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Advisory Council meets to discuss cities in global competition.

The Advisory Council of the National League of Cities (NLC) met in Santa Barbara, Calif. June 24-26, to discuss the positioning of U.S. cities and towns in an increasingly international economic environment.

The goal of the meeting was to reach agreement on the guidelines for the 1993 Futures Report on "U.S. Cities and Towns in the Global Economy." The Futures Report will be released during the Congress of Cities meeting in Orlando later this year.

The council was chaired by Hal Conklin, councilmember and mayor pro tem from Santa Barbara. Vice Chairs Mayor Margaret Carpenter of Thornton, Col., and Fred Guerra, councilmember from San Marcus, Tex., joined Conklin in leading the Advisory Council's discussions of elected officials' pivotal leadership roles in enhancing local jurisdictions' ability to compete for their share of global markets. Also attending the meeting were Don Bornt, NLC's executive director and the Chair of the NLC International Municipal Consortium Larry Bakken, mayor of Golden Valley, Minn.

During their meeting in March, NLC Second Vice President Sharpe James, mayor of Newark, N.J., asked the Advisory Council to examine ways U.S. cities and towns can remain competitive in an international marketplace. He charged the Advisory Council with the task of "thinking globally and acting locally" in the development of strategies to strengthen local economic conditions throughout the nation.

The Santa Barbara meeting agenda was designed to promote provocative thinking about the globalization of the economy and how local economies are no longer influenced just by national trends but by international trends as well. "Nowwe [U.S. cities and towns] are in the process of stretching ourselves to become an international economy... where what happens in Taiwan and Indonesia... in the new European common market and the emerging former Soviet states... all of these will have a dramatic impact on how the economies of our communities function in the future and how we will provide services," stated Advisory Council Chair, Conklin as he reviewed the tasks that lay ahead in preparation for the final report as part of the 'NLC futures process.

Doug Brookman of Brookman, King Associates, Baltimore, Md., facilitated the groups' efforts as they worked to clarify and agree upon the structure of the information to be provided in the document. The two days of presentations and small- and full-group sessions, resulted in the finalization of the issues to be covered in the 1993 Futures Report.

Following are some of the key elements agreed upon by the Advisory Council during the

* Strategies--it is important for local elected officials to help identify where their jurisdictions are positioned in the global marketplace and where they want to go.

* Partnerships/Linkages--local elected officials are key players in establishing partnerships between the public and private sectors, educational institutions, the citizenry and others who will potentially be affected by a growing international economic environment.

* Resource Analysis--local elected leaders can identify their jurisdiction's assets and help develop ways to strengthen and market them.

* Regionalism--local elected officials can play a vital role in recognizing that it is not always possible for cities to "internationalize" on their own--in most cases it will be necessary for cities to "reach out" to each other and surrounding areas; it may also mean cutting across state boundaries.

* Education and the Workforce--the elected leadership can support vocational education programs, worker training programs offered by local businesses and other programs aimed at enhancing a community's ability to remain competitive in a global market through its workforce.

Presentations about activities in specific communities were made by John Curran, council-member from Rochester, N.Y. and member of the NLC Advisory Council; Jennifer Watson-Roberts, director of the Mayors' International Cabinet, Charlotte, N.C.; and Alvin Dupont, mayor of Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Following each presentation, a brief question and answer session was conducted leading to a key number of valuable lessons and insights for the report.

Professors Don Iannone, director of Economic Development Programs at Cleveland State University and Earl H. Fry, David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University were commisioned to prepare background papers for the meeting. Each was present to further refine their ideas and stimulate the group's discussion.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities Advisory Council
Author:Cheek, Dorothy; Barnes, William
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jul 5, 1993
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