Regional/Greater Community Development News – July 30, 2012

    Multi-jurisdictional intentional regional communities are, in all cases, “Greater Communities” where “community motive” is at work at a more than a local scale. This newsletter provides a scan of regional community, cooperation and collaboration activity as reported in news media and blogs.
Top 10 Stories
The Milwaukee and Gary mayors had their eye on regional issues—and hope for a new economy based on a Chicago-centered megalopolis, linked by state of the art transportation, that can compete with the Silicon Valley on tech development and the East and West Coasts on tourism.
“I think it’s time that we as a region promote America’s ‘Fresh Coast,’ said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “We have allowed outsiders to define us as the Rust Belt.”
Milwaukee officials have been touting “Fresh Coast” as a fresh alternative to “ Rust Belt” or the more common watery moniker “Third Coast,” and while neither Chicago nor Gary have embraced that term, officials from both cities have expressed interest in collaboration.
“The need is so great in our respective communities because we’ve been devastated by the recession and many aspects of our local economy,” said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.
… The Metropolitan Planning Council organized today’s mayoral gathering, titled “The Cities That Work,” on the heels of a review of regional cooperation that MPC President Barrett described as “blistering.”
The review, conducted by the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, found that governments in “the Chicago Tri-State Metropolitan Area” could do much more to coordinate transportation, innovation, workforce training and sustainable development.
And the smaller cities are eager to respond.
“We want partners,” said Milwaukee Mayor Barrett. “We’d love to have Gary as a partner, we’d love to have Chicago as a partner.”
But 29 minutes into the 30-minute meeting final word came that Emanuel, who had been expected to join the meeting in progress, would not be able to make it.
When voters go to the polls…they will have the opportunity to invest in our roads, bridges and transit systems, strengthen our economy and create a better quality of life for everyone in metropolitan Atlanta. We must tackle our transportation issues now and vote “yes” to make a difference in the lives of citizens across the metropolitan region. We must ask ourselves: Do we really just want to get by with a transportation system that becomes more outdated and congested every day? Or do we want our family members and friends to spend less time in traffic and more time together?
The leaders of cities such as Dallas, Tampa, Charlotte and Orlando use our traffic problems and our perceived inability to work together to solve them as a tool to dissuade potential businesses and industries from moving here. The metropolitan Atlanta region has lost more than 200,000 jobs between 2007 and today, with more than 80,000 jobs in the construction industry alone. If we don’t address this issue right now, we’re going to pay an even greater cost in the future for our failure to act in terms of the jobs we lose and the negative impact on our quality of life. We cannot let naysayers who do not offer other viable solutions prevent us from creating real transportation options that we can implement right away.
For months, 21 elected officials put aside partisan politics to develop a $6.14 billion transportation project list that reflects the needs and wants of local leaders representing the 10-county metropolitan area. …
TVA's top economic developer said Thursday that regionalism will provide the Chattanooga area more product to sell to business prospects.
"That's the key. If you've got product, you've got something to sell," said John Bradley, TVA's senior vice president for economic development, who took part in a panel discussion on regionalism.
Charles Wood, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of economic development, told Chattanooga Rotarians that his biggest fear is that the region sits on its past success.
"My biggest concern is complacency -- that as a community we get fat and happy," he said.
Wood said the area needs to continue to focus on growth. He cited efforts to fashion a 40-year growth plan that are getting under way for the 16-county area around Chattanooga covering Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
Georgia State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, said the plan has to be "all-inclusive" so it benefits everyone in the region. …
… the Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted 8-7 against providing $4 million in regional transit funds to cover the $9 million cost to SF Muni to provide free service for youth for 22 months. All of San Francisco’s representatives backed the proposal, which failed due to opposition from suburban-oriented East Bay members. The vote mirrors votes by other regional transit agencies like BART, where San Francisco interests are routinely outvoted by the East Bay’s pro-parking lot majority. Many bemoan the Bay Area’s many independent transit agencies, but regional bodies have poorly served public transit. And from Free Muni to once vaunted “regional” plans to end homelessness, such entities diminish San Francisco’s clout and weaken progressive agendas.
Regional “Solutions” to Homelessness
It's not just in transit where regional bodies do not work.
When homelessness became a major Bay Area problem in the 1980’s, there soon was an insistence that a “regional” solution was necessary. The goal was to encourage all Bay Area cities to provide housing, shelter or services, rather than imposing a disproportionate burden on Berkeley, San Francisco and other more progressive cities.
Foundations threw money at this “regional solution” goal, which always had one insurmountable obstacle: there was no regional entity that could compel Walnut Creek, Daly City or San Rafael to do its fair share. …
Progressives need less regional government, not more. I expect San Francisco’s youth activists to eventually turn the tide on free MUNI, but as long as we have regional bodies prioritizing pork barrel projects like the BART connector over improving public transit within cities, such entities should be recognized as obstacles to social justice. …
As the worst drought since 2002 shines a spotlight on the water challenges facing the Colorado River Basin, a group of leading advocacy organizations is launching a new campaign to urge the region’s urban communities to do their part to put the Basin on a sustainable path. Launching this week, the campaign is asking communities from Colorado to Utah to Nevada to Arizona to take the “90 by 20” pledge and commit to using water in smarter, more efficient ways.
Specifically, the 90 by 20 campaign is calling on communities in the region to commit to achieving residential water usage rates of 90 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) by 2020. … this is a level within reach for nearly every major water utility in the region. …
… Western Resource Advocates. “If we’re going to restore balance to the region’s water resources, everyone needs to work together and reach for a common goal. …” Gallons Per Capita Per Day is a common water usage metric used by utilities.…
The Community Foundation of Lorain County has committed $120,000 to a regional economic development plan.
The Fund for Our Economic Future will receive the money over a three-year period.
It is the third contribution from the foundation to the Cleveland-based fund, which has a mission to promote programs that increase jobs, elevate incomes and reduce poverty across northern Ohio, according to
The regional fund has paid for projects that spur economic development and help local governments operate more efficiently, said…communications officer for the Lorain County Foundation.
“Our board of directors feels very strongly that this is an opportunity for Lorain County to play a part in a regional economic development initiative,” she said.
The Community Foundation of Lorain County has been involved with the regional effort since its inception and foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Frederick is vice chairman of the Fund for Our Economic Future, …
The Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection saw its intake of animals go down by 7,000 this past fiscal year compared to the last, the facility's advisory board found out this afternoon.
Some board members speculated that could be a sign that the economy may be improving; a positive indication that more people are holding onto their pets.
Others wondered if it's a sign more people are simply scared to drop off their animals at the regional center for fear of what might happen to them.
The regional center paid the Roanoke Valley SPCA's veterinarian more than $16,000 last fiscal year for treatment of sick or injured animals…four times over the $4,000 allotted budget.
Staff reported to the board there was significant improvement in the facility's "live release rate," up 20 percent for dogs and 18 percent for cats compared to the last fiscal year.
There's also a new liasion between upset pound volunteers, staff at the regional center, and the four localities using it. …
Central Virginians with differing abilities are going to work, whipping up gourmet meals in a new catering business at Region Ten Community Service Board. The agency provides services to people dealing with mental health, intellectual disability, and substance abuse.
Paul Baden is finding his recipe for success through kitchen therapy at Region Ten. He's training to become a chef. …
Baden is one of six employees in the new catering service program called Decidedly Delicious. It was established by seed money from Region Ten's Power of Ten fundraising efforts.
… Baden has a new ambition to take the skills he learned in the catering kitchen to study culinary arts at Piedmont Virginia Community College. …
A grant from the Dave Matthews Band's Bama Works Fund is allowing Region Ten to buy a food truck to take their catering services on the road. That truck should arrive in the next few weeks.
As Spain seems to have wiped anyone else away from eurozone crisis-related headlines, we have published a new briefing looking at how the Spanish crisis could evolve in the near future – focusing our attention on the role of the regions and potential bailout scenarios.
…we have repeatedly stressed the risks involved in Madrid being unable to rein in spending at the regional level (see here and here, for instance). In our new briefing, we argue that, at the end of the day, the regions alone will not make or break Spain financially (more likely, it will be the banking sector, a risk which we also highlighted at length). In fact, if they continue to rely on the central government for funding, this could increase Spain's financing needs for this year by an extra €20bn - not pocket change, but still around only 2% of the country's GDP.
…we believe regional problems combined with banking sector issues and other pressures could ultimately push Spain into a fully-fledged bailout. …
Ten Central African countries…initiative that will help them set up national forest monitoring systems and strengthen cooperation among nations in the region, …
The initiative targets the forests of Africa’s Congo Basin…one of the world’s largest primary rainforests, …region’s forests also support the livelihoods of some 60 million people.
…initiative…will help protect these forests from direct threats such as land-use change and unsustainable logging and mining, and will provide up-to-date and accurate information on the current state of forests that will help countries manage and prevent forest degradation activities.
…Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC)…UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)… collaboration with the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
“Learning from Brazil, the national forest monitoring system is the key element to pave the road for substantive international support to protect forests and promote sustainable forest management”…