The Politics of Establishing Urban Growth Areas in St. Claire Essay

Analysis of Policy Process Case Study #1 1) Official Actors * County Council Members * County Chair * Regional Growth Planning Council * Land Use Committee * Mayors (Cooperville and Vanish Ridge) * State’s Department of Growth Management Unofficial Actors * Citizens * Johnson & James Corporation (Land Developers) * Political Parties * City Councils (Cooperville and Vanish Ridge) * Media and other interest groups (possible Unofficial Actors) 2) Members voting for the Amended Interim UGA: Thorne is a member of the County Council’s Land Use Committee and one of the promoter of the two amendments applied to the original UGA. Also Thorne is very linked with development companies that are interested in expanding the urban area of the two cities. For this reasons Thorne is one of the main supporters of the Amended Interim UGA. * Ben Wetherley is not part of the Land Use Committee and has not any strong position or interest in the approval of the Interim UGA. In the past he developed a strong relationship with Thorne and they usually exchange votes on various issues.

For this reason Wetherley is going to vote what Thorne wants him to vote, which is in favor of the Amended Interim UGA. * Gerald Stern, like Thorne, has many allies between the land developers and business leader in the County, which are in favor of a larger UGA for the cities of Copperville and Vanish Ridge. During the public debate Stern supported both the amendment therefore is very likely to vote in favour of the Amended Interim UGA. Despite that he is less involved in the issue than Thorne, so his vote could change with future developments.

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Members voting against the Amended Interim UGA: * Jerry Fehrman is a longtime supporter of the Growth Management Planning Act (even If not a member of the County Council’s Land Use Committee) and an historical rival of Thorne. He already lost the support of the land developers but he is known between the people for balancing the interests of environmental protection and economic development. He is reliable and influential. During and after the debate he openly supported the original form of the UGA, therefor is very likely to vote against the Amended Interim UGA. Abby Gordon is a member of the County Council’s Land Use Committee and the only opposing member to the two amendments during the Land’s Use Committee meeting. Since she already opposed the two amendments in the past she will probably cast the same vote during the County Council meeting. Members without strong position on the issue: * Bill Culver is not part of the Committee and doesn’t have strong interest in the final decision, but is very likely to oppose the County Chair Victor Long and Thorne, both favorable to the amendments.

For these reasons is probable, but not sure, that Culver will vote in favor of the original UGA. * Charlene Simpson is a member of the County Council’s Land Use Committee but did not show up during the meeting when the amendment has been approved. She is historically known as a fervent ‘’no-growther’’ and the expansion of the Urban Area could be seen as a threat to her ideals, since she sees development and new jobs as evil. Despite she didn’t show any preference before, she will probably vote against the amendments. Ian Linsady is not particularly interested in growth management issues and usually rely on his three friends (Long, Stern and Fehrman) to take a decision. Since the opinions of her counselors are different is very hard to predict his decision. * David LeRoy is a member of the Land’s Use Committee but didn’t show any strong preference regarding the amendments. He voted in favor of that during the meeting and he has boundaries with the businessmen, so that puts him more in favor of the Amended Interim Agreement. 3) Given the position of each member it will be hard to predict a result.

Four of the members don’t have any particular interest in the result of the vote; therefor they can be influenced in different ways to refuse the amended version of the UGA. Bill Culver, for example, is historically against the County Chair. Since Victor Long has been lobbied by land developers to change the UGA in the past and is really interested to have it approved, remarking this to Culver could make him take a decision against the amended UGA. Charlene Simpson too could be convinced easily. She is a fervent ‘’no-growther’’ and the amended UGA is radically against her beliefs.

She can be convinced easily also with the help of environmental groups that, as unofficial actors, can lobby Mrs. Simpson and other members of the County Committee to reject the 2 amendments. Ian Linsday usually rely on other’s opinion for this kind of matters, but could be approached individually and convinced personally of the reasons why the amendments are not favorable for the future of the County. According to the description he is responsible and likes to have his idea clear before voting, so he will be willing to listen for sure.

Another important step is to find out if what the City Council of Vanish Ridge said during the open session is true. They declared that 2 of the members that voted for the amendment in their internal meeting are not part of the Council anymore, and that the larger urban area was a direct request of the Mayor with her own interest on the line. Using their testimony and spreading it through the County with the support of the media could cast a shadow on the honesty of the amendment, raising the awareness of the people on the issue and convincing the Committee to change their vote.

Also many residents had told Whtiman their desire to remain in a small town, even with an higher density of population, but with smaller boundaries. For this reason the reaction of the citizens is expected to be present. This could be particularly important to convince both Linsady and LeRoy that don’t have really peculiar interest in the matter. Especially LeRoy should be approached carefully since he already voted in favor of the amendments and looks biased to vote again in favor of the Amended Interim UGA.

If the media and popular support will be strong enough it could be possible to change his mind too. 4) In my opinion one of the most influencing members of the Council is Gerald Stern. He is one of the supporters of the amendments, but he is also knows as a nostalgic man that has seen during the years his boyhood hunting and fishing spot being swallowed by the urbanization of the county. Despite the fact that he has links with the developers the huge area requested by the two cities for urbanization can convince him of the necessity to adopt the first draft of the UGA.

Stern is respected and in good relationships with most of the members of the Committee, especially Ian Linsday that usually rely on him and Fehrman to take a decision. The best strategy in my opinion will be to approach him personally before the beginning of the discussion and then send some citizen worried about the environment to testify, showing how their rural area are threatened by the intensive urbanization that will take place if the amendments are approved.

After that it will be the turn of the Vanishing Ridge City Council to testify, with their argument against the Mayor’s amendment proposal. This too will convince Stern and probably makes other members of the council still undecided to rethink about the fairness and usefulness of the amendments. Facing reelection County Chair Victor Long could also be persuaded to support the original version of the UGA: he need the support of the developers, but mostly he need the support of the citizens.

Once the environmental groups and the media start supporting the original UGA, it will be necessary for long to take a position and support the electors. Basically the only interest about the amendments has been raised by the lobbying of the Land Developers that are interested in more developable area. Once is clear that the interest of the people and of the County are different it will be easier to convince Stern first and then Linsday and the other members to approve the original UGA.


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