Posts Tagged ‘town hall’

17th November
2008
written by madge

A step towards a regional fix to our problems OR another group that does nothing? Only time will tell.

The 2007 Tucson Regional Town Hall was an exercise held last summer here in Tucson. The Town Hall was designed to indentify and hopefully fix some of our regions issues.

The Town Hall was organized by Southern Arizona Leadership Council. SALC is Tucson’s CEO brain trust. So far the group is good at putting these things on but we’re not sure how good they are at the implementation. SALC’s effectiveness during the recent Regional Transportation Authority plan is notable, let’s hope they can repeat.

With the Town Hall behind us, we’ve identified what our problems are but the million dollar question is ‘NOW WHAT?’.

The AZ Star’s Sam Negri had some interesting thoughts on the Town Hall:

It was with a clenched jaw and a stiff neck that we approached the report and recommendations of the Tucson Regional Town Hall, a document released to the public on Wednesday.
After all, the town hall, a meeting that involved approximately 160 participants selected from a much larger group of applicants, had spent roughly 30 hours in May focused on issues that are hardly new to Tucson residents.
We cannot say anyone will be startled by the findings in the town hall report. But that’s less a reductive statement than it is an acknowledgement, sadly, that the region’s problems have remained more or less constant for years.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of building a community that remains focused on the need to convert talk into practical decisions. In the past, we’ve tended to react to problems later rather than sooner, in the process creating the negative consequences we then criticize and organize town hall discussion groups to address.
It’s a closed loop that needs to be broken.
The town hall discussions were initiated by the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, or SALC, and conducted under the sponsorship of 33 public and private organizations, including the Arizona Daily Star. Each of these groups has a vested interest in practical results.

In the end, the town hall discussion pointed to a simple fact: The Tucson region must do more for itself.
The town hall that SALC put together dealt with much of what we already know, including the belief that there is considerable talent in our region. It also illustrated that there is a nucleus of individuals who are genuinely concerned with the future.

Those participants were a fraction of a much larger group that is ready to set aside the cynicism of the past and finally address the future as though we will all be here forever. For that, future generations will be thankful.
Contact editorial writer Sam Negri at snegri@azstarnet.com
Once again the problem with Tucson is Tucson itself. There are dozens of groups on all sides of the political spectrum that function in their own little worlds without an over arching concern from the community as a whole. The walls have been built over decades. The alphabet soup of acronyms like SAHBA, ASBA, TREO, TAR, LMNOP and XYZ are working hard to justify their existence and cater to their membership. The real leadership that is required to pull it all together is sorely lacking. We continue to stumble, miss opportunities and watch the world evolve around us.
Checking in with our other local paper – Teya Vitu – Tucson Citizen take on the Town Hall HERE.
Two months ago, a novel concept was introduced for the Tucson Regional Town Hall: This gathering slated for Sunday through Wednesday at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort would feature not just the “usual suspects” but would include people who range across the socioeconomic spectrum.
Guess what? The 159-delegate field is woefully top-heavy with usual suspects, with barely a trace of the worker bee beneath the executive level.
There’s a freelance writer and a creative writing teacher in the prison system, but beyond that the region’s future will be discussed almost exclusively by top-boss types. Some 74 participants have the title “president” in some way, 23 are executive directors, 14 are chief executives, all the county’s mayors are on board as are six of seven members of the Tucson City Council and three of five Pima County supervisors.
Not a soul from the retail-sector trenches to be seen. Not a single teacher from the K-12 trenches.
The common man (or woman) will not be present.
That is a travesty because the non-titled folks – likely those among the 700 who applied for the Town Hall but weren’t picked – often bring up practical and even profound ideas that would never bounce around in boardrooms but could just be the solutions for Tucson’s woes.
The roster was picked by the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, which is coordinating the Town Hall, and the Arizona Town Hall, the organization that is moderating the event. SALC did the hand picking of mayor and CEO types, and SALC culled the field of general applicants – and sadly picked out the exact same executive-caliber candidates.
Diana Rhoades, 40, applied while she was an outreach specialist at the Sonoran Institute but was not picked – not high enough on any totem pole, apparently.
“I was disappointed,” said Rhoades, now campaign manager for City Council candidate Regina Romero (a chosen delegate). “Some people who were invited said this is the same old people. I was excited about taking part. They said they wanted young people, new people. I wanted to bring the conservation angle, smart growth angle. I live downtown. I walk everywhere.”
Arizona Town Hall President Tara Jackson in an earlier interview said she looked for applicants with demonstrated leadership skills. That’s fine for part of the field, but you can’t have a delegation entirely composed of leaders.
Tucson needs fresh voices, input from the younger generations, people new to the process who can break through the doldrums of thinking in baby steps.
The Tucson establishment of “usual suspects” has proved that by itself it doesn’t have the moxie to give Tucson the push needed to get the region ready to become a 2 million population metro area.
Ron Shoopman, SALC’s president, insists that this Town Hall process will inject new vigor in these “usual suspects.” He pointed out the embryonic successes at regional cooperation last year with voter approval of the regional transportation plan and Joint Technological Education District, which will allow the region’s school districts to have shared technology education resources.
“The RTA and JTED are both examples of groups from different walks of life coming together for a common cause,” said Shoopman, a retired Air Force brigadier general. “I think there’s energy in this community we haven’t seen before. We’ve always had the same outcome because we’ve had 100 groups working independently on the same issue. Now, if we can get those groups working together on those issues, we have a chance to make changes for the better.”
This Town Hall was an ideal opportunity to bring a new generation to the table.
Now we will once again have to desperately hope these 159 people can get through Tucson’s brick wall: We meet fantastically but don’t have much of a track record to take the next steps after a meeting.
Teya Vitu covers downtown for the Tucson Citizen and for six years has watched the endless false starts or tiny steps taken here in economic development.
  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • December 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • Should We Build The Downtown Hotel?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Tags