Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Daunting Task!

Present at the event said...

I attended the Delta Economic Development Center's meeting tonight, there was an excellent turn out of members. Good news and renewed hope was heard during the evening through the new goals and economical plans of CEO Ed Johnson's for the Delta.

He has a lot of work ahead of him bringing hope back to this community, so far he appears to be the man for the job. Time will tell. He has some great ideas for the delta area and economy. I think the main thing is the community has to have open minds and be willing to work together to turn things around quickly.

Our City, Economic and County leaders have to get over themselves (and their own self-importance) and start working together for the common good of the community, not just the city, but the county, the delta. The main thing is the "follow through", a lot of balls are dropped in the community leaders' offices, because those who should be taking care of business at home are too busy following their own political or financial agenda at the expense of the region. Never being available, forever traveling for self promotion, ignoring the public needs, ignoring the needs of their own employees/staff in getting things done, forgetting promises made, all those things are major obstacles to a better Greenville.

Our leaders HAVE to be accountable, accessible and listening to their community to know what is needed. Focusing only on their needs and their gains can only lead to more political embarrassments that we have been seeing in the last few months. Greed and conceit are two evil components in a leader with access to public/business funds or resources. We need to get honesty, integrity and good work ethics back in the requirements of our leaders and in the mind of our community citizen's demands and self behaviors. Otherwise, we will only continue down this over trodden path of destruction.

I was not present at the Economic Development Center's event the other night, but I have heard mixed reviews of Mr. Johnson's views for the Delta. The author above makes some good points about what it will take to unite and change Greenville. I have also spoken to those who feel like there is nothing new about Mr. Johnson's ideas, plans or talents.

What qualifies Mr. Johnson to be CEO of our EDC? Is he a skillful grant-writer or economic wizard? He looks a bit young to have a lengthy track record as a proven change agent. Is he from the Delta and does he understand that "we" are truly like no other place on earth?

The downtown revitalization song has been sung by everyone from the Garden Club ladies to slick talking con men promising a bogus "Beale Street" concept. Sure, "downtown revitalization" has become a buzz word for promoting Greenville... but is it something we really want or need?

Grant money is a great quick fix to get an idea off the ground, but without public support, its fruits die on the vine as soon as the grant money disappears. Federal and State grants are intended to demonstrate that a program or idea works or doesn't. If successful, the community has to take the ball and run with it... and support it.

The Delta has a long tradition of the "entitlement" mentality. The truth is that no one outside of the Delta is going to invest in a culture that doesn't respect itself. I wish Mr. Johnson the best of luck in his very difficult role. I suggest that he think outside of the box when it comes to developing Greenville; otherwise, his voice will be just another whisper in an ever-growing chorus.



deltan self-importance said...

haha, Forthright I enjoy your comments immensely, so I hope you don't take offense, but did you notice the irony in your response?

"Is he from the Delta and does he understand that "we" are truly like no other place on earth?" is a perfect example of the "entitlement mentality" of which you write. ... the idea that "we are special" and that 'not just anybody' can walk in and understand us or our problems... In the end, age, or a proven track record, shouldn't rule him out if he is intelligent and dedicated.

You are correct though--if his plans are "nothing new", then his job is already next-to-impossible, so your suggestion to "think outside the box" is dead on...

rd said...

I see some amount of people saying "the writing is on the wall" "it is all over" "Greenville is dead and that is that."

Have towns is the same or better situations died off? Yes.

Have towns with far worse made a comeback? Sure.

I spent some time with the military in Japan. Now there is a whole country with next to no farm land, no natural resources, and tons of knarly terrain that isn't suitable for building and creates transportaion barriers ... and yet they are one of the richest countries in the world with some of the best looked after population. How? By being very creative with what they do have.

A city is a living, breathing entity. It is a large company. You could call it a lot of things. I wish Mr.Johnson the best but I don't think he is really the one to look to for change. His job is to keep knocking on doors and getting some immediate relief. Thats his job and I hope he does it well. WHat really needs to be done is for Greenville to start marketing itself as a unit and truly identify its strenghts and weaknesses for the long term.

I think the new pool idea is great becuase it represents a new mentality and makes a positive icon.

I agree that the old down town needs something done with it. But do we have a problem of too many people with loose change looking for a strollable area with kinck knack botiques and cafes? No? Then why try to fix it up as such? We have a lot of teenagers with too much time on their hands. Maybe that skate park idea would be good. Maybe it just needs to be bulldozed and some greenery added.

I know there are some that will say "who are you kidding, a pool, some greenery, getting rid of eyesores ... this place will never look like Paris." No it wont. And those that come looking for Paris will be disappointed and leave but not everone is looking for that.

WHat everone IS looking for is a place with less negative and more postive things in motion. A community pool is just a community pool but what does it represent to the newcommer when they drive into town for the first time? This person looking to open up buisness may have teenagers in his house. Is there something positive for his teen to do in this place? "Whooa, that is the wickedest skate park I have ever seen" would be nice to hear out of the kids mouth.

Thats what maketing is .. paying the 10% to reap the 90%. Its of limited value to haul an industry in instead of setting up an environment where any industry would like to be here.

As for creative ideas I have my own circle of knowlege but others with more expertise can fill in as well.

We have a massive natural water way that is one of the cheapest ways to transport and we also live in the most material goods happy country in the world. Isn't there some way to provide a valuable service to the shipping industry? Landing area, warehousing, truck to barge, rail to barge facility. Is there something we can manufacture that can be floated out to somewhere else in the Pacific? Ship, oil rig parts/supplies? Landing area for importation? Finishing plant for partially manufactured or customizable products? We have a cheap workforce compared to other parts of the US. If bad employees or security is such a problem can we facilitate a screening process or provide security measures to ensure our valued companies get the cream of the crop employee wise?

Southern Girl said...

very well said rd!!

New to the delta! said...

Any one have an idea of what this white stuff is on my lawn??