Regional Community Development News – March 22, 2010 [regions_work]


A compilation of news links about and for regional communities pursuing local and regional development.

Published on line since November 11, 2003.



Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.

U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State – news articles10.01 - .12

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .17

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .04

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .03

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

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

Bold Italic highlights search terms and/or phrases of interest.


Top Regional Community stories

1. Regionalism: A competitive imperative in a global economy - Muskogee Daily Phoenix - Muskogee, OK, USA

In today’s highly competitive area of quality economic development, no community can afford to try to stand alone. Corporations seeking the right location for new and expanded operations do not view things from that perspective. The more desirable the company, the more likely it is to consider the assets and liabilities of a multi-county, even multi-state region in making its site decision.

Today’s global economy rewards larger aggregations of human, financial and other resources. Regional groupings often transcend traditional borders and create new communities of interest, both formal and informal, that combine shared assets, values and aspirations. Importantly, they help rural economies elevate their scales of operation, and make them able to effectively compete with more urbanized areas. The workforce of Sequoyah County by itself would seem almost infinitesimal to many companies. Combine it with workers in the six other counties that participated in the Tahlequah conference, however, and you start to be noticed.

Regionalism is based on understanding that political jurisdictions often do not match real world economic conditions. In an era of ever accelerating rates of change, virtually all organizations face highly challenging circumstances, with significant competition in even the public and nonprofit sectors. In such conditions, static communities and companies fare poorly.

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hand separately.”

Benjamin Franklin’s famous words at the signing of the Declaration of Independence are relevant today in the context of communities declaring their interdependence on one another for their future individual and collective economic vitality. Each benefits from its neighbors’ strengths; each is penalized by their weaknesses. And while they will on occasion compete against each other for jobs, in the overall analysis they will for better or worse be evaluated as partners by those companies they are trying to attract.

2. Without growth, regionalism is cannibalism - The Detroit News - Detroit, MI, USA

From where L. Brooks Patterson sits, regionalism is starting to look less like a two-way street and more like a drain that will empty Oakland County of its most desirable assets.

The county executive popped his top on hearing an exuberant Detroit Mayor Dave Bing invite the Pistons to forsake their Auburn Hills Palace and join the city's other pro sports teams downtown.

"That's poaching," Patterson fumed. "I don't see how moving furniture around on the deck of the Titanic helps this region grow."

Patterson is getting the usual rebukes for not being a good regional player, but he raises a valid point. Rebuilding Detroit by emptying the suburbs is not regionalism, it's cannibalism.

In a stagnant region, with few new businesses starting and a net loss of population, anything Detroit gains comes at the expense of its neighbors.

Detroit's most ardent boosters will argue that turnabout is fair play, that the suburbs flourished for decades at the city's expense, as business and residents fled urban problems for greener suburban pastures.

You can make the contrary argument that Detroit was the architect of its own demise … region was fortunate the exiting Detroiters had a place nearby to land …

They helped create communities that are now every bit as legitimate as Detroit, and aren't prepared to sacrifice their prosperity.

… A strong central city provides indirect benefits to the suburbs, but not enough to make up for a devastated tax base. It's not a healthy regional strategy to fill a building downtown by vacating one in the suburbs. And there's certainly no defense in using state tax dollars to do so.

The region's revival must be fueled by newcomers bringing in growth.

Robbing Brooks to pay Bing will shift around the region's devastation, but won't make it go away.

3. Torn From the Front Page: Regional cooperation a good way to save money, but ideal would be metropolitan government - Saginaw Opinion - - Michigan, USA

More area leaders need to be thinking along the same lines as Saginaw Township Supervisor Tim Braun.

In his State of the Township … touched on some things that are key for our area but sometimes resisted: Regionalism and cooperation between municipalities.

Braun offered his support for the upcoming countywide millage to support the Dow Events Center, …

Then he went further, saying he wanted to explore ways to cooperate as a region that will save taxpayers money and cut utility costs. He said the township already had reached out to other communities to determine how to get the most bang for their buck.

“By this time next year, we will have found ways to use cooperation to save your tax dollars,” he said in the address.

… Now, let the conversation begin in earnest around the region, and let it include something even more important to saving money and doing away with duplicate layers of bureaucracy: Metropolitan government.

Radical, some will say, although the idea isn’t new. It’s been kicked around before. And in some instances we do mean kicked.

Unfortunately, some people like the idea of separate, little fiefdoms. They don’t want to share services even if it would also mean sharing the expense. They like the control of having their own fire department, their own police department, their own road crews, etc.

For folks of this mindset, even regional cooperation is a hard sell.

But regional cooperation on par with what Braun is proposing will take our community only so far. It will save us only so much money.

What we need in Saginaw County and around the rest of the state are metropolitan governments that will put large areas and populations under a single umbrella of leadership and services, using tax dollars to their greatest advantage.

4. Hefty turnout nets big victory for regionalization - Nashoba Publishing - Ayer, MA, USA

It was an historic vote and obvious from the outset which way it would go.

The single article on the March 6 Special Town Meeting warrant proposed forming an Ayer-Shirley Regional School District. The motion passed by more than three-to-one.

Crowd responses and the few people who stood to speak told the story early on. For or against, people didn't want discussion. They came to vote and most had already made up their minds.

Of 671 ballots cast, 508 voters said yes, 161 said no and two ballots were left blank; 706 registered voters were checked in.

Regionalization Planning Board Chairman Mike Swanton gave a 45-minute presentation that Knittel had said would be limited to half that time.

Finance Committee Chairman Frank Kolarik also went over budgeted time as he explained why the committee voted 4-1 to recommend regionalization: because they believe it is affordable and will stem the flow of choice-out to other districts, which costs the town $1million a year.

"I believe regionalization will solve our problems," he said. "There's no doubt the quality of education will be greatly enhanced."

The Board of Selectmen did not agree. Though outnumbered, they had their say.

Selectman Kendra Dumont said the board had not received enough data to decide if regionalization would help or hurt the town.

Chairman Andy Deveau

"We've had various (school) budget scenarios, but what we see is a $4 million increase," he said. "Where is the money going to come from?"

And if regionalization produces savings, it will go into the school district, Deveau concluded. "None of it will come back to the town."

Ayer's STM took about 30 minutes, with a lower turnout. But both towns overwhelming approved creating an Ayer-Shirley Regional School District, the first formed in the state for three decades.

5. 'Time has come' to consider regionalization, lawmakers say - Norwich Bulletin - Norwich, CT, USA

As the state Legislature grapples with Connecticut’s fiscal crisis, a fledgling partisan commission hopes to find savings through regionalization.

Last month, state Reps. Kevin Ryan, D-Montville, and Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford, were appointed to the Commission on Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies, a 45-member Democratic panel exploring ways municipalities can save money by pooling resources.

The commission released its initial recommendations March 3, …

“Many of our towns could save money by joining with other towns to provide benefits to municipal employees,” he said. “Regionalizing is a way to provide our towns and local taxpayers a much-needed financial boost during these difficult economic times without devastating Connecticut’s working families.”

James Butler, executive director of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, applauded state leaders’ efforts to think regionally.

But he declined to comment on the commission because of its partisan makeup. The council works in a nonpartisan way to promote regional planning, Butler said.

COG is all for the state encouraging and enhancing our ability to do projects and provide services regionally,” he said. “I think the COGs and other regional planning organizations have already saved their municipalities money.”

The chairman of Norwich’s board of education also has been pushing regionalization.

“The time has come that all municipalities look at sharing resources and ways of improving economics with their cities,” Charles Jaskiewicz said. “There is a lot of replication of costs that can probably be shared.”

But challenges exist.

“One of the things that’s going to be tough to break is, 169 cities and towns really want to remain autonomous,” Jaskiewicz said. “What I want the people in those towns to understand is, you can still maintain your autonomy but share resources that are still cost-effective on a larger level.”

6. Let's trade competition for cooperation - The Natchez Democrat - Natchez, MS, USA

Just a few minutes into the third and final public forum on regionalism this past week, the jealousy appeared.

Simply not being on the same page — for decades — has done little but foster such animosity on both sides of the river.

Perhaps if all sides of our community had been talking together about common wants and needs, some of these petty complaints of “competition” wouldn’t be an issue at all.

But despite the question …, which seemed to indicate at least a few people wish the communities would continue to work separately, … a growing majority of business people see just the opposite.

For our community to succeed, we must work together on projects that make sense to do so.

We’ll also compete with one another sometimes, too, but that spirit of competition needs to be a productive one, not a destructive one.

… a couple of things were obvious.

First, no one ever said that working together was going to be easy.

It’s not.

Regionalism is going to mean that everyone involved gets a little dirty because we’ll have to work at it.

Working together isn’t simple or always fun. It’s going to be work.

For regionalism to truly work, we’ll all have to give up some territory, either physical territory or territory of perception. Something will have to give on each side of the river.

But the greater goal — not personal gain — has to be at the heart of what’s driving this.

Ultimately, regionalism isn’t something that can be accomplished by a handful of people — particularly a handful of mostly elected officials.

Sure, they have a role to play, but ultimately if something is to get done, it will be by individuals who simply have a passion for some segment of the work that’s to be done.

7. No regional brand?! Oh, we've got trouble, my friends! - The Peoria Chronicle - Peoria, IL, USA

Ryan Spain and the Heartland Partnership are cooking up a new idea:

The idea behind the project is to brand the Peoria region with a tag line and, perhaps, another logo.

It would be a comprehensive approach to selling the region to tourism groups and those who could come to Peoria on business, Spain said.

“I would argue we don’t have anything now,” he said. “The timing and the urgency for creating a brand for our region … if we don’t have one, we run the risk of someone doing it for us. It may or may not be what we want to be known for.”

You gotta love marketing people. Urgency? Risk? Peoria County was established in 1825; Tazewell County followed in 1827, and Woodford in 1841. From that time to the present we’ve never had a regional brand. But now, suddenly it’s urgent to brand the region, and we’re at risk if we don’t!

This kind of exaggeration reminds me of someone… a salesman I heard once. Ah yes, I can just hear Mr. Spain explaining this dire situation to the town leaders now:

“Either you’re closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the absence of regional branding in your community. Well, ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say, trouble right here in River City, with a capital T that rhymes with B that stands for Brand!

“Leaders of River City! Heed the warning before it’s too late! Watch for the tell-tale signs of having no regional brand! When you talk to out-of-town clients and say you’re from Peoria, do they ask ‘Where’s that’? Do the bloggers in your community make their own sarcastic logos of the region? …

26 comments to No regional brand?! Oh, we’ve got trouble, my friends!

... I don’t know if I want Spain defining this area. The new city logo is so much lamer than the old Indian head logo. At least the old logo was unique and displayed the area’s ancient heritage. The new logo is generic and without character. The new city logo looks like a recycling symbol you would find on a roll of toilet paper.

But god, someone thwart these idiots before we are branded as the “The Center of the Universe in Peoria County” or “The Des Moines of Central Illinois”.

I love Peoria. I love living here. I always have. Can’t stand the people who are trying to redefine it. I think they are the ones who are the most critical and negative on this area. Branding isn’t going to do whatever Spain hopes to accomplish. …

8. End of an 'Eera' for regional assembly - Norfolk Eastern Daily Press – Norfolk, UK

When Labour came to power in 1997 it set about on a programme of devolution which included creating a Scottish Parliament and assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland.

But the new government also set up nine regional assemblies in England which actually snatched powers upwards from councils because they would decide where thousands of houses would go and also took on powers from government by setting out which were the regional transport priorities.

In this part of the world we got the East of England Regional Assembly (Eera), comprised of around 100 members made of mostly councillors and stakeholders namely representatives of a range of groups representing businesses, charities, environmental organisations and faith groups.

Set up in 1999 the assembly was part a regional triumvirate which also included the East of England Development Agency, whose work it would scrutinise, and Go-East, the government office in the East of England.

In its annual report outgoing chairman John Reynolds said the assembly had succeeded in bringing together politicians of different colours and stakeholders of different interests to respond to some of the most challenging issues facing the region and “bequeaths a strong legacy” for the future.

“It has stood up to government, rejecting the more extreme proposals for economic and housing growth while brokering consensus on long-term plans for new jobs and homes,” Mr Reynolds said. “It has lobbied for infrastructure investment and secured a significant increase in the funding and delivery of affordable housing.”

Yet Item 15 of tomorrow's meeting is titled simply “East of England Regional Assembly (dissolution) - transfer of functions assets and liabilities.

So what happens now?

The assembly will make way for a new regional board of the Local Government Association (LGA). Its role will be broadly the same, but the supporters of the change believe it will be a more focussed body.

9. Early moves towards replacing federation? - On Line opinion - Australia

There are several moves in train right now which suggest a major shift towards the re-structure of the Australian political system: the partial take-over of hospital funding and addition health services; …

… argued against the reintroduction of the old separate local hospital boards. Rudd aims at around 180 local hospital networks - of a regional nature - devolving responsibility to those who are actually caring for patients. These networks would be the administrative unit directly funded by the national government. Provided doctors and nurses are to be given adequate local decision-making powers this plan looks like a sensible application of the subsidiarity principle.

… Critics question the creation of regional hospital networks on the grounds that it would add another layer of bureaucracy. This potentially valid criticism then begs the question: why aim for only 60 per cent or 70 per cent of a complete take-over instead of going all the way? Why not remove the states entirely from this function?

Extrapolating from this logically leads to a discussion of replacing all state functions. A two-tier system based on national government and (a much improved) local government would seem to have the edge over all other proposals based on regional governments. The advantage of national and local is that regions can be created as administrative adjunct structures either by the (elected) national government or by clusters of (elected) local governments. A mezzanine layer of regions can be based on the many criteria that are used to justify regional governance: population, resources, density, bio-diversity, geography, history, functional effectiveness and political considerations. That creates a flexible situation, exactly what is needed in practice. The Regional Organisation of Councils in Australia [ ] already presents the making of such arrangements. …

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 OVRDC Tries Again For Broadband Funding

The Community Common - Portsmouth, OH, USA

... Congressman Zack Space (OH-18) in February of 2009 revealed a plan called "Connecting Appalachia Broadband Plan." The plan is designed to bring various development commissions together to find ways to make the plan happen. "The Connecting Appalachia Broadband Plan is a comprehensive approach to bringing high-speed internet service to attract new businesses, create jobs, and put the necessary infrastructure in place to support sustainable economic development," Space said in a prepared statement. He said the plan would be able to create the conditions necessary to support modern industry and business, providing them with the broadband technology companies need to compete. “Never before has our region seen such cooperation united behind a common goal – connecting Appalachia. There is no doubt that high-speed internet is vital infrastructure necessary to support long-term economic growth. This is an ambitious plan, and we have much work still to be done, but we have made a very significant step toward making this goal a reality,” Space said. There are three development districts that cover southeastern Ohio. This is the first time the three districts have come together to work on this project. All three districts will work to obtain funding to implement the plan. ...

.02 VILLAGE OF LEWISTON: Discussion centers on free tourist shuttle

Niagara Gazette - Niagara Falls, NY, USA

Plans to link the Niagara region by way of a free shuttle bus were discussed at Monday’s Village of Lewiston board meeting. County Legislature John Ceretto called the bus an “out-of-the-box economic development plan” that would bring tourists to area attractions free of charge. “We are brainstorming the possibility and feasibility of having a shuttle run from Niagara Falls to Lewiston and all the way to Fort Niagara,” Ceretto said. “Our hopes are that we would like to have it up and running this summer.” … The shuttle service would be provided by Niagara Rural Transportation at an estimated cost of $20,000 for the summer. David Lacki of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce has said he would do marketing for the bus free of charge. … “The key concept is regionalism, to get our friends who come into the area to stay another day,” he said. “Stay in the hotels, pay the bed tax, shop, go to the restaurants and hit the various tourist attractions from the Falls themselves to the Freedom Crossing to Fort Niagara.”

.03 County council planning group to hold forum on council's role

Plain Dealer - Cleveland, OH, USA

Leaders of Cuyahoga County's transition to charter government want citizens' input on just how many hours members of the first county council should work. One transition workgroup talked Tuesday of devoting the first of at least three forums to a full-time versus part-time council, … "What do we really mean by a part-time council?" asked Joanne Gross, special projects coordinator for the county administrator's office and leader of council planning group. The charter, overwhelmingly approved by county voters last November, specifically states that the council members "shall serve in a part- time capacity" to approve the annual budget, set policy and encourage regionalism. Yet some of the more than 80 possible candidates for the 11 council seats argue that the job demands full-time commitment -- and possibly, a full staff -- to properly represent districts with 100,000 residents.

.04 'Post-Murtha': Regional collaboration will be key for businesses, Wessel partner says

The Tribune-Democrat - Altoona, PA, USA

Tamping down the economic impact of John Murtha’s passing will take a united effort, the featured speaker at the Blair County chamber’s breakfast meeting said Thursday. “The need for regionalization will be greater than ever, Bob Eyer told the crowd of business leaders. He’s a managing partner of the Johns-town financial services firm Wessel & Co. Eyer clicked off the broad range of Murtha’s interests, where he had an impact in his 12th Congressional District and beyond: Health care, defense, infrastructure, nonprofits, recreation. Eyer spoke on Republican turf – outside the 12th district – about “Life After Murtha: Steps to Regional Collaboration.” Joe Hurd, president of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, said both regions have a lot in common. And Johnstown and Altoona could well be in the same congressional district come the next redistricting, affecting the 2012 elections, he noted. “Murtha preached, ‘Earmarks will get you here. They won’t sustain you,’ ” Eyer said. For that, he said, the region has to rely on its skilled work force; producing quality, cost-effective products; and a network of contacts. Their thoughts ranged from pushing defense contracts down to smaller companies to coming together with regional development efforts and fostering infrastructure buildout. ...

.05 Regionalism steering committee seeks public input - Natchez Democrat - Natchez, MS, USA

“The Mississippi River separates us, and that’s the only thing,” Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said. “I was born in Ferriday, worked in Natchez and I’m mayor in Vidalia. It’s a hard combination to beat. Miss-Lou Regional steering committee members answer questions from the public during the Regionalism Forum … “We’re not in competition. We’ve never been in competition. We want to work hand in hand.” …

.06 NEPA offers many possibilities for regionalization

Citizens Voice - Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA

The possibility that Luzerne and Lackawanna counties could merge public transit systems reminds us that there are both opportunities for regional cooperation out there and successful regional entities in place. ... main message today is one that perhaps should be discussed by our Luzerne County Home Rule Study Commission. As it examines the role of the county coroner's office, maybe the commission should look into the potential for a regional medical examiner's office. If the goal of home rule is to provide a higher quality, more professional government, a medical examiner's office would be an extremely positive improvement over the old county coroner system. A regional facility for autopsies, preparation of forensic reports and all of the other factors necessary in the civil and criminal court systems would be a plus. The Citizens' Voice suggested such a facility in the 1990s in the aftermath of the Robert Curley murder case. ...

.07 LETTER: LORCO good example of regionalism

The Morning Journal - Lorain, OH, USA

To the Editor: The Lorain County Rural Wastewater District was formed on February 4, 1997 under the Ohio Revised Code section 6119. … I recently left a management position with the city of Port Clinton to join LORCO as the executive director. Prior to Port Clinton I served as the mayor of Avon Lake. During my tenure at Avon Lake I was a strong advocate for community cooperative efforts to reduce the inefficiencies and expenses of government. We called this regionalism. LORCO brings the concept of regionalism to our front door. The ability for communities to combine resources and services while also maintaining their independence is the key to both reducing cost and improving services. This has been demonstrated throughout government with the use of regional fire districts, regional emergency medical service districts, regional library districts and regional park districts. … The LORCO concept is designed to ensure communities work together to receive sewer services while at the same time maintaining independent self government. … The model LORCO has established requires cooperative efforts with the cities of Lorain County to be successful. Cooperation is needed to best evaluate the sewage treatment capacity available in the county. Cooperation is needed to best utilize personnel and equipment to serve our customers. And, cooperation is needed to best provide services to our communities at the most economical cost. Lorain County needs more cooperative efforts and less jurisdictional boundary disputes. …

.08 Toward regionalization

Cape Cod Times - Hyannis, MA, USA

Finally, the regionalization bug on Cape Cod is spreading as fast as a virus on a school bus. Yes, most Cape towns have been sharing some services for years such as weights and measures, but now a new and larger wave of consolidation is approaching Barnstable County. Although the Cape has been blessed with two regional vocational high schools, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High and Nauset Regional, two other Cape towns — Chatham and Harwich — are now considering joining forces in a regional school district. ... And schools are not the only public institutions considering regionalization. Towns on the Lower Cape are asking the county to help them study regional assessor services. ...

.09 Senate budget resolution would cut state funding for ORDA

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise - Saranac Lake, NY, USA

The state Senate's budget resolution proposes eliminating the entire $6.6 million that the Olympic Regional Development Authority gets from the state - which covers about one-fifth of its total budget. ... ORDA had already been planning for a $1 million cut in its state aid. ORDA anticipated $26,475,000 in revenue in its 2010-11 budget and $32,394,971 in operating expenses. Its largest single source of revenue is Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington, which was expected to bring in $10 million for the 2010-11 budget, followed by Gore Mountain Ski Center in North Creek at $9.3 million. In a prepared statement, Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, said the cuts to ORDA were the biggest surprise in the Senate majority's plan. "It was just weeks ago that not only New York state, but the entire nation, was celebrating the victories of so many winter Olympic athletes who trained in Lake Placid," Little said. "ORDA and Lake Placid attract hundreds of thousands of tourists, so I am perplexed by the logic of this proposed cut which no doubt would cost the state and the region a lot of revenue." ...

.10 Letter: A modest proposal

The Daily Astorian - Astoria, OR, USA

In an area that has so many wonderful assets, from climate to culture, why is it that our governmental institutions function so poorly? The Clatsop County Commission, the Port of Astoria, the municipal court, local school boards - the list goes on. It seems that at least every week, The Daily Astorian is reporting on another incident of scandal, incompetence, bungled decision-making or malfeasance. Why is there such a gulf between the good, well-meaning citizens of our local communities - the people who serve in our armed forces, teach our kids or produce great art, music, theater, food, etc. - and the people we elect to represent us? If this were a card game, we would cry "foul," because the fair odds are against so many bad cards being dealt. What would it take to improve local and regional governance? Our region is blessed with natural resources and cursed with fools in charge of them. The Daily Astorian should be taking the lead in figuring out why this failure in leadership is so pervasive and persistent, and what is required to move us on to a higher level of civic performance and accountability.


.11 Valley No. 2 midsize region in U.S. in corporate site projects

Allentown Morning Call - Allentown, PA, USA

The Lehigh Valley ranked No. 2 in the United States for corporate real estate projects in 2009 among regions with less than 1 million people, according to a magazine ranking. Site Selection magazine, which covers corporate real estate and economic development, rated the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area second only to Dayton, Ohio, as a top medium-size region, with 31 projects last year. New York was top among all regions, with 215. The selection is evidence the Lehigh Valley is creating a favorable business environment, said the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., the region's primary economic development agency. ... ''Our collaboration with Northampton and Lehigh counties helps make our region a success story at national standards. …,0,3662982.story

Site Selection Magazine

.12 RTA board keeps vow to consult voters on taxes

Capital Times - Madison, WI, USA

Those who fear public transportation peddled the notion that a Dane County Regional Transit Authority Board would be so determined to get the trains running on time that it would raise taxes without consulting the voters. That spin was never anything more than an attempt to prevent the county from beginning to make the smart transportation decisions that will be needed to avoid gridlock in the 21st century. But it gained traction, especially among conservative County Board members — and their media echo chamber — who thought they could maintain a dysfunctional status quo by fooling enough of the people enough of the time. But then reality set in. The new RTA board held its first meeting and declared that no move would be taken to raise any sort of sales tax for local transit without voters first approving a referendum. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 Mike Lee: The Government is no longer listening

New Zealand Herald - Auckland, New Zealand

... The Auckland Regional Council has supported the Government's Super City reforms from the beginning - one of very few Auckland councils to do so. Up until now, we felt we have been able to work constructively with the Government on these reforms. But all that appears to have changed. It has become quite clear the Government is no longer listening. According to the explanatory note to the third bill currently being deliberated by the select committee, the Super City was intended to "create one Auckland, which has strong regional governance, integrated decision making, greater community engagement and improved value for money". But what has become quite obvious is that Auckland isn't getting this at all. Instead of one body we are essentially getting three. Three extraordinarily large bureaucracies - Auckland Council, Watercare CCO, and the bizarre Auckland Transport CCO. What we have here is not unified governance in Auckland at all. Instead we will have three quite separate and powerful fiefdoms running Auckland, but only one democratically accountable - the Auckland Council. However, even within the Auckland Council, most of the important responsibilities will be put under the control of the boards of council controlled organisations. … the new mega-sized operations will be imposed on Auckland by legislation and only the Government will be able to disestablish them. This raises the question about whether they are really "council controlled organisations" at all. For instance, Auckland Transport will not be in any sense of the word "controlled" by the Auckland Council. …

.02 Study: Super city could restrict development

TVNZ - New Zealand

A research institute is warning the super city could prevent Auckland from reaching its full potential. AUT's Institute of Public Policy says the purpose of the super city is better regional governance and shared decision-making. Director David Wilson says the debate about Council Controlled Organisations and the structure of the new city is a distraction from what is needed.

.03 Ports development 'a missed opportunity'

NewStartMag - UK

The government should express a preference for port development in areas that produce the greatest regional social, economic and environmental benefits, a committee of MPs advised today. In its report on the government's national policy statement for ports (NPS), the Common's transport committee called for a clear connection between government policy to reduce regional economic disparities and planning guidance on ports development, with better links to regional spatial and economic plans. Such guidance should contribute to government policies to reduce regional economic disparities and to promote growth, the report says. ... The ports NPS, which was laid before parliament in November, is the first in a new generation of national planning policy guidance statements introduced in the Planning Act of 2008. They will become the primary guidance on which the Infrastructure Planning Commission must base its decisions on applications for major developments. Committee chair Louise Ellman said: 'The government says the free-market should decide where ports are located. We believe that the ports NPS should be linked much more strongly to regional development plans. It should also express a clear preference for port development where national needs can be met while producing greatest regional social and economic benefits.' ...

The proposal for a National Policy Statement on Ports ,

.04 Less Irish unity, more Irish cooperation, please

The Centre for Cross Border Studies - Ireland

I think it would be fair to say that something like 90% of people in the Republic of Ireland never think about Northern Ireland these days, other than, very occasionally, as a place to go to do some cut-price shopping. The North doesn’t even enter their consciousness. ..., the barriers to cooperation, communication and understanding, both within Northern Ireland and between North and South, have never been lower. Let’s concentrate on continuing to lower those barriers. Whether it is through the work of the Community Relations Council, One Small Step, and other ’shared future’ organisations in Northern Ireland, or the North/South bodies – particularly those, led by InterTradeIreland, working towards an ‘island economy’ – Cooperation Ireland and the Centre for Cross Border Studies across the border, let us continue building on the success story of ‘cooperation, cooperation, cooperation’ which has done so much to underpin movement towards peace and reconciliation on this island.

.05 Time for a new West Indian (Caribbean) Commission

Jamaica Observer - Kingston, Jamaica

Last week's 21st Inter-Sessional Conference of Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of Governments in Dominica provided a badly needed shot in the arm for tourism in an island now solely dependent on that industry. Before the collapse of the banana industry -- thanks to Central American action in the World Trade Organisation -- bananas used to account for 90 per cent of Dominican exports. ... Once again, the Heads decided to review and postpone the schedule of implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). The new excuse is the global financial crisis, but last time we checked the CSME was supposed to help the region deal with globalisation and economic vulnerability. The region still has not formulated a plan to cope with the global financial crisis at a time when growth has collapsed. ... Caricom risks confusing meetings with action, discussions with decisions and the establishment of regional institutions with regional integration. What is needed is a radical rethink of regionalism and the creation of a new form of regionalism appropriate to the needs of the region at this juncture. We believe there is urgent need for the establishment of a new commission similar to the West Indian Commission of nearly 20 years ago. But it must be a Caribbean Commission, with the task of producing a report to guide the future of Caricom. ...

.06 Put your thinking hat on

The Pilot - Lewisporte, NL, Canada

How can communities within the region work together to further economic development?

If you have ideas on how regionalism can be furthered within the Lewisporte and area region the organizers (from the Lewisporte Area Economic Development Committee) of an upcoming strategic planning session encourage you to consider taking part in an event being planned for late April or early May. "The basic idea of the conference is to once again try and instill the spirit of regionalism within the area and secondly, to explore economic development possibilities for this area together in terms of a think tank similar to the one held in 2002," said Economic Development Committee chairperson Reverend Arthur Elliott. … We want to also instill the idea that this region is a region in itself and we've got to work together to achieve economic development." … the forum will focus on six key areas in regional development, including agrifoods, forestry, recreational boating, tourism, marine industries and business. … regional planning session in 2002 was the first of its kind of any comprehensive nature. It laid the groundwork for the development of regional initiatives that have seen success since then, such as marina and municipal park development, as well as addressing marine transportation initiatives. … "Regionalism is happening," he said. "The very geographics of the area dictate that, but at the same time what we want to develop is a more conscience awareness that we can achieve more if we act as a region then we do if we simply go on our own. "Government and government funding agencies understand that it's regions they will listen to much more acutely then if they are talking to the individual towns."

.07 Renewed regional service agreements - Steinbach, Manitoba, CA

Mayor Chris Goertzen (City of Steinbach), Reeve Art Bergman (RM of Ste. Anne) and Reeve Stan Toews (RM of Hanover) are pleased by the renewal of several longstanding regional service agreements. The renewed contracts include Fire Protection, Landfill Use, and Building Inspection services. The renewed agreements provide an excellent example of regional cooperation and what can be accomplished when municipalities are willing to work together. ...

.08 Regional development: MEPs back fast-track funding to boost economic recovery Business News

Regional development projects in EU Member States will get faster and easier access to EU structural funding, thanks to new rules backed by the Regional Development Committee on Thursday. As part of the EU's "anti-crisis" measures, advance payments will be increased for projects that help create jobs in countries worst hit by the downturn. ... MEPs strongly supported simplifying the structural fund implementing rules. A single threshold of €50 million has been agreed for the approval of "major projects". These will not lose their funds through the "de-commitment" procedure (i.e. if they are not spent within the two or three year time limit), and will be eligible for funding from more than one EU programme. This could save nation-wide or EU-wide projects straddling several regions which otherwise would have to be artificially separated into multiple projects. ... MEPs are now keen to see these simplified rules and procedures enter into force as soon as possible, to enable Member States and regions to benefit quickly from EU funding. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the revision of these rules is subject to the co-decision procedure, which puts Parliament on an equal footing with Council. ...


Island Business - Suva, Fiji

The gulf between reality and the rhetoric of regionalism within the membership of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) [ ] continues to widen. And some of the recent rhetoric on Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER-Plus) may hinder, rather than help progress towards deepened trading and economic linkages amongst the 16 members of PIF. ... The belief in a collective shift by the entire membership of PIF to free up economic exchange within the region is misplaced. Deepening of trade links like many other things in life proceeds in small steps. The move is in the right direction and between a small number of parties that over time balloons in size and depth. That is, the dynamics of regional integration are more akin to snowballing than to a massive-bang with everyone simultaneously breaking out in a hula. A practical route to regionalism A more pragmatic approach to regionalism within the PIF would be for Australia and New Zealand to invite members of their family of nations to join the Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement. ...

.10 New finance venture to boost business

The fund, called Finance Yorkshire and supported by the Regional Development Agency (RDA) Yorkshire Forward, will invest in ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses who can demonstrate their ability to successfully grow their companies and support regional economic recovery. Rosie Winterton, who is also Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber, … said: This is the biggest venture capital fund the region has ever seen. The recession has presented significant challenges for many people and businesses in Yorkshire, so I am delighted to formally launch this 90 million new investment fund at such a crucial time in the regions recovery. Alongside other Government support measures, this fund will help drive economic growth across Yorkshire and the Humber, along with Yorkshire Forward, by providing finance to hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups, helping them to flourish and creating thousands of new jobs....

.11 Maghreb Bank plan targets regional development

The region's finance ministers will launch the Maghreb Bank for investment and trade this year, Algerian Finance Minister Karim Djoudi announced ... The bank's main focus will be to build an integrated Maghreb economy by financing joint industrial and agricultural projects, the minister said in Algiers during the seventh round of meetings of the Maghreb Ministerial Council of Finance. Tunisian Finance Minister Mohamed Ridha Chalghoum called the bank "one of the most important mechanisms in Maghreb co-operation in the field of finance, and a main pillar of boosting economic integration and achieving joint development". ... Regional finance ministers first suggested the creation of a Maghreb financial institution at a meeting of the Arab Maghreb Union [ ] nearly 20 years ago. ...

.12 Five Decades Of Rural Development - Malaysia

It has been 50 years since the Rural and Regional Development Ministry took shape and Malaysians particularly those who live in the rural areas have witnessed transformation in various phases including that of physical and human capital development. The ministry was established in 1959 to assist the rural folks in various aspects. In that five decades, the ministry had passed through numerous success as well as many trials and tribulations to chalk its own impressive record. … Malaysia has a population of 28 million and some 35 percent are rural folks. In some states, 70 percent of its people are staying in villages and to this date, many of these people are still behind in terms of benefitting from the prosperity that Malaysia has enjoyed in the past five decades. …

.13 Our development over-planned, under-implemented - The Malaysian Insider - Malaysia

Someone from Mars studying the structure of the Malaysian government could be forgiven for concluding that we are a planned economy a la North Korea. But luckily, although we plan as much as the country of the Kims, we do not act according. We definitely over-plan, judging from the multiple planning and coordinating agencies we have. Thanks to Tun Abdul Razak’s experience as a student in London in the late 1940s, when most anti-colonialists drew inspirations from the Fabian society, and his collection of left-inclined circle of advisors, a reliance on central planning is part and parcel of Malaysian policy-making.

Terms like New Economic Policy and some other key concepts can trace a direct lineage to Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union. But nearly three decades after former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad launched the government’s privatisation drive, it is understandable for us to assume that our central planning apparatus would have diminished significantly.

… no political will either to re-examine policy priorities or to rejuvenate the planning agencies.

... example of overgrown planning and coordinating agencies has to do with the “corridors”. Corridor, by definition, means an empty space. Despite that, in the conceptual world of economic planning in Malaysia, it has a fatal attraction for politicians. Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi was a firm promoter of “economic corridors,” … Despite Abdullah’s fading into the night, the planning agencies for the corridors are entrenched. Iskandar Development Regional Agency (IDRA) is provided with an administrative budget of RM65 million for 2010, the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) with RM32 million … But “corridors” is not an Abdullah invention. The 2010 budget for Rural and Regional Development Ministry continues to provide for federal agencies managing older and smaller “corridors” set up decades ago.


.14 Larry Hinzman says cooperation necessary for polar research

Larry Hinzman: The changes that are occurring in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are so huge and so complex that it really takes collaboration across many nations, across many institutions to try and understand it and really to gather the data that we need to be able to build the models that we need to project into the future. Larry Hinzman is director of the International Arctic Research Center. Hinzman spoke with EarthSky about the challenge of doing research in Earth’s polar regions. It’s important research, he said, because changes in the Arctic and Antarctic – such as glacial melting and fluctuations in sea ice – affect life all across the planet. But doing research at the poles is not easy, ...

.15 Why We 'Play Nice' With Strangers

In large, industrialized societies, people are surprisingly fair and trusting when it comes to dealing with strangers – shoplifters and pick-pocketers are a minority rather than the norm. But how did we come to play nice with unfamiliar individuals? After all, much of our ancestral history was spent in small, hunter-gather communities, where everyone knew each other. This pro-social behavior results from a change in social norms that allowed us to trust strangers, a new study suggests. That change is likely linked to a rise in markets where goods are exchanged for money, as well as increased participation in major world religions. This finding contradicts a previously suggested theory: the idea that we treat strangers fairly because we mistakenly transferred our feelings of kinship to unrelated individuals as societies grew. … While humans have likely been exchanging things for thousands of years, most of the past exchanges probably took place amongst people who knew each other, Henrich said. People simply didn't have the type of trust needed for wide-scale exchange with strangers, he said. But those who did trade with strangers would have had an advantage over other groups, and could have spread at their expense, he said. The researchers think that, in order for market exchange to really take off, societies had to evolve new norms for interacting with strangers. …...

.16 NCDD Project Report for the Kettering Foundation

National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Below is a quick look at the topics that are explored in the report in more depth.

What is citizens’ role in democratic governance?

Types of goals/impacts of dialogue and deliberation

The action & change challenge

The systems challenge

For the “Systems Challenge,” we explored ways we can make public engagement values and practices integral to government, schools, and other systems, so that our methods of involving people, solving problems, and making decisions are used more naturally and efficiently. At the conference, we focused most on institutionalizing public engagement in governance―an area often referred to by scholars as “embeddedness.”

Most of the themes identified as being part of the Action & Change Challenge also overlap with the Systems Challenge in critical ways. Five additional themes emerged in discussions about this challenge area at the conference:

Cultivating and supporting public engagement practitioners

Joint ownership of programs and structures

Building on existing structures and resources

Demonstrating the impact of our processes―together

Taking advantage of new opportunities

.17 Long-Term Thinking in the Next 10,000 Years

Gresham CollegeLondon, UK - Fora.TV

Long Finance is an initiative begun in 2007 to establish a World Centre Of Thinking On Long-Term Finance. The initiative began with a question - ­"When would we know our financial system is working?" - which challenges a system that can't provide today's 20-year-olds with a reliable financial retirement structure. The aim of the Long Finance Institute is "to improve society's understanding and use of finance over the long-term."

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger - The Dollars & Sense Blog

Humans evolved in small, highly-cooperative groups. Today's surviving hunter-gatherer societies, like the !Kung of the Kalahari or the Hadza of the Rift Valley, teach toddlers their first lesson: share everything. In Mothers and Others (2009), Sarah Blaffer Hrdy argues that, some million and a half years ago, shared child care in fact set human ancestors on the path to becoming modern big-brained humans.

Inequality arose only some 10,000 years ago when humans invented agriculture, and "privatized" the land. (I prefer Adam Smith's term, "appropriated" the land; that is, took it away from the community.)

Given this history, perhaps it should not surprise us that modern inequality causes stress and social problems, not just among the very poor, but at all levels of society. That's just what Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett find in their new book, The Spirit Level Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.

There's a long history behind this book. Wilkinson, a British epidemiologist, published research over twenty years ago on the health and longevity of a large sample of British bureaucrats. None of these men were poor, and all had access to the free British health care system. Yet Wilkinson found a direct positive correlation between health and rank, from bottom to top. He hypothesized that inequality caused stress that in turn affected health.

The Spirit Level (British for a carpenter's level) expands Wilkinson's study to comparisons between twenty-three developed countries, and the fifty states of the United States. Wilkinson and his partner Kate Pickett also cover not only health statistics, but statistics on social indicators including levels of trust, mental health and drug use, infant mortality and life expectancy, obesity, educational performance, teenage births, violence, imprisonment and punishment, and social mobility. Wilkinson and Pickett find that absolute levels of income in these twenty-three countries and fifty states have little obvious statistical effect on these social indicators. The United States, the richest of the twenty-three countries, measures low on many indicators. However, when they rank countries and states by inequality (measured by the ratio of incomes of the top ten percent to those the bottom ten percent) they find a dramatic correlation between inequality and low rank on social indicators. As in their earlier studies, they attribute the effect to the stress of inequality.

Among the twenty-three or so countries, Singapore is most unequal, followed by the USA. However, little Singapore generally does better than the US. The most equal are Japan, Finland, Norway and Sweden, in that order. Despite a vast difference in culture, Japan far outperforms the others.

Among the fifty states, New York is by far the most unequal, yet does reasonably well on most statistics. (As the authors agreed when I asked them, New York really should have been two states: New York City, and upstate New York.) Not far behind New York are the usual suspects: Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, performing dismally on all scales--as in fact do all the Old South states--the still lingering legacy of slavery.

Big Think Interview With Kate Pickett | Kate Pickett | Big Think

Jan 28, 2010 ... A conversation with the University of York Epidemiologist.

The Evidence - The Equality Trust

Great inequality is the scourge of modern societies. We provide the evidence on each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage births, and child well-being. For all eleven of these health and social problems, outcomes are very substantially worse in more unequal societies.

.02 More Momentum Behind Federal Smart Growth Programs

Mobilizing the Region

One of the Obama administration’s key transportation initiatives has been connecting land use and transportation planning to foster walkable communities instead of sprawl. Recent momentum for the effort has come from both Congress and the White House. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) has introduced the House version of Senator Dodd (D-CT)’s Livable Communities Act, while Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) has introduced a similar bill to create an Office of Livability in USDOT and provide similar competitive grants to help regions develop integrated transportation plans. Both would help break down the silos which federal transportation and housing policy traditionally operate in.

The Livable Communities Act (S.1619) would:

* Establish the office of Sustainable Housing and Communities in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

* Authorize two competitive grant programs ($400M for planning and $3.75B for implementation)

The Enhancing Livability for All Americans Act (H.R.4287) introduced by Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN):

* Establish Office of Livability in DOT

* Authorize $750M/yr for two competitive grant programs (one for planning and one for implementation)

.03 Regional Tourism Workshop Hugh Success!


The Horizon workshop held March 5th at the Chewelah Civic center was well attended. Nearly 100 people from various counties attended but about 90% came from Stevens Co. The workshop provided great ideas and tools for recruiting tourism to our region. The Key note speaker was Judy Walden, a specialist in rural tourism development. George Sharp from the WA. Dept. of Commerce also presented many ideas for bringing people to our region listing what kinds of things tourists are looking for. ...

.04 Regional council responds to Creech Review: need for change acknowledged

Environment Canterbury Regional Council - New Zealand

... The Canterbury Water Management Strategy, which grew from regional council water studies and continued to be funded by a separate regional council rate, had been praised by the Creech review. However the report had not acknowledged the pivotal role of the regional council capability in managing and undertaking the technical investigations as well as the stakeholder and community engagement to develop the strategy. However, the Canterbury Water Management Strategy incorporates a structure which requires local buy-in and involvement in each catchment. This has the potential to substantially reduce the conflict around Resource Management Act projects. It would also act as a way for regional and territorial council issues around land and water management to get a full discussion at local level before heading into the more expensive and less flexible court or consent hearing process. “This non-adversarial, collaborative approach has already occurred in places like the Orari catchment in South Canterbury,” ...

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 Call for Papers: First Workshop at the Institute of Ecological and Regional Development – June 11-12, 2010, Dresden, Germany - Deadline: 15th April 2010

Ecological Regional Development Research Network - Regional Studies Association. For further information about the Call for Papers:

.02 Gazelles and Regional Development: Growth Trajectories, Determinants and Spatial Implications – April 20 - 21, 2010 - Stirling Management Centre - University of StirlingScotland, UK

International Section Event - Regional Studies Association. For further information about the event and to register:

.03 Call for Papers

The Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics (JDAE) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published that will be monthly by Academic Journals ( ). JDAE is dedicated to increasing the depth of the subject across disciplines with the ultimate aim of expanding knowledge of the subject.

JDAE will cover all areas of the subject. The journal welcomes the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence, and will publish:

· Original articles in basic and applied research

· Case studies

· Critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays

We invite you to submit your manuscript(s) to for publication. Our objective is to inform authors of the decision on their manuscript(s) within four weeks of submission. Following acceptance, a paper will normally be published in the next issue. Instruction for authors and other details are available on our website;

14. Financial Crisis

.01 To rob a country, own a bank – The Real News Network – YouTube

William Black, author of "Best way to rob a bank is to own one" talks about deliberate fraud on Wall St.

Pt 2

Pt 3

Pt 4 William Black’s Top Ten Ways to Crack Down on Corporate Financial Crime

Pt 5 to be posted

.02 Liquidity/Solvency – TheModernMystic – YouTube

Nick Blavatsky provides on-going commentary about the financial crisis, networking resources of other prominent bloggers and media reports. This is a recent video of 1546.

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

To search on topics like those in Regional Community Development News use this custom search engine which utilizes over 1,200 regional related sites.

My name is Tom Christoffel. I've worked in the field of intergovernmental and regional cooperation since 1973. As a consequence, "I see regions work.” It is my thesis that "regional communities” are emerging where multi-jurisdictional regional council organizations exist.

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

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

News references are found using Google Search services. Media article excerpts and links are “fair use” to transform globally scattered reports to make regional approaches visible. Links go to the publisher and do not compete with it. Such publishers are likely to have related stories and thus be seen by new customers. “Regional” is an emerging news category.

There is no charge for this service and no profit is made from its use, though any user can become more aware of the topic itself. Regional Community Development News is published bi-monthly based on news reports as of the publication date.

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Tom (Thomas J.) Christoffel, AICP -