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NBER the national educational radio network presents special of the week. We begin with the first of seven half hour radio documentary programs on Metropolitan Government prepared for broadcast by the capital city is broadcast station in Detroit WJR. The producer and the writer is Oscar front w the title for the series. Is there a better way. The greatest antidote there is their greatest bull work against metropolitan government would be an effective Council of Governments. They want more power and they want Metro government and they are misleading the people. Eventually black people will have enough political power to have control over their cities. They have an author Lee mistaken notion of what the Council of Government intends and is able to do. The ultimate is you will have much power in government because the federal government will force it upon you.
But we've got to make sure that we have our shares of the revenue instead of just giving it all to the swollen federal bureaucracy and generally I don't regard Washington as a foreign enemy let us ever want to go it alone again. Black and White living together as equal first class American citizens. They're talking about government. Always good for an argument. Men disagree about government and that's as it should be. Government of America is a process. A process by which you and I bring order into our lives. There are a few experts here because the process of governing ourselves is like life itself is constantly changing our needs change with the times and so the government changes to meet those needs. How that change comes about is the important thing. There are two ways through evolution and revolution. Most Americans
prefer the peaceful way. Not everybody agrees. It is inevitable as tomorrow to talk to us today. Orderly it will be. It's up to us to decide what direction it ticks. But we have to know what's going on and things have been going on while we've been busy watching all the rioting and protesting and violence it's been happening backstage because maybe we put the stage in the wrong place. The real nitty gritty gut issue of the day is government reorganization. Would you believe that local government is being reshaped. You see the system has just about had it. The slums and traffic parking is ugliness. Housing pollution taxation education segregation transportation all these dull housekeeping chores. That's what government is all about. And if you don't think it's been changing look at Michigan's brand new constitution
reapportionment County Home Rule southeast Michigan Council of Governments. Where is it going. Is it a threat to the Jefferson American concept of home rule or is it a home rule in its purest form. Is it headed toward metropolitan government or is it the best guarantee against super government. Does the new regional thinking offer cures for the urban crisis. You watch how this octopus is going to grow. There's a lot of eager beavers state senator Robert Huber advises caution. But let's look into it for ourselves because there must be a better way. In this opener for the series let's talk about regional thinking first in broad strokes and then becoming more specific. The author of the book the planning process Professor Alan Schuler of MIT spoke about the original thinking at the University of Michigan earlier this year. The great economic and technical issues along with some of the social issues
are very difficult to join. Locally because of the difficulty of governmental reorganization. On the whole the great economic and technical issues of urban America are metropolitan issues they're regional issues they cannot be tackled effectively by fragmented jurisdictions. And it's so difficult to achieve governmental reorganization that we turn naturally to the national governments of the times the state governments and also at times two special districts in order to achieve them. But we simply have gotten over the habit. Of expecting local governments to grapple with them affecting the MIT professor pointed out that government reorganization is difficult. First there is the ideal of grassroots politics. The tradition along with it of the talk through politics of allowing any organized minority to veto action of putting a very strong bias against action in the political system. This bias appears much less powerful at the national level
today than it was some years back. But at the local level it remains extraordinarily strong. And that's of course every where we have a referendum required for governmental reorganization and not simply a referendum requirement that work that. Involves getting a majority of the entire region to accept reform but also a majority of every particular jurisdiction which is involved in the proposed governmental reform is a very very difficult thing to do obviously. Second there is the fact of the populous Zire for racial and economic segregation in our urban areas. That is what the people want. There is related to that the desire on the part of the people for legal. And legitimate ways to distribute public services on equally. PROFESSOR all Schuller felt he should expand a little on that last statement. We have never been egalitarian. In our views in America or at least
radically egalitarianism views in America as to how income initially should be distributed. It is assumed that there will be rich and there will be marked at least moderately poor in America that everybody will not have to earn the same income at the same time. There is an overall ideology which says that public services should be distributed equally and not with three with respect to the taxes that have been paid by those receiving the services that you should not get more specific services simply because you pay more taxes. The covert. Ideology. Of much of America however is that that is exactly what we want to do increasingly in an affluent society. What the middle and the upper middle classes want in America is public services. That is they want good schools. They want clean air. They want nice poss they want aesthetically pleasing environments and so on. And in order to get these things they want segregation of the poor are
of racial minorities of those who they associate with the the ugliness and the social problems of our cities kept away from them. And this means that what you have to do is to segregate income classes in legal jurisdictions and then you have a legal way of providing more or less equal public services within a jurisdiction but nonetheless having the rich people in some jurisdictions and the poor people in other. Jurisdictions. And when the political pressure becomes great enough to offset that then the poor sometimes turn successfully to national government with some redress. But at the local level it's extraordinarily difficult to do so despite the foot dragging there is movement and change according to Detroit councilman Mel Robbins. There's no question of that by amendment by charter change by the possibility for example at the county level and previously at the city level of allowing the people to write their own charter of government government at the local level in the United States is certainly subject to change and that's one of the things we're
concerned with at this moment here in Wayne County and in southeastern Michigan. Mel rabbits is one of the pioneers in regional thinking in southeast Michigan. Another is Dylan hemline the chairman of the Oakland County Board of Supervisors. Hamlin has been 27 years in county government has been chairman of the board for 15 years. He was one of the founders of the supervisor's intercounty Committee which is the grand dad of councils of government now sprouting throughout the nation. They had mild mannered Mr. Hamlin says he can't understand why his regional thinking has become so controversial. Well I don't know this is something that's how the council girl whatever became is controversial in that it was just one thing that I don't understand because I actually we had a Council of Governments going here for 15 years. We have not changed a. Way or the philosophy at all. It was
originally it was an idea to get together to have a communication within the area of the dialogue to work on the problems and the planning of it reasonable programs and the Kosovo government says following that same program. So I just can't understand why it is controversial myself. The southeast Michigan Council of Governments the initials spell out the SIM card and the word some cog is a fighting word for some to others it is a ray of hope. The only hope of initiating solutions at the local level instead of looking to Washington for all the answers. It's a voluntary association of local governments in Southeast Michigan. We'll come back to the pros and cons of some cog in a later program but right now let's develop the idea of regional thinking. Here's the superintendent of schools for Detroit Dr. Norman Drucker. We plan a water system on a regional basis so we plan air pollution on a regional basis and goodness knows
we talk about roads on a regional basis. I am saying that we need to plan not only for a physical or a new world and rehabilitation but for human and social rehabilitation jointly because our nation and our state is getting smaller and smaller. People travel. The one thing we cannot do is quarantine ignorance in this state and for their welfare and well-being of r.e young people to prepare them for the kind of world that they're going to live in. I think this exchange needs to be made not merely along physical lines but also on cultural and educational lines regional thinking in a sense as a frame of mind rather than a political philosophy. First comes an awareness that there is a whole of which we are a part. This is mind
expanding in time and space because really when you think of planning for anything it expresses itself in space and time. There is little real planning being done of the country even an industry of the man in charge of a two year project is a big shot. Well two years is hardly sufficient. Our urban economy society and technology are all undergoing great simultaneous changes. Our urban population is doubling to a projected 1999 level well over two hundred fifty million. And before 1999 our urban wealth will at least quadruple as the average income of twice as many families doubles to a projected $15000 a year plus of today's purchasing power. And even now before these increases our urban transportation system is already near the breaking point. Within the next generation our urban centers will have to be almost completely rebuilt twice as big and hopefully at least twice as good. Detroit Edison company headed by board chairman
Walker Sr. may provide a breakthrough in planning in terms of time and space. I refer to the developing urban Detroit area research project underwritten by the Droid Edison employing doxy Atlas associates and working with Wayne State University the project is on a scale never before attempted anywhere in the world and especially not by private industry. When the research project was launched it became evident that Detroit's area of influence and the area which brings influence to bear upon the growth of Detroit extends 75 to 100 miles of the city. The study covers 25 counties in Michigan nine counties in Ohio and three large counties in Ontario Canada. So much for the space dimension. Now let Detroit Edison President Edward George explain the time factor. Oh actually. Developments are moving so rapidly that we know a lot of them plan on a five year cycle or a
10 year cycle. We know the old trend lines for what's going to happen next 10 20 years. We're starting now. But whole new trend lines and I don't want to hear in the company but it must be true in planning and developing. We no longer can plan transportation based on transportation or promise of today or service based upon last year. We must look ahead and the trauma of the crime is going to be 10 15 20 years from now even 30 years and make decisions on transportation based on that. You need to highways. Speed is the transportation required and the same is true on the development of land development sewage development of education institutions. Lot of cultural activities. We must plan what the problem will be
in year 2000 and plan accordingly. But things are just moving so rapidly now we no longer then plan out a 5 10 year basis. It is no longer a usual trend lines the trend lines are all new and yet be developed. The old trend lines have to go and there is a big country but the need for planning ahead should be obvious the point is that it hasn't been done. A good example is provided by the director of the UN Clinton metropolitan authority that agency has developed a system of regional parks in southeast Michigan that is the envy of other urban centers. The director kind of Hollaback points out that they will be hard put to provide adequate park space in the future. This five county area should have by the year nine thousand nine hundred ninety thousand acres of land for regional park use. That is arrived at and I think quite simply by estimating the 15 percent of the total population go to regional parks on a
summer Sunday for instance so that breaks down to 900 thousand acres and with 10 people to the acre which can be quite easily proved 10 people to a acre gives 90000 acres. It's not easy but it isn't easy to determine who's going to provide that. This same study pointed out that projecting our anticipated income including revenue producing facilities the best that we could do of the total of 90000 would be to provide one third or 30000. And just using ourselves an example finding that between what we now own 17000 and the total of 30 or above 13000. So you look at Wayne County or any of the five counties and where do you find 13000 acres of land at six hundred forty acres of the Square Mile. You're talking about a lot of land. Reed you know thinking broadening the scope of our interests from vested interests to interest in the total community is this really developing. I asked the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Wayne State University political
scientist Louis Elfrida on Western civilization in general is certainly an urban civilization as particularly as industrialization has of course gotten heavier and there is no. Reverting no changing back so to speak to a rural agricultural economy this is nonsense. At the same time one must admit that we haven't really done very well with our vaunted know how and knowledge in the face of the kind of problem which an increasing urbanization and population density makes makes for US regional planning is just at the threshold it's in its infancy planning of course as you know has been a dirty word to many. However unless we are able to direct or provide guidelines released for the spatial distribution of
people in the crowded metropolitan urban centers we're just simply going to choke as it were in our own traffic so that it is essential. We deal as Intel TELEGIN only as we know how. In fact we do have. The know how we do know what it is that is necessary but the hesitate to use the word vested interest but that's precisely of course what they are. People have property rights. They are very fearful of those property rights they wish to protect them. They don't want uses that as a land uses which will interfere as it were with their pleasure with our ability to utilize their vested interests their property rights as it were effectively and I suspect that this is to a very large extent behind the reaction of the opposition on the part of individuals living in the so-called suburban areas.
Towards any action which would seem to be inimical which would seem to have some kind of design which would have some kind of impact upon this right to enjoy their property as well. This certainly has racial overtones and undertones also. One aspect of this desire to enjoy one's property is so-called vested interest is a fact that if there are uses which appear to them to have some kind of impact upon the desirability of their environment they certainly are going to react this is understandable. Unfortunately however it's necessary for us to take it much longer. Much more basic look at the rights and needs of other people as well as our own selfish interests. A similar question on the development of regional thinking was put to political science professor Arthur Brummagem of the University of Michigan. He points out that the system of home rule the basic doctrine that a group of people can and should be allowed to govern
themselves has led to a proliferation of individual jurisdictions and this system is not about to be reversed. Got this system in motion and we've got we've got to remember that the new constitution of Michigan 1963 didn't make any fundamental changes in our local government system as I see it they preserve the county preserve the township they preserve the Home Rule so the envelop and in a certain sense this is a political decision and only carried by a few thousand votes and if they had ripped apart the local government system or provided first super government why it just simply wouldn't have carried because these are very ingrained traditions and Michigan as I see it. So even though the new constitution says that the legislature may by a law provide for metropolitan governments are federated governments of some kind or other
I think it's quite significant that they have not gone that way that there is no such implementing statute for super governments in metropolitan areas there. There is a chorus of creation of a transportation authority for southeast Michigan and the Constitution provided for that so that I don't look for any immediate development of legislation looking to super government. Professor Brummagem worked on the study of southeast Michigan that led to the creation of the Council of Governments. Professor Friedman has worked with the doxy on his project. Friedman sees a strengthening of the state government rather than the emergence of any regional form of government. Of course regional government it would require some rather drastic and basic overhauling of our general governmental structure constitutional provisions and so on I seen on that. No real necessity for doing anything of this kind I think that we do have a governmental organizational right already and being that
is it is equipped and increasingly is actually taking up the slack so to speak and that is state government. State government for a time was an eclipse. Everyone was confident that the federal government would in effect embrace the entire situation. If we had no state governments we'd certainly have to create a system. Regional or district governments in order to provide the on the spot administrative responsibilities. State government is I think a viable organization and particularly with the recent developments in the change in our representation basis namely a one man one vote type situation in which the urban centers are more effectively represented in the state legislature. I believe that the state government is now and has become much more responsive
responsive to the demands to the needs of its urban centers and it was let's say 10 15 years ago a stronger state government finding answers to the urban problems at the state level instead of at the federal level. Now this doesn't satisfy the strong Home Rule advocate who wants the government closest to the people to be strengthened. The state government still is far from the people not as far as Washington but few people can name their state representatives. The urban crisis has become almost synonymous with the racial conflict in America. To some people almost anything that is said or done on a regional basis is colored in black and white. This is pointed out by a Detroit attorney and member of the Detroit Board of Education. Abe Zwerdling. We are in a peculiar period now where the back up segregation a step approach. Reactionary whites of the past is now being aped. I knew consciously by black nationalists and people on the
black nationalist kick at the moment are talking about segregation was some of the enthusiasm that conservative whites were using in talking about it in the past. There's no solution there as far as we're concerned whether the people talking that way are white or black. The only solution is to strengthen and develop an integrated society. The only way you can do that in a metropolitan area is by having a metropolitan area which embraces total balance of black and white middle class poor and rich together people who might otherwise consider themselves at opposite poles politically. The ultra conservative and the black separatists find themselves in agreement in opposition to any regional concept. Are both elements separatist. And is this at the core of the Kerner Commission Report on civil disorder is that America is developing into two separate communities misters word wing feels that
regionalism is the only way to go. It's just not conceivable that we can go in any other direction and continue as an American system. The only other alternative is to have apartheid as have been South Africa. I assume that Americans are opposed to this and therefore we must push in the direction of an integrated metropolitan area which covers black and white rich and poor working together for an integrated society. The racial conflict in America overshadows the urban crisis but it should be pointed out that race as serious as that problem is is not the only urban problem. Cities in other countries where race is not an issue also face serious urban problems. There is a strange dichotomy in the land. We have become an urban people and yet we flee from our cities. We perpetuate the dream of every man owning his own
home on a patch of soil knowing that the closer that dream comes to reality the more nightmarish it gets. The publication nations cities in a recent report said there is no reason why good urban planning should constantly be frustrated by obsolete political boundaries. No reason why is that a government should be kept too broke to make their services good and desirable instead of just cheap and tolerable. No reason why our cities should not be good places to bring up children with good schools and provision for safe outdoor play. No reason why our central cities should be abandoned to the poor and the disadvantaged. Or why they should be stuck with so much more than their share of the problems of poverty and segregation. No reason why all our thinking about cities and city living should lag 60 years behind our time. And the report continues. Tomorrow's city could should and would offer its people far better easier healthier more convenient living closer to where people work shop and play.
If if we accept the simple mathematical fact that for most people urban living has to mean living close together. If we stop looking backward and dreaming that tomorrow's urban life could be more like yesterday's village life. If we give some governmental agency the responsibility of the authority and the money needed to coordinate and make sense out of today's chaos of conflicting urban and suburban planning and we could go on and on. But a point to remember is that however their pattern may change the reason and purpose of cities remains unchanged and unchangeable. The same today as in the railroad age the canal boat age and the stagecoach age to bring people together to bring people and businesses together for ease and variety of access and contact.
Special of the week
Issue 7-1969
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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