Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009

Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
Does it seem to anyone else that we are in danger of redefining the definition of democracy? This Business Council was founded on the premise that a better way needed to be developed to bring people with divergent views to a common table. Recently we have seen examples of the emergence of another definition of democracy which I choose to call despotic democracy. Philosophical extremes from all across the political spectrum proclaim themselves to be passionate believers of democracy so long as everyone agrees with their position. It is the ongoing challenge of this Council and its allies to ensure that all viewpoints on major issues have an opportunity to be evaluated through a non-partisan democratic, not dictatorial process. God Bless Democracy.

California Dreamers (Excerpts from an article by Benjamin Schwartz)
Kevin Starr, thought to be California’s best historian, has written eight books about the Golden State collectively titled Americans and the California Dream. With great detail his series covers the events, influences and people that made California an international symbol of the “good life”, not just for the outliers, but for a large and growing middle class. Why did the dream end for so many? Starr notes that today, the good life is available but only to those who are “fiercely competitive”, the most gifted and ambitious regardless of their background. As Schwartz concedes, “…most of us are merely ordinary.” The question many are trying to answer is how do we rebuild access to the tools and opportunities that yielded a strong middle class? Starr pointed out that historically comprehensive high schools had commercial, vocational, and college prep tracks and a sense of common experience and mutual respect among young people heading in different directions. As we execute the Human Investment Initiative, the honoring of unique talents and abilities is a central tenet along with restoring multiple pathways to achieving economic self reliance.

Oregon Business Plan—A Comprehensive to Create More Quality Jobs
Last week, regional stewards from across the state met with Jim Meyer, CEO of Fresno Forward, to discuss structural, systemic and programmatic renewal in California. One topic was a potential emulation of the Oregon approach—craft a community agenda and execution strategy to strengthen traded-sector industries, those that sell their goods and services primarily out of state thus creating jobs and resources to benefit local communities. The plan focuses on the 4 P’s—people, place, productivity and pioneering innovation. They added a 5th P—public finance—to underscore the importance of strategic investments in the infrastructures that grow jobs, educate people and create a high quality of place. Political platforms are often long on vision and goals and short on execution strategies and alignment of the people needed to deliver results. Imagine a gubernatorial platform that named names, specific strategies and demonstrated the philosophy of stewardship—partnerships and empowerment. For more information go to

Upcoming Meetings & Events
Thursday, September 24 at 7:30 AM—Executive Committee at Deloitte
Tuesday, October 13 at 7:30 AM—Board of Directors at Fresno Pacific North

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