Friday, April 20, 2007

My first real post

The Metro Denver EDC has a 5-year economic development program with 6 initiatives (National Marketing, Tax Reform, Mobility, Existing Business, the Airport, and Special) that guide decisions and policy. Indianapolis has 5 high points it plans to use to attract businesses to their city (Low cost of doing business, strong incentives, business-friendly climate, central location, high quality of life). Atlanta has 7 major goals to achieve its major priorites of significant urban growth, new development and improved quality of life for its citizens. Charlotte, NC, has a vision to be the most prosperous and livable city for all citizens through quality economic development, and a mission to partner with internal and external organizations, within a Smart Growth framework, to retain and expand existing businesses, provide tools and resources to promote small business development, to promote development and investment along business and transit corridors, to attract new business investment and jobs and ensure that a diverse population participates in economic opportunities. Orlando highlights what businesses are offered in their city - Diverse Spectrum of industries, world's fastest growing Airports, world-class telcom infrastrucure, enviable quality of life, young workforce, industry-focused educations syste, competitive pro-business climate. And Portland, OR, (my favorite) has a vision to be a catalyst for positive change in the creation of a world-clas 21st century city; a city in which economic prosperity, quality housing and employment opportunities are available to all. Their mission is to bring together resources to achieve Portland's vision of a diverse, sustainable community with healthy neighborhoods, a vibrant central city, a strong regional economy, and quality jobs and housing for all.
Framework, fellows, that's what they have. That is what Kansas City lacks. There is no vision. There is no mission. Just a whole lot of fucking incentives. You can't just take those away, either. You see our competition up there? They are providing businesses - and their residents - with a whole lot of promise. That's how you get companies to stay AFTER their incentives expire, that's how you get homeowners to invest in their neighborhoods, that's how you build communities.
Mission statements and core values seem to be a bunch of corporate mumbo-jumbo, but they work. They give you something with which to align your decisions. They also require responsibilty - of every employee, but most importantly the executives and management. I work for 2 corporations - 1 publicly traded, and 1 not-for-profit. I know that as long as I am guided by the missions of the companies, I can stand up for everything that I want to do and everything that I see is going wrong. Don't have me memorize a 50-word sentence warm fuzzies and fluff and then tell me profit is what matters! I am empowered by a mission that I believe in and am inspired to carry that out. Imagine if we had that with our city. We know that economic development is supported by big companies, as well as small ones, so we don't throw a fit when some people get incentives that seem a little too much like CEOs on welfare, b/c we know it's important. BUT then we also know that vibrant neighborhoods and safe streets are a goal as well - so if they're getting their tax breaks, we'd better be getting our roads fixed and our grants to improve facades and streetscapes. And if we're not - we say, bitches (not really, but I'm tired - and I curse when I'm tired) - give us our shit. And we have a framework to fall back on. Not just hope we get the right people in office to make these things happen. There's too much bs for them to do.
So I'm putting it on us. The citizens of Kansas City. What is your vision for the city? What would your mission statement be? What would your 5 guiding principles be? What 5 goals would you set for YOUR Kansas City? Please, if you read this whole thing - just leave me a comment. Because I'm going to submit mine, but as my fellow neighbors - I'd like to live in a city that we ALL love. In some way or another at least.

10 comments:

"The D" said...

That is a really nice first "real post" as your said.

No one or no group of people will ever succeed unless it sets goals, or has an desired result in mind. that is where the planning comes in. its no different than a 5 paragraph that we used in the Marine Corps to plan a mission.

P.s. I will link you this weekend.

Robyne said...

I don't know why you are bound for law school, but consider an MPA at UMKC instead. we teach urban development policy and the info in your first post fits in perfectly. we need more people in nonprofits and government in KC that "get it".

KC Sponge said...

Robyne - That was my first choice, really. But law school just seems like a more challenging adventure. And I could always go for the joint degree, you know. . . Actually, the only people who have advised me have said that I should go for the MPA - but that's probably why the law school route seems more exciting. Will end up working for non-profits or municipal government either way . . .
Have read all your posts on the viable third - wish I could figure how to post there . . .

Airick Leonard said...

sponge, currently you can't post but you can leave comments to any post.

and robyne's right: do our city a favor and get a jd/mpa.

KC Sponge said...

Airick and Robyne - good to know you guys think I get it. Not always so sure myself . . .

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