Regional Community Development News – May 30, 2011- Top Stories

Note: In the next few weeks, Regional Community Development News will transition to a continuous/daily process. This is based on the success of the Twitter feed!/tomchristoffel  and use of an updated Reader feed from  Bookmarking and tagging at will be integrated. This is an effort to connect regional issues with organized regional/multi-jurisdictional geographies that are “regional communities of communities.” Please consider using the Reader or Twitter channels, whichever suits your style of scanning for information. As always, feedback welcome.  Ed.

Top Regional Community Stories

  1. Tri-Valley cities seek 'community' recognition in redistricting - Pleasanton Weekly - Pleasanton, CA, USA
Five Tri-Valley cities are petitioning a redistricting commission to keep their municipalities together as new legislative districts are drawn to meet changing population centers in the Bay Area.
The city councils of Pleasanton, Danville, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon have signed a joint letter to the Citizens Redistricting Commission that is meeting in Sacramento, calling this area "a community of interest." It asks that "our boundaries should be respected during the redistricting process."
The Tri-Valley region is spread over three neighboring valleys at the eastern end of Alameda County and the southern end of Contra Costa County.
"Despite the fact that we are in two separate counties, our residents identify far ore with the Tri-Valley region than either Alameda or Contra Costa counties," the letter signed by representatives of the five cities states.
"In fact, we believe that the Tri-Valley can be considered a model for regional collaboration throughout the state in many traditional and non-traditional ways."
"Residents of our five cities depend on the same transportation networks, we have similar demographics and sources of employment, businesses have formed partnerships throughout the area, our children play in the same sports leagues, and local governments collaborate on a multitude of regional projects.
"Some specific examples on how our five jurisdictions formally collaborate include the Tri-Valley Transportation Council, …
"We are all partners in the Tri-Valley Housing and Opportunity Center, which is an agency that jointly manages our five cities' affordable housing programs and services.
"Tri-Valley Community Television is another entity that focuses solely on programming unique
to our region.
"Our city councils meet together in joint sessions on issues of regional concern every few months, while our mayors, city managers and staffs meet both formally and informally several times a month to further solidify public partnerships.
  2. Peter Steinbrueck: Our fractured metropolis - Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate - Seattle, WA, USA
polished version of …  prepared remarks, delivered on April 28th
… Edward Glaeser, in his recent book, Triumph of the City, espouses environmental protection through city-building.
In Western Washington, home to hundreds of local governments, our jurisdictional boundaries have very little to do with how we live and even where we work. Just think about it — how often do you cross the boundaries of the city or town where you live to go to work, to recreate, or to shop?
Three or four times a week, or three times a day?
Though we don’t identify as such, we are all regional citizens living in a giant, invisible regional city. The Seattle metro region is a large and multi-faceted area encompassing 5,894 square miles and includes thirty-one cities and towns, and dozens of employment centers. What do you call home?
Puget Sound is the second largest marine estuary in the United States. From land, the sea still holds much beauty. Yet keeping it clean is easily the single biggest, most intractable environmental challenge facing Washington State today.
If we allow Puget Sound to atrophy, so too, will our economy, and our way of life in the Northwest. Consider this: By 2040, the region is expected to grow by nearly two million more people — two million more people!!
So what can be done about it?
I propose we form a new Congress of Puget Sound, consisting of democratically elected representatives of municipalities that could be a strong, common voice for the region while preserving local independence at the municipal level.
Local representatives from Bellevue, Tukwila, Bremerton and other towns and cities would still set the agenda.
If the Europeans can do it through the mechanism of the E.U., comprising twenty-seven nations, then we surely can!
  3. Regionalism matters - The Pilot - Lewisporte, Newfoundland and Labrador, CA
Reverend Arthur Elliott started off the April 30 meeting of area municipalities and local service districts with a definition of progressive regionalism.
“Progressive regionalism is the cooperation of all of the communities in the region to achieve a sense of common identity, who resolve to act together, to solve the problems of the area and to enhance the cultural, social and economic well being of the region,” he said.
As the chairperson of the Lewisporte Area Economic Development Committee (LAEDC), Rev. Elliott stressed to the gathering that progressive regionalism is a “life or death issue” in terms of the future of smaller communities in the province.
Rev. Elliott said the organizers of the conference on regionalism initiated by the LAEDC felt the event was well attended, with 10 of 13 communities from Lewisporte and area taking part.
… while the delegates at the meeting made a commitment that they would promote regional cooperation, they were not quite ready to initiate a formal structure at that time to implement regionalization. The delegates needed to go back to their councils and local service districts to share the information from the conference.
LAEDC co-chair Perry Pond noted that the purpose of the conference was to discuss regionalization, not amalgamation of communities.
“The functionality of a local service district or municipality has not even entered into the discussion at this point,” said Mr. Pond. “This is an objective to get communities to work together where they can formalize a structure in which we can work together. It has nothing to do with local service districts or municipalities and how they operate. This is about cooperation, working together for the common good.”
... “It’s meant to be an organized structure so we can all come together and find out where there’s common ground.
  4. Regional Planning: What Would Eisenhower Say? - thecitistatesgroup -
For the first time, the federal government is investing in efforts to comprehensively plan for the development of regions.
HUD's Sustainable Communities Initiative, a partnership with EPA and DOT, supports metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional plans to integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments. Greater Kansas City is one of 45 regions participating in this new experiment to advance the health of America's regions.
Planning has always been integral to American success. Great national plans, from canals to westward expansion to national parks, set the milestones of our shared history. So what would Dwight Eisenhower, the father of America' most well-known and well-implemented plan - the interstate highway system - say about HUD's effort to help America's regions plan for sustainable growth and development?
It's hard to know for sure, but his rich repository of Presidential quotes sheds light on what makes this federal effort so promising.
In his 1959 State of the Union Address, Eisenhower was clear: "If progress is to be steady we must have long-term guides extending far ahead." When it comes to American regions, we have precious few long-term guides. We have regional transportation plans, and to a lesser extent, plans for other regional systems, but these tend to be disconnected, incomplete and ill-equipped to guide American regions into an era of relentless global competition.
Coherent regional strategies are critical to national success and to leveraging federal investments in housing, transportation and human services. In metropolitan areas like Kansas City, which spans two states, nine counties and 120 cities, local plans are important, but not enough. We must also come together around common regional strategies to create the capacity to contribute to the national economy.
President Eisenhower also said, "Plans are nothing; planning is everything."
HUD's Sustainable Communities program embraces this principle. …
  5. County committed to regional job growth - - Coon Rapids, MN, USA
Job growth is critical to the economic well-being of not only Anoka County, but the region as a whole.
That’s the view of Anoka County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah and the rest of the board, which is why the county board has decided to spend $75,000 to become part of the Itasca Project …
The Itasca Project, which focuses on a regional approach to economic development, formed the REDP “to be a value-added resource to all economic development organizations and activities in the region,” …
 “The region has many wonderful assets, yet it has lagged behind other areas of the nation in job growth,” Sivarajah said.
The Itasca Project efforts demonstrated a need for “one voice” and that one voice will be the Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership (MSP-REDP), Sivarajah said.
… activities that the MSP-REDP will lead or partner with existing organizations.
1. Set a strategic vision.
• Create the regional strategic vision for economic development.
• Define the tactical economic development agenda to guide resource prioritization.
2. Brand and market the region.
• Create a regional brand to reflect the strategic vision.
• Market the region’s vision and brand internally to align regional stakeholders.
• Market the region to external site consultants, companies and potential clients.
3. Retain current businesses in the region.
• Conduct local business check-ups and solve company specific problems.
• Connect businesses to, and raise awareness of, state and local resources.
4. Attract businesses to, and expand businesses in, the region.
• Serve as main contact for site consultants and relocating businesses.
• Provide one-stop shop for regional data, permit processes, real estate information, etc.
• Serve as project manager for local expansions and new attraction efforts.
• Connect companies with local resources and incentive programs.
   6. Investing in regions: Making a difference - GRATTAN Institute - Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Australia is increasingly described as a “patchwork economy” – an economy in which some parts of the country boom and others lag. Some regions have faster population growth, more employment opportunities, and provide a wider variety of services, while others are growing more slowly or even shrinking.
1.3 What should governments do?
Instead, governments can better improve the wellbeing of all Australians by being candid about the purpose of regional programs and using the best policy lever for the task.   More specifically, government should:
  • Recognise that many regional development programs such as regional universities and local community facilities are in fact subsidies that can only be justified on rather than because they are likely  equity or social grounds to drive long-term sustainable economic growth.  This may then provoke an honest conversation about what level of service governments are prepared to fund in more remote areas given the costs of servicing them.
  • Refocus regional assistance on providing social services rather than trying to promote business and job creation.
  • Discontinue regional development programs that cannot be justified purely on equity or social grounds.
  • Re-consider whether additional funding to regional universities is justified by social and cultural benefits given limited economic impact.
  • Consider providing additional support for regional students to attend higher education in capital cities.
  • Increase the priority for service infrastructure and funding in fast-growing bolting regions rather than trying to induce additional growth and relocation of activity back to slower-growing regions.
  • Support improvements in long-term growth drivers (education, transport infrastructure, and innovation) where they can accelerate economic growth already – generally within 150km of large population  underway centres or where there are natural advantages (such as mining or coastal towns).
  • Monitor and evaluate regional development and other growth programs more rigorously and transparently to identify which programs truly make a difference.
News articles about the report and reactions to its recommendations:
  7. Oklahoma City economic development trip inspires participants - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
2011 could go down as a watershed year in Colorado Springs, predict civic and business leaders who went on an economic development scouting trip to Oklahoma City earlier this month.
Participants returned home fired up and ready for change, as a result of the third annual “Regional Leaders Trip.”
The mission of the jaunt: Learn how another U.S. city went from a no-man’s land to a thriving metropolis and figure out what can be applied here.
Now, a movement to create a new vision for Colorado Springs is afoot.
Fifty representatives from the city and El Paso County, business groups, think tanks and sectors such as health care, real estate, sports, banking, the arts and education met with community leaders and visited strategic sites to learn about Oklahoma City’s economic development success story. ...
Chamber officials plan to hold a de-briefing for trip participants and host a public session in coming weeks.
“There’s a change in community conversation. Cynicism is being tossed away, which is creating an environment for possibilities,” said Stephannie Finley, president of governmental affairs and public policy for the chamber.
Colorado Springs already has what other cities yearn for: an abundance of natural beauty, amiable weather and outdoor activities, she said. What’s missing, Finley said, is the right environment for progress.
  8. Metroplan board adopts regional green agenda - Jacksonville Patriot - Jacksonville, AR, USA
Central Arkansas is one of the first areas in the country to create a regional environmental sustainability plan and one of the few to rely on the feedback, suggestions and direction from area residents to develop such a plan.
 “It’s a plan that was truly created by the region, for the region,” said Jasmin Moore, community planner and public outreach coordinator for Metroplan. “We wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions as the plan was being developed, and the input we received from the public is really the core of the final Green Agenda.”
Last spring, Central Arkansans responded to Metroplan’s call for help in the development of a regional green agenda by submitting more than 200 ideas and casting more than 22,000 votes on the most important sustainability concerns for the region. The public outreach effort, “Grassoots: Growing Our Green Agenda,” asked the public to submit ideas and vote on the ideas submitted by others.
“Some of the best suggestions we received are not only included in the Green Agenda but are included almost verbatim,” Moore said.
With guidance from the Green Task Force, a group created and appointed by the Metroplan board, the green agenda development process produced multiple strategies and suggested actions for each of four primary focus areas. Although the green agenda will act primarily as a guide for local municipalities to follow, all of its strategies and actions either directly impact the public or require public involvement.
“The Green Agenda is really the first step and will be used as a guide subject to evolution as our region grows,” Moore said. “Metroplan encourages all of our local communities and every individual to find a role in bringing this plan to life.”
  9. Trap of regionalism: Parochial interests must not deter national projects - The Korea Times - Seoul, South Korea
The government decided Monday to use the existing science town in Daedeok as the matrix of an international science-business belt. It was the least controversial decision conceivable, especially considering it is all but impossible to reach a conclusion satisfactory to everyone in a matter of conflicting regional interest like this.
At stake is nothing less than the nation’s scientific future. The proposed science belt is Korea’s answer to Japan’s RIKEN and Germany’s Max Planck Society, which have produced nine and 19 Nobel laureates in natural science, respectively. Korea has yet to turn out one.
Residents of southeastern Gyeongsang and southwestern Jeolla provinces and their political representatives are now shaving their heads and staging hunger strikes and sit-ins in fierce protest to the government decision to build the science belt in the central South Chungcheong Province.
Multibillion-dollar national projects are bound to be accompanied by fierce regional competition, as they bring about huge benefits at little regional costs. The seven-year, $4.8-billion science belt is no exception. It is easy to criticize regional self-centeredness, summed up by NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard) in the case of unpleasant facilities and PIMFY-ism (Please In My Front Yard) for more popular projects. But no amount of enlightening campaign would work in front of deals that create thousands of jobs and produce several trillion won in regional GDP.
This calls for the need for the government to consider introducing an open bidding formula for major national projects to eliminate controversy on fairness and objectivity in the selection process.
The nation also might learn from France’s example, which has made it a rule for regional governments wanting to attract certain facilities to finance most of the project costs with the central government making up the remaining budget requirements.

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