The Pulse: Citizens League Issues Scan

"The Pulse", the Citizens League issue scan looks at topics of interest to members of the Citizens League (www.citizensleague.net)

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Friday, June 07, 2002
 
Policy Links. Arts and Letters Daily. The online journal Arts and Letters Daily features opinions on ideas, policy and philosophy as well as a list of national and international news sources and columnists. The webpage for Arts and Letters Daily is http://aldaily.com/.

 
Metropolitan Development and Transportation. Transit Oriented Development Keynote by Hank Ditmar at the Humphrey Institute Conference at the University of Minnesota. Hank Ditmar of the Great American Station Foundation did a keynote address defining the field of transit oriented development, highlighted projects from around the country and laid out opportunities and challenges in the field at a June 8, 2002 morning address. Transit oriented development (TOD) is within a half mile of a transit stop, is liked to a grid of walkable streets, and contains a rich mix of retail, residential and workplaces. The barriers to TOD include neighborhood opposition, difficulties in land assembly, unfriendly market conditions, zoning and regulatory barriers and financing barriers. TOD is one part of a toolkit for more compact communities.(see http://www.stationfoundation.org/)

Thursday, June 06, 2002
 
Public Service Delivery. Six Types of e-Government. There are six main ways to use advanced information, computing and telecommunications technologies to improve public services. Each of these six types has different stakeholder groups and funding possibilities. The six types are outlined in an article in the California Tax Journal. http://www.caltax.org/member/digest/mar2001/mar01-07.htm.

 
Public Service Delivery. JCCI Recommends 15 Steps to Litter Free Streets. The JCCI, a citizens league based in Jacksonville, Florida, has just issued a report on how to turn back the tide of litter in their streets. Judging from some areas in Minneapolis that I have been through recently, for example, Broadway and Irving, as well as Hennepin Avenue between 6th and 8th, we could use a good look at the report and how the city can make a difference in this area. The report both urges city and resident action steps for a cleaner city. The full report is in PDF format (software to read it is free at www.adobe.com) on the JCCI website at www.jcci.org. Click on studies and on the "Making Jacksonville A Cleaner City" link.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002
 
Transportation and Energy. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Completes Cross Nation Trip. A DaimlerChrysler NECAR 5 car completed a cross country trip of more than 3600 miles. The hydrogen-powered fuel cell produced only water vapor as exhaust. As a prototype, the car cost more than $1 million to build and mass production is seen as being after 2010. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles appear to be the successor technology in development for traditional gasoline engines. http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/06/05/fuel.cell.cars.ap/index.html

 
Public Service Delivery. Training and Development for Public Employees. A Web site belonging to the Transportation Department is about to be converted to an e-learning portal for federal government workers across all agencies. The National Learning Center will provide a range of courses for federal employees including topics such as ethics and sexual harassment training, soft skills such as interviewing techniques, and IT courses in database management and Web development. "You can call it a portal, a one-stop shop for online training," says OPM CIO Janet Barnes. Currently, the Transportation Virtual University's Web site uses the services of some 60 e-learning companies. There are several free courses available at a link in the full story. (From GovExec.com (05/16/02); Friel, Brian) For more on the story, click on: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0502/051602b1.htm




Tuesday, June 04, 2002
 
Metropolitan Governance and Development. Chicago Metropolis 2020 Releases the 2002 Metropolis Index. Metropolis 2020 has just issued a report on progress toward a dozen shared goals for the Chicago region. There are a few interesting comparisons for the Twin Cities Metropolitan region. The Twin Cities has the 11th greatest number of corporate headquarters for firms of more than 500 employees (p.6). Per capita transit ridership fell from 1999 to 2000 and 67% of transit ridership is by bus with the remaining 33% by rail (p. 14). Median household incomes are losing ground (p.25). The 12 goals are shown graphically on page 48. The full report is available on the web at: http://www.chicagometropolis2020.org/2002_index/02_index.htm

Monday, June 03, 2002
 
Citizen Involvement. Young American's Interest in Government Service Has Grown. The Council for Excellence in Government has issued the results of a Hart-Teeter poll of 600 young adults aged between 18 to 30 on government service. Some of the major findings include an increase in young American's interest in government service, interest in government service is motivated more by sense of public spirit than five years ago, and two-thirds of young Americans would like to see a heightened national commitment to addressing domestic ills. Young women are most interested in addressing as top three issues: improving schools, finding cures for AIDS, and reducing poverty. For young men the top three are: improving schools, renewable energy and environment and developing new technologies. The executive summary and full report may be found online at http://www.exelgov.org/publication/poll911/exec.htm

 
Transportation. West Virginia Commutes Longer Than Silicon Valley. The May 31, 2002 issue of the Christian Science Monitor reports that the biggest increase in commute times in the US during the 1990s was in West Virginia, from 21 to 26.2 minutes -- more time than the average Silicon Valley commuter. The idea that only commuting times in or around metro areas is on the increase is not all that accurate. It would be interesting to see what the comparisons in Greater Minnesota are with the metro area. http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0531/p01s01-ussc.htm

 
Government and Election Reform. The list of retirements from the Minnesota Legislature is quite large...and growing. For a complete list of who all is retiring from both the Minnesota House and Senate, check out the following link: www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl/legretire.htm

Sunday, June 02, 2002
 
The Economy. Technology News. The June 11, 2002 issue of PC Magazine (p. 28) says that the days of the DVD as a data storage medium may be numbered. InPhase Technologies has demonstrated a holographic storage system that can record about 20 DVDs on one DVD sized disc. Data storage is done in three dimensions with lasers operating on a transparent disc. The first product with this technology is slated for 2004. The full article is online at www.pcmag.com.


 
The Economy. New Book by Kevin Phillips. In his ninth book, "Wealth and democracy: A political history of the American rich" Kevin Phillips takes on the issue of wealth disparity in America and how the very wealthy stay that way by bending the rules in their favor. Income disparity is at a peak says Phillips and the middle class is working longer hours for stagnating wages and declining health and retirement benefits. Household income has been flat in the 1980s and 1990s except for the top 1% of households where inflation adjusted income has soared from $250,000 to more than $644,000.