Pat Howard ran an interesting column today, in which he makes a lot of points that have come up both on our blog and in "real-world" discussions over the past couple months. He addresses this whole city vs. county mentality, which is a bad thing for progress. One of the main points he makes is one DrD has been making for at least a year - the City is part of the County!
Interestingly, Mayor Joe Sinnott, who I think is often seen at odds with Howard, published a newsletter last week that really asks for a lot of the same things that Howard is asking for. Contrary to the way I've seen him portrayed in the paper, Sinnott really comes out as a proponent for regional government.
This is great, as it appears more leaders seem to be getting on the same boat, to steal Howard's analogy. The major discrepency between Howard's and Sinnott's views seems to have to do with the value of the some of the city assets, such as the zoo and EMTA - and even the airport to some extent. Sinnott seems reluctant to give up City-control of these "assets" even though, in Howard's view, they don't make money - in fact, they cost money, and there is no way the city could sell them. (Well, maybe it could sell the airport, so that might be an exception. And, maybe the airport could make money too, if it wasn't run by the government, ala the State Liquor stores.) Sinnott basically seems to be asking for County funding for these City assets, as a gesture by the County toward regionalization. He's got a point, because so far, it seems the City seems to be doing all the pushing toward regionalizaiton, while County people want to distance themselves from the city's balance sheet as much as possible.
Anyways, it;'s good to see that this white elephant of regionalization is now being discussed at least in more than a pipe dream form. Here's to hoping we can continue to move forward with this agenda. It's the 21st Century now. The Age of Globalization. Having turf rivalries and squabbles among 25 entities (some of which are overlapping) in a space of 800 square miles in northwestern PA is no way to go about encouraging progress.