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Southron

Your Vision for Alabama

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What would you get done in the state if you were the benevolent dictator of Alabama?

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No one has taken the bait, so I'll lead off with my two cents...

1. Constitutional Reform - We badly need a new constitution with home rule, so that local governments can conduct business without having to constantly beg permission from Montgomery.

2. Tax Reform - We should reform our tax system to shift the burden from lower income to higher income taxpayers, and raise property taxes for large (timber) landowners to Georgia levels so that we can adequately fund state government. Here's a current proposal for tax fairness. Governor Riley came up with a good plan in his first term, but the referendum went down to defeat. I'm not talking about a massive tax increase, but rather tax revenue increases that put us in the middle of the pack of Southern states.

3. Transportation Funding Balance - Transportation funding for transit options, including light rail, must be increased dramatically at the state level if we ever want to really try to deal with traffic headaches in our cities. The new constitution must allow ALDOT to spend revenue from any source on transit projects. If necessary, ALDOT leadership should be replaced to effect a more balanced transportation policy. Transit, HOV lanes, sidewalks and bike lanes need proper funding too.

4. SmartCode - SmartCode should replace all zoning ordinances statewide. If projects don't adhere to the principles of traditional urban development, then they shouldn't get built.

4. Incentives for brownfield redevelopment/renovation/facade improvements - Greenfield development is currently encouraged by federal tax and other policies, and weak land use laws. We should enact impact fees so that developers, rather than local governments, pay for infrastructure (roads, water and sewer, schools, everything) improvements needed for new development. These developments would then have to go on the market at prices that more accurately reflect their true cost. State tax incentives are needed to encourage brownfield redevelopment and renovation of historic buildings. Local codes should allow renovation without having to bring historic buildings up to current code standards. State funding for historic building renovation and facade improvements should be increased and maintained as a high priority.

5. Fully funded Main Street Program - The Alabama Main Street Program should get a huge funding increase to help our cities and towns revitalize and maintain their downtowns. Programs in other states have been very successful, but Alabama's is currently inactive due to a lack of funding.

7. Alabama Register of Historic Places - We need an improved Alabama Register, similar to the federal listing, with strong protections enacted that make it exceedingly difficult to demolish listed historic buildings. Too many landmarks are still being lost, too often replaced by surface parking or vacant lots.

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Mine:

* Increased preservation of greenspace. It is often pointed out as one of Alabama's biggest negatives that

the state has not enjoyed the rapid growth of most other states in the region.

Let's turn that into a positive & preserve more of our special areas (Ft. Morgan peninsula,

for instance) while we still can, because growth is going to come to the state at some point.

The creation of the Forever Wild Program years ago was one of the more progressive things

that has happened in this state in my lifetime.

* Statewide bike/pedestrian trail plan and other improvements to public access to natural areas.

As above, one of Alabama's greatest assets is the diversity

of natural treasures. Preserving nature is important, but we also need to do a better job of making

it accessible to the public. Importantly, this is an area where the state's vastly impoverished rural areas

can play just as much of a role as the cities and suburbs. Instead of driving through somewhere

like Greene County as seeing "nothingness," invest in ecotourism.

Shark Tooth Creek is a perfect example of this type of development:

http://www.sharktoothcreek.com/

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Mine:

* Increased preservation of greenspace. It is often pointed out as one of Alabama's biggest negatives that

the state has not enjoyed the rapid growth of most other states in the region.

Let's turn that into a positive & preserve more of our special areas (Ft. Morgan peninsula,

for instenace) while we still can, because growth is going to come to the state at some point.

The creation of the Forever Wild Program years ago was one of the more progressive things

that has happened in this state in my lifetime.

* Statewide bike/pedestrian trail plan and other improvements to public access to natural areas.

As above, one of Alabama's greatest assets is the diversity

of natural treasures. Preserving nature is important, but we also need to do a better job of making

it accessible to the public. Importantly, this is an area where the state's vastly impoverished rural areas

can play just as much of a role as the cities and suburbs. Instead of driving through somewhere

like Greene County as seeing "nothingness," invest in ecotourism.

Shark Tooth Creek is a perfect example of this type of development:

http://www.sharktoothcreek.com/

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Mobile 's Vision

1) Bigger and Better Downtown!

2) Develope South Mobile County! a hidden gem. (going to write about it next week)

3) Become more regional. Miami style Condos and Las Vagas style fun. Yes iam talking about Biloxi!

we need to get closer to our friends just 40 miles away. this area is going to explode in the next ten years.

And the most important thing is, what mayor jones talked about in his speach last week was to, drop the "ole mobile" habits. Example spend alittle bit of that "ole mobile " money and not sit on it! We need not to gripe or feel negative about the development of mobile , but say ,"Damn the Torpedos and hell yeah Full Speed Ahead" ! (bayourat15. 4/12/07)

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Something else I'd like to see for Mobile County is more of the traditional architecture and landscaping in the new

developments. Those old streets lined with live oaks and azaleas are special and have endured the test of time.

I hope the new waves of development in Mobile county can be as attractive and enduring.

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No one has taken the bait, so I'll lead off with my two cents...

1. Constitutional Reform - We badly need a new constitution with home rule, so that local governments can conduct business without having to constantly beg permission from Montgomery.

2. Tax Reform - We should reform our tax system to shift the burden from lower income to higher income taxpayers, and raise property taxes for large (timber) landowners to Georgia levels so that we can adequately fund state government. Here's a current proposal for tax fairness. Governor Riley came up with a good plan in his first term, but the referendum went down to defeat. I'm not talking about a massive tax increase, but rather tax revenue increases that put us in the middle of the pack of Southern states.

3. Transportation Funding Balance - Transportation funding for transit options, including light rail, must be increased dramatically at the state level if we ever want to really try to deal with traffic headaches in our cities. The new constitution must allow ALDOT to spend revenue from any source on transit projects. If necessary, ALDOT leadership should be replaced to effect a more balanced transportation policy. Transit, HOV lanes, sidewalks and bike lanes need proper funding too.

4. SmartCode - SmartCode should replace all zoning ordinances statewide. If projects don't adhere to the principles of traditional urban development, then they shouldn't get built.

4. Incentives for brownfield redevelopment/renovation/facade improvements - Greenfield development is currently encouraged by federal tax and other policies, and weak land use laws. We should enact impact fees so that developers, rather than local governments, pay for infrastructure (roads, water and sewer, schools, everything) improvements needed for new development. These developments would then have to go on the market at prices that more accurately reflect their true cost. State tax incentives are needed to encourage brownfield redevelopment and renovation of historic buildings. Local codes should allow renovation without having to bring historic buildings up to current code standards. State funding for historic building renovation and facade improvements should be increased and maintained as a high priority.

5. Fully funded Main Street Program - The Alabama Main Street Program should get a huge funding increase to help our cities and towns revitalize and maintain their downtowns. Programs in other states have been very successful, but Alabama's is currently inactive due to a lack of funding.

7. Alabama Register of Historic Places - We need an improved Alabama Register, similar to the federal listing, with strong protections enacted that make it exceedingly difficult to demolish listed historic buildings. Too many landmarks are still being lost, too often replaced by surface parking or vacant lots.

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I fully concur. Alabama needs to do all these. I would also like to add that this state seriously needs to work on it tourism and policies involving and encouraging cultural diversity. This state is way too "Good Ole Boy" and regressive when it comes to outsider migrating to this state. The type of attitude discourages people from wanting to take chances and opportunities to come to this state. Alabama is much better than the mess and how lawmarkers seems to want to pander to the lowest common denominator on many issues.

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Concur with all the above plus as a dictator reinstitute light rail in Huntsville, Bham, Montgomery, and perhaps Mobile.

Add maglev trains between Huntsville to Mobile and Bham to maybe Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis! If you're gonna be a dictator, do it big!

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Right on! We should have light rail for the big 4 in the planning stages already. We should have at least conducted a study of high speed rail through the I-65 corridor, but unfortunately we live in a state in which the DOT doesn't spend money on anything but subsidizing roads.

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