Forums spark community problem-solving: five forums help shape discussions of regional problems.Sometimes what is obvious can produce innovations. The Day's editorial board adopted that philosophy this year to address major problems confronting southeastern Connecticut The Southeastern Connecticut region comprises, as the name suggests, the southeastern corner of the state of Connecticut. It is sometimes referred to as Greater New London or by the tourist slogan Mystic and More. .
For the past five years, our region has been in transition from a longtime dependence on military spending to a newer era of biotechnology, tourism, and major casino growth. Gary Farrugia, our editor and publisher (newly arrived from The Philadelphia Inquirer Philadelphia Inquirer
Morning newspaper, long one of the most influential dailies in the eastern U.S. Founded in 1847 as the Pennsylvania Inquirer, it took its present name c. 1860. It was a strong supporter of the Union in the American Civil War. ), believed that the newspaper could shape strong, effective discussions of regional problems, particularly concerning growth.
So in January, when the newspaper set its editorial agenda, we announced a series of five forums the newspaper would sponsor: downtown New London New London, city (1990 pop. 24,540), New London co., SE Conn., on the Thames River near its mouth on Long Island Sound; laid out 1646 by John Winthrop, inc. 1784. economic development, a regional water system, regional housing needs, transportation necessities, and home rule versus regionalism re·gion·al·ism
a. Political division of an area into partially autonomous regions.
b. Advocacy of such a political system.
2. Loyalty to the interests of a particular region.
We deliberately set realistic goals. We knew we must avoid being a participant in carrying out the plans that developed. But The Day also saw its responsibility to start the conversations and to encourage cooperation.
The forums were honest, objective attempts to address the facts, and they have succeeded beyond our expectations. We reported the discussions in the next day's papers, and we published special four-page Perspective sections the Sunday following each forum.
By conducting successful forums, we did in fact produce creative ideas. We brought people together who had not been a cohesive force in the past. And we helped develop candid (not threatening) conversations between long-standing adversaries.
The first forum on downtown New London gathered a variety of groups all working for a common purpose, but containing factions that had been at odds. Frankly, a lot of the people there (20 in all) didn't like each other. We helped to defuse de·fuse
tr.v. de·fused, de·fus·ing, de·fus·es
1. To remove the fuse from (an explosive device).
2. To make less dangerous, tense, or hostile: that problem by inviting the former mayor of Newburyport, Massachusetts , a successful small city, and a development program manager from Portsmouth, New Hampshire Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a city in Rockingham County, New Hampshire in the United States of America. It is the fourth-largest community in the county, with a population of 20,784 as of the 2000 census. , another city that's on the move.
We made it clear to the New London participants that this was not an attempt to say, "This is the way you have to do it," but rather to say, "Here's what they did and it worked."
The following week, I invited back the New London people -- including city officials, development group administrators, business people, developers, and historic preservation Historic preservation is the act of maintaining and repairing existing historic materials and the retention of a property's form as it has evolved over time. When considering the United States Department of Interior's interpretation: "Preservation calls for the existing form, organizations. The discussion went so well that the various parties met the next week on their own.
Bottom line: There is a better sense of cooperation as a result, and private investors are beginning to take a more serious look at New London. To a large extent, natural economic forces made possible that result, but our forums helped. Our housing forum run by associate editorial page editor Maura Casey made obvious how serious the shortage of affordable housing is. It also emphasized that economic growth cannot continue unless cities and suburbs plan together to provide housing.
This is the thorniest regional problem we have because each town has its own zoning regulations. The suburbs don't want lower-cost housing, and the cities believe they already have provided enough. We will continue to put special emphasis on this issue to encourage communities to develop housing that serves a broader mix of economic ranges.
When we turned to regional water problems, The Day's forum addressed an issue that deputy editorial page editor Greg Stone had been wrestling with for years. His recent editorials had urged better cooperation and coordination between warring factions in the regional water agency and the regional Council of Governments. In fact, the forum advanced ideas that expanded on how to make this happen.
The forum on home rule run by Casey made it clear that many towns have remained mired mire
1. An area of wet, soggy, muddy ground; a bog.
2. Deep slimy soil or mud.
3. A disadvantageous or difficult condition or situation: the mire of poverty.
v. in believing they are in charge of their destiny when, in fact, the role of the state is much greater. In between the two is an opportunity for cities and towns to come together to advance solutions to problems that, if well-prepared and strongly backed by the communities, may force solutions on the state.
Our last forum will deal with statewide and local transportation issues. One is the poor condition of Interstate 95, the main north/south road in New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. , which has begun to inhibit regional economic growth.
In exercising editorial page leadership, we have helped to shape regional discussions of major issues that will occupy center stage for years to come.
RELATED ARTICLE: New ideas "New Ideas" is the debut single by Scottish New Wave/Indie Rock act The Dykeenies. It was first released as a Double A-side with "Will It Happen Tonight?" on July 17, 2006. The band also recorded a video for the track.
Newsday runs an "Asides" column on its Second Editorial" page. The column consists of 100- to 200-word comments written by editorial writers. These are creative, well-written personal views, which run the gamut of topics.
The Cincinnati Enquirer En`quir´er
n. 1. See Inquirer.
Noun 1. enquirer - someone who asks a question
asker, inquirer, querier, questioner composes an annual "whine" list in which editorial writers sum up complaints that have cropped up through the year.
John Webster of the The Spokesman-Review in Spokane wanted more high-quality, issue-oriented letters. So he came up with the idea of setting up a database of hundreds of writers from e-mailed letters. When a topic comes up, he has the option of sending out e-mails to all or part of the group to see if anyone is interested in commenting. His "reader advisory network" has increased the flow and quality of letters.
NCEW NCEW National Conference of Editorial Writers member Morgan McGinley is editorial page editor of The Day in New London, Connecticut New London is a city and a port of entry on the northeast coast of the United States. It is located at the mouth of the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut.
New London was founded in 1646. , and a past president of NCEW E-mail him at email@example.com