Regional Community Development News – June 5, 2011

1. Lisa Vorderbrueggen: One Bay Area workshop takes one on the chin - Inside Bay Area

THE BAY AREA'S premier regional planning agencies suffered a largely deserved beating in Contra Costa County.

The Metropolitan Transportation Com. and Assn. of Bay Area Govts brought to Concord its traveling roadshow designed to measure public opinion as it begins the two-year process of writing a blueprint for housing, jobs and transportation, called One Bay Area or Plan Bay Area.

Vocal critics brought the May event to its knees, prompting one ABAG staffer to mutter, "This is falling apart."

Granted, the outspoken voices came from the conservative East Bay Tea Party, which views the sustainable development movement as an assault on private property rights born out of false assumptions about mankind's impact on the global climate.

Under SB375 ... California's metropolitan areas must adopt by 2013 a sustainable communities strategy that outlines how they will cut greenhouse gases.

But setting aside disparate philosophies, MTC and ABAG need to get out of their offices more often. ...

2. Is there a hidden agenda? | yuba, city, people - Appeal-Democrat

Is the long reach of the United Nations about to control land-use planning in Yuba and Sutter counties? ...

Those are all good questions. Strange, but good.

A few people in Yuba-Sutter are thinking about those and other as the sustainable communities regional planning effort makes its way across the six-county Sacramento region. A federal grant is supporting it. All cities and counties in the region are being asked to join.
A Yuba City resident tried to warn the Yuba City City Council about all of this last month, to no avail.

"Yuba City residents need to be informed of Agenda 21 and any potential connection with this grant. ....

Agenda 21?

Well, there really is an Agenda 21, and it's not very secret. You can Google it.

It was adopted in 1992 by the U.N.'s member nations during a conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Locally, the goal is to create the region's first "sustainable communities strategy," which state law requires.

Most of the work will involve updating the Metropolitan Transportation Plan ... strategies for economic development 

Will the U.N. succeed in ripping freedom from your grasp through this planning effort? It doesn't seem likely, but you never know

3. Governor Drops in on SGC Discussion of 2011 Agenda | California Planning & Development Report

Being governor of a state that includes Hollywood requires mastering the art of the cameo.

Governor Brown demonstrated his skill at the craft when he arrived, unstaffed, at the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) meeting blocks away from his capital office, saying that he just stopped by to see what exactly the Council had in mind regarding strategic growth--and to get a handle on what, exactly, the SGC does.

The Council members were, at that moment, considering the Health in All Policies (HiAP) priority actions. HiAP includes supporting implementation of “complete streets” policies, using SB 375 to promote active transportation, and promoting sustainable development for smart housing siting.

Council Chair and newly installed OPR Director Ken Alex--a longtime colleague of Brown's--brought the governor up to speed, describing that the goal was to consider how all state policies affect human health. The governor recast it toungue-in-cheek as one policy objective “colonizing” all the other policy areas.

In the end, the governor expressed his general support for the the HiAP concept, but not before he raised warned of potential resistance from those who might find even more strings attached to California’s growth policies--actually citing tea party opposition to overly intrusive government.

4.  Arnold and Stefi Harris: Dissolve regional planning panel and turn duties over to Dane County

In the three years since the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission was painstakingly negotiated by former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk with the help of many local governments and interested citizens, results never came close to expectations. ...

The Western Dane Coalition for Smart Growth and Environment has tracked CARPC’s handiwork for its brief, expensive and destructive life. We concur that CARPC should be put to sleep, ...

Dane County and other urbanizing counties need tools in addition to water quality protection plans. First, DNR’s administrative rules should be amended so that urban service area extensions would be approvable only in full concordance with the county’s comprehensive planning. Second, towns adopting village powers should be able to stop annexations of their farmlands by neighboring communities. Third, counties with more than 50,000 people should be granted power to stop municipal annexations found incompatible with their countywide comprehensive planning.


5. Coalition's call for regional growth - Local News - News - General - The Courier

VICTORIA’S state government has called on regional communities to accommodate further growth as the state’s population continues to rise.

The message came from acting Minister for Rural and Regional Development Peter Walsh as he addressed Friday’s Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference in Creswick.

Mr Walsh said the regions had greater capacity for growth than Melbourne.

“Regional Victoria’s population has been growing by more than 1.2 per cent each year in the past decade — from 1.3 million in 2000 to 1.47 million in 2010.

Cr Fletcher said the conference would lead to solutions for the challenges of growth in the region.

... member for Ballarat Catherine King hit back at claims the Gillard Government had neglected regional centres.

“Presumably the (Grattan) Institute thinks that investing $42 million in the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre or $20 million for an upgraded dental clinic will make little difference to the city and region,” Ms King said.

6. Opinion Joyce: Water is wealth - Weekly Times Now

Canberra - as I have said before - is an example of an effective policy of regional development.

What makes the city possible is it relies on many ingredients, two of the most important being employment and water.

Canberra has an obvious source of jobs and the third-longest river in the Murray-Darling basin, the Murrumbidgee, cuts through it.

This makes it possible for Canberra to invest in an 87-gigalitre dam on the Cotter River.

Recently I visited the Gulf in northern Queensland.

This area provides immense opportunity for further development in our agricultural sector.

Georgetown sees at least 4000 gigalitres go down the Gilbert River every year.

There are no large storages to harness this water and use it to produce more food.

That is not the fault of the locals, many of whom want to encourage economic development and build the infrastructure to do so.

What Australia has lacked is the vision to develop our water resources for the benefit of the people who live here, ...

7. Sacramento Kings arena funding plans a fit for Placer County? - Auburn Journal

Sacramento’s vision of regional cooperation – and financing – for a new arena is going to be a tough sell in Placer County, some elected officials are saying.

While California’s capital city is reaching out through regionalism to help pay for a new home for the Sacramento Kings that would keep owners the Maloof family from moving the team to Anaheim or another community, the idea of Placer County taxpayers partnering in the financing is being met with resistance.

Joaquin McPeek, the Sacramento mayor’s press secretary, said the task force’s 60 members would be named by the beginning of the week. The region takes in 22 cities and six counties – Placer, Yolo, San Joaquin, Sutter, Yuba and El Dorado – as well as Sacramento, he said.

Also included in the task force will be labor, community and grassroots leaders, he said.
The task force is being asked to come up with a financing plan for the new entertainment and sports complex within the next 100 days, McPeek said.

8. Editorial: Economic development begins at home | The Detroit News

It's hard to find much fault with a plan to invest $3 billion in Michigan businesses when most of the money will be generated privately. The plan ... is more of the "economic gardening" Gov. Rick Snyder has promised to foster.

The governor's strategy is based on a belief that lower state taxes on all businesses, fiscally sound governance and a healthy business climate — besides being beneficial in and of themselves — will make Michigan attractive to CEOs and entrepreneurs looking for a likely place to expand or launch new enterprises.

The old philosophy said Michigan must continue to aggressively offer millions of dollars in tax write-offs if it wants to induce companies to locate new plants here, because that's what other states are doing.

Groups such as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy have argued that the tax inducements are unfair to in-state firms ...

And experts ... have warned that the tax incentives arms race among states is counterproductive. Fisher claims 90 percent of the tax breaks go to companies that would have made the same decision without the inducement — a waste of the state's money. If public services, such as education or infrastructure, have to be sacrificed to help pay for the tax breaks, their effectiveness is even more questionable, he argues.


9. Strengthening Southeast Michigan though Collaboration - Mackinac 2011 — MiVote

The 2011 Mackinac Policy Conference included a Friday, June 3 panel with a group dubbed the “Fab Five” – on the topic of regional collaboration in Southeast Michigan. A video of this panel is at MiVote along with other coverage.

10. Tourism seeks more PPP opportunities - Sri Lanka Business News

The local tourism industry seeks more Public and Private Partnership (PPP) opportunities to eliminate budgetary restrictions and inefficiencies in investments. ... time for the industry to adopt an intra regional development plan to sustain the industry while overcoming high carbon emission and increasing oil prices issues which are considered as main barriers for industry prosperity.

“In addition the government needs to offer attractive prices when it comes to leasing out land for tourism sector investments. At the moment, basic investments of local tourism projects are very high and preferred investors have to pay Rs 20 million for an acre land in some areas where there is a high demand for tourism. In addition, existing local hotel schools also need to be developed in a franchising model.

When it comes PPP in tourism, private sector has to play a pivotal role in professionalism improvement programmes, ecological sustainability and efficient management of investments.

11. Stock road safety program to close - State News - Agribusiness and General - Finance - Stock & Land

After a highly successful 11 years, and with a total of $11.5 million being made available through Regional Development Victoria, the Stock Overpass/Underpass Road Safety program is coming to a close.

VFF president Andrew Broad said the SOURS program had provided grants of up to $33,000 to farmers who built an overpass or underpass road crossing to separate stock from road traffic.

“Since 2000, construction of 460 underpasses has been completed providing significant improvements in road safety," he said.

"The vast majority of these grants have been made to dairy farmers as they are more frequent users of road crossings.

“The VFF has played a critical role in the administration and implementation of the program through a long and successful partnership with RDV.

More bookmarks:

Regional Communities - "Think Local Planet, Act Regionally."