Regionalism, Fair Housing Top Policy Unit's Agenda

By Parkhurst, David | Nation's Cities Weekly, June 8, 1998 | Go to article overview

Regionalism, Fair Housing Top Policy Unit's Agenda


Parkhurst, David, Nation's Cities Weekly


The Community and Economic Development (CED) Steering Committee re-affirmed NLC's efforts to end uncertainties facing local governments over the siting of group homes for the handicapped. CED Chair Frank Duehay, mayor, Cambridge, Mass., led an ambitious agenda on regionalism and fair housing during the committee's Spring meeting in Richland, Wash., May 29-30, hosted by Mayor Larry Haler.

Regionalism -- A Policy Tool

"We'll be adding two Chicagos to the Los Angeles area over the next 20 years," predicted Vice Chair Bev Perry, council member, Brea, Calif., who moderated the committee's discussion on regionalism. Perry painted a complex picture of the Los Angeles region while discussing her work as a representative to the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), noting that "regional governance, not government, is the wave of the future." She held that a successful region is built from the bottom-up and connected to its surrounding communities.

Members agreed that conditions like the global economy's erasure of geographic boundaries encourage regionalism. "In Kentucky, we have 120 counties," noted Mount Sterling Mayor Bert May. "Why? Because back in the 18th Century the state's leaders ruled that it should take no more than one day on horseback to reach a county seat."

The CED Steering Committee adopted a motion urging NLC to undertake a cross-committee effort on regionalism. "The National Municipal Policy already offers strong policy directions in favor of regionalism" concluded Chair Duehay. That our NLC colleagues seem to want is assistance on how to apply the tool of regionalism at home." The motion was based on the "NLC Statement on Investment in the Future that charges all levels of government to develop incentives for regions to work together.

Discussion About Group Homes

Local government concern about the loss of control over group home sitings "is legitimate, and problems have definitely occurred," admitted Ms. Robin Nixon of the Child Welfare League of America who spoke at the meeting. But solutions to those problems will come from applying best practices, better licensing and oversight efforts over group home providers, not by zoning out group homes. …

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