Greg Sterling has a good piece on the The Debate Over User Reviews
Matt has a winner on Dear Small Business Owners: Put Down Your Ranking Reports and it applies equally well to local search
And Bill Slowski has an interesting patent review: Would You Rent Your Rooftop to Google To Show Ads Upon? (Too bizarre)
And an older (but important) post from Ahmed at TechSoapbox on Local data – categories, tags, structure, and taxonomy. I meant to reference earlier, but still well worth a read
Google is expanding Local info gathering in East Africa as well!