[This is the transcript of the 10jun11 edition of my regular bi-weekly KVMR commentary broadcast earlier this evening.]
Nevada County has had a harder time than most during this Great Recession. The closing of stores, shops, and businesses has hit our workforce particularly hard, causing our unemployment to hover above 11% with the nation at 9.1%. To pile on, the county is currently in the throes of a costly lawsuit and embarrassing scandal. But it’s easy to see that all of these misfortunes could be turned around with an improved local economy.
In the past years we have had various conferences and summits that drew together business and community leaders to see what could be done to make things better. These were usually led by the county’s Economic Resource Council, cities, and the local chambers of commerce. None of these conferences ever went anywhere because first and foremost, we could not agree on where we wanted to go.
These affairs were motivated and produced by folks of a center right ideology. And while there were all kinds of circumstances in extenuation and mitigation to explain why we couldn’t get off the dime, the final result was stasis or worse. So it might be time to try it again, but this time from another direction.
The left has been a powerful voice for decades in California implementing their vision of the state’s economy. Recently they have had a significant run of good luck passing propositions and legislating all kinds of laws and regulations to help businesses ranging from green to pink to whatever color you want. Maybe the county should try to get more in step with all that.
In this regard the former editor of The Union, Jeff Pelline, has recently proposed that Nevada County hold another economic summit. Mr Pelline is a leftwing blogger who maintains a prominent voice in the county. He has attracted a halo of fellow progressives of similar mind to his proposal.
When I learned of this, my immediate thought was ‘why not take a cut at it from the other side?’ As a minimum, it would allow us to avoid the charge of insanity by continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result. And with the defunding of the ERC and election of liberal Supervisor Terry Lamphier, it may be time for some new blood to get into the county’s economic arteries.
I recommend that Mr Pelline takes his summit idea and runs with it. He could be joined by the like-minded Steven Frisch, CEO of the Sierra Business Council to plan, produce, and facilitate the gathering. I’m sure that many liberal electeds from local government jurisdictions would gladly lend their wisdom and voices – Messrs Lamphier and Beason from the county, and Ms Reinette Senum from Nevada City’s city council would provide a welcome new wind that may even fill some local sails, and send us off in a new and productive direction.
Wearing my Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation hat, I would gladly participate if invited, and argue my recommendations for where the county should put its economic development efforts. As a past and current entrepreneur, I would look forward to sharing the outlook of someone who is again involved in a high-tech start-up that has already created local jobs.
Yes, let’s give Mr Pelline’s proposal a chance, it is past time we tried something new.
My name is Rebane and I also expand on these and other themes in my Union columns, on NCTV, and on georgerebane.com where this transcript appears. These opinions are not necessarily shared by KVMR. Thank you for listening.