Topics: COG Board | Transportation | Environment | Community Planning | Public Safety
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Message from Executive Director David Robertson

The new Metropolitan Memo is replacing the Online Executive Director's Report as the monthly news and information source for COG members and stakeholders. It features a fresh design, covers recent action by COG's policy boards and committees, highlights new content on our web site, and links to media appearances and audio 'podcast' recordings by our elected officials. COG is dedicated to keeping regional leaders up-to-date on the issues that interest them most. We are also committed to greening our organization and reducing expenses. I'm confident the new Metropolitan Memo will help us achieve these goals.

COG Board of Directors

Regional leaders examine options for maximizing value of stimulus funds

At its March meeting the COG Board held one of the first regional discussions of the stimulus package, weighing options for getting the greatest return on the federal investment. The Board heard expert testimony from researchers and professionals on issues addressed in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that are of major importance to the metropolitan Washington region, including economic recovery, transportation, energy and climate change, and housing and community development. To read the full press release about the meeting, click here. To hear a podcast of Amy Liu, Deputy Director of Greater Washington Research at Brookings, and Margery Turner, Director of Research at The Urban Institute, discussing ways in which the metropolitan Washington region can maximize the value of federal stimulus funds, click here.

COG to launch online regional stimulus clearinghouse

COG will soon be launching an online regional clearinghouse for news and information regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Regional stimulus updates will become a regular feature of the Metropolitan Memo.

Area suburbs united with District in support of voting rights

The COG Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution calling on Congress to pass legislation establishing voting representation in the U.S. House of Representatives for the District of Columbia and reject the firearms amendment and any other unrelated amendments attached to it.  The COG resolution stated that the intent of the original voting rights bill was “to remedy a long-standing injustice affecting District of Columbia residents denying them equal representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.”  To read an article on ABC7 about the Board's action, click here. To read the full COG Board resolution, click here.

COG Annual Report/Regional Directory available online

This year, COG has combined its annual report with its directory of area government officials and agencies in order to reduce printing costs, save some trees, and provide its most valuable information in one place. To view the COG 2008 Annual Report/2009 Regional Directory online, click here. A printed version will be mailed to members soon.

Transportation

TPB amends its I-66 Decision

Members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted on March 18 to amend the action taken at their February 18 meeting by reinstating the I-66 spot improvements project in the regionís annual transportation plan update, while placing some conditions on moving forward with two of three of the improvements. To read the full press release, click here. To read a Washington Post article about the vote, click here.

COG/TPB members talk transportation on television appearances

Favola Zimmerman Lovain

A number of COG and TPB members made appearances on local news programs to discuss transportation-related stimulus projects in the region. To watch a video clip of Barbara Favola, Arlington County Board Chair, and Ron Kirby, Director of Transportation Planning at COG, on NewsChannel 8's NewsTalk discussing the potential impact of stimulus funds on the region, click here. TPB Members Chris Zimmerman, Arlington County Board Member, and Tim Lovain, Alexandria City Councilmember, also appeared on NewsTalk to discuss the region's lengthy commutes. Click here to watch the video clip of their appearance.

Environment

Green Affordable Housing Forum links two key regional issues

On March 3, COG, along with Enterprise Community Partners Inc. and a number of other sponsors, held a Green Affordable Housing Forum to discuss how local governments, nonprofits, and individuals can work together to build green in light of global climate change and expand affordable housing in the area. Speakers and panelists provided insightful comments and suggestions for dealing with these important issues. Click here to visit the Forum's Web site, which includes memorable quotes and statements from the event, links to download many of the presentations, exhibitor information, the event agenda, and more.

Community Planning

Housing Partnership releases new affordable housing advocacy toolkit

The Washington Area Housing Partnership (WAHP) released a new toolkit for affordable housing advocacy, "Raise the Roof: Advocacy for Affordable Housing," at a special workshop on February 19. The toolkit contains a range of materials to help educate community members, colleagues, and the general public about the importance of preserving and creating affordable housing in the region. For more information about the tooklit or WAHP, click here.

PSA highlights famous foster children

A public service announcement (PSA) approved by the COG Foster Care Committee aired throughout February on local radio stations to encourage area residents to become foster parents. The PSA, running during Black History Month, noted that famous African Americans, including Halle Berry, Malcolm X, and Eddie Murphy, were once in foster care. To view the text of the PSA and for more information, click here.

Public Safety

Regional road safety update

At its March meeting, the COG Board of Directors received a briefing by Kurt Erickson, President of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) on key findings of the “How Safe Are Our Roads?” report. Erickson said that the region should take pride in consistently being below the national average in terms of alcohol-related automobile crashes. The Board was also provided a new comparison of District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia road safety laws. To view the comparison chart (in PDF format), click here. To view the “How Safe Are Our Roads?” report, click here.

Outstanding Animal Services Professionals and Volunteers Honored

COG held its fifth annual Animal Services Award program honoring professionals and volunteers from across the region for their work in animal services. This year’s awards were sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States, The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Whole Foods Market, Dewberry, and The American Humane Association. For a list of the award winners, click here.

 The COG Podcast: Latest Episodes

COG Board Chairman's Address: Green Affordable Housing Forum | COG Board Chairman Penny Gross speaks about the Green Affordable Housing Forum, an event co-sponsored by COG that focused on how local governments, nonprofits, and individuals in the metropolitan Washington area can work together to help solve two major problems facing the region: the need to build green in light of global climate change, and the area's lack of affordable housing.

Researchers Discuss the Metropolitan Washington Region's Approach to the Stimulus | At the COG Board of Directors' March meeting, Amy Liu, Deputy Director of Greater Washington Research at Brookings, and Margery Turner, Director of Research at The Urban Institute, discussed ways in which the metropolitan Washington region can maximize the value of federal stimulus funds.

Click here to listen to these and other episodes of 'The COG Podcast'

 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. 

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