth America to hear from Mariia Zimmerman, Deputy Director U.S. HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, and several HUD grant recipients from diverse parts of the country in various stages of regional plan development. The speakers will highlight the importance of regional planning, discuss coalition building, challenges they have faced in the planning and implementation process, and keys to success.
Details: Tuesday, February 1st at 2:00pm – 3:00pm – RSVP to attend
Note: This webinar is free of charge, but please RSVP to participate. The webinar log-in details will be sent to the RSVP list in a separate email on the day of the event.
.02 The Review of Regional Studies – The Official Journal of the Southern Regional Science Association - Volume 39, Winter 2009, Number 3
All articles online - 2003 - present
.03 Call for Papers: 2011 Mid-Continent Regional Science Association 42nd Annual Conference - June 8-10, Detroit, Michigan
Deadline call for papers – April 1 : http://www.mcrsa.org/callforpapers.html
Contact: John Leatherman - firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference page: http://www.mcrsa.org/conference.html
.04 Regional Studies Association Development Mid Term Development Plan Review
14. Financial Crisis. Contents
.01 World Economic News (Mon 24th. Jan ’11) - OverThePeak.com
Nick, aka The Modern Mystic gives a weekday review of world economic news. This presentation begins with a graph of the U.S. national debt from 1940 to the present.
.02 As Public Policy Fixes Are Impossible, Focus on Individual Solutions - of two minds.com
Though I am drawn to public policy questions, I always regret proposing any policy fixes. Why? For a number of reasons:
1. It's safer and easier to be a critic or doomsdayer. Finding flaws in policies addressing a diverse populace, be it a town, city, state or nation, is like shooting fish in a barrel: it's incredibly easy to shred any policy proposal. The hard part is proposing a coherent, pragmatic one.
It's also easy to say that the status quo is unsustainable, i.e. stating the obvious.
2. Pragmatism does not inspire the partisan passion that drives politics. The hate mail I receive often includes some line like "you must be a Republican"--the most hateful, vile slam the invective-spewing AC (anonymous coward) can conjure.
Or it might be "you Big Government liberals"--once again, a party-hewed cliche is the most searing condemnation the AC can find to express his venomous rage.
No wonder reasonable voices are soon shouted down, or they leave the room; the partisans demand the sort of ideological purity that simply doesn't work in the real world, but which inspires fanatic devotion, fund-raising, etc.--the building blocks of partisan political success.
Politics has always been a mean-spirited, ugly business; now, even a whiff of politically charged policy debate will draw the ire of those seeking an outlet for their anger and frustration.
A town-hall meeting might offer up an opportunity for spewing the pressurized anger, and if not, then some blogger or writer will stand duty as the straw man/woman to demonize.
Those of you who have attended these kinds of shout-fests know how the pragmatists feel; they slip out in dismay and disgust. Who needs that kind of abuse?
3. There is a great confusion between limited government that pragmatically serves its citizenry and a government that serves its cartel/political elites.
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