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These comments are responses to the statements listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Mark VanderSchaff  Interview of

Economic competitiveness is new emphasis for Metropolitan Council


Mark VanderSchaaf, Director of Regional Planning for the Metropolitan Council of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area, says the Twin Cities region is highly competitive economically within the nation, with a very diverse economy, good availability of an occupationally diverse workforce, good productivity and notable business cost advantages. He says the region can expect to continue with economic strength. He notes, though, that other metro areas have had more aggressive economic competitiveness strategies than the Twin Cities region. He says the Metro Council is doing something about that through its Thrive MSP 2040 project, which will set out plans and goals for the region's economic and other growth over the next 30 years.He notes that economic competitiveness is a new emphasis for the Metro Council and that the Council is exploring whether it could play a role in promoting economic competitiveness in local comprehensive planning.

VanderSchaaf reports that the Metropolitan Council's new preliminary forecast at the regional and local level for 2010 to 2040 shows the seven-county metro area's population growing by 31 percent, the number of households growing by 41 percent and the number of jobs growing by 37 percent.

He says the Council sees a recent trend toward recentralization of people and jobs, and greater value placed on accessibility and quality of place. Its 2040 forecast for the central cities and the metro suburban/rural area projects this trend into the future. Between 2010 and 2040, the forecast predicts that the population of Minneapolis and St. Paul together will grow by 24 percent, while jobs in the two central cities will grow at the much higher rate of 47 percent. But in the region's suburban and rural areas, population (33 percent) and jobs (35 percent) will grow at nearly the same rate.

For the complete interview summary see:  VanderSchaaf interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readersí zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

Readers were asked to rank the following on a scale of 0-10 ("not at all important" to "very important").

1. Value of topic. (7.3 average response) How useful to you is today's interview?

2. Value of further study. (6.8 average response) How important is scheduling additional interviews on this topic?

Readers were asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points made during the discussion.

3. Metro areas (7.0 average response) Other metro areas have had more aggressive economic competitiveness strategies than the Twin Cities region.

4. New direction (7.2 average response) A new direction for the Metropolitan Council to be a leader in economic competitiveness of the Twin Cities metro area should be supported.

5. Approach (6.8 average response) The Metropolitan Council is following a sensible approach in seeking private and public partnerships for strengthening (a) employers in core sectors, (b) infrastructure and amenities and (c) the workforce.

6. Job growth faster in cities. (5.0 average response) The Metropolitan Council is realistic in projecting faster job growth in the central cities than in the suburbs over the next 30 years.

Response Distribution:

Not at all





Total Responses

1. Usefulness of topic.







2. Importance of further study.









Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree


Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

3. Other areas more aggressive.








4. Support new direction of Council.







5. Public/Private approach sensible.










6. Job growth faster in cities.







Individual Responses:

Ray Ayotte  (10)  (5)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (5)

The Rock  (0)  (0)  (5)  (5)  (5)  (5)

1. Value of topic. Promise them anything, "but give her  Chanel..."

2. Value of further study. Hypothetically speaking, "what for?"

3. Other areas more aggressive. How has that been working out for those guys?

4. Support new direction of Council. Everyone is a "leader" these days.  Change occurs when you (the people) change.

5. Public/Private approach sensible. The inmates are all in agreement that none of them are guilty.  They were all framed (misled).

6. Job growth faster in cities. Sure, would be real popular to say that if the monetary/military program does not correct its corrupt, pathological, parasitic ways, we may all be looking for jobs.

Dennis L. Johnson  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (5)

6. Job growth faster in cities. Good interview

Anonymous   (0)  (0)  (5)  (0)  (0)  (0)

4. Support new direction of Council. They have no business in this area. They are a [an unelected] body that receives taxpayer money. We have seen the Met Councilís history of biased work already. They should be disbanded.

6. Job growth faster in cities. Another guy who has never started or [run] a business, he has lived on the taxpayer dole his whole life, [and] he is going to help guide our state growth.

Just another man from [academia] living off the taxpayer.

Don Anderson  (10)  (7.5)  (5)  (10)  (10)  (10)

David G Dillon  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (5)  (0)

6. Job growth faster in cities. How nice to think you can predict the future over the next 30 years.   

Kevin Edberg  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

2. Value of further study. The Metro area needs to continue to grow "thought leadership" around the issues of metro development, and the need for integrated development policy and approach (distinct from our historic urban/suburban or Mpls/St. Paul splits).  Continue to inform us please.

Roger Johnson  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (10)  (2.5)  (2.5)

1. Value of topic. While it's always nice to see figures predicting population and job growth, much of this is "pie in the sky" prediction.  It's like saying, "Your ship is coming in!"  The problem I see with all of this stuff is that if one never launches a ship, it can't really come in.  From the Governor, to the Legislature, to all the movers and shakers, no one is launching ships.  DEED has all the data: But who is really taking the matter seriously enough to launch new businesses?  Who is taking the new ideas coming out of either academe or industry and business, capturing venture capital, and turning those ideas into brick-'n'-mortar industries?  Who is taking the ideas from engineers, creating new companies, staffing them (which is the provision of new jobs) and getting MBAs to run them and Boards of Directors to set policies?  And if we have no new ideas to build new companies around, then all the verbiage is just "pie in the sky."

3. Other areas more aggressive. I thought Minnesota had the reputation for new ideas and the new companies that can be created from them.  Why should other regions or cities have more new ideas than we have?  Have they made [more] investments in Higher Education than we have?  If so, then there is a serious lesson for us.

6. Job growth faster in cities. This all depends on where new business happens to be located.  And that is controlled by many factors.  Does it make any difference whether a new company is located in Maplewood or Minnetonka?  The point is that it's new jobs that we need.  People will travel a bit to go to work.

Wayne Jennings   (9)  (9)  (5)  (7)  (8)  (8)

It seems so problematic, though important, to make 30 year projections. I like that the core cities will experience growth. I see buildings going up everywhere for living quarters.

Paul and Ruth Hauge   (9)  (9)  (7)  (8)  (8)  (7)

Fred Zimmerman   (7)  (9)  (10)  (9)  (3)  (1)

Mark did a pretty good job. The problem is that he has to represent an organization that does not have a well-thought-out realistic strategy. The Metro Council has no long-term consistent theme and is too heavily influenced by the philosophy-du jour of whatever political party is making the appointments.  They assume there will be continued growth in downtown overhead positions which detract from competitiveness rather than supporting it. Meanwhile, industry and jobs are expanding in non-metro areas.

Lyall Schwarzkopf   (8)  (8)  (9)  (6)  (8)  (6)

We need a business approach to economic development in the Metro area.  The Metro Council is a planning and operations agency.  Can we business organizations, some forward-looking foundations interested economic development, and the cooperation of local governments to build a strong regional economic development organization?

Carolyn Ring   (7)  (7)  (5)  (7)  (8)  (3)

I can't believe the size of the Metro Council's budget.

Chuck Lutz   (9)  (8)  (5)  (9)  (10)  (9)

Trixie Girtz Golberg"   (8)  (8)  (9)  (7)  (9)  (9)

Robert J. Brown   (5)  (5)  (na)  (2)  (8)  (2)


The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   David Broden,  Janis Clay,  Bill Frenzel,  Paul Gilje,   Jan Hively,  Dan Loritz (Chair),  Marina Lyon,  Joe Mansky, 
Tim McDonald,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and Bob White

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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