Today's must-listen Sound of Ideas program on wcpn discussed the whole "consolidation vs collaboration" issue, specifically for some suburbs on the east side of cleveland.
During the interesting interview with several guests, Prof Mark Rosentraub of CSU made the statement that by the next census, Cuyahoga County's population since 2000 may drop by 150,000. That massive loss of people is the real problem here, not multiple jurisdictions, as a shrinking tax base will need to pay more per capita for the same level of services if gone unchanged.
The irony is that places in the U.S. with the largest economic growth - new york city, los angeles, chicago, the bay area - are the places with the most political jurisdictions. The growth trumps the fractionalization.
Why is the growth in those places? Well, that's where the jobs are.
How does a region develop jobs?
The people who live there prepare themselves for the next waves in the economy and grow their own opportunities.
so in any shrinking region, of which there are many in the Great Lakes mega-region, is putting all of your eggs in consolidation (or even cooperation) efforts the best of strategies?
perhaps if the same amount of energy and resources being put into shrinking government in the Mahoning Valley (and merging the delivery of services) is also placed in tech-based economic development and entrepreneurship, the jobs situation would improve.
complex problems need comprehensive solutions.
growing call centers, attracting existing companies, and shrinking government are not enough.
as was mentioned in the interview today,
when do you want to start the conversation?
now, or after you go down another 10 percent in population?
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bonus note: local bloggers Defend Youngstown and Youngstown Renaissance were featured on Marketwatch on npr today. (picts here)
YR: "You're filled with the promise of what it could be, rather than the reality of what it is. And I think that's how many of us now are looking at Youngstown. Not as a shadow of its former self, but something with incredible potential."
DY: "That's who's being attracted to Youngstown. People who want to search for that answer, and people who want to engage in that process of figuring this out. It's like an urban laboratory of sorts."