Regionalism

The Seattle Times’ James Vesely writes that Seattle needs to start thinki
ng regionally
if we’re going to address big issues like transportation, gro
wth and the economy. This is nothing new to the [environmental community] (htt
p://www.northwestwatch.org), but it’s nice to see these ideas being expressed s
trongly by so-called opinion leaders like Vesely.

>States count in the Electoral College and in the U.S. Senate but not in the re
al world. Places such as California, New York and Florida are multiregional. Ea
ch has a common license plate but don’t work as single job, cultural or educati
on centers.

>Counties, which are declining around here, are an oddity of another century. C
ounty government should be small, nonpartisan and focused on the plumbing of go
vernment rather than the neon of politics. That’s especially true in rural Wash
ington, where seven contiguous counties have a combined population of only 149,
000 people, according to an examination of county government…. I would make a
… case that counties are only a rural stop sign slowing regional solutions.

>Regions count more than cities and more than states. While state government st
ill controls the levers of taxes and regulation, new industry or new ideas don’
t move to a state, they move to a region. That was certainly true for the locat
ion of the new Boeing 7E7 assembly. The state led the drive but it had the Seat
tle region to sell.

>Regions create their economies, not cities or states. That’s why the Puget Sou
nd region, even in a slow recession, differs dramatically from the rest of the
state. It’s no longer the case that cities drive their regions, it’s the other
way around.

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