Volume II, Issue 6 - September 2001
REGIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
I. The Governor's Commission on Building for the 21st Century
II. California's Collaborative Regional Initiatives and Infrastructure
III. Regional News & Information
We have all spent time reflecting on the meaning of September 11 and its aftermath, and so many public and private leaders have been eloquent in helping the rest of us to understand how to move on, and virtually all have called on us to renew our commitment to each other at home and to our responsibilities in the world.
Even before the September 11 devastation, here at CCRL we have been thinking about and working on the issue of physical infrastructure, the physical foundation that is so essential to our state's and regions' economy and our quality of life. It is no secret that California has an enormous "infrastructure deficit," accrued through years of neglect, under-investment, and bad planning. Old schools whose disrepair makes it hard for kids to learn; the struggle to find affordable housing, and, with what's available, still to make ends meet; the "family time" lost to long commutes and traffic congestion; the abandoned brownfields (and missed opportunities for economic development) in our major cities and older suburbs; too few parks for city kids and families, and the loss and degradation of our farms and open space and habitat and scenic vistas.
We are horrified by the intentional, evil destruction so concentrated at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the resulting loss of life and livelihood, and the deep feelings of insecurity engendered for us all. And though some may object to the comparison, aren't we also called to consider the unintentional yet devastatingly negative impact of decades of infrastructure degradation, and the feelings of insecurity engendered by the prospect of 12 million more Californians in need of housing, schools and colleges, open space, water systems, energy, roads and public transit, and technology systems.
And just as we admire and salute the extraordinary leadership and collaboration of national and local leaders, and hail their commitment to "rebuild New York," who will lead us and call us to collaborate to "rebuild California," and to restore the California dream?
I. The Governor's Commission on Building for the 21st Century
Over the past year, CCRL has been privileged to act as Strategic Adviser to the Governor's Commission on Building for the 21st Century, a broad and diverse group of California leaders, led by Business Transportation and Housing Secretary Maria Contreras-Sweet and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. Our CCRL Team included our President, our Program consultant, Trish Kelly, Stephen Levy of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, and Stephanie Clack-Berzansky and Jens Egerland of Accenture. Staff leadership for the Commission was provided by Assistant Secretary for Transportation John Ferrera and Commission Executive Director Audrey Noda. A finance staff team included Bill Reynolds, Eddie Ring from Evenson-Dodge and former Oakland City Manager Henry Gardner. Literally dozens of experts, from state agencies, universities and think tanks, and all manner of other sources contributed significantly to the Commission's thinking and deliberations.
The report will be presented to the Governor and the public in just a few weeks. Though it will not answer every question we might have about how to plan for and invest in our infrastructure over the next twenty years, it is a very worthy and committed effort to begin the serious discussion of how to do just that, as stewards of our precious place, and of the economic and quality of life prospects of future generations. We will devote our next issue of CalRegions to the report itself, but we wanted to take this opportunity to those who are intimidated or doubtful about our own commitment and ability to "rebuild," we want you to know that a group of generous and thoughtful and brave Californians has already taken an important first step: the Commission on Building for the 21st Century. Stay tuned.
II. California's Collaborative Regional Initiatives and Infrastructure
In preparation for the Commission report, we want to share with our readers the work of several of our partner Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs) on infrastructure issues in their regions and communities. Whatever specific issue they address, CRIs recognize the interdependence of infrastructure systems such as housing, transportation, water, and open space and other land uses, and the need for long-term, stewardship perspectives, for major new investment of resources, and for optimizing the return on those investment through higher standards for efficiency and effectiveness. The following are but a few examples of CRI forums, projects, and programs involving infrastructure.
A. Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley
The Alliance has launched a number of major events and community forums on timely topics involving the infrastructure of the San Fernando Valley. This includes a Transit Summit where the Alliance and its partners in the San Fernando Valley began building a consensus on regional solutions to transportation problems. Transit Summit IV, held in October of 2000, convened an unprecedented panel of transportation experts, elected officials and consultants, who addressed the twin accountability factors of funding and timelines. Additionally, on September 11, 2001, the Economic Alliance held a conference to initiate a process with the goal of charting the future of San Fernando Valley by addressing a cross-section of quality of life and development issues known as, "Vision 2020." To learn more about "Vision 2020," visit them on the web at www.economicalliance.org, or contact EASF at Phone: 818-379-7000,
Fax: 818-379-7077, 5121 Van Nuys Blvd. Suite 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-1497
B. Fresno Business Council
Efforts by the Fresno Business Council (FBC) to improve the economic prospects of the community have been comprehensive. Recognizing the interdependence of all sectors, FBC has worked on infrastructure and process improvements, as well as, education reform and job-creation efforts. In September 2001, members of the Fresno Business Council organized a leadership trip to the Bay Area, hosted and arranged by the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP). The trip was designed to help FBC members envision what future development patterns could look like in Fresno if planned around public transportation sites. James Corless, STPP's California Director noted, "Silicon Valley has gone through some phenomenal changes in the last half-century....Fresno County can learn from its neighbors to the north, both in terms of lessons to emulate as well as traps and pitfalls to avoid." FBC's field trip participants had the opportunity to see firsthand, how higher density; infill developments near transit stops could be a win-win in the jobs-housing balance game. The FBC September electronic bulletin reported that Santa Clara County is in fact already realizing the benefits of coordinating land use and transportation planning. Transit-oriented development along the existing Caltrain and light rail lines is taking hold, and FBC members have been involved in planning for additional rail lines and transit friendly development. Visit the FBC on the web at www.fresnobc.org.
C. Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network
Smart Permit, a project of Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network (JVSV), seeks to transform the community development process in the Silicon Valley through the use of Internet technology. At its core are new Internet-enabled processes and systems, and a public-private collaboration towards a regional approach to community development applications, permit tracking, drawing submittals, and geographic information systems (GIS). The Project is a partnership between corporate representatives, civic entrepreneurs, champions for the architectural and construction industries, and technology companies. The seeds of Smart Permit can be traced to Joint Venture's 1993 Blueprint for a 21st Century Community. The Blueprint was a culmination of 13 initiatives that Silicon Valley, with more than 1,000 community participants, identified as priorities for regional rejuvenation. The region agreed that its competitive position was impacted by how it responded to the global pressures to go faster and better in its delivery of construction permits and that technology could transform the way we do business in Silicon Valley. Thus, Smart Permit works to create an electronic community by developing an advanced "information infrastructure" and the collective ability to use it. Smart Permit has aided in the creation of process improvement teams, a regional uniform building code and an electronic clearinghouse for permits. Learn more about JVSV's Smart Permit program at www.jointventure.org/initiatives/smartpermit/index.html.
D. Metropolitan Forum Project
Metropolitan Forum Project (MFP) is leading New Schools / Better Neighborhoods (NSBN), a civic advocacy organization formed to promote a 21st Century vision for California's urban school districts: new schools should be centers of neighborhoods and likewise, neighborhoods and communities should serve as centers of learning. California faces task of building hundreds of new schools to relieve overcrowded classrooms and serve a growing student population. These new facilities must be small, community-centered schools which serve as anchors to neighborhoods by providing a range of services that can be accessed and utilized by all residents and community stakeholders. To accomplish this mission, NSBN promotes the concept of designing smaller school facilities that can build upon and accommodate existing community land and facilities to save on the time, money, land, and other resources used to duplicate functions elsewhere. The goal of NSBN and its partners is to create small, neighborhood-centered schools which: (1) function as community centers open at night and on weekends by providing other social services such as day care, health clinics, libraries, and recreation space and (2) reduce sprawl development and suburban migration by more efficient and imaginative use of limited urban land. To know more, visit the MFP at www.metroforum.org, and learn more about New Schools Better Neighborhoods at www.nsbn.org.
E. Orange County Business Council
The Orange County Business Council's Infrastructure Committee promotes sound planning and public policies to develop the kind of community infrastructure essential to a growing, globally competitive economy. Task groups working within the committee include Water and Wastewater; Transportation; El Toro; School Facilities; Rail Projects; Legislation; Housing; and "Rebuild Orange County". The OCBC's Infrastructure Committee meeting in September 2001 focused on initiating a dialogue between the OCBC and counter-part business organizations in Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties on the economic impact of inter-county traffic congestion issues. Over the course of the last three months OCBC has conducted several meetings with key stakeholders and other interested parties to discuss the issue of traffic mobility/congestion in the 91 Freeway Corridor. The mobility questions on the 91 Freeway have direct negative implications on OCBC priority policy issues such as workforce development, affordable housing and infrastructure as policy priorities. The OCBC provides highlights from its public affairs committees online at www.ocbc.org/advocacyf.htm. For more information about the Orange County Business Council visit the web at www.ocbc.org.
F. Tri-Valley Business Council
The Agriculture Subcommittee of the Tri-Valley Business Council (TVBC) is one working group within the Agriculture and Open Space Committee of TVBC's "Vision 2010." The majority of the landscape outside of the urban growth boundaries in the Tri-Valley region is privately owned agriculture operations, including cattle ranches, grape growers, wine producers, equestrian facilities, farms, and nurseries. To address the preservation of open space in the Tri-Valley, "Vision 2010" recognizes that it is essential to address the preservation of agriculture. TVBC is working to preserve agriculture benefits to the entire Tri-Valley community because it helps to ensure that the rural heritage of the region is not lost within the new challenge of population growth. The "Vision 2010" project, an initiative of the Tri-Valley Business Council, calls for the preservation of 70% of the open spaces in the region. The "Vision 2010" working groups recognize that the protection of this open space revolves around improving the viability of agriculture since most rural land outside the Urban Growth Boundary exists as ranching, vineyards, and farmland. To achieve that viability, TVBC created a "Blueprint for Agriculture Enhancement," a set of strategies adopted by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in July 2001, and now in implementation. Read more about TVBC's "Vision 2010" and "blueprint" at www.trivalley.org.
G. San Diego Dialogue
San Diego Dialogue's Forum Fronterizo Council is a model public-private, cross-border initiative with a diverse membership, representing business, community-based organizations, educational institutions and local government. The Council functions both as a venue for dialogue on cross-border concerns and as an advisory body for the Dialogue's Forum Fronterizo series, designed to provide civic leaders with a place to examine major opportunities and challenges facing this cross-border region. This year the Council's focus is "improving the global competitiveness of the San Diego/Baja California region," which is developing four strategic regional initiatives, including meeting regional water and energy needs. The most recent Forum addressed "providing a Reliable Water Supply to the San Diego/Baja California Region." The program provided an assessment of the need, options, and challenges of securing a long-term, reliable, reasonably-priced supply of water to the San Diego and Baja California Coasts. The program also considered local perspectives from San Diego, Imperial Valley, and Baja California. For more information about the Forum visit the San Diego Dialogue website at www.sddialogue.org.
III. Regional News & Information
* The Speaker's Commission on Regionalism (SCOR) will hold its next meeting on September 28, 2001 at the University of California, Riverside. For a full agenda of the Commission's September meeting, or to view the minutes of all previous meetings, and papers prepared for Commission consideration and adoption, visit SCOR website at www.regionalism.org. The Commission will adopt its final recommendations in November 2001 and release a published report and implementation strategy in January 2002.
* The Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development (BAASD) has launched a Regional Livability Footprint Project to facilitate regional consensus on how the "Ten Commitments to Action" in the Draft Compact for a Sustainable Bay Area relate to land use. An extensive public participation process is underway to reach regional consensus and generate support for a "regional livability footprint" - a preferred land use pattern that will inform how the Bay Area could grow smarter and more sustainable over the next 20 years. The project timeline calls for public workshops in September and October 2001. Upcoming workshops will take place on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in San Mateo County on September 29, 2001 at the SamTrans Headquarters, 1250 San Carlos Ave; and in Santa Clara County on October 13, 2001, at the County Government center, 70 West Hedding Street. For more information on how to get involved, contact the Alliance at 510/464-7978 or FootprintBAA@BayAreaAlliance.org.
Or visit www.abag.ca.gov/planning/smartgrowth/timeline.html.
* San Diego Dialogue is hosting the 2nd annual "A Celebration of Civic Excellence" on Monday, October 1, 2001, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. "Every day ordinary people do extraordinary things for their community," says Dialogue Executive Director Chuck Nathanson. "We think they should be honored." Approximately 100 nominations have been received from San Diego County and Baja California. The top awards honor dynamic individuals in four categories: creating livable communities, enhancing cross-border collaboration, reinforcing K-12 education reform and displaying outstanding public leadership. Visit the following San Diego Dialogue page for more information: www.sddialogue.org/event0901.asp.
* Joint Venture Silicon Valley, in partnership with the Salamanca Speakers Spotlight, Cultural Initiatives Silicon Valley, Council member Cindy Chavez - City of San Jose, KLIV 1590 AM, Silicon Valley Business Ink, and Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley, hosts two public dialogues with national and international speakers to share their perspectives and illuminate the issues impacting Silicon Valley communities. The first of these individuals is renowned historian and planning expert Sir Peter Hall, author of Cities in Civilization, who brings his incomparable mastery of urban history to examine Silicon Valley at a crossroads. The event takes place October 25, 2001, 5:30 p.m., at Le Petit Trianon, Downtown San Jose. For more information visit www.jointventure.org/newsletter/online/sept01.html#future.