It's Time to Force Regional Cooperation 

I wanted to commend the writers of "Rethinking Suburbia" (Cover Story, Feb. 7) for bringing to light a problem the public and its elected officials in Virginia are still ignoring. The article focuses on police and some social-service issues, but to me really stressed the underlying need for regional cooperation.

The actions being undertaken by the officials listed are good, but more needs to be done, with better code enforcement and stricter building codes, more forced regional and statewide transportation cooperation, better planning and, yes, maybe a consolidation of some local government agencies. Yet this year the General Assembly rose to the occasion and quickly passed another 10-year ban on annexation by cities.

But look around the city limits of Richmond, with the exception of some parts of the West End. Do you really see a lot Richmond would want to annex into its corporate limits? I mean, a new Kroger shopping center with lots of homes and businesses with declining land values (and thus taxes) and an ever-increasing social-needs problems -- sounds like a winning candidate to me.

As do the great apartments that line the roads to the east of Richmond. Yes, all these areas are not forgone gateways to Hades, yet they are now seeing the same issues once regarded as "city problems." We must work together at all levels of government and stop all the regional talk that has been blathering out our officials' mouths since I think was 10. (I am now 30.)

If not, the de facto ghettos of Richmond (and other Virginia cities) will soon lie outside the city limits, to which my response to the county would be, "It is your problem now!"

Michael Paul Dodson

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