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									                              The New Metropolitanism
                           Bridging the City-Suburb Divide?

        For those interested in the future of American cities, an increasingly important
question is how to bridge the political boundaries that separate city and suburban
communities. With phrases like “the succession of the successful” and “the balkanization
of America,” researchers have painted an increasingly gloomy portrait of a nation divided
between decaying inner cities plagued by poverty and unemployment, and fortress
suburbs engaged in “defensive localism”—the attempt to maintain their own standard of
living while avoiding encroaching social problems (Frey 1996, Reich 1991, Weir 1995).
David Rusk (1993), Myron Orfield (1997) and Anthony Downs (1994) among others
have argued that the health of metropolitan America depends on a regional approach to
problems that are currently viewed largely as urban rather than suburban problems.
However, given the disconnect between city and suburb in many metropolitan areas, the
question becomes how to achieve such a regional approach. This paper explores in
greater detail one potential area of increased cooperation in metropolitan America—land-
use policies designed to control urban sprawl.

Sprawl, Decline and Regionalism:

         Myron Orfield (1997) argues that residents of center cities and declining suburbs
who “are being directly harmed by an inefficient, wasteful, unfair system” represent “a
clear majority of the regional population” in every region of the country. Consequently,
once aware of their common interests, these areas can form a politically formidable
coalition in support of policies that benefit the region, not just outlying suburban areas.
In fact, some have seen the increasing attention paid to “smart growth” in state and local
elections and to “livability issues” in the presidential campaign as evidence of just such
increasing support for a regional approach to urban problems. Some argue that the recent
spate of anti-sprawl and land use ballot initiatives appearing on state and local ballots
around the country demonstrate the power of this new political issue to unite regions
around common concerns (Downs 1998, Katz 1998, Katz & Bernstein 1988, Myers
1999, Rusk 1998).

        Combating sprawl is an important goal for those interested in the fate of center
cities because it is the sprawling pattern of land development in the United States that is
seen as being at the root of urban decay and disinvestment in cities (Bradbury et al. 1982,
Jackson 1985, Nivola 1999). As commercial and residential development spreads
relentlessly out into the hinterlands of metropolitan areas, buildings and people remaining
in the core are left with few resources to contend with concentrated urban problems.
Furthermore, not only does this pattern of development draw people and investment away
from the center, it also absorbs regional resources in the form of infrastructure
development for the newly expanding areas. Rather than reinvesting in existing
infrastructure, the American metropolis has favored “starting over” as each successive
wave of suburbanization moves population further from the center. Consequently,
advocates of anti-sprawl measures see restrictions on development as a way to counteract
these trends and encourage higher density development and reinvestment in urban

        As sprawl has continued unabated, suburbanites are now also increasingly
experiencing the costs associated with this kind of development—massive traffic
congestion, lengthening commutes, poor air quality and loss of open spaces. It is the fact
that the costs of sprawl are no longer being born solely by cities which opens up the
possibility of regional and state coalitions in support of growth control and land
management measures. However, while at the same time that proponents of increased
city-suburb cooperation hail these proposals as evidence of increasing support for a
metropolitan agenda, politicians see support for these measures as a way to attract
suburban voters (Mcomber 1999, Purdum 1999). This raises important questions about
whose interests are served by these policies. Consequently, this paper assesses to what
extent these various anti-sprawl and land use measures represent an instance of suburb-
city cooperation. Does increased attention to urban sprawl and growth management
represent increased support for regional solutions to metropolitan-wide problems or a
continuation of patterns of suburban dominance in the distribution of costs and benefits
across metropolitan areas and regions?


        This paper focuses on ballot measures supporting “smart growth” policies that
appeared on a number of state ballots in November 1998. A number of commentators
pointed to the number and success of these measures as evidence of increasing support
for solutions to urban problems that transcend local government boundaries (Egan 1998,
Katz 1998, Myers 1999, Shepard 1998). Utilizing election information from the offices
of state secretaries and accounts of the political campaigns for and against the measure in
state and local newspapers, I examine twelve ballot measures in ten states: Alabama,
Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon,
Rhode Island.

        These twelve ballot measures are also examined by Myers (1999) of State
Resources Strategies, an environmental consulting group. However, her analysis pays
much less attention to the composition of political forces arrayed on either side of the
issue in each state and the consequences of these measures for regionalism. Instead, her
focus is primarily on the increasing number of such measures and their ability to address
environmental and conservation concerns. In addition, Myers identifies 13 relevant
ballot measures because she includes a measure in Arizona to repeal the state lottery
whose funds are partially used to finance environmental projects. However, since this
was not clearly a battle about land use, I focus on Arizona‟s land acquisition measure
which was at the center of discussions about curbing growth in the state.

        In this initial analysis of these state-wide measures, I address two related sets of
questions: First, what is generating support or opposition for them? How does this
correspond with hypotheses about what generates support for regionalism? And second,
are these anti-sprawl initiatives really examples of regional cooperation?
Do they represent an important step toward developing a regional perspective on urban
problems? I begin by identifying three hypotheses drawn from the literature on
regionalism about what increases the likelihood of successful regional cooperation. I will
then discuss in turn the shape and politics of the land-use measures in each of the ten
states where this issue appeared on the state-wide ballot in 1998.

When Do Regions Cooperate?

         Experience of urban ills: One of the arguments made about the future of central
cities is that as suburban areas begin to experience urban-like ills, the possibility of city-
suburban coalitions around a common metropolitan agenda emerges (Orfield 1997).
Indeed, much of the discussion about support for anti-sprawl measures suggests that their
popularity stems from the increasing frustration of suburbanites with traffic congestion
and loss of open spaces in metropolitan areas. In a 1991 survey of probable voters in
Santa Clara County, Gerston and Haas (1993) found widespread support for regional
government and regional approaches to solving air quality, traffic and housing problems.
They conclude that this surprisingly high level of support—surprising given previous
scholarly assessments of the public‟s receptiveness to regional governance—can be
explained by increased recognition of the mismatch between modern urban problems and
political boundaries. As the problems reach the necessary “threshold of dissatisfaction,”
citizens become increasingly willing to trade some measure of local control for regional
coordination that may actually lead to effective solutions to urban ills (163).

         Certainly, the argument is convincing that as older suburbs come to experience
some of the problems usually associated with cities, we can expect their residents and
representatives to become more supportive of programs and policies that promise to
alleviate these problems. The strategy of escaping both the problems of the city and the
costs of solving them by moving to the suburbs is no longer such an attractive strategy
when the suburbs themselves begin to experience urban decay. As suburban residents
experience similar problems, a group powerful enough to push for government
involvement in the solving of these formerly city-problems can come into being. Much
statistical analysis may already demonstrate the interconnectedness of suburban areas
with their city, but much more persuasive for suburban residents will be the experience of
city-type woes in their own backyards.1

 For demonstrations of the interconnectedness of cities and suburbs, see: Hill, E. et al. (1995), Savitch,
H.V. et al. (1992).
         No one, however, expects the development of this regional perspective to be easy.
Despite his ultimate optimism about the potential for uniting the central cities and inner-
ring suburbs in support of metropolitan-wide tax-base sharing and fair housing policies,
Orfield acknowledges the intensive effort required to build and maintain the coalition
with inner suburbs who "are not powerfully disposed to believe that an alliance with their
previous enemy is either wise or politically expedient” (1997, 38). Orfield himself
describes the initial reluctance of public officials from declining suburban areas to see
their fates as linked with residents in the city. As long as people remain geographically
isolated, the recognition of common interests will be neither easy nor automatic.

         Similarly, in a less optimistic discussion of both the need to bridge the political
divide between cities and suburbs and the available means for doing so, Anthony Downs
(1994) describes the difficulties inherent in convincing suburbanites that they should
support measures to ensure that governments take into account the interests of the entire
region, not just their particular jurisdiction. For most suburban residents, he argues, “the
most vital remaining links [between city and suburb] are not apparent on a daily basis.”
Consequently, the key to successful reforms is the development among suburbanites of
“strong feelings of, or rational commitments to, social and political solidarity with central
cities” (204). Downs himself, however, seems less than optimistic about the likelihood
of this occurring—underscoring the traditional weakness of mediating institutions in the
United States and the tendency of the media to focus on inner-city problems thus further
alienating suburban residents of the area.

        Previous Experience with Regional Cooperation: Baldassare (1994) suggests
that support for regional governance in Northern California may have less to do with
reaching a threshold level of urban problems associated with metropolitan coordination
and may have more to do with features unique to this area of the state. Importantly, he
suggests that prior positive experience with regional agencies in the San Francisco Bay
Area explain this region‟s greater support for cooperation than in the Los Angeles area
where there have been “few positive experiences with regional agencies” (1994, 283).

         In addition, surveys of local government officials in California and Virginia,
suggest that experience with regional involvement in certain issues may facilitate later
and deeper attempts at regional cooperation (Baldassare et al. 1996, Julnes & Pindur
1994). Baldasssare et al. (1996), for example, argue that experience with system
maintenance functions and environmental issues can lead to support for a more general
regional body (1996). Similarly, Paul G. Lewis (1996) argues that Portland‟s Metro was
given “more controversial and weighty responsibilities” once it had demonstrated its
ability to deal with issues perceived in “positive-sum terms by local residents and elected
officials” (220).

       Types of Issues: Oliver P. Williams (1967) argues that in order to understand
metropolitan politics, it is important to distinguish between life-style values and system
maintenance mechanisms. Life style values “depend upon location for their realization,”
and a key to the maintenance of these values is “homogeneous and complimentary
groupings” (204). The examples of life style values that Williams provides include such
things as schools, parks, friendly neighbors and a short commute. According to
Williams, localities are generally reluctant to accept regional coordination around the
provision of these services. Sometimes, however, localities are forced to recognize that
their continuing life-style values require the regional provision of certain system
maintenance mechanisms. Examples of system maintenance functions include telephone
systems and highways. From necessity, localities “accept, and at times encourage,
integration of system maintenance services” (206). However, at times, these system
maintenance services—necessary for the maintenance of life style values in most
localities—threaten the life-style values of a few communities in the cause of preserving
life-style values in most. So, for example, highway construction may require the
destruction of a few existing communities in order to benefit the remaining communities.
Consequently, despite the increased willingness to accept coordination in the provision of
these services, they are not without controversy or political battles.

        Recent attention to the way in which different issues elicit differing degrees of
support for regionalism support this argument. In analysis of support for regional
governance among city planning directors, Mark Baldassare et al. (1996) and Kanerek &
Baldassare (1996) demonstrate that much more support for regional governance exists
when the issues as stake are system maintenance functions—public transit, solid waste
and trash disposal, for example. Support for regional government involvement in life-
style services—parks, schools and police, for example—remains low.

        Julnes and Pindur (1994) make a somewhat different argument about the way in
which support for regional cooperation varies depending on the issues involved. They
find that with local issues whose resolution improves circumstances for all (fire
protection for example), officials favor a weak regional organization offering only a
coordination role. Because local officials expect to be able to reach an agreement that
satisfies everyone, the need for a stronger regional organization is not seen. With more
contentious issues like waste disposal, however, they find that local officials support
creation of a stronger regional organization—service provision not just coordination.
Because a mutually satisfactory outcome is expected to be harder to find, officials see the
need for an organization which can not only make but also enforce decisions. In
addition, Julnes and Pindur also find that support for a stronger regional organization
increases in the aftermath of previous efforts at regional coordination—for example,
receiving technical assistance from a regional entity fosters trust and regional thinking
which can be used later to build support for more comprehensive regional organizations.

Statewide Ballot Measures:

        The following are the 1998 statewide ballot measures dealing with land use, urban
sprawl and open land preservation. These state measures were often mentioned in
accounts of the increasing attention being paid to the issue of growth. In addition, these
are 12 of the 13 state measures identified by Phyllis Myers (1999) as representing
“livability at the ballot box.” In this section of the paper, I look briefly at each of the
state measures to understand what they proposed to do, how they proposed to do it and
what forces were arrayed in support and opposition. Four of the twelve measures
failed—in one instance (Oregon), however, that failure represented success for pro-land
control forces. In another instance (Arizona), success arguably represented a loss for pro-
land control forces.2

Losses for Proponents of State Land-Use Control:

        Georgia: This ballot measure proposed an increase in the real estate transfer tax
from $1 to $2 per every $1,000 in order to fund creation of a Land, Water, Wildlife, and
Recreation Heritage Fund. Money from this fund could then be used to buy and preserve
undeveloped state land. Initially, the measure appeared to have a good deal of support,
not only from environmental groups like the Georgia Conservancy, the Nature
Conservancy of Georgia, the Georgia Wildlife Federation, the Upper Chattahoochee
Riverkeeper, the Trust for Public Lands, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, but
also bipartisan political support from Republican leaders in the state legislature, the
Democratic Governor Zell Miller and the former Democratic president Jimmy Carter
(Seabrook 1998). In addition, supporters had $1.5 million to spend on television
advertising and mass mailings, in contrast to the $150,000 spent by opponents of the
measure (Rankin 1998).

        Opposition was primarily organized by the Georgia Association of Realtors.
However, closer to the election, the Republican candidate for governor also joined his
voice to those opposing the measure—arguing that the Democratic candidate‟s support
for the measure represented support for the “largest property tax increase in history”
(Atlanta Journal 1998). In general, the opposition maintained throughout that they were
not opposed to the intent of the legislation—this seems to indicate the sense that
frustration with the impact of urban sprawl, particularly in the Atlanta area, predisposed
voters to support measures aimed at preserving the state‟s remaining undeveloped lands
(Atlanta Journal 1998, Saporta 1999). Instead, as the comments of the candidate for
governor reveal, they based their opposition on the argument that this measure
represented an unnecessary and unfair tax increase. For example, the president of the
Realtor group was quoted in the Atlanta paper saying “This is a tax increase, nothing
more, nothing less….It‟s a tax increase to pay for a government-run conservation
program” (Seabrook 1998).

        In the aftermath of the electoral defeat of the measure 53% to 47%, the campaign
manager for the measure told the Atlanta Journal “It‟s difficult to pass a ballot initiative
that says „tax‟ twice in it” (Rankin 1998). However, the defeat of the measure came as a
surprise, and was seen as a major disappointment for anti-sprawl activists around the
country (Shepard 1998).

    Myers, however, counts this among the wins for conservation interests (1999).
         New Mexico: The two bond measures in New Mexico that dealt with land use
both failed to pass. Bond C which authorized the sale of general obligation bonds (up to
$620,000) to fund the purchase of environmentally sensitive land lost by 48% to 52%.
The money raised by this bond would have gone to an existing program that allowed the
state to buy “ecologically significant” land—with the state contributing 90% of the
money and the Nature Conservancy contributing the remaining 10% (Taugher 1998).

        Bond measure D was narrower in intent, authorizing the sale of bonds up to $1.03
million in order to fund the creation of the El Camino Real Heritage Center which would
“commemorate the trade route established by the Spaniards to travel between Mexico to
what is now New Mexico” (Taugher 1998). This measure lost by 35% to 65% of the

        From the election-time coverage of these bond issues, it is unclear why exactly
they failed. The three other bond measures on the ballot, authorizing the sale of bonds to
fund improvements in education, senior centers and police radio systems, all passed.
Perhaps the fact that increases in property taxes would be used to pay off the bonds
helped persuade voters that they needed to vote against some of the ballot measures.
State finance officials were quoted as saying that if all five statewide bond measures
passed, homeowners could expect to see their property taxes increase over the next
decade (Taugher 1998).

         Arizona: Proposition 303 passed by 60.5% to 39.5% . The proposition set aside
$220 million ($20 million annually for 11 years) from the state‟s general fund to help
localities and non-profit groups buy state trust lands. Currently about 9 million acres are
managed by the state with the mandate to sell parcels of the land to the highest bidders
and use the profits to fund education. This bond measure aimed to assist purchasers who
want to preserve rather than develop the land. Those purchasing the land are required to
commit matching funds in order to qualify for state money (Ingley 1998a, Ingley 1998b,
Nachtigal 1998a).

        However, despite the fact that the measure provides money to preserve
undeveloped lands, the proposition cannot be viewed as a clear win for anti-urban sprawl
activists. The proposition also includes a prohibition on state requirements that localities
enact growth boundaries. Given that growth boundaries are seen as an important tool for
containing urban sprawl and managing development, this was seen as a powerful
concession to developers. On the other hand, some supporters of the proposition argued
that this represented the first sustained conversation about urban sprawl in Arizona, a
significant achievement in itself, and that the proposition did not prohibit localities from
enacting their own growth boundaries. Rather, it limits the ability of the state to mandate
boundaries (Nachtigal 1998a, Dougherty 1998).

         While the money to acquire land was enough to attract the support of some
environmental interests, the Sierra Club refused to support the legislation, arguing that
restrictions on mandating local growth control measures was too high a price to pay for
the promise of only $20 million a year for land acquisition—particularly considering that
the measure contained no guarantees that the legislature would actually allocate that
much each year for the next 11 years. In fact, much of the funding and support for the
proposition came from business and development interests, although a number of smaller
conservation groups did sign on as well (Nachtigal 1998a, Dougherty 1998). The
supporters of Proposition 303 raised over $750,000 drawn from many corporate
contributors while the Sierra Club provided only $25,000 for the campaing against the
measure (Davenport 1998).

        The proposition is part of a package of legislation introduced by Governor Hull
called Smart Growth. The whole smart growth enterprise was seen as a reaction to the
attempts by the Sierra Club and others to get a much more stringent growth control
measure on the ballot that would have introduced growth boundaries and controls around
the state. The Sierra Club failed to collect enough signatures in time to get the initiative
on the ballot, but the effort encouraged opponents of these strict controls to try to assuage
the public‟s exasperation with the negative externalities of sprawl with a less stringent
measure (Nachtigal 1998, Dougherty 1998). The Sierra Club is now trying to get its own
growth control proposition on the 2000 ballot (Nachtigal 1998b).

Wins for Proponents of State Land-Use Control:

       Florida: This amendment which passed by a substantial margin—72% to 28%--
extended the existing authority of the state to sell revenue bonds to fund the purchase of
environmentally sensitive land under the state‟s Preservation 2000 land acquisition
program. In addition, the amendment also limited the ability to resell land acquired under
the program by requiring approval of two-thirds of the executive board before a state
agency can return land to private developers.

        In general, opposition to the ballot measure appears to have been fairly muted,
with candidates for governor from both parties expressing equivalent levels of support. A
coalition of environmental groups put together a $1 million campaign to promote the
measure, and one of their main concerns appeared to be not that opponents would
convince voters the measure was a bad law but that the number of amendments on the
ballot and the complexity of their language would lead confused voters to vote no
reflexively (Zaneski 1998). In part the amendment‟s complexity was attributable to the
fact that it included another provision unrelated to land preservation—the merging of two
existing environmental agencies charged with protecting fish and wildlife in the state.

        Perhaps another reason for the relative lack of controversy surrounding the
amendment was that it fit with an extensive history of government involvement in
protection of open space in Florida, beginning with a program to buy parkland in 1964
and ending with the current Preservation 2000 program (Zaneski 1998). This measure
extended authority to issue bonds that already existed through 2013 (Miami Herald
        New Jersey: In the state which defines “urban sprawl” in the popular
imagination, this ballot measure provided for spending $98 million every year over the
next 10 years on the preservation of open space, farmland and historic sites. It passed
with 66% to 34% of the vote. The $98 million annually is to come from the existing pool
of state sales tax revenue—the amendment did not involve the raising of additional funds
to finance the program of land acquisition.

         Consequently, unlike in Georgia, the issue of increased taxes was not a potential
problem for maintaining political support for the amendment. Governor Whitman had
initially proposed financing the measure through an increase in the gasoline tax, but
rethought this proposal in the face of anti-tax criticism. However, a number of localities
and counties had companion measures on the ballot to raise local taxes in order to finance
land acquisition—many of which passed (Garbarine 1998, The Record 1998).
Apparently voters are willing to increase their taxes in the local arena for this targeted
purpose—even if they were not willing to do so on a state-wide basis.

        Some commentary suggested that support in the urban centers was weaker than in
suburban and more rural areas (Peterson 1998). However, a look at the election returns
broken down by county reveals fairly consistent support across the entire state. Leading
up to the election, support came from not only conservation groups but also politicians
from both the Democratic and Republican parties. In addition, construction interests in
the state chose not to organize in opposition to the measure, explaining that they expected
the funds to be used to acquire environmentally sensitive lands which were already
effectively closed to development (Ruderman 1998). This suggests that in part the real
political controversy surrounding the amendment will kick in when recommendations are
made about which pieces of land and historical sites merit purchase (Peterson 1998).

       Despite the generally bipartisan support for the amendment, one prominent
Democrat, former Governor Florio, raised objections about the financing mechanism--
arguing that, because the measure is paid for out of existing state revenues, other state
programs will inevitably have to be cut. This argument that dedicating existing state
funds to this program will inevitably lead to future spending cuts or tax increases
appeared to be one of the main arguments against the measure (League of Women Voters
of New Jersey Education Fund).

        Alabama: This ballot measure which passed by 74% to 26% authorized the sale
of general obligation bonds (up to $110 million) to fund renovation and acquisition of
state parks and historical sites.

        As suggested by its large margin of victory, the measure appears to have had
wide-spread support. Again, voters seemed to support the idea of improvements to parks,
particularly when this did not entail being asked to pay more in taxes. The Montgomery
Advertiser (1998) did recommend a “no” vote on the measure but this was because they
were concerned by language in the amendment which authorized spending the money not
only on improving and renovating existing parks but also on acquiring new park lands.
They argued that since the state was currently not spending enough to maintain its
existing parks, the amendment should not have a potentially generous acquisition

        Michigan: Proposal C, as it was called, authorized the sale of bonds up to $675
million dollars to fund a number of different environmental and natural resource
protection programs. The measure was approved by 63% to 37% of the electorate. This
outcome was not a surprise given the widespread and bipartisan support for the measure.
Republican governor Engler and Republican Senator Spencer Abraham were strong
supporters, as were the Democratic Mayor of Detroit and other prominent Democrats
from the state legislature. Environmental groups like the Michigan Environmental
Council supported the measure, in addition to business groups, who raised over $2
million to fund a campaign for passage of the initiative (Hornbeck 1998, Lane 1998). In
contrast, opposition was unorganized and no money was spent on advertising to defeat
the proposal (Hornbeck 1998).

        Some criticism of the measure did come from those who still ultimately favored
passage of the amendment, and their criticisms may help explain why both Democrats
and Republicans as well as environmental groups and business were ultimately
supportive of the legislation—everyone got something. Some environmentalists
complained that by funding pollution clean-up through government issued bonds,
polluters were being let off the hook for paying for problems they created. Those
concerned with urban issues argued that the $335 million to pay for cleaning up
brownfields (polluted industrial sites primarily located in cities) was being bought with
$200 billion in "pork barrel” projects like clean water drinking programs and waterfront
development. In addition, the amendment was criticized for not addressing issues of
urban sprawl more directly (Hornbeck 1998).

        Rhode Island: This ballot measure authorized selling general obligation bonds to
pay for land acquisition to preserve open space ($5 million) and to provide funds for
creating bike paths and recreational greenways ($10 million). The measure passed by
68% to 32% which was about the same percentage of victory as for the two other bond
measures on the ballot (which raised money for education and transportation). All three
measures appear to have been relatively uncontroversial with no organized opposition
reported (Andrews 1998). Again, voters were not being asked to pay more in taxes to
support land acquisition.

       Minnesota: This measure in Minnesota authorized continuation of the
Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund which under current law expires in
December 2000. The trust fund which pays for preservation of environmentally sensitive
lands and other environmental projects is funded out of proceeds from the state lottery.
The passage of this amendment ensured that the fund would continue to receive 40% of
the net proceeds from the lottery (Meersman 1998).

        The measure was widely supported and passed by a significant margin of
support—77% to 23%. This high level of support was similar to that demonstrated when
the original measure to create the trust fund appeared on the ballot in 1988 and won 77%
of the vote (Star Tribune 1998). Again, funding issues become important here when
considering support for state action. The original trust fund measure did not specify a
funding source. Only after the state lottery was created two years later was it decided
how the fund would be financed. Consequently, the opposition that did exist to this new
ballot measure appeared to be rooted in opposition to the lottery, not in opposition to the
fund. Opponents of the lottery argued that dedicating lottery funds makes it more
difficult ultimately to repeal the lottery because repeal of the lottery also means cutting
any programs receiving dedicated funds. In addition, they argued that the dedication of
funds means the state is no longer free to use the money in the future if some more
pressing need develops (Doyle 1998).

         Oregon: Two measures related to land use appeared on the Oregon ballot. The
first created procedures for challenging administrative rules and requesting that the
legislature review and vote on them. Prominent backers of the measure were people who
oppose Oregon‟s land use laws and saw this as a way to attack those laws since they
depend heavily on administrative rule making (The Bulletin 1998). In addition, groups
like the American Association of Retired Person and Planned Parenthood opposed the
measure because, they argued, it would allow many public health and safety rules to be
overturned (State of Oregon Election Guide 1998). The measure lost 48% to 52%.

        The second measure asked for a 15% set aside of lottery funds to preserve state
parks and “protect watersheds for salmon and wildlife.” The measure appeared to
generate wide spread support and won 67% of the vote. As with the similar measure in
Minnesota, the main source of opposition seemed to come from those opposed not to
environmental spending but from those who disapprove of using lottery funds to
supplement general revenue (LaBounty 1998). In fact, this was the only argument
against the measure to appear in the official state voting guide. The Democratic governor
was against measure for these reasons, arguing that the state should not rely on lottery
money for operating funds (LaBounty 1998).


What explains support and opposition for these measures?

       The variation among these twelve state-wide initiatives in terms of their scope and
aim can make generalizations hard to draw. However, it is possible to unearth some
common themes. For this portion of the analysis, I return to the three sets of hypotheses
about what increases support for regional coordination that were discussed earlier in the

       Extent of the problem: In a number of states, the extent to which urban sprawl
has come to characterize the landscape and the extent to which sprawl is beginning to
negatively impact the quality of life for suburban residents clearly played a role in
generating support for measures regulating land use and/or restricting development of
open spaces. For example, New Jersey‟s status as the most densely populated state in
the country was an important factor in generating support for the bond initiative to
finance open land, farmland and historic site acquisition.

        Similarly, the fact that Arizona is the fastest growing state in the country also
figured prominently in discussions of Proposition 303. While the measure, according to
some, serves development interests more than anti-sprawl interests, the fact that
developers felt threatened enough by the stronger Sierra Club measure to introduce their
own proposal is significant. This seems to attest to their belief about the extent to which
suburban voters, suffering the ill effects of sprawl, are willing to support measures to
control growth. On the other hand, Georgia is also experiencing rapid growth and the ill
effects of suburban sprawl, and this was apparently not enough to convince Georgia
voters to support a tax increase to finance acquisition of undeveloped land.

        Previous history: Perhaps one issue in Georgia that made this proposal a harder
sell was that there was no history of such an approach to land preservation. In fact,
among comparable southeastern states, Georgia ranks near the bottom in terms of the
percentage of land under state protection (Seabrook 1998). In contrast, voters in New
Jersey had, beginning in the 1960s, previously demonstrated support for state land
acquisition efforts. In both Florida and Minnesota, the ballot measures extended existing
state powers to finance land acquisition rather than introducing entirely new programs.
Similarly Oregon‟s twenty year history of relatively strong growth control policies is well
documented (Lewis 1996).

        In terms of the influence of history, another way in which to view these ballot
measures is in the context of arguments about how early minimal efforts at regional
cooperation can pave the way for a more comprehensive regionalism later. Certainly,
this was the hope expressed in Arizona by those who conceded that Proposition 303 was
less than perfect as a tool to control sprawl but argued none the less that it represented a
beginning for what was expected to be an extended conversation about the future of
development in the state. Similarly, those on the side of the defeated proposal in Georgia
expected to continue fighting for the establishment of land control measures.

        Type of issues: While parks are life-style issues rather than system maintenance
issues, most of these statewide initiatives did not reflect attempts at supra-local control of
parks and open spaces. Rather they offer the promise of state money to preserve local
land from development. While these measures are often promoted and discussed in the
context of “solving urban ills,” most of them are fairly narrowly focused on preserving
“environmentally sensitive” land. While supporters often present these measures as
necessary steps toward more rational regional planning, none of the measures actually
call for any consideration of potentially more controversial regional planning issues such
as low-income housing provision or revenue sharing. Arguably, once state efforts at
controlling growth move beyond environmental protection, support at the ballot box may
be harder to find.

        Supporting this notion that the success of these ballot measures is related to the
fact that they do not ask localities to make difficult trade-offs between competing goals or
to shoulder part of the cost of regional development patterns is the issue of financing.
The successful ballot measures either sold bonds to finance land acquisition and
environmental projects (Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Rhode Island) or tapped into lottery
funds (Minnesota, Oregon). In New Jersey, for example, the original idea for funding was
a gas tax increase, but this was quickly withdrawn in the face of strong anti-tax
sentiment. At the same time, a number of localities in New Jersey did vote to increase
their property taxes to help finance local efforts at land acquisition. However, this
willingness to pay more to buy open land in your own locality is hardly evidence of
support for a sharing of regional burdens.

        In the one state where the program to preserve open space would have been
funded directly by a tax increase—Georgia—the measure failed to pass, despite initially
favorable reaction from voters. In addition, in New Mexico where the issuing of bonds
was explicitly linked to future increases in property taxes, the two conservation measures
also failed to pass.

Are they examples of real (or potential) regional cooperation?

         These state wide ballot measures do not purport to create regional governments,
but those who have greeted the arrival of these proposals on state ballots with enthusiasm
have suggested that they signal an increasing acceptance of the idea that solutions to
urban problems need to be coordinated by a level of government that bridges individual
localities. They seem to suggest a recognition that state level rules have a powerful ability
to impact the decision-making of local governments with important regional
consequences. Perhaps experience with state-level involvement in land-use will also lead
to increased willingness to accept the legitimacy of state level involvement in shaping
regional agendas more generally.

        However, this survey of the various 1998 state ballot measures regulating land use
casts serious doubt on this theory. First, none of these ballot measures required voters to
accept difficult trade-offs between open space preservation and other important values.
To the extent that there appeared to be any state-wide costs to be born in exchange for
land preservation, the ballot measures were defeated. Voters appear to favor land
preservation as long as no tax increase is involved.
        Second, to the extent that the preservation of open space is the lone goal of these
measures, arguments in favor of them are often indistinguishable from arguments in favor
of other measures that are part of the exclusionary history of suburbia: maintaining open
spaces increases the value of surrounding land and helps preserve property values.

       Third, while halting development in outlaying areas may help center cities
because less money is being spent on building roads and sewer lines, the fact that these
land acquisition programs are often being funded out of existing state revenue raises an
important question. When state budgets again come under fiscal pressure, which state
programs will be cut when budget priorities must be reorganized given the new
dedication of funds to environmental protection? History suggests that it may well be
programs that serve center cities.

Books and Journals

Baldassare, Mark. 1994. “Regional Variations in Support for Regional Governance.”
Urban Affairs Quarterly. Vol. 30, No. 2, December.

Baldassare, Mark et al. 1996. “Possible Planning Roles for Regional Government: A
Survey of City Planning Directors in California.” Journal of the American Planning
Association, Vol. 62, No.1, Winter.

Downs, Anthony. 1994. New Visions for Metropolitan America. Washington, DC: The
Brookings Institution and Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Downs, Anthony. 1998. “The Big Picture: How America‟s Cities are Growing.” The
Brookings Review. Vol. 16, No. 4.

Frey, William H.. 1996. "Immigration, Domestic Migration, and Demographic
Balkanization in America: New Evidence for the 1990s." Population and Development
Review. Vol.22, No.4. December.

Hill, E., H. Wolman, and C.C. Ford III. 1995. “Can Suburbs Survive Without their
Central Cities? Examining the Suburban Dependence Hypothesis.” Urban Affairs
Review 31: 147-174.

Gerston, Larry N. & Peter J. Haas. 1993. “Political Support for Regional Government in
the 1990s: Growing in the Suburbs?” Urban Affairs Quarterly. Vol. 29, No.1,

Julnes, George & Wolfgang Pindur. 1994. “Determinants of Local Governmental Support
for Alternative Forms of Regional Coordination.” American Review of Public
Administration, vol. 24, n.4, December.

Kanarek, Abby & Mark Baldassare. 1996. “Preferences for State and Regional Planning
Efforts Among California Mayors and City Planning Directors.” Journal of Planning
Education and Research, 16:93-102.

Katz, Bruce J. 1998. “Reviving Cities: Think Metropolitan.” Policy Brief #33. The
Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy.

Katz, Bruce J. & Scott Bernstein. 1998. “The New Metropolitan Agenda: Connecting
Cities and Suburbs.” The Brookings Review. Vol. 16, No. 4.

Lewis, Paul G. 1996. Shaping Suburbia: How Political Institutions Organize Urban
Development. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Lewis, Paul G. 1999. “Looking Outward or Turning Inward? Motivations for
Development Decisions in Central Cities and Suburbs.” Paper presented at the 1999
Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Atlanta.

Myers, Phyllis. 1999. “Livability at the Ballot Box: State and Local Referenda on Parks,
Conservation, and Smarter Growth, Election Day 1998.” Discussion Paper prepared for
The Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy.

Nivola, Pietro S. 1998. “Fat City: Understanding American Urban Form from a
Transatlantic Perspective.” The Brookings Review. Vol. 16, No. 4.

Orfield, Myron. 1997. Metropolitics: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability.
Washington DC.: Brookings and the Lincoln Land Institute.

Reich, Robert B. 1991. "Succession of the Successful." New York Times. January 20.

Rusk, David. 1993. Cities Without Suburbs. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press/The Woodrow Wilson Center Press.

Rusk, David. 1998. “The Exploding Metropolis.” The Brookings Review. Vol. 16, No. 4.

Savitch, H.V., D. Collins, D. Sanders, and J.P. Markham. 1992. “Ties that Bind: Central
Cities, Suburbs, and the New Metropolitan Region.” Economic Development Quarterly,

Weir, Margaret. 1995. "Poverty, Social Rights and the Politics of Place." in European
Social Policy: Between Fragmentation and Integration. Eds. Leibfried, Stephen and
Pierson. Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution.

Williams, Oliver P. 1967. “Life-Style Values and Political Decentralization in
Metropolitan Areas,” in Urban Politics: Past, Present & Future, eds. Harlan Hahn &
Charles Levine. New York: Longman Inc., 1980.

Newspaper Sources:

Andrews, Scott. “No Organized Opposition to Debt Measures.” The Associated Press
State and Local Wire. October 6, 1998.

The Associated Press State & Local Wire. “Growing Smarter backers raise 20 times the
cash of opponents.” October 9, 1998.

The Atlanta Constitution. “Heritage Fund Ideals Should be Preserved.” November 5,
Cocking, Susan. “Yes on Amendment 5; Gives Power to People.” The Miami Herald.
November 1, 1998.

Lane, Amy. “Sure Thing C Draws Cash Like Long Shot.” Crain‟s Detroit Business.
November 2, 1998.

Davenport, Paul. “Prop. 303 backers collect business cash, politicians‟ endorsements.”
The Associated Press State & Local Wire. October 31, 1998.

The Detroit News. “Proposal C: No.” October 23, 1998.

Dodge, Lauren. “Voters giving approval to more than half of wide-ranging ballot
measures.” The Associated Press State & Local Wire. November 4, 1998.

Dougherty, John. “Why Growing Smarter Will Grow Old Fast.” Phoenix New Times.
October 22, 1998.

Doyle, Pat. “Is the Lottery a Winning Ticket in Minnesota?” Star Tribune. October 26,

Egan, Timothy. “Dreams of Fields; The New Politics of Urban Sprawl.” The New York
Times. November 15, 1998.

Florio, Jim. “Viewpoint.” Asbury Park Press, October 18, 1998.

Garbarine, Rachelle. “Bergen‟s Facing a Vote on an Open-Space Tax.” The New York
Times, October 18, 1998.

Hornbeck, Mark. “Proposal C faces easy sailing.” The Detroit News. October 26, 1998.

Ingley, Kathleen. “Saving Open Spaces or Saving Developers?” The Arizona Republic.
October 1, 1998.

LaBounty, Michele. “Measure aids parks, wildlife.” The Bulletin. October 8, 1998.

Mahoney, Jude. “Bennett calls record voter turnout „highest in modern times.‟” The
Associated Press State & Local Wire. November 19, 1998.

Mcober, Martin J. “Will Smart Growth Prove to be Smart Political Topic?” The Seattle
Times. March 1, 1999.

Meersman, Tom. “Ballot measure would prolong life of environmental fund.” Star
Tribune, October 1, 1998.

Melnick, Rob. “Citizens Initiative Changed the Rules.” The Arizona Republic. October
18, 1998.
The Montgomery Advertiser. “Amendments: A Mixed Bag.” November 1, 1998.

Nachtigal, Jerry. “Ballot Proposition Offers Millions to Preserve Open Space.” The
Associated Press State & Local Wire. October 10, 1998a.

Nachtigal, Jerry. “True to pledge, businesses dug deep to back growth initiative.” The
Associated Press State & Local Wire. December 4, 1998.

Peterson, Iver. “My Open Space or Yours? It‟s Time to Duel for Dollars.” The New
York Times, November 15, 1998.

Preston, Jennifer. “The 1998 Elections: Around the Region—The Ballot Questions.”
The New York Times, November 4, 1998.

Purdum, Todd S. “Suburban „Sprawl‟ Takes Its Place on the Political Landscape.” The
New York Times. February 6, 1999.

Rankin, Bill. “‟Tax‟ label Dooms the Heritage Fund.” The Atlanta Constitution.
November 5, 1998.

Reagor, Catherine. “Builders Promoting Prop. 303.” The Arizona Republic. September
26, 1998.

The Record. “Victories in the Space Race; Voters are Willing to Raise Taxes to Save
Land,” November 8, 1998.

Ruderman, Wendy. “Whitman wants 1 million acres for $3 billion; can taxpayers afford
it? The Associated Press State and Local Wire, October 13, 1998

Saporta, Maria. “Historic preservation hailed as a solution to what ails Georgia.” The
Atlanta Constitution. February 8, 1999.

Saporta, Maria. “To learn voters‟ real wishes, leave „tax increase‟ off ballot.” The Atlanta
Constitution. October 11, 1999.

Seabrook, Charles. “Election ‟98; Voter‟s have say in state‟s preservation.” The Atlanta
Constitution. October 29, 1998.

Shepard, Scott. “Urban sprawl now a mainstream political issue.” The Atlanta
Constitution. November 6, 1998.

Star Tribune. “Environmental Trust Fund; Amendment One Deserves Voter Support.”
October 19, 1998.

The Tampa Tribune. “Amendment 5.” November 1, 1998.
Taugher, Mike. “$83 Million in State Bonds at Stake Nov. 3.” Albuquerque Journal,
October 18, 1998.

Zaneski, Cyril T. “Confusion Could Hurt Land-Buying Amendment.” The Miami Herald.
October 19, 1998.
                              The New Metropolitanism

                          Bridging the City-Suburb Divide?

                                 Juliet Gainsborough
                            Department of Political Science
                                 University of Miami
                                   PO Box 248047
                               Coral Gables, FL 33124
                                   (305) 284-1513

Prepared for delivery at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science
Association, November 3-6, 1999, Savannah GA.

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