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.