Wednesday, May 10, 2006

City Club strikes again

No sooner than I created this post about the growing movement to insert youth into the board of directors for community organizations, did another fine program from the City Club find its way into my iTunes.

Today's installement was by Gene Krebs, who is the State Director of Greater Ohio, an organization committed to "promoting — through research, public education and grassroots advocacy — public policy to grow our economy and improve our quality of life through intelligent land use." Gene addressed the issue of eminent domain, especially in the sense of what causes these land use struggles to be created in the first place. You can (and should) listen to the entire hour-long presentation here.

a couple of interesting statistics he cited in his presentation:

In the past six years in Ohio . . .
- the poverty rate has increased from 12% to 17% of the population.
- the unemployment rate has increased from 4.3% to 6%
- number of people on Medicade has increased 45%
- number of people using food stamps has increased 29%
- has become the number one state in mortgage foreclosures.

Besides these statistics, he also had two lines in his speech which screamed out to me:

..."they [the growing knowledge-based employee set] carry their manufacturing plants on their head - these are their smokestacks. And they will locate their manufacturing plant where there are good shops, high-speed internet access, in a walkable community that enables a certain quality of life."

"Ohio is still focused on 1970s-style smokestack chasing instead of the strategic marketing of its strengths and pursuit of sustainable economic activity. Now our state and local devleopment agencies act as real estate agents for companies searching for areas with cheaper taxes"

Do you agree with him?

I believe the eminent domain topic is heating up in Youngstown, especially with the issue of the university planning to connect more to the downtown, and the existing proposal to acquire property to create an extension of Hazel Street through mostly blighted, but occasionally inhabited property.

Gene makes the astute remark that politicians hate using the eminent domain option and follows it up with some examples. He continues to elaborate more in his speech on some solutions. Click here to see their well-conceived policy agenda.

Cool. I was really excited to discover this organization today. (Did you know they have a Mahoning Valley representative?) I still want to learn more about this organization. Their spring 2006 briefing can be found here. Maybe you can read it with me, and provide some ideas for future posts on this website.

RECENT UPDATE: Just found this whilel surfing their site: Gene Krebs will be in Youngstown NEXT WEEK on May 18th giving a presentation at the Fellows Riverside Gardens at Milk Creek Park. The event will be a lunch at noon ($10), with policy discussions and breakout sessions to follow. Mayor Jay Williams will also be a presenter. For more information and to register, click here.

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