2.04.2009

"We can bake more bread, or fight over the crumbs": Compete or Retreat wrap up

Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Council gave an excellent keynote speech at the recent Compete or Retreat symposium, although I thought he was describing a foreign country, a strange land with a successful record of public-private partnerships and where consensus between disparate groups was an achievable goal (it is also very true that California faces huge economic problems at this point in time). He also mentioned that language -- as in tempered language -- plays a role in helping to work towards larger common goals, it is counterproductive to demonize opponents, and chose words wisely (ie, people live in 'homes' not 'units'). A side note: I actually had lunch with Carl Gaurdino, we discussed such vital business topics as the upcoming Tour of California and the Webcor Cycling Team -- he's a cyclist and triathlete.

I suppose I should take Guardino's counsel about 'temperate language' to heart and not characterize the person who left this comment on a blog as an ignorant, bigoted fool (or worse -- neo-Stalinist comes to mind). Jeb Spaulding -- a Democrat -- took quite a bit of heat from various local left-of-center blogs for merely participating in the event, and apparently some Democratic legislators chose not to attend because of the sponsoring organization's ideology.

I have two comments on this: First, as a citizen of Vermont, I am interested in 'best practices' and would cheerfully support political leadership that I thought could lead the state out of the present morass -- regardless of party or ideology (within reason). Second, the panelists at the symposium were quite diverse, the event was not a run of the mill Chamber of Commerce-GOP love fest, I've sat through that kind of gathering before, and they are usually quite uninteresting.

Panelists at the morning session.

The afternoon panel. Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, said that she was sick of panels, commissions and talk, she said that now is time for action and reform.

The Free Press, a dying but sometimes still useful institution, has a pretty comprehensive write up of the day so I won't summarize what was discussed.

I was glad I helped -- in a small way -- publicize "Compete or Retreat", I met some new people and honed my PR skills a little bit, however, I will say that there was a certain atmosphere of 'preaching to the choir' at the event -- which was unfortunate. There also were common themes of poor choices in tax policies and wasted human capital running through the various presentations. My own sense is that things are bad now and going to get worse, and that there is a huge leadership vacuum here -- short-sightedness abounds. Finally, let the record show that I have never been a huge fan of Jim Douglas or (especially) the national Republican Party in its current form.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Good analysis of the day, Jeff. I was also there. My bias is with Mary Powell's comments... it's action time,. You might be interested in http://www.vteh.org (Vermonters for Economic Health) if you haven't seen it.