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COG News - March 2011

COG Board Focuses on Improving Regional Incident Management

Phil AndrewsAt its March meeting, the COG Board of Directors created a committee to oversee a six-month action plan to improve response to snowstorms and other emergencies. The committee will be led by Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews, Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Council. The plan focuses on four areas: improving real-time information sharing among government agencies, improving information sharing with the media and public, improving regional coordination and decision-making, and examining best practices from across the U.S. and world. The COG Board will receive an implementation report in October 2011, in advance of the 2011-2012 winter season. To read the action plan, click here. To read the Washington Post article on the meeting and snow planning, click here. To view the ABC7 story on the meeting, click here.

COG Board Urges Congress to Honor Metro Funding Agreement

U.S. CongressThe COG Board of Directors sent a letter asking Congress to honor the federal-state agreement that provides $150 million a year in federal funding to Metro for capital and preventive maintenance, which is matched by the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The U.S. House of Representatives proposed Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011 eliminates this funding. In the letter, COG Chair Andrea Harrison said, "We cannot afford to jeopardize this federal-state agreement. For Metro to meet the needs of the federal government and our growing region, please maintain this vital funding in the FY 2011 appropriations." Fully funding the Metro agreement was one of the federal legislative priorities approved by the COG Board at its March meeting. To read the letter to Congress, click here. To read COG's 2011 Federal Legislative Priorities, click here.

COG Strategic Plan, Annual Report/Regional Directory Available for Download

2010 COG Annual ReportAt its February 2011 meeting, the COG Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan, which states Region Forward is COG's Vision and COG's Mission is to make Region Forward happen by being a discussion forum, expert resource, issue advocate, and catalyst for action. Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams, who served as Chair of the Strategic Plan Review Task Force, said this update to the plan "more clearly reflects the goals we want to achieve and the ways COG can help the region achieve them." COG's combined 2010 Annual Report and 2011 Regional Directory is also available to be downloaded on COG's web site. To view these publications, click here.

CAFN, Partners Launch New Bilingual Foreclosure Hotline, Discuss Outreach Strategies

Capital Area Foreclosure NetworkOn March 16, the Capital Area Foreclosure Network (CAFN) and the Housing Initiative Partnership, Inc. officially launched a new regional Spanish and English foreclosure prevention hotline. The hotline—888-794-8830—connects struggling homeowners and renters whose landlords are facing foreclosure with organizations that can provide them with free, personalized assistance. In its first week alone, after a featured story on Univision's local news broadcast, the hotline received over four hundred calls. On March 23, CAFN and the Urban Institute hosted a forum to discuss recent foreclosure data and best practices for reaching out to at-risk homeowners. For more information on the hotline and forum, click here.

Social Media Updates

Region ForwardDeborah Westbrooke, Executive Director of the Washington Sustainable Growth Alliance (formerly the Washington Smart Growth Alliance), explains how endorsing sustainable developments will help us meet the goals we've set for ourselves in Region Forward.

To read the post on the Region Forward blog, click here.

Upcoming COG Meetings/Events

Click title to view agenda and other information. To view the complete Events Calendar, including special events and meetings of policy and technical committees, click here.

April 8-9: Arrive Alive & Survive Public Safety Conference
April 13: COG Board of Directors
April 20: Transportation Planning Board

April 27: Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee
April 27: Regional Freight Forum: Identifying Regional Freight Transportation Priorities

About COG

For more than 50 years, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, known as COG, has helped develop solutions to issues of regional importance. COG is an independent, nonprofit association comprised of elected officials from 21 local governments, members of the Maryland and Virginia legislatures, and members of the U.S. Congress. The Metropolitan Memo is sent to COG’s membership of over 250 local, state and federal elected officials as well as regional stakeholders and citizens. To be added to the Metro Memo subscription list or make changes to your subscription, please contact Steve Kania.
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