Mar. 9 - To The Mayor From The Executive Director
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive DirectorMarch 9, 1998
The National Association of Counties ended their Winter Meeting this week and Conference President Paul Helmke represented our organization as we continue to bond politically and substantively on two fronts: The Joint Center for Sustainable Communities and the bipartisan political partnership of the Large Urban County Caucus of NACo and the United States Conference of Mayors.
The Joint Center for Sustainable Communities is the child of the President's Council of Sustainable Development. When President Clinton established the Council, they toiled for two-years and as they toiled, they recognized that once the objectives of the Council were established, they needed a strong entity for implementation. It was decided by the President's Council that the National Association of Counties and the United States Conference of Mayors -- jointly -- should be the implementer due to the political strength of our organizations and the leadership already taken in forming political partnerships at the metro-regional level. The vision we have established is to provide the best examples of city/county partnerships and to develop the research capability to show that it pays in more ways than one for cities and counties to cooperate for the common good of citizens within the metropolitan economic region.
National Association of Counties Executive Director Larry Naake, his staff and I, along with my staff, have worked with our officers to come as far as we have with our Joint Center. It is important to emphasize the way a number of our elected county and city officials have bonded around the issue of sustainable development and produced metro-partnerships around our nation. A few years ago, NACo established their Task Force on Sustainable Development. At the same time we established a Task Force on Brownfields, to focus on the concern that valuable and precious greenfields used for prime farmland and parks, are being destroyed in our suburban cities and counties. While the two Task Forces had different names, and were a part of our two national organizations, economic development across city/county lines emerged and now a focus on economic regional issues is a part of the Joint Center.
Last month when the slightly more political group, the Large Urban County Caucus of NACo, joined with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, it was agreed that we must report to the nation the story of the incredible economic contributions the city/county metro-economic regions are producing to make our nation as economically strong as it is today.
On March 19th, the Large Urban County Caucus of NACo and The United States Conference will present to the nation a new way of looking at local governments. We will show that it is the big thriving metropolitan economic regional engines that are driving this nation to zenith levels of job production, and other economic records in the 90's and into the millennium.
We will show that the city of Louisville, under the vision and leadership of Mayor Jerry Abramson and Commissioner David Armstrong of Jefferson County, Kentucky, who have reached out to Indiana counties, have all formed an economic partnership that is providing positive economic development for two states, Indiana and Kentucky.
Mr. Bill Goodyear of the Bank of America has told the mayors in the three times he has addressed us, at Mayor Daley's invitation, that the economic growth of the Chicago metro-economic region has surpassed the economic levels of the Republic of France.
We will also show just how much the large metro-economic engines contribute to the nation's economic strength. Preliminary reports point to the fact that well over 65 % of the economic positive indicators are due to the economic development activities of city and county partnerships. Today city and county officials work together as metro-economic regionalists and are emerging as national and indeed, international players of the economic political stage.
During the meeting here this week -- with our county partners -- there is political energy. The Large Urban County Caucus of NACo's luncheon was packed on Saturday and the room was abuzz with the strong desire to go forward. At a special session of sustainable communities, HUD Secretary Cuomo articulated his vision on the metro-regional economic partnership's contribution to our nation. And he has put his money where his mouth is by announcing a $100 million dollar Regional Connections Initiative of HUD which will be administered with the collaborative support of the Joint Center for Sustainable Communities of NACo and the Conference of Mayors.
Mr. Neil Pierce moderated the Sustainable Communities panel here at the NACo meeting. It was most appropriate because Mr. Pierce has written, observed, and participated over the years as the regional efforts were developed in the very early days. Mr. Cuomo called Mr. Pierce a pioneer in being the first to provide his vision for the metro economies in his writings.
People have written. People have talked. They have put the challenge before us. It's time for the elected officials to take the talk and walk it. And that is what we are doing with the Joint Center for Sustainable Communities and the Large Urban County Caucus of NACo.
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