The Pulse: Citizens League Issues Scan

"The Pulse", the Citizens League issue scan looks at topics of interest to members of the Citizens League (

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Saturday, August 10, 2002
The Economy. National Governor's Association Issues Four Reports on Preparing for the New Economy.On August 8, 2002 at its 94th annual meeting the National Governors Association issued four policy reports: workforce preparation, economic development, global competitiveness and science and technology capacity. Each of these four reports has specific action agendas and should add to an informed discussion of these critical issues. The press release with links to these reports is at;,1188,C_ISSUE_BRIEF^D_4253,00.html. (105)

Friday, August 09, 2002
Quality of Life. UN Development Index Ranks US 6th. The United Nations Development Program on July 24, 2002 issued is ranking of 173 countries on life expectancy, education attainment, and income and in it the US ranked 6th. The top five, starting with number 1 are: Norway, Sweden, Canada, Belgium, and Australia. The press release on the report is at: (104)

Drivers of Change. Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance. In June the National Science Foundation issued a 405 page report edited by Mihail Roco and William Bainbridge on converging technologies for improving human performance: nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science. The interaction and synergy of these four technologies are seen as having major impacts on working habits, economic activity and human society. The report truly is an "overview of the big picture." The full report in PDF format is at: (103)

Thursday, August 08, 2002
Environment. Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Air Quality Index Online. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has an online 'thermometer" of air quality for the metropolitan region for ozone, pollutants and pollen. The index may be found at: (102)

K-12 Education. School Report Card for Parents. Writing in the March 5, 2002, issue of School Board News Dorothy Rich built on the requirements of the new federal education law requiring that parents be sent a report card on how well schools are doing to articulate some key elements for a valid report card. She listed eight elements that should go in such a report card: (1) discipline incidents, (2) attendance and tardiness, (3) class size, (4) strength of parent involvement, (5) experience of educators, (6) grading practices, (7) student aspirations and school support, and (8) test results. It would be handy also to put this information on a website in multiple languages as well.
The article is reprinted in its entirety at: (101)

Wednesday, August 07, 2002
Metropolitan Development. New Book on Downtown Minneapolis Destruction. The August 5-11, 2002 issue of Skyway News features a front-page story by David Brauer on the demolition of 40% of downtown Minneapolis for the Gateway project. From 1959 to 1963 200 buildings on 22 blocks were demolished in the name of urban redevelopment. There is no small irony that the recent Milwaukee Road hotel complex and new development just north of the Hennepin Avenue bridge feature facades that look remarkably like those demolished forty years ago. The book is: “Down and Out: The Life and Death of Minneapolis’ Skid Row” by Joseph Hart. The full story with photos is at: (100)

Tuesday, August 06, 2002
The Economy. Priming the Research and Development Pump at the University of Minnesota. In an editorial entitled: "U of M / Research, outreach must be supported" published on August 6, 2002 the Star Tribune argued that a winning formula for research and development at the University of Minnesota involves the state providing state-of-the-art facilities and salaries high enough to attract top investigative minds and the federal government funds the research. (The full editorial is at: This was the core of the Citizens League proposal – the Northstar Research Coalition - that has in fact passed the Minnesota Senate in two separate sessions. Priming the pump with state funds to attract leading talent and equip them with research facilities has been successful in many states, perhaps most notably in Georgia's Research Coalition. The Minnesota Journal editorial of March 2001, entitled: "Northstar Research Coalition: Priority for new economy” published almost two and a half years ago, makes many of the same points (The Viewpoint is at: (99)

Monday, August 05, 2002
Government and Election Reform. e-Democracy Resources. According to Steven Clift, a locally based expert in the subject, e-democracy involves the use of information and communication technologies and strategies by democratic actors (governments, elected officials, the media, political organizations, citizen/voters) within political and governance processes of local communities, nations and on the international stage. A number of starting points and topical resources in the field may be found at: (98)

Transportation and Transit. There Are No Simple Solutions To State's Transportation Problems. So goes the title of Steve Dornfeld's opinion piece on transportation funding options in Minnesota published in the August 5, 2002 issue of the Pioneer Press. Focusing just on the light rail equation, the Hiawatha LRT line by 2020 will net about 6,200 new transit riders and the proposed University Avenue corridor would net 3,800 riders. In all, 10,000 net new transit riders per day would be added for 1.5 billion dollars in transit capital expenditure. Doing the math, that is 150,000 dollars in capital costs per net new transit rider on the two corridors. Even that does not include the cost of annual operations. Contrast this math with an earlier Pulse note on how we cannot really afford to get aggressive on carpools in the metropolitan region since "the money would have to come from somewhere else". Steve Dornfeld's opinion piece is at: (97)

Sunday, August 04, 2002
Demographics in Minnesota. Minnesota Life Expectancy Rises. A Minnesota Planning news release dated July 23, 2002 reported that life expectancy in Minnesota rose 1.3 years between 1990 and 2000. Life expectancy is now 81.5 years for women and 76.5 years for men. Gains in life expectancy were smaller than in previous decades. Life expectancy in Minnesota grew 1.6 years in the 1980s and 3.2 years in the 1970s. "It's getting harder to get big gains in life expectancy," noted State Demographer Tom Gillaspy. Since mortality among children and young people is low, future life expectancy gains will depend increasingly on achieving falling mortality rates among the elderly.
Over the past three decades, the life expectancy difference between men and women fell from 7.4 to 5.0 years. The report, Minnesota Life Expectancy in 2000, is available online at (96)