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Advisory Council plans agenda for coming months.

The NLC Advisory Council devoted a full day to the topic of "family-friendly communities" on Sunday, March 8 at the Congressional-City Conference in Washington, with a resulting decision on the focus of NLC's 1992 Futures Process.

Lottie Shackelford, director, city of Little Rock, Ark., who chairs the Advisory Council, led the all-day session. By the end of a day that included both a plenary session on families as well as the Advisory Council's own deliberations, Council members decided on the following points to structure the report that they will make to the Congress of Cities in late November, 1992. The Advisory Council report should:

[subsection] explore the definitions of "family" that now include many non-traditional aspects and that help explain why "family-friendly communities" are important;

[subsection] focus attention on city actions that prevent problems, including prevention of violence (in that connection, the Council stressed the important relationship of positive family images in the media, both in entertainment and in reporting);

[subsection] highlight the importance of broad-based collaboration on family issues throughout the whole community and strategies to involve families in the planning and implementation of family policies;

[subsection] emphasize the importance of federal and state policies that affect families.

Council members emphasized that all materials on this Futures topic should include practical examples of what works and how for the use of city officials.

The Advisory Council, composed of former NLC Board Members who are still in elected office, oversees the NLC Futures Process. Each year, NLC selects a Futures topic for a three-year effort that includes study, reporting, and action. Thus, at any given period, NLC's agenda includes action on the previous Futures topic, study and reporting on the current Futures topic, and planning for the next Futures focus.

The Council agreed with Ruth Messinger, Manhattan Borough President and last year's Advisory Council Chair, that the concept of diversity, the 1991 Futures topic, should be a part of all materials and actions on families and that the families focus should include policies that affect the families of municipal workers.

Adopted at the 1991 Congress of Cities as 1992's Futures issue at the recommendation of NLC First Vice President Don Fraser, the families topic received the attention of the Opening General Session at the Congressional-City Conference.

Kicked off by a video clip from a forthcoming Bill Moyers PBS special on families entitled "Families First," the plenary session also featured a panel of expert speakers moderated by ABC's White House Correspondent Ann Compton. Panelists included Advisory Council Chair Lottie Shackelford; Dr. Wendy Baldwin, deputy director, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Lisbeth Schorr, author of Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage; Council Member Thomas Owens of Overland Park, Kans.; and high school teacher and writer Patrick Welch of Alexandria, Va. Following the plenary session, the speakers met with the Advisory Council for discussion of families issues. In addition, Advisory Council members heard a presentation by Beth Boosalies Davis, 1992 President of Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) and Alderman from Evanston, Ill. Davis pointed out two conceptual frameworks for addressing the issues of children, families and women, based on issues that WIMG has dealt with: a strategy for creating a violence-free community, the core of WIMG's 1991 work plan; and an examination of caregiving throughout the life cycle of families, which is WIMG's work plan for this year.

The Advisory Council also heard presentations from representatives of the city of Rockville, Md., about ongoing efforts by their mayor and council to consider the impact on families in all policy making for the city. Rockville Council Member James F. Coyle and City Manager Bruce Romer both stressed the emphasis placed by the city officials on Rockville's being a city where families feel supported by city policies.

They cited such programs as an affordable housing approach through Rockville's accessory apartment ordinance; a recreation program for young, adult families; after-school recreation programs; parenting classes; zoning incentives for developers to include child care services in their projects; and an intergenerational program at a senior center operated by the city.

To reach their decision about structuring the 1992 Futures topic of families, Advisory Council members engaged in intensive discussions about what aspects of family-friendly communities should receive attention. Advisory Council Vice Chairs Hal Conklin, mayor pro tempore of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Mike D. Lindberg, Commissioner of Public Affairs in Portland, Ore., assisted Chair Lottie Shackelford in guiding the discussion.

The Advisory Council's recommended plan for its report will receive further attention at the Council's 1992 summer meeting in Portland, Ore., June 25-27.

In addition to the Chair and Vice Chairs, the following Council members attended and provided ideas and suggestions during the all-day session: Council Member Jane Baker, San Mateo, Calif.; Council Member Carolyn Long Banks, Atlanta, Ga.; Council Member Rose Besseman, Vancouver, Wash.; Mayor Margaret W. Carpenter, Thornton, Colo.; Mayor Stephen T. Cassano, Manchester, Conn.; Council Member Thomas J. Clark, Long Beach, Calif.; Joel Cogen, executive director and general counsel of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities; Councillor Beulah Coughenour, Indianapolis, Ind.; Mayor Joseph Daddona, Allentown, Pa.; Council Member Mary Davis, Atlanta, Ga.; Councilor Carol P. Day, Gorham, Maine; Mayor Ed Eilert, Overland Park, Kans.; Councilwoman June M. Eisland, Bronx, New York City; Assembly Member Heather Flynn, Anchorage, Alaska.; Council Member Daniel E. Griset, Santa Ana, Calif.; Councilman Jack Hebner, Spokane, Wash.; Mayor Karen Humphrey, Fresno, Calif.; Mayor Joe B. Jackson, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Mayor Patricia A. Killoren, Crestwood, Mo.; Mayor Dud Lastrapes, Lafayette, La.; Alderman Melissa Mershon, Louisville, Ky.; William A. Moyer, executive director, Oklahoma Municipal League; Mayor Adolf Olivas, Hamilton, Ohio; Council Member Bob Overstreet, Everett, Wash.; Council Member Joy Picus, Los Angeles, Calif.; Councilman John H. Rodriquez, Yuma, Ariz.; Mayor James Scheibel, St. Paul, Minn.; Council Member Archie Spigner, New York City; Town Administrator Burton Stallwood, Lincoln, R.I.; Council Member Donald Tucker, Newark, N.J.; and Mayor Avery C. Upchurch, Raleigh, N.C.
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Author:Stone, Mary N.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 16, 1992
Previous Article:Learning, lobbying highlight Congressional City Conference.
Next Article:Education task force gears up for action.

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