Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
Does it seem to you that December is a month of introspection in our lives? It does to me. More and more a great portion of that inward analysis is centered on this Council’s wise decision to base our actions upon the Statement of Community Values of the Fresno Region. Such a position demands introspection in determining how those values contribute to the personal and organizational conduct of our affairs. One of the strongest of these values is “Boundary Crossing and Collaboration – we are willing to cross political, social, ethnic and economic boundaries and partner with others to achieve community outcomes.” The old “I’m right, therefore you’re wrong” attitude has been relegated to the trash can. Supporting this code of conduct is The Fourth Sphere helps us think as stewards of the whole—a prerequisite to the ability cross boundaries. We are learning to think and act as a people-centered collaborative community. That’s a thought worth thinking about at this time of the year.
Looking Back; Looking Forward—Deborah Nankivell
Some of you know that Dick (Richard Johanson) has written two books, A Passion for Stewardship: The Legacy of a Generation and Just a Thought: Reflections on Civic Transformation. As the president during our formative years and chair emeritus ever since, his messages carried in our bulletin and shared with those who have the privilege of working as his colleagues, are like the rudder on a sailboat. He remembers “why” and has the courage to remind others. We have learned much about what it takes to achieve community transformation over the past 17 years. The most important lesson is insuring that stewards are leading—those that remember why. Sustainable effort requires passion and a commitment to something greater than oneself. Many have said the WWII generation remembered something those following have forgotten—the price of freedom, the importance of community and that adversity builds character.
At our upcoming board meeting the Infrastructure, Land Use and Transportation Task Force, chaired by Dick Johanson, will be offering their report and recommendations. In April of 1998, the Growth Alternatives Alliance issued A Landscape of Choice: Strategies for Improving Patterns of Community Growth. At this time, collaboration was considered bold. The Alliance included unexpected partners—Fresno County Farm Bureau, Fresno Chamber of Commerce, American Farmland Trust, the Building Industry Association and the Fresno Business Council. At the time, the leaders of these organizations recognized that working together was in both their self and collective self-interest. This sphere, largely the province of government, requires a broadly supported community agenda and steward leaders in order to deliver projects that can take over a decade to complete, well past the terms of most elected officials.