Author Archives: Dan Malo

About Dan Malo

Dan graduated from the University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT), where he obtained a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. He completed a Planning & Development Internship with the Connecticut General Assembly in 2010 and in 2013, he was elected to his Town of Canterbury’s Planning & Zoning Commission, after sitting four years on appointment. He blogs for #TheGrid about local planning matters in New England and Eastern Connecticut's ‘Quiet Corner.’

CT’s Regionalization: Cost-Savings and Service Sharing

Originally published at Global Site Plans

connecticut-capitol

Unlike most of the United States, Connecticut has no system of county governance. While a regional, “county” government once existed (ceasing in 1960), it didn’t hold much power and had very few functions. Under the laws of the state constitution, 169 towns hold powers similar to that of a city and manage their own administration. To meet the cost-sharing, regional needs of local governments, Connecticut passed a law in 1947 “allowing two or more contiguous towns with planning commissions to form a regional planning authority.” The statute called for these regional planning authorities to be:

“Based on studies of physical, social, economic and governmental conditions and trends and shall be designed to promote with the greatest efficiency and economy the coordinated development of the region within its jurisdiction and the general welfare and prosperity of its people.”

In 1948 the first new regional planning authority, covering New Haven and a few of its suburbs began operation. Planning authorities would gain more importance in Connecticut in 1954 when new federal grants for projects in cities and regional areas became available, but required that administration be done by official regional agencies. Within twelve years of creation, New Haven’s Regional Planning Authority of the South Central Region served all of the towns in its region, fifteen in total. However, there were holdouts to regional planning authorities and a reluctance to mandate all towns to participate in one.

After the state outlined boundaries for fifteen different planning regions in 1957 in an attempt to make them “logical and economical,” there was often contention and negotiation about which planning region a town was allowed to belong to.  Before that legislation, town contiguity in a planning region could theoretically stretch across Connecticut. To encourage participation, incentives were offered, and in some cases, sanctions imposed. Very often, the state would mandate specific activities be regionalized, or perform the project planning itself, overriding the input of the non-participating towns.

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Two state-wide groups supplement the regional planning agencies and provide cities and towns with management and technical assistance, research, and lobbying efforts. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), founded in 1966; and Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST), founded in 1975, are governed by boards of elected officials of the member municipalities. CCM currently represents roughly 90% of Connecticut towns, and is a powerful lobby at the capitol. COST, represented by first selectmen, mayors and managers, has also been successful, writing and lobbying the legislation which established the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program.

Over time, three types of regional planning organizations have evolved under Connecticut General Statutes: the regional planning agency, the regional council of elected officials, and the newer regional councils of government (COGS), which provide cities and towns a wider ranges of services than the earlier regional planning agencies.  The state has recently consolidated the fifteen regional planning agencies into nine, as part of recommendations negotiated with CCM, COST, and the COGS. As of January 1, 2015, the municipalities within these nine regions must adopt local ordinances to join a single Regional Council of Governments in each of these nine regions.

How is regionalized planning approached where you live? What is the role of government?

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SA: Sex-Work In Lieu of Opportunity

Prostitution is not often a career choice, but an unfortunate opportunity. Seeking opportunity, people travel

Sex-workers travel and oftentimes foreigners come to dominate the local sex-markets. The issue of prostitution and the mitigation of AIDS in Southern Africa can’t be solved by any one country alone, when the issues cross borders. Thus far, an ‘international effort’ has failed to satisfactorily redress the root cause: opportunity. (borders?).


Namibian prostitutes fall short of earnings compared to their foreign counterparts

According to findings, Zimbabwean and Zambian street sex workers, with well-paying clients fare much better. A Zimbabwean sex worker, Violet Chigari (26): “It’s a fact that foreign girls make all the money in this country while Namibian girls simply don’t know how to.” All her fellow foreigners make good money because they deal with the ‘right clientele’ mostly comprised of high-profile personalities, such as local and international businessmen, as well as politicians.

When it comes to day-to-day operations, Violet points out foreign sex workers do not only run the streets but they own them. In her view, foreign prostitutes have better advantage because they are highly experienced and find it a lot easier to be prostitutes in a foreign country rather than back home: they do not worry about bumping into anyone they know.


This clip gives good coverage:


The Tropic of Capricorn 2 of 20 – Namibia – BBC Travel

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Grenada: Gairy, Bishop, Balance or Coup

PM Eric Matthew Gairy

Grenada PM Eric Matthew Gairy

Eric Gairy held the posts of Chief Minister in the Federation of the West Indies (1957-1962) and became prime minister of Grenada in 1967. During this period, the main opposition to the GULP came from the Grenada National Party (GNP). Gairy argued that Grenada should be granted its independence from Britain. Being a “puppet” for many years prior, it was feared that he would install himself as a dictator over Grenada if independence was dictated on his terms.

 Maurice Bishop meets the Grenadian people, in a still from Bruce Paddington's film Forward Ever.

Maurice Bishop meets the Grenadian people, in a still from Bruce Paddington’s film Forward Ever.

Maurice Bishop returned to Grenada in 1969 after studying law in England. Soon afterwards he helped form the Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP) and the Movement for the Advance of Community (MACE). In 1973 these organizations merged with Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation (JEWEL) to establish the New Jewel Movement (NJM).

In May 1973, Gairy visited London where it was agreed that Grenada would become independent in February, 1974. On 1st January 1974 the New Jewel Movement called a national strike and a Committee of 22 was established by the trade unions, civic organizations and the church to demonstrate against him Gairy.

Manifesto of the New Jewel Movement:
The people are being cheated and have been cheated for too long-cheated by both parties, for over twenty years. Nobody is asking what the people want. We suffer low wages and higher cost of living while the politicians get richer, live in bigger houses and drive around in even bigger cars. The government has done nothing to help people build decent houses; most people still have to walk miles to get water to drink after 22 years of politicians.

If we fall sick we catch hell to get quick and cheap medical treatment. Half of us can’t find steady work. The place is getting from bad to worse every day – except for the politicians (just look at how they dress and how they move around). The police are being used in politics these days and people are getting more and more blows from them. Government workers who don’t toe the Gairy line are getting fired left and right.

The government has no idea how to improve agriculture, how to set up industries, how to improve housing, health, education and general well-being of the people. They have no ideas for helping the people. All they know is how to take the people’s money for themselves, while the people scrape and scrunt for a living.

We believe that the main concern of us all is to (1) prevent the daily rise in prices of all our food and clothes and other essentials (it is unbelievable but that the price you can get for a pound of cocoa can’t buy a half-pound of fish) and (2) develop a concrete program for raising the standard of housing, living, education, health, food and recreation for all the people.

The present situation we face is that we are forced to live in jammed-up, rundown, unpainted houses without toilet and bath, without running water, very poor roads, overcrowded schools where our children can’t get a decent education … We can’t afford the cost of food to feed our children properly and this makes it easier for them to catch all kinds of illnesses. There are very few places near home for recreation. All we have is the rum shop to drown our troubles. It’s almost impossible to buy clothes or shoes these days. The prices are ridiculous.

On 21st January 1974, demonstrators were attacked by police. Several people were injured and Rupert Bishop, Maurice‘s father and the leader of the New Jewel Movement was killed.


_62889134_grenada_eric_gairy_bbcWe are now completely free, liberated, independent. In spite of a wicked, malicious, obstructive, destructive minority of noise-making self-publicists, God has heard our prayers. God has been merciful. God has triumphed.

Eric Gairy, speech 7th February 1974


Eric Gairy and his Grenada United Labour Party won the elections held on 7th November, 1976. However, opposition leaders complained that all election officials were members of GULP and that they had tampered with the voting papers.

The police and military would soon begin “counter insurgency” training from the Chilean Military.

Eric Gairy Prime Minister Eric Gairy of Grenada and President Jimmy Carter meet in the White House on September 9, 1977.

Eric Gairy and President Jimmy Carter meet in the White House on September 9, 1977.

United States State Department reported on the activities of Eric Gairy in 1978 and found that the formation of the infamous “Mongoose Gang” in the early 1970’s – law enforcement agencies outside the provision of the law of the state – was responsible for a series of unspeakable atrocities and terror campaigns against the Grenada citizenry. In 1979 a rumor circulated that Gairy planned to use his Gang to assassinate leaders of the New Jewel Movement while he was out of the country. On 13th March 1979, Maurice Bishop and the NJM took over the nation’s radio station and the rest of the country with the support of the people.

 “Sir Eric Gairy appealed to the US and British for help in capturing what he described as a ‘small group of Communists.'”  ON THIS DAY, 13th March 1979 – BBC

Influenced by the ideas of Marxists like Fidel CastroChe Guevara and Daniel Ortega, Maurice Bishop began establishing Workers’ Councils in Grenada. He received aid from the Soviet Union and Cuba and with this money constructed an aircraft runway to improve tourism. Bishop attempted to develop a good relationship with the United States and allowed private enterprise to continue on the island. His actions improved the welfare of the common Grenadian, and the country as a whole, with improvements across every social measure.

Maurice Bishop with Fidel Castro, 26 July, 1983

Maurice Bishop with Fidel Castro, 26 July, 1983

Bernard Coard, the Minister of Finance, disagreed with Bishops efforts, as did United States foreign policy objectives. On 19th October, with the support of the army, Minister Coard overthrew the government. Maurice Bishop and several others, including Unison Whiteman (Foreign Minister), Jacqueline Creft (Minister of Education and Women’s Affairs), Norris Bain (Minister of Housing) and Fitzroy Bain (President of the Agricultural and General Workers Union) were arrested and executed.

Reagan being apprised of the situation as the U.S. invasion of Grenada.


Maurice_Bishop-450x350

Democracy requires inequity and a reaction to it, representative of the Peoples resolve.

Q:How to avert loss of life in on the road to revolution
Q:How to protect self-interest and democratic outcomes in the aftermath

A?:Rule of law, reconciliation, civic reorganization, and popularization of civic involvement.

ideas from:
http://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/grenadians-seek-greater-political-participation-new-jewel-movement-1973-1979

Wilder, Ann Elizabeth. The Grenada Revolution Online: http://www.thegrenadarevolutiononline.com/gairya.html

Lewis, Patsy. excerpts: Social Policies in Grenada
Found Online: http://books.google.com/books?id=AMpGrBP507sC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=grenada+social+reforms&source=bl&ots=TyFt2v89dO&sig=9XWy0CWEq3qp816amWhkWJhqIN8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=0_ArUaG7BKKV0QHL-IHYAg&ved=0CHIQ6AEwCTgK#v=onepage&q&f=false

Ferguson, James. Grenada: Revolution in Reverse. Found online: http://dajialai.org/ziliao1/monthly%20review%20press/Grenada%20%20revolution%20in%20reverse%20%20James%20Ferguson.pdf

Williams, Dessima. Summary of Speech to United Nations, 1 October 2012. Found online:
http://gadebate.un.org/67/grenada

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Killingly Commons, 50 Years Ago

Aerial survey of the Killingly Commons area, 1965
(pre-madness)
Current: Google Maps (Dayville, CT)

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Intersection of Route 101 and unfinished 395, Dayville, CT

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LTE: Brooklyn & Killingly’s Obvious Needs

A letter to the editor (Norwich Bulletin)
In response to:
“Leaders say Brooklyn town study flawed” (August 24, 2013)

Brooklyn and Killingly have their share of “Suicide 6,” made more dangerous with every new traffic light, curb cut, and ‘stacked’ car. We have abandoned and partially deconstructed mills, while pallets of new bricks sit waiting for some new project (whatever it may be). We have historic family housing and a day care facility in East Brooklyn, vacant despite demand.

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Quinebaug Mill – Quebec Square “Historic District”

Our Quinebaug River Trail connects to nothing, and our best natural features are under overpasses or behind barbwire. We have costly, sports themed education facilities with no sidewalk approaches and our awkwardly placed goods and services force us to stare at a lack of cross traffic, seemingly in order for traffic to queue.

These observations didn’t require a study, multiple salaries, or a bureaucratic pipeline. They are apparent, obvious issues; in need of attention and vision. This multi-generational, irrational use of space has created a public nuisance on items once seen as public good. ‘Economic Development’ must abandon the notion that a new big box, liquor, or dollar store will fix our problems—rather, all it does is stack them up while ignoring the most pressing issues.

Daniel Malo – P&Z (Alternate), Town of Canterbury

Good read: Forbes – Do We Really Need 40,000 Dollar Stores?

*I think this LTE made me lose out on a couple jobs (watch who/how you criticize)

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SA/ZIM: Platinum Lined Land Issue

It’s more than just diamonds.

Platinum mining in South Africa accounts for three-quarters of the world’s platinum reserves.

Zimbabwe ranks third, after Russia.

Futures analysis/GRAPH

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Vacant Alexander Mill – Danielson, CT

Heartbreaking news. I testified against this proposal
Powdrell and Alexander Mill at 42 Maple St. has a new owner.

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From Vacant Alexander Mill – Danielson, CT, posted by Dan Malo on 5/15/2012 (30 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2


(Vacant Alexander Mill – Danielson, CT; 30 photos)

The Unfinished Quinebaug River Trail

Originally published at Global Site PlansQuinebaug River Trail through trees in the fall, Danielson, Connecticut

The Quinebaug River Trail* in the Danielson borough of Killingly, Connecticut is a well-maintained, 9ft. wide asphalt bike path that mostly parallels the Quinebaug River. It extends southward for approximately five miles, all the way to the Plainfield town line. From a certain standpoint, the path is a complete and a total success. While town planners might see their obligation to the trail as done, there is plenty to improve. This article’s criticism is in the spirit of addressing the longterm needs of this local prize.

The Quinebaug River Trail’s most commonly used parking lot, located on a curve, on a stretch of Route 12, near Route 6 and the Interstate off-ramp, is dangerous to enter and exit. Signs clearly remind you of a VERY DANGEROUS intersection, and it takes a good amount of time to be able to safely leave. Other lots exist, but this is the only one that puts you right on the trail without having to cross one of the busy roads mentioned above. Safer pedestrian crossings are necessary for those locations. Killingly may even want to reconsider this parking lot’s role as a trailhead/hub.

While this parking location is attached to youth baseball fields, they are dilapidated and adjacent to a waste water treatment plant. You must drive the entire length of the plant in order to reach the trail. Once at the parking lot, you face a chain-link fence and barbed wire, which surrounds an abandoned industrial operation next-door. It would be a coup for the trail if that land were to become available and remediated. My hope is that with completion of new ballfields just a mile away, that Killingly has something better in mind for this spot—at the very least, a safer entrance.

Route 12 Quinebaug River Trailhead, Danielson, Connecticut

Currently the southern trail abruptly ends, blocked off and diverting into a private (or semi-private?) cul-de-sac in the town of Plainfield. From Google Maps, a footpath is clearly seen continuing along the Quinebaug, but no trail construction is apparent. It would seem that any further trail construction is in the hands of the town of Plainfield. I intend to follow up on this matter with the town. On all of their maps, the East Coast Greenway Association shows a connection to both of these areas as ‘under development’. No timetable or project information is available.

If the trail were to be extended, two miles south of the cul-de-sac trailhead is the village of Wauregan, and another two miles downriver is the larger village, Moosup (both are villages of Plainfield).  Someday, the Quinebaug River Trail could provide a safe and convenient bicycle route connecting these places to Danielson. If trail spurs are within budget, Quinebaug Lake is ¼ mile away, and Old Furnace State Park lies just beyond that. Hopefully those connectivity considerations are not an oversight.

Do bike paths connect to destinations where you live? Would you bike more if they did? What recent bike improvements have been made where you live? Share your city’s stories in the comments below.

*This post discusses the “Southern Trail.”

Credits: Images by Dan Malo. Data linked to sources.

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The Diamond Deal: ZANU-PF & DeBeers

Zimbabwe:
Since 1980, ZANU-PF has managed a country rife with poverty.

Land is regarded as a chance at prosperity. Mugabe has long-promised land to the rural poor as part of his political platform. In 1998, he allowed for the hostile takeover of thousands of smallholder white-owned farms by ‘war veterans’ and squatters. This was in response to physical threats against him and the regime by a large mob which demanded land and recompense for their service to the party and the revolution. A payout of $222 million dollars was granted, but the President declared his hands tied on the subject of land.

Curiously, the largest white-owned plots, such as the Oppenheimer Estate—often referred to as “the size of Belgium” and owned by DeBeers heirs—received state protection. (BBC News, 2001) In the course of political navigation, President Mugabe allowed the Oppenheimers and Anglo American, (the parent company of DeBeers) to keep its properties in 2002. The mining conglomerate, operated out of South Africa, manages a complete monopoly on the global diamond trade.

The Oppenheimer’s also own large tracts of land that aren’t mined, and like their family estate in Zimbabwe, they negotiated to have their land ‘protected’ as nature preserves, where they offer safaris and game hunting to Western tourists. But for all purposes, they control the land they claim to conserve only because they are diamond rich, and it is in this manner, the Oppenheimers, DeBeers, and Anglo American control the supply and price of diamonds on the global market.

Nicky-Oppenheimer

Nicky Oppenheimer

The landholding is the result of buying out competition which could potentially introduce their diamonds into the global market. The myth of diamonds as ‘rare’ is DeBeers created, and it is well understood that there are alluvial diamond fields throughout southern Africa, and anywhere there is dormant volcanoes and superheated carbon. However, flooding the market would depress their bottom line. (Reynolds, 1994)

With the find of the Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe, Mugabe has found a means of leverage against Anglo American. If Zimbabwe were to nationalize their diamond industry, in a manner similar to neighboring Botswana, it could lead to revenue for the country, theoretically, to apply to public education, infrastructure, and health. Given the abundance of diamonds in the Zimbabwean soil, this action would depress the value of Anglo American’s diamonds.

ZANU-PF supervised “diamond rushes” in the region where hundreds of panners dig in competition, selling their finds to the government, before those methods received international sanction.  More recently, ZANU-PF has also contracted Chinese companies for more professional digs. To avoid sanctions and the label of “black market” or “blood diamonds,” the Zimbabwean diamond effort is forced to negotiate within a framework of trade controlled by DeBeers.

Since the beginning of “legal” Zimbabwean diamonds, ZANU-PF has managed this “Kimberly Process” under the eye of Obert Mpofu. From the Matabeleland region, a place where most supported the ZAPU party at independence, Mpofu changed his support to ZANU-PF in the 1980s. He entered politics, eventually being appointed Governor of Matabeleland by Mugabe in 2000.  Mpofu acquired transport and safari tour companies—facing accusations of smuggling and unsanctioned digging—and then land and banks, creating himself a diamond trade path similar to the origins of DeBeers, over a hundred years earlier.

Obert-Mpofu1-1

Obert Mpofu “The King of Matabeleland”

Since acquiring his position, Mpofu has himself become rich, investing in land. In western Zimbabwe, his holdings come second only to the Oppenheimer family, making him easily one of the top five landowners in the country. “Like many of his ZANU brethren…” Partnership Africa Canada notes “Mpofu built much of his wealth through “vulture capitalism”—a money for nothing appropriation of profitable businesses and/or assets that are later “legitimized” through normal business activity.” (Taylor, 2012)

Could this be a ploy of ZANU-PF to settle the land matter, by purchasing it with illegal diamond profits? It looks to be one man’s attempt at patronage, power, and riches. Mpofu is often described as owning half of Matabeleland , referring to himself as the “King of Matabeleland.” In addition to his land holdings, he is said to have the largest cattle herd in the country, and a “patronage network unparalleled by any of his political peers.” His wealth and ego began to intensify after the international sanctions on Zimbabwean diamonds were removed. He was appointed Minister of the Mines in 2009.

As guardian of the Marange diamond fields, Mpofu’s new wealth has been viewed with suspicion, as revenues to the state consistently fall short of projection, profoundly impacting national budget planning. Revenue transparency is practically non-existent in regards to this national resource. Missing money means breaks in that “breaks in that country’s internal controls, including the reality that there is an illegal, parallel trade underway.” (Taylor, 2012)

anglo-american-191b4a9fbb36c026f80c84dcbe81837bZANU-PF was allowed to reenter the global diamond market because they developed a Kimberly/DeBeers approved program to sell their diamonds.

However, this process does not protect against shrinkage and ‘shortfall’. ZANU-PF has also accumulated massive amounts of surplus, strong-arming the diamond industry into negotiations and contractual favors, as well as bribes.


The Oppenheimers maintain their millions of acres around southern Africa, a legacy of the family’s history in the global diamond empire. Mugabe remains President of Zimbabwe, and Mpofu, the King of Matabeleland.

A status quo. “There is a process of discussion between Nicky Oppenheimer and the Zimbabwean government,” according to an Oppenheimer family spokesman. “We don’t believe the seizure of land is imminent or on the agenda.” (Taylor, 2012) If confiscation were on the agenda, it would be high ranking ZANU-PF biting the hand that feeds them. It remains to be seen if Mugabe’s rhetoric will remain racialized, blaming the white farmer, when in fact, the issue lies with the multinational.

As a need for land exists, much of it goes fallow, and the farmworker unemployed. Coercion and violence by the gang-like organization managing the country has ruined the nation, as ZANU & DeBeers profit on a racist half-true fiction: the mythical land issue. 

REFERENCES:

BBC News. (2001, November 9). Zimbabwe clash with oppenheimer dynasty. BBC News. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1646977.stm

Chenault, K. (1998, February 15). A move to grab white owned land..may land mugabe in deep trouble. Bloomberg Businessweek, Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1998-02-15/a-move-to-grab-white-owned-land-dot-dot-dot-may-land-mugabe-in-deep-trouble-intl-edition

Reynolds, B. (Producer) (1994). The diamond empire [Television series episode]. In PBS Frontline. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4c1p_DMkIw

Martin, Alan and Bernard Taylor. (2012, November). Reap What You Sow: Greed and Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamond Fields. Partnership Africa Canada. Retrieved from http://www.swradioafrica.com/Documents/Reap%20What%20Sow%20a.pdf

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Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential

"African urban legislation is based on the 1947 UK Town and Country Planning Act, where the legitimacy of informal settlements is not considered. As a result, mass evictions and demolitions have occurred over the years, leading to rebuilding of structures or relocation of residents. Slumlords and politically connected individuals take advantage by settling people on public land and unused private land."

Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential for Urban Development in Nairobi
Pressed via: The Grid | Global Site Plans, Author: Constant Cap

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