Fans of regionalism and metro cooperation will want to read a column that William Stafford has up on Stafford is president of the Trade Development of Great Seattle, an affiliate of the area chamber of commerce.

Thomas Cochran, veteran executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, says Americans should focus less on the Gross Domestic Product measure, more on the Gross Metro Product (GMP) of our regions. The New York region's total -- $1.2 trillion dollars -- is larger than India's. The combined output of the "top 10? U.S. metros, he notes, is greater than that of 37 states.

While we're legally a nation of states, says Cochran, "our economy functions as a conglomeration of metro areas" -- a fact that federal policies "do not yet acknowledge."

Cochran talks of a new political alignment: "I have large counties," he told a recent "Meeting of the Minds" conference in New York, "calling me and saying we'd like to join the Conference of Mayors. We 'got to get down' and do the politics, form a political operation to demand" more responsive federal policies. "I'm going to start talking to urban county leaders," he asserts.