Forum Regionalism Initiative Continues March 7 With Pittsburgh Speaker

By on January 9, 2018

by Tom Finan, Executive Director, Construction Forum STL

“Putting the Pieces Together,”  Construction Forum STL’s 13-month  five-program examination of  the issue of establishing effective regional collaboration for the St. Louis region continues on March 7 with a presentation by Dr. David Y. Miller, author of The Regional Governing of Metropolitan America.  Miller will speak on his study of city/county mergers nationwide and on his views regarding effective regional collaborations.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. on March 7 at Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 Grand Hall, 2319 Chouteau Ave. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. To register, click here. 

Dr. David Y. Miller

In addition to his work across the country, Miller is intimately familiar with successful efforts  in Pittsburgh,  which has a city/county/municipality structure that is similar to the St. Louis region. Miller’s presentation follows a Dec. 6 presentation by David Rusk. Rusk is a former Wilson and Brookings Scholar and was the mayor of Albuquerque. He is the author of Cities Without Suburbs, the definitive, data-driven book on regional government and regional collaboration.

Miller, a Rusk friend and colleague , is a  professor  at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, serves on the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (the area’s RIGO), and organizes CONNECT, an alliance of Pittsburgh and 40 surrounding municipalities. Miller has served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget for the City of Pittsburgh, and Managing Director of the Pennsylvania Economy League. In 2008 he was part of a panel — The Metropolitan Forum — assembled by Focus St. Louis, East-West Gateway, and The St. Louis Regional Chamber to study and make recommendations for regional fiscal reform.

While in St. Louis, David Rusk met with regional leaders, from St. Charles, mayors and County Government representatives from St. Louis County, Southwestern Illinois leaders, and representatives from the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Bi-State Development, St. Louis Freightway, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, and Better Together. A similar itinerary is planned with Miller.

“Hacking the Possibilities” 

With the efforts of “Better Together STL” to resuscitate City/County merger garnering headlines both locally and nationally (in the  Wall Street Journal), the Forum’s board of directors wanted to take a look at what has and has not worked vis a vis regional collaboration in other areas of the country, and engage Forum participants in “hacking” the possibilities of what could happen here.

Following Miller’s presentation the Forum plans a presentation by representatives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,  on which Bi-State Development was modeled. In September a “hackathon” will be held, organized and moderated by the UMSL Public Policy Research Center.  A documentary, which is being produced by Solstice Productions — recapping the speaker’s presentations and audience reactions — will serve as a prelude to a working session where attendees will be asked to “hack” potential areas of concern for regional collaboration. The results of that program, and potential action items, will be presented at the Forum’s December program.

“Our objective is to allow our members — and new faces to Forum events from organizations who are helping us to plan this series — to hear the drill-down, hard data and then to engage them in proposing a path forward of areas in which regional collaboration may be workable,”  Joe Blanner, Forum president said. Blanner spent two years studying  the history of regional collaboration efforts in the St. Louis region, and has just completed a book analyzing the effectiveness of the various efforts.



About Tom Finan