NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Friday, October 21, 2005

We cannot get there, until we know where we want to be.

Eric Engles brings up an important point in his Other Voices: Let residents in on SDA discussions, October 20, 2005
But even more importantly, what external forces may or may not have in store for western Nevada County in the next 15 years is largely beside the point. What matters is what we want for our community. Despite our political differences, we generally agree that we don't want worse traffic or Roseville-style sprawl. At the same time, we generally agree with the need for a vibrant economy and housing for people with low and moderate incomes. The only way to balance these values and needs and arrive at a vision for the future that we can all embrace is to plan democratically.
In the mid 90s, I wrote a series of articles for the GV/NC Chamber of Commerce Business to Business on the need for a community vision we can all share. The problem is that all tribes in Nevada County have a different vision, and all are toiling on a path to their tribal vision. The problem is that each path leads to a different vision. These multiple visions produce conflicts for our business, economic development, and government leaders, as they try to make long term decisions about our future.

My advice to government leaders is to focus on the vision. If we can produce a common vision, then we can define the steps needed to build a community we all agree is worth having. With a common vision, all the local tribes the greenies, the retired gray hairs, the high techies, the business owners, the artists, the stasis worshipers, etc., can all work together to create the community we want.

The first step should be to define out terms. We all use common terms, but they can hold different meanings for the speaker than the listener. In systems engineering terms this is called a data dictionary. A compendium of defined terms, that can be consulted during a project. As a new player joins the project, they have a reference, which lets them rapidly produce meaningful results.

Lacking common terms of reference, the result is confusion and chaos as to which tribes vision we are building. We need a common vision we can all share. Lets get started.

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