Friday, October 30, 2009

October 26, 2009

Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
Last Tuesday a number of partners convened a Community Conversation Forum. Approximately forty private and public sector leaders came together to attempt to gain a “level set” understanding of the many issues we face and a framework we can use to align resources behind shared goals. The session was ably moderated by Kurt Madden, a community leader who serves in all three spheres (economic, infrastructure and human development) and is a steward of the whole. While differences in thinking and approaches to solving problems were rightfully expressed, there was an underlying unity of purpose and intention to create a better tomorrow for all. One of the major conclusions reached is that we can’t hire others to cure our civic illnesses. We are our own doctors. As an example, we learned that in a decade FUSD students have gone from 58% living in poverty to 81%. This is unacceptable and affects everyone in our community. Changing this circumstance will require a commitment from people in every sphere to work together. Tomorrow’s generation is depending upon our wisdom and commitment to improvement. The session-ending conclusion was recognizing if we think we can achieve our goals alone, our vision is too small.

Shared Themes—Community Forum, San Joaquin Partnership Summit
A common theme emerged at two meetings last week—the importance of steward leadership. Einstein told us we cannot solve a problem at the level of thinking that created it. Whether its water, safety, education, or economic development, if we only come together as self and single interests, we spend precious resources fighting to get more, rather than focused on long term solutions to serve the whole. Interdependence means problems do not confine themselves to one jurisdiction or interest any more than smoke paid attention to nonsmoking sections on an airplane. Our region is demonstrating through the Partnership that together we can accomplish much more. One of the gubernatorial candidates emphasized, “We are all Californians.” A key question is how do we create governance models that reflect this belief? Fragmented thinking and acting got us here. What would a “CEO function” that served the whole look like locally, at the regional level, at the state level and at the national level?

Key Thoughts on Water From the Partnership Meeting
...The amount of water available is static—97% comes from precipitation.
...Every region has different water needs and resources.
...The amount of water permits issued far exceeds the amount of water available.
...Regional antagonism drives the water wars.
...The solution must be based upon co-equal values—water supply reliability and improved and protected Delta eco-system.
...The state is close to a solution largely due to the ability of the San Joaquin Valley to remain united rather than fragmenting along single interests. (The Partnership is a platform to unite, lead, and change the way the public’s business is done.)
...We are in this mess because of all of us. Rather than clarity of purpose, we have 200 state and federal agencies engaged in water issues. When everyone is involved; nobody is in charge and nobody is accountable.
...There is no piecemeal solution—there must be a complete solution.

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