Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 25, 2010

Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
One of the greatest uppers of living in a democratic society is the opportunity to freely elect those whom we wish to serve us at various governmental levels. One of the downers is that for the next ten months we shall be bombarded with political pleas of support from various candidates for office. I offer the following as a litmus test in determining our selections as we progress through the many upcoming campaigns. Does the person seeking our vote subscribe to our Community Values? Is that individual a “my way or no way” moat surrounded castle dweller or a “together we can” community builder? Would that person be a welcome member of this Business Council? Just curious!

Downtown Is Everybody’s Neighborhood
Downtown revitalization has been a priority for many organizations for years. Success requires leadership, clarity of purpose, broad community support, talent, relentless perseverance, and resources. Are we ready?

The following is a message from our downtown revitalization manager, Elliot Balch: “On Thursday, January 28, at 9:15 am, the City Council will consider approving a contract to create new laws for development in the Downtown core and surrounding neighborhoods. Why are these new laws, known as the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan and the Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan, necessary? Because the current laws are confusing, unclear, contradictory, out of date, and often counterproductive. It's the current laws that have caused frustration among Downtown developers, and allowed poorly designed development to harm some of our best older neighborhoods. It's the current laws that are costing builders thousands of extra dollars and months of extra time for every project. By discouraging investment and driving down property values, outdated planning laws today are costing the City millions of dollars in property tax revenue each year, not to mention preventing the revitalization of our downtown and perpetuating the concentration of poverty in surrounding neighborhoods.

Dozens of cities across the country have made their downtowns the easiest places to develop by adopting Specific Plans that provide more appropriate land use laws. More and more cities are adopting new zoning codes that set clear standards to protect older neighborhoods. The best Plans involve the community heavily so that the new laws reflect their vision for the future. And it will all happen in Fresno -- if the Council votes on January 28 to get the process of creating the new Downtown Plans going. There are several ways to get involved:

• Come to the City Council hearing on Thursday, January 28, 2009, at around
9:15 a.m. You can just watch, or speak up during the public comment period.

• Tell us if you support the Downtown Plans at By giving us your email address, you'll also be signed up to receive updates as the Plans are developed, plus other news from the City of Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Department.

• Tell your City Council representative how you feel. Call (559) 621-8000 to speak to staff for your Council Member about the contract for the Downtown Plans.

• After contract approval, look for updates at
We'll be posting news of upcoming Plan-related meetings and events, especially those where the community is invited to come help make important decisions. We will also post images and documents for public review.”

For more information go to, or call 559.621.8350

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday, January 18

Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
Welcome to the first issue of our Weekly Bulletin in this new decade. As a background note, the gap in distribution of the bulletin was due to an extended leave of our CEO—a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru. I also greet you with a thankful heart for the major accomplishments of our community during the past decade. We have traveled a transformational journey in creating the awareness that by coming together as an extended collaborative community we can attain our mutually defined goals. May those of you who carry the torch through this decade see the fulfillment of this Council’s Vision Statement adopted almost seventeen years ago.

A New Location for the Fresno Business Council—February 1

As of February 1, 2010, the CEO’s office of Fresno Business Council will be inside the Fresno Regional Foundation. The new address is 5250 North Palm, Suite 424, Fresno, CA 93704. (The same building). The new phone number will be 559.226.5600 extension 106 and the fax is 559.230.2078. It is impossible to measure the value of Deloitte’s 16 year hosting of our CEO. Productivity and job satisfaction have much to do with the people around you and the space you fill. On behalf of the Fresno Business Council and the community it serves, thank you to our long standing partner in transformational change—Deloitte!

Meeting of the California Stewardship Project at Stanford University
For over a decade, regional leaders in California have been working together to find effective ways to address complex issues and lead communities in this time of global and rapid change. “Developing innovative regional solutions for California’s most pressing economic, environmental and community challenges” has been the driving thought. In Fresno, the model we developed is a Four Sphere approach based upon a ten value operating system. At the Stanford meeting, Dr. John Welty, Dr. Alan Pierrot, Pete Weber, Ken Newby and Deborah Nankivell shared their perspectives on both the process and the yield from their long term engagement. If you are interested in the PowerPoint with narrative that tells the story or the background document focused on outcomes, simply make the request via email. As a leader from one of the newer regions noted, “your work has saved our community five years.”

“The Biggest Threat to California is State Government”
While every state and community is struggling to find a path out of the fiscal crisis and discover models for governance that match the realities of the 21st century, California’s size and complexity has made the challenge greater. We are a state of regional economies with dissimilar assets and problems with a one size fits all government disconnected from the realities of communities. What emerged from the meeting at Stanford is a willingness to work together as united regions to support transformational change recognizing that we are all Californians. We will keep you updated via the bulletin on current developments. Thank you to the Morgan Family Foundation for sustaining the network through the California Stewardship Project.