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16 August 2010


Russ Steele


Number ten is right out of Richard Florida’s writings. I have been reading Florida’s books for years. Larry Burkhardt a former ERC CEO attended a conference in Arizona and came back all fired up by Florida’s ideas on attracting people as an economic development strategy. I stated reading Florida and have most of his books in my library. I recommended that all the new ERC CEO’s read one or more of his books. Not much came of it.

One of the major component for attracting business to any community is having an available work force. At the present time we do not have a clue about the make up of our potential work force. We are selling a labor box of unknown quantity and quality.

Florida’s study is on the best 20 Cities to Find Jobs. Not one of those cities is in California.

“Rochester, Minnesota, is the biggest percentage gainer, with projected job growth of 12 percent or more. The major hub cities of the Northeast corridor do well, with Greater Washington in second place, Greater New York 15th, and Boston 19th. The D.C. suburb of Bethesda and Trenton-Ewing, a suburb of both New York and Philadelphia, also number among the top 10. College towns, like Charlottesville, Virginia, Gainesville, Florida, Ithaca, New York, Boulder, Colorado, and Corvallis, Oregon, which have performed well over the course of the economic crisis, number among the nation’s top 20 projected job gainers.”

Here is what the Florida Analysis Team had to say about job growth:

“But job growth will not be even across all sectors of the economy. Blue-collar jobs in construction, transportation, and factory work will show the slowest growth, adding just one million jobs, with most of these coming in construction and transportation as factory jobs continue to shrink. About half of total job creation will come from the growth of low-wage service jobs led by fields like home health-care aides, personal aides, food preparation, and retail sales. The other half will come from the growth of higher-skill, higher-wage jobs in knowledge, professional, and creative fields. These structural shifts in the U.S. economy are creating a labor force and society that is growing more unequal.”

So, what are we doing to promote higher-wage jobs in Nevada County? The green jobs the progressive are promoting are low wage services jobs, weatherizing homes, installing solar panels, doing green house gas audits, extracting wood pulp, etc. They are not promoting jobs in the knowledge industries and creative field. As point out by Florida these are more available in college and university towns and regions.

Kim Pruett

Have you guys decided if you are going to the climate conference?

George Rebane

Russ, why do you think that some local people of good will and appropriate smarts would continue to oppose Prop23? The answer for the progressives' opposition is self-eveident (for example see my 'Unbelievable? - maybe not'), however the line of reasoning for the others is truly puzzling.

Kim, I'm sticking around for the next couple of months.

Paul Emery

I agree Russ that it's a tough sell here in Nevada County. Grass VAlley Group at it's peak in the mid 90's employed around 1400 and now they are down to less than 400. There were some spin off companies from former employees that are still in business. That's that talent pool that you referred to. Mountain Peoples warehouse moved to Auburn largely because they needed access to the interstate and that took some jobs. There are very few jobs in the woods anymore. The mills closed in the early 80's largely because the timber companies actually found it cheaper to sell raw logs to the far East and mega mills in the valley.
Retail is down to owner operated shops with little or now employment.

School jobs are down because we don't have as many kids as we used to. That's not likely to change as young families can't find work and have to move along. Building trades jobs are few with a little remodel and repair work and few new buildings or houses. Many people lost their investments when housing crashed and have no money to start something new I can go on and on.

From my perspective as someone self employed in performing arts and arts technical work (sound-production) I looked at Ashland Oregon as a model for what Nevada County could have been. The city, county and state of Oregon invested in the infrastructure of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Brit Festival in Jacksonville in the 70's and 80's and it is now the major economic engine of the area. Performing Arts brings repeat visitors. I go to Ashland most every year and spend three nights in the local hotels and restaurants. We have never got that together here as much as it's talked about.

I don't have an answer or any great ideas. People love living here because of the quality of life and that might be a tipping point for a few jobs.

Pretty grim? I manage to get by because of my long history here but as an underemployed friend of mine told me we "pay for the pines " if we live here.

I don't look at compliance to AB32 as a major factor in the problem locally but it might have a small effect.

Russ Steele


I think the biggest impact of AB32 for local business will be the rising cost of energy, especially the cost of motor fuel. $5-7 dollar gas will limit the number of people willing to come to Nevada City for a weekend get away, or a one day visit to a local festival. $4 dollar a gallon had an impact, even higher fuel prices will have an even higher impact. With higher energy costs at home, families will have fewer dollars to spend on a mini-vacation to Nevada County.

Russ Steele


I do not see much advantage of going to the energy conference. This is the choir talking to the choir, and any protest would be ignored by the lame stream media.

Steve Frisch

Perhaps you guys should read Richard Florida's most recent book, The Great Reset. Florida might have luck with you where others have failed.

Russ Steele


You asked why I think that some local people of good will and appropriate smarts would continue to oppose Prop23?

There are several reasons.

1) They do not want to take, or have, the time to undestand the issues and choose to follow the progressive talking points.

2) They are true beleivers of anthropogenic global warming and feel guilty for causing the imagined harm to the planet.

3) Some are not yet awake to the issue and will take the lazypersons route to decision making, waiting to see how local political leaders respond.

4) According to a recent poll more people are planning to vote yes for Prop 23, demonstrating that more people of good will and appropriate smarts are coming to the support of Prop 23.

Todd Juvinall

Russ, you might add those that derive thir incomes from the phony green mantra.

George Rebane

SteveF, thank you for the Florida book reference. I assume that his ideas inform your ideology and approach to problem solving. Will have more to say after studying Florida's prescriptions a bit more.

Russ Steele

I down downloaded the kindle version of Florida's latest book on to my lap top.

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