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APA Dateline: April 8, 2002


A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Dateline: April 8, 2002

-- Postal 'Transformation Plan' Could Lead to Closings --
A plan calling on Congress to overhaul the operations of the U.S. Postal
Service includes possibilities such as closing some offices, phasing in
price increases in regular steps, and cutting back on six-days-a-week
delivery, according to the Associated Press. In the proposal presented to
Congress on April 4, 2002, the post office said failure to make fundamental
changes would force it to operate under its "present increasingly outmoded
business model until enough customers abandon the system to make financial
failure unavoidable." Postmaster General John Potter told the AP he was not
recommending wholesale post office closings and promised to work to keep
six-day service. But he said every aspect of postal operations needs to be
looked at to improve finances and efficiency.

Read the transformation plan:
Read the AP story:
Find out why the Post Office Community Partnership Act is an American
Planning Association legislative priority:

-- Report: Racism Continues to Lead Fair Housing Complaints --
One-third of complaints about fair housing in 2001 were based on race,
according to the most recent annual report of the National Fair Housing
Alliance. The 2002 Fair Housing Trends Report found that race was the most
commonly reported basis for housing discrimination in the United States (32%
of all complaints), followed by disability and familial status (24% and 15%
of all complaints, respectively). Complaints based on national origin
discrimination were the next highest category of discrimination (10%). The
organization found "significantly fewer" cases based on sex, religion, or
"color." Illegal housing practices experienced by Hispanics and Asians are
still seriously underreported, as is sexual harassment of female tenants in
rental housing. The report is based on 2001 complaint data compiled from
fair housing agencies across the country.
Read the report: <http://www.nationalfairhousing.org/html/trends/2001.htm>

-- Newspaper Opinion Piece Rips Community Character Act --
An opinion piece in the Washington Times takes on the Community Character
Act and APA's support of the legislation. F. Patricia Callahan, founder and
president of the American Association of Small Property Owners (AASPO),
writes: "Despite giving lip service to the idea that land use planning is
rightfully a state and local government function, the CCA undeniably
represents a top-down approach to land use management. The legislation will
use our tax dollars to create a multitude of jobs for APA members, who will
be free to promote their no-growth agenda nationwide." Callahan concludes:
"This type of regulation invariably makes life so miserable for small
property owners that they eventually give up. The result is abandoned
buildings that give the city justification to come in and bulldoze the area,
clearing the way for big developers to come in and put up high-density
Read the opinion piece:
Read APA's testimony for the CCA:

-- E-Citizens Demand Online Services, Report Says --
"Web presence is not optional for governments in the United States," a new
report from the Pew Research Center states boldly. "Citizens are online and
learning to demand answers at Internet speed." The Pew report, "The Rise of
the E-Citizen: How People Use Government Agencies' Web Sites," says that
"while government site users are certainly taking advantage of all the
services and information made available on government sites, a portion are
also very active in using the Internet to monitor public affairs." Close to
two-thirds (62%) have sought out information on public policy issues on
government sites. Funding is still a barrier. The New York Times reports
that a Brown University professor found that state legislatures spent an
average of two percent of their budgets on information technology in fiscal
year 2000. Planning and permitting are not listed specifically in the Pew
report, but traffic, sprawl, development, and zoning are. Here is the
report's rundown of issues addressed online by the users of government
Environment: 15%
Education: 11%
Health Care: 11%
Civil Rights/Social Justice: 10%
Abortion issues: 7%
Criminal justice issues: 5%
Traffic/Sprawl/Development/Zoning: 4%
Government Budget/Tax/Finance: 3%
Internet issues: 3%

Read the Pew report:
Read the New York Times story:

Dateline is based on reports from Internet sources and public and private
organizations. For more information, contact sources mentioned in the news
item. If you have suggestions or corrections for Dateline, contact Ralph
Jassen at mailto:rjassen@planning.org or Cynthia Cheski at