Before there were blogs, there was the Community Media Watch’s Newstips, which used to arrive in my (physical) mailbox on (physical) bright orange paper. Now they’re available to anyone who knows to visit their site, which is a good use of time if you like keeping way ahead of the MSM. This week we learn that the head of the Washington Park Advisory Committee, Cecelia Butler, is supporting its use in the Chicago 2016 Olympics — provided that there’s an ironclad “community benefits agreement” attached. Read the whole thing.

Next week Curtis Black, who does the work on Newstips, will tell about local opposition to the “Prairie Parkway” out in former house speaker Dennis Hastert’s territory west and south of Aurora — you know, the road whose promotion just happened to dramatically increase the value of Hastert’s property. What might a community benefits agreement in exurban Kane and Kendall Counties look like?

Here’s a thorough 2005 handbook on community benefits agreement (PDF), including some philosophy: it’s all about “changing the paradigm of land use planning for large, publicly-subsidized projects or those requiring major land use approvals.” 

But already the idea has gone virtual. Chicago blogger Michael Maranda at wrythings is keeping an eye on a kind of internet community benefits agreement reached in Minneapolis as part of that city’s digital inclusion campaign: “Among the concepts promoted in Minneapolis was a provision of a “walled garden” … a space of community identified and city content that would be freely accessible to anyone able to receive the wireless signal. Some resources were also to go towards community portals for up to 90 neighborhoods in Minneapolis.”