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Cablegate: Fy 2005 Ivlp Evaluation: Gord Steeves; January 30 -

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

121903Z Jul 05









E.O. 12958: N/A

Ref: [A] State 188314, 259032, [B] Ottawa 2285

1. Summary: Program evaluation for International Visitor
Leadership Program grantee Gord Steeves. End summary.

2. MPP Theme Addressed: Open Markets, Mutual understanding.
Strategic Goal: Economic Prosperity.

3. Post Objectives: For Mr. Steeves to learn about the
efficient operation of municipalities and how successful U.S.
cities have managed to thrive in the face of real diversity and
financial constraint through the study of:

-- Progressive municipal funding models, including the
implementation of economic growth based revenues such as user-pay
systems and sales-type taxation.

-- Land use planning with long term financial benefit - such as
full costing on development and mixed-use zoning - and the long-
term policy documents that support them.

-- Infrastructure partnerships with other levels of government
and with the private sector and the funding models used.

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-- Alternate service delivery of basic civic services that
include union involvement in contracting out as well as equitable
methods of service abandonment.

-- The cost effective delivery of fire and policing services with
emphasis on preventative and community type services.

4. Results: Steeves reported that the program exceeded even the
high expectations he had set for it before he left home. Not
only did it thoroughly cover his professional areas of interest
by giving him a solid overview of municipal management in several
regions of the United States, but the experience he gained by
getting to know the United States and its people was an
unexpected bonus and gives him a much better understanding of the
country. He also greatly valued the opportunity to learn more
about U.S. federalism and how policy is made in the United

The highlight of Steeves' IVLP was attending the State of the
Union address. He is most appreciative to the organizers at the
Meridian International Center for securing this once-in-a-
lifetime opportunity for him. Steeves is a self-confessed
"political junkie" and to have the opportunity to watch the
President deliver the State of the Union Address is an experience
he will never forget. Steeves found the security process for
gaining access to the Chamber daunting - even by Washington
standards. On the advice of his hosts, he started the procedure
several hours in advance - beating the biggest rush - and
proceeded through multiple layers of screening and checking of
documents. But in the end, he fully understands the needs for
such precautions and said it was more than worth it.

The school visits were another highlight of the trip. At
Steeves' request, Post recommended that Steeves be given the
opportunity to speak to school groups during his program. During
the course of his program, he spoke to classes in three cities
(Washington, Indianapolis and Seattle) and thoroughly enjoyed all
of them. He found the students bright, articulate, well informed
and very interested in learning about Canada and discussing
current issues.

Steeves especially enjoyed his meetings with city councillors and
other elected officials during his IVLP, and wishes that his
schedule had permitted him to spend even more time in these
meetings. He mentioned specifically a meeting he had with city
councillors in Indianapolis. Steeves found it very useful to
hear the perspective of American elected officials on the
political process and how policy is developed and implemented,
especially with respect to alternative service delivery models
and service abandonment, while maintaining vital core services.
Unfortunately, Steeves was in the middle of a particularly busy
day and had to leave after only 30 minutes in order to make his
next appointment. On that particular day, he had eight meetings
in a row, and he said he felt bad because he was having trouble
keeping on schedule and was late for several of the meetings.

Steeves noted however that throughout most of the program, he had
ample free time that allowed him to reflect on the meetings he
had taken part in and prepare for future meetings, do a bit of
exploration of the cities and neighborhoods, and catch up on his
emails and a few phone calls. On average he found the pace about

Steeves also enjoyed the home hospitality he was treated to in
Seattle and San Diego. He enjoyed his hosts, and appreciated the
opportunity to visit with them outside the formal part of the
program. He plans to keep in touch with his home hospitality
hosts and several other people he was introduced to outside of
the daytime program. Steeves extended an invitation for them to
visit Winnipeg, but is not aware of anyone who plans to come here
in the near future. He noted that no one knew much about
Winnipeg, but everybody seemed quite interested in hearing more
about life here and the issues the city is dealing with.

Steeves was surprised to learn about the amount of government
involvement and regulation in Americans' lives. He thought the
role of government in the United States would be more limited,
but he found it was more similar to Canada than he expected. He
was amazed at the "layer on top of layer" of government in the
United States, where an urban resident will have five or six
levels of government to deal with: city, county, metropolitan
and/or regional, state and federal - and each has representatives
with an elected mandate to represent the population. He was less
surprised by the quantity of elected officials - politicians,
judges, auditors, etc - and appreciated the opportunity his IVLP
gave him to learn about how all these individuals and layers of
government interact to make policy and provide services.

Steeves was interested to learn about the variety of revenue
sources available to U.S. cities, including a variety of sales
taxes and user fees that are not available to Canadian cities.
He was intrigued by the citizen initiative process in Seattle
that can be used to raise money for special projects, such as

Another highlight of Steeves' IVLP was the opportunity to take in
a high school basketball game in Seattle one evening. He was
very impressed with the skills level of the players, the size of
the crowd and the extent that they were involved in the game.

Steeves plans to stay in touch with many of the people he met
during his IVLP and mentioned three in particular: Jim Brooks of
the National League of Cities (Steeves saw Brooks again a few
weeks after his program at a Canadian municipal meeting), City
Councillor Rozelle Boyd in Indianapolis, and Ellis Hankins of the
North Carolina League of Municipalities.

Logistically, Steeves was very pleased with how smoothly
everything went. He commended Erica and Amal at Meridian for
setting up an excellent program that ran very well. It went so
well that he needed very little assistance from them. There were
no problems with hotels, flights, or cars. There was only one no-
show for a meeting (in Raleigh). On rental cars, Steeves noted
that they were expensive and a "hassle" for parking and dropping
off on his way to the airport. He told us that he didn't really
need a car in San Diego or Indianapolis, although he did find the
car useful in Seattle.


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