Saturday, August 28, 2010

August 23, 2010

Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
One of the rewards of living in the middle of the most productive agricultural climate in the nation is the expectation of having a bountiful harvest each fall. While the springtime blossoms may determine the volume of the harvest, it is the cultural practices during the maturation period that determine the quality of the end product. So, too, it seems to me, is the progression of our political processes. Our March primary is when we plant the seeds which we expect to harvest in November. The time in between is when it is up to us to till the political soil and determine which seeds hold the most promise for a quality crop. In only a few weeks, our eyes and ears will once again be filled with arguments for a particular variety. It is up to us to make our selections wisely. In agriculture it’s called horticultural practices. In the political arena it’s called Democracy In Action.

Four Spheres Workshops—New Operating System
As we set out in 2000 to address the structural issues of the economy that prevented greater prosperity and allowed concentrated poverty, we learned many things. Central to our education was the recognition of interdependence--that without an equally strong focus on infrastructure, both built and natural, and the development of our human potential we would at best be addressing symptoms. Transformational change requires a new thought framework coupled with changed behavior—a new culture. At our most recent workshop, a number of our institutional leaders offered their insights. As the “bones of the community” our institutional leaders, together with thought leaders, create the foundation and the framework upon which we all build. In a world of interdependence, collaboration at the level of action is not enough. We must begin our thinking together, act behind a shared strategy and become a learning community.

Some of the key thoughts:
•The first filter is citizen. Through this lens we all have a responsibility to the whole.
• Know your assignment and get into alignment.
• Maintain focus on what you can achieve with excellence.
• We must lead from a place of understanding how the pieces fit together.
• We must invite people into partnership—government alone is not the solution.
• Our social fabric has remarkably improved. Act with the expectation of cultural change.

Results Shared:
• Grundfos decided to build a research facility in Fresno. Key reason—The Water and Energy Technology Incubator at Fresno State.
• 32% increase in college going rate at FUSD. Key reason—partnership between Fresno State and Fresno Unified.
• Signs of gang activity dropping—Key reason—leveraging law enforcement, social networks and faith-based groups.

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