Community Dialogue on Economic Development

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Tweeted photo of David Greenwald addressing the audience at the Vanguard 8th Birthday
Tweeted photo of David Greenwald addressing the audience at the Vanguard 8th Birthday

by Rob White

Last night, the Vanguard hosted a celebration for its 8th anniversary at the University Park Inn. Attended by over 70 people, the evening was marked by good conversation amongst people from across the Davis ideological landscape.

During the remarks portion of the event, David Greenwald talked about the reason for starting the Davis Vanguard. As he described it, there was a need for an alternative view in the community discussion – one that was not afraid to “pull punches” and dig deep in to the heart of the issue.

Not surprisingly, the theme last night was about community dialogue and the Vanguard’s role in helping to engage Davis in discussing issues and opportunities. And the keynote speaker was no exception, as she focused on one of Davis’ more important current topics – economic development.

The keynote speaker last night was Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, who is the Director of Economic Development at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in Livermore, CA. Many of last night’s attendees were surprised to hear that the Lab had an economic development director. And as Betsy shared, the need for economic development was much less about creating funding streams for the Lab and instead about creating connectivity to the greater community – that of researchers, academics, businesses and residents.

If you are not familiar with Lawrence Livermore, it is the sister national lab to Lawrence Berkeley. Started in 1952 because the Berkeley Lab was out of space for critical experiments, its mission has always been about national security.

At about 6,500 employees, the Lab was originally run by the University of California. That changed in 2007 when the Lab management contract was awarded to an LLC that was a partnership between the UC, Bechtel, Battelle, et al. And it was shared with the attendees last night that UC Davis has a 50 year research history with the Lab and currently has a small campus consisting of a few buildings at the Lab.

The partnership between UC Davis and Lawrence Livermore has focused on many aspects of research over that 50 years, and at one point was so robust that UC Davis had many researchers working at the Lab while Lab staff taught regularly at the university. And Betsy shared with the crowd that UC Davis and UC Berkeley graduates make up a majority of the staff at the Lab.

Though many aspects of shared history between the communities of Davis and Livermore can be described in the relationship between the university and the Lab, Betsy focused much of her discussion on the role of the Lab in the development of the East Bay economy and innovation ecosystem.

And if you have read many of my articles to date, you know I am almost single-mindedly focused on the development of the Davis ecosystem. So hearing Betsy’s viewpoint about the positive role the large research institution can play in the development of the local economy shouldn’t be news either. In fact, this is a central theme in the Sacramento Region’s Next Economy plan (www.nexteconomy.org) that you have read about in my articles over the last year.

So what does all of this have to do with community dialogue or economic development? Well, taking a cue from Betsy’s talk, and framing their successes in relation to what we want to achieve in Davis, we can start to compare and contrast the economic development success and challenges in that part of the East Bay with our own.

Central to that discussion is to create meetings, events, and presentations that our community can start to catalogue our own successes and challenges. Last night was an example of how some of that dialogue can be executed by bringing those that have information to share about their own experiences to Davis. And the opportunity was not missed by the Nishi Gateway team to also lead a small walking tour of participants over to the proposed project site and give a brief overview.

Another example was on Monday night, when the Mace Innovation Park team did a presentation at City Hall on their proposal. You can watch the video here if you were unable to attend.

But these outreach events are not enough. In fact, the City has asked that for the innovation center discussion each proponent hold several community meetings over the next couple of months to share their concepts and to gather input from the community. And at least one of the teams has committed to also using opportunities like a table at the Farmer’s Market on upcoming Saturday mornings to share their ideas more informally.

Economic development is not just about innovation centers. It is about fostering an entire ecosystem of continual research, education, training, entrepreneurialism, business ventures, investment, philanthropy, social causes and sustainability that lead to community vitality. Like any biological ecosystem, you can’t have one part of the system in poor health and expect that the rest of the system won’t be in jeopardy.

Innovation and creativity are at the core of the Davis DNA. We have solved many problems and created movements that have changed the global outlook on things like sustainability and bikes. The resurgence of our economic health doesn’t need to be accomplished just like everyone else, but we do need to take advantage of our strengths and mitigate our challenges. And by looking at communities that have had similar experiences, we can learn for their best practices and hopefully avoid their mistakes. But none of this can be done without fully engaging the community and creating an environment of shared learning.

You can expect that the Davis Vanguard, the City, the Chamber and other groups will most certainly be holding forums, presentations, open-houses and conducting other community outreach events over the coming months as a way to help create dialogue and discussion about economic development in general and the innovation centers specifically. I hope that you will engage and bring others to the discussion, so that we can accomplish the greatest amount of shared learning and open dialogue, which will hopefully lead us to the best possible outcome.

Thanks for considering my thoughts. I welcome your ideas. My email is rwhite@cityofdavis.org

if you choose to email me directly.

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About The Author

Rob White is the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Davis and was selected as a 2012 White House Champion of Change for Local Innovation. He serves as an ex-officio Board Member for techDAVIS (a local tech entrepreneur industry group), as an executive Board Member for the Innovate North State iHub, and as a Board Member for Hacker Lab and the California Network for Manufacturing Innovation. He is a candidate for the Doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development from the University of Southern California and has a Masters from USC in Planning and Development and a Bachelors of Science in Geology from Chico State.

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40 thoughts on “Community Dialogue on Economic Development”

  1. Barack Palin

    “You can expect that the Davis Vanguard, the City, the Chamber and other groups will most certainly be holding forums, presentations, open-houses and conducting other community outreach events over the coming months as a way to help create dialogue and discussion about economic development in general and the innovation centers specifically”

    Will the Vanguard be receiving compensation for this from the City or other sources?

    1. Matt Williams

      BP, the mission of the Vanguard has always been to provide “dialogue spaces” for community discussion of key issues that the community faces. In effect the articles and comments that get published each and every day here on the Vanguard are “community outreach events.” The question you posed above was in and of itself a community outreach event. You were looking to promote dialogue within the community. Did the Vanguard receive any compensation from you so you could post your comment?

      With that said, if you look down the list of contributors to last night’s Vanguard event, you will find Mace Innovation Center, Davis Innovation Center, Davis Ranch Innovation Center, and the Nishi-Gateway Innovation Center. They all chose to make contributions because they do appreciate the community dialogue that the Vanguard promotes and hosts.

      1. Barack Palin

        “With that said, if you look down the list of contributors to last night’s Vanguard event, you will find Mace Innovation Center, Davis Innovation Center, Davis Ranch Innovation Center, and the Nishi-Gateway Innovation Center. They all chose to make contributions because they do appreciate the community dialogue that the Vanguard promotes and hosts.”

        Where do I find the list of contributors and how much was donated?

          1. Barack Palin

            “MULTIPLATINUM EVENT SPONSOR: PAUL BOYLAN”

            I’m curious, does that mean multi thousands? If so, how much?

  2. Ryan Kelly

    BP, You can now thank David and the Vanguard team for putting on this event. I hope, as a frequent commenter, you are a subscriber to this site.

      1. La pace sia con voi.

        Ryan has a right to ask questions. It’s a shame you can’t financially support the Vanguard, since you spend so much time here. Even a ten dollar donation would be helpful. If every reader gave a little, it would be great. You said you live in Wildhorse, and I don’t know your financial situation. So I’m merely suggesting you donate a small amount, perhaps the same amount as a monthly subscription to the Davis Enterprise. (They won’t let you post comments because you don’t use your real name. David lets you post all the comments you want, for free.)

        It would be a very nice gesture, on your part. IMHO…”kapeesh”?

        1. Barack Palin

          How do you know I don’t donate so you too can mind your own business. I thought it was taboo according to you to name where one lives. [edit–no name-calling please. Don]

          1. Davis Progressive

            i don’t know (or frankly care) if you do or don’t. what i do know is that the new website the vanguard is building will cost over $10K and a lot of people utilize the site (according to david) and have never contributed money. so anyone in that category, should at least think about a small contribution if they can afford it.

          2. Barack Palin

            If I’m reading it right am I wrong to assume that from the accounting on the list of the birthday party donations that at least $10,000 has already been acheived?

          3. La pace sia con voi.

            $10 is all I suggested, not knowing or caring about your lifestyle or your finances. $10 seems reasonable. BTW, you are the person who said you don’t mind telling readers you live in Wildhorse. I don’t care to divulge where my neighborhood is.

        1. Barack Palin

          DP, no I never said anything fishy is going on. I do think some of the names, businesses and organizations on the list of donors is very interesting. What’s your take?

          1. Matt Williams

            For community dialogue on economic development to succeed it needs active participation by all the interested parties … the citizens, the existing and potential employees of the companies, the UCD students who are looking to find jobs in their field in Davis, the City, the owners of the Innovation Center(s), and the many businesses that will realize additional business as a result of the spending by the proposed businesses and employees. There are businesses and organizations and individuals that fall into most (if not all) of those categories, so yes, the list is interesting. They all see the Vanguard playing a role as a “community dialogue space” and are willing to contribute in order to make sure that dialogue space continues to promote the community dialogue.

            With that said, I do have a question for you, “In addition to the Vanguard, what are the other community dialogue spaces in Davis?”

  3. SODA

    It was a wonderful event. Good food, good conversation and interesting speakers. A treat was Lamar Heystek…..who continues to read the Vanguard routinely!
    The Livermore Lab discussion was lively and informative. What I found lacking (perhaps my ignorance or missing it) was the specifics regarding interconnectivity between the Lab and the city of Livermore and how that self proclaimed ‘slow growth’ city reacted and responded to the expansion into the city of the innovation park, open campus that Betsy described. Thanks Rob for bringing her to speak and thanks David for the 8 years of the DV and the nice party!

    1. La pace sia con voi.

      I heard from several attendees that the speakers were very good, the food was great, and it was a very nice and friendly group of people. They said they had a great time.
      Thank you for putting on such a wonderful gala.
      Glad you raised some money, too!

  4. Tia Will

    SODA

    I also enjoyed the event and shared your perception that I would have liked to have heard more about the benefits from the point of view of the citizens of Livermore rather than exclusively the point of view of the Director of Economic Development although her presentation was very interesting.

    A point that she made again and again was how they were stressing regional development. When I hear Rob White and others that are urging development here, this is not what I am hearing. I am hearing that they see development as a competition, not a collaboration between the communities in our region. Rochellle has spoken about us losing companies meaning that they have left Davis because we did not have adequate space for them.

    What I can envision is Davis with the university adjacent and small incubators for those coming straight out or still affiliated with the university perhaps up to medium sized companies, while large companies do indeed more on to locations in nearby communities thereby strengthening the entire region. I do not see why everything has to be about competition and “keeping our businesses ” as though we exist in isolation. I would be interested in Rob’s thoughts on this take since I obviously am very invested in moving away from competition into more collaborative models.

    1. Tia Will

      “Because our budget is upside down.”

      I understand that we have budgetary problems. I also understand that a large reason for those budgetary problems was the short sightedness and failure to take the long view of the city staff and council members at the time that funds were used unwisely to support city worker benefits instead of their intended purpose to support our infrastructure.

      I believe that if it is possible for one group to make unsound decisions reactively ( in their care in response to pressure from certain city employee unions) that it would also be possible for current city staff and council to act unwisely faced with pressure from those who are pushing a rapid development agenda.

      What I am recommending is not no change as I have been accused frequently. What I am recommending is a cautions approach using all of the options judiciously. We have already made cut backs which some would consider judicious, some would consider draconian, and still others would consider insufficient. We have passed a modest sales tax in my view. I have heard from those who consider any new tax unacceptable and those who feel that we did not ask for enough. With regard to the “innovation park” initiatives, I believe that we should carefully vet all applications, chose the best one and move forward with that. Then, I believe that we should set a time frame for re assessment. If the steps we have taken are having a positive impact on the community ( improving our economic situation while maintaining the ambience and environment of Davis) , then and only then should we chose how to move forward proactively and deliberately.

  5. Bill

    “…the need for economic development was much less about creating funding streams for the Lab and instead about creating connectivity to the greater community – that of researchers, academics, businesses and residents.”

    The right people need to be in place for this to happen well. Thankfully, I think Robb Davis and Rob White will help the City move more in this direction with increasing success. Engagement with the wider community and all sectors will be our continued challenge. With the right people in place, though, I think it’s certainly feasible.

    Thanks for the article Rob.

  6. Tia Will

    Bill

    What I heard was a lot about connectivity to researchers, academics, some about connectivity to businesses and very little about connectivity to or impacts on residents. I thought that this speaker was thoughtful and gave a very good presentation. I am looking forward to more presentations representing varying points of view.

    1. Matt Williams

      Tia, your comment intrigues me. If in fact the City’s collaborative innovation park efforts result in the incubation and growth of businesses that connect to the core competencies of UCD’s technology programs and UCD’s technology transfer initiatives, I would expect that there would be significant connectivity to UC Davis students and faculty who are in those programs, as well as Davis citizens who are employed in those industries. However, I wouldn’t expect the “typical” Davis resident to have much connectivity with the companies that call the Innovation Park home. Let’s take Schilling Robotics for instance. What proportion of the 65,000 current Davis residents do you feel “connect” with Schilling? Five percent? Less than five percent? What about Mori Seiki? Do you and Mori Seiki “connect”? What impacts do you feel from Mori Seiki?

      With that said, and pending your answers, in what way do you expect future presentations will help you to better connect to the types of companies that are likely to inhabit Davis’ innovation ecosystem?

  7. Tia Will

    What I am mostly interested in Matt is a balanced view of the pros and cons of the increasing size of the facilities that are being envisioned. I think that you may be inadvertently addressing the heart of my issue when you ask “What impacts do you feel from Mori Seiki ?” My answer is, “I don’t know.” And I imagine that would be the answer of many Davis residents. I do not think not knowing is a good thing. I also did not know about the adverse effects that the deal that was cut between past city council members and the firefighters union for funds that should have gone to infrastructure until I started becoming civilly involved after my kids moved out. I suspect there is much that I don’t know and much the community doesn’t know both about the positive and potentially not so positive impacts of very large businesses and business parks on the community.

    Ignorance is not bliss. I have not seen any realistic numbers about how much Mori Seiki or any other business for that matter benefits and or costs the community. What I am asking for is simply information. Some salient points would be how much does the city anticipate gaining by the development, home much more need for housing for workers is projected, how many automobile or truck trips are projected per day ( environmental and infrastructure costs), what other environmental impacts and safety issues can be anticipated. I think that perhaps I mislead you with my use of the word connectivity because it was a word the speaker used often. I would probably have made myself clearer if I had merely requested an assessment of the pros and cons for residents as well as those who stand to benefit directly.

    1. Matt Williams

      I also did not know about the adverse effects that the deal that was cut between past city council members and the firefighters union for funds that should have gone to infrastructure until I started becoming civilly involved after my kids moved out.

      Interesting example Tia … and given the questions you have presented to Rob White over the recent months in response to his weekly columns, my suspicion is that those kind of financial issues are going to get a very thorough and very public vetting. However, given Wednesday night’s speaker was from Livermore, how realistic is it for us to expect her to talk about the financial effects of the possible innovation parks here in Davis. Further, is it realistic for her to divulge fiscal details about Livermore’s innovation parks?

      As a result I took your question about impacts to have been non-fiscal in nature. So, when you say, “I suspect there is much that I don’t know and much the community doesn’t know both about the positive and potentially not so positive impacts of very large businesses and business parks on the community” what kind of positive impacts and not so positive impacts do you expect 300 additional Schilling Robotics employees (and the supporting infrastructure for those employees) to have on quality of life in Davis? Or if you prefer, what kind of positive impacts and not so positive impacts do the current complement of Schilling Robotics employees (and the supporting infrastructure for those employees) to have on quality of life in Davis?

      Your second paragraph gets into some of the specifics you were looking for from Betsy Cantwell on Wednesday night, but I can’t help but wonder whether she was really the appropriate person to be addressing things like automobile and truck trips per day? Further, when I read your second paragraph, I found my mind wandering back to a variation of the question I posed earlier, specifically, “What proportion of the 65,000 current Davis residents do you feel will “connect” with the safety issues of an expanded Schilling Robotics presence east of Mace?” Aren’t those kind of issues more appropriate for an inwardly focused community meeting rather than the kind of outwardly focused event that Wednesday’s Vanguard fundraiser was?

      One of the very interesting topics that Betsy talked about was the “Meet-Ups” that Livermore is conducting with regularity. We need to do more of that here in Davis, hopefully with a focus on the kinds of issues you have raised in your comment above.

  8. Tia Will

    Matt

    I am going to try again since I obviously am not being clear.
    I did not expect to hear any particular information from Betsy. I had no preconceived notion about her presentation and found her both engaging and informative. My point was that I am hoping that we will have presentation in the future that will address the impacts of the proposed projects both positive and negative and deal with the full range of impacts including financial, environmental and social.

    I just thought of an example from medicine that may help you understand my perspective. A woman comes into to see me having decided because she is having painful periods and saw on Oprah that a hysterectomy was a great plan, so she wants one and she wants it right away. The problem is that she is focused solely on the perceived benefits. This is because she does not know what she does not know. She is completely unaware of the surgical risks, the possibly lengthy recovery time, increased risk of certain problems developing in the future that she has not considered. It is my job to make sure that she has considered all the pros and cons as well as all of the potentially less complication prone alternatives before she takes this irrevocable step.

    I am where the woman is when she first walks in the door with only one exception. I know that there are many pros and cons to any choice we make in life and I know that I am ignorant and need help in viewing the pros and cons objectively.

    1. Matt Williams

      Tia, I understand what you are personally looking for as additional information. I also like your example from medicine because it illuminates the point I was making even more clearly than I could have made it myself.

      To apply your example to both Betsy’s presentation Wednesday night and the larger community decision, the doctor in your example is Betsy and the patient is to all intents and purposes Tia Will (and many Davis residents like Tia). What you have left out of your medical example are the other 65,000 people who have an opportunity to “connect” to your example woman’s decision about whether or not to proceed with a hysterectomy. Some of those 65,000 people will indeed “connect” with her decision and/or her decision process. They are the researchers, academics, and businesses you referred to in your original comment. In addition, the residents who pass through the Mace Curve / Mace Interchange portions of Davis will probably “connect” as well.

      However, the vast majority of the people who live to the west of 113 (and many other neighborhoods in Davis) will only “connect” if they are concerned about their taxes and/or if they work in one of the industries that will see a jobs growth as a result of proceeding with the Innovation Park. Bottom-line, the majority of people really won’t take the time to inform themselves about your woman’s hysterectomy because that hysterectomy doesn’t touch their personal lives with any gravitas.

  9. Tia Will

    Matt

    Lets take the analogy just a little further. While I agree that many of these 65,000 people will not care at all, prior to the event, because they think that it will not affect them or they think that it is none of their business. However, for every member of her family, every one of her coworkers, the members of her coworkers families, the people that she would serve on her job…. it will have an impact greater or lesser depending on their relationship to her. There can be a very large and largely unanticipated ripple effect. This effect will last for as long as it takes her to recover. or permanently in the case of the city. So again, you have largely illustrated my point. Just because you do not anticipate a change does not mean that the change will not affect you.

    Most of the discussion that I am hearing so far is about the benefits that these business parks will have presumably for all the residents of Davis. If we think that the benefits will be seen by all, can we really not envision any downsides that would also affect all. All I am asking for is that future presentations contain some balance in presentation.

    I don’t know if you remember the very first couple of presentations of the Cannery . I was present at one where the project was presented by city staff and the representative of the developer as a model of innovation perfect for this site. There was no downside mentioned at all until it came time for question and answers. So the adverse effects and discussion of potential mitigation was limited to the questions that came up from the limited number of folk in attendance. There was a great deal of delay while various community individuals and groups started thinking through the implications and various downsides to the project. I would like to see this very messy, lengthy process avoided. I think it is best avoided by ( well what else would you expect from me) prevention.

    1. SODA

      Hi Tia and Matt,
      I am late to this back and forth of yours, but let me jump in!
      I am not sure Tia and I have the same reflection on the Wed night talk, but my question at the forum was similar.
      And agree, perhaps Betsy could not answer: What was the process used to inform the CITY residents about the development of the open campus/innovation center and what hurdles if any were overcome? Livermore was stated to be a slow growth city in the intro; if so, what was the dialogue as the expansion occurred?

      And a comment about Mori Seiki: I know nothing about the company and have asked a number of times for the financial numbers which benefit our city….I am not being negative, really, but would like to better informed. Could the company do outreach? Although an attractive building on second, it is huge and not necessarily what I would choose for my community. Knowing the financial benefit and something about the company, really anything, would go a long way for me. Any agreement?

    2. Matt Williams

      Tia: “For every member of her family, every one of her coworkers, the members of her coworkers families, the people that she would serve on her job…. it will have an impact greater or lesser depending on their relationship to her.”

      We are in complete agreement. As I have noted in my prior entries in this dialogue, that cohort of “her families and coworkers” is made up of people who use the Mace Curve / Mace Interchange transportation corridor, the UCD students/researchers who would like to stay in Davis and work in Davis in one of the “innovation” fields that are part of UCD’s core competencies, current (and potential) Schilling Robotics employees who would like to continue to work in Davis, current and potential Marone Bio Innovations employees who would like to continue to work in Davis, current Davis residents who would like to see the streets repaired with funds other than from increased taxes levied on their homes, the owners of Davis businesses that currently serve Schilling Robotics, the owners of Davis businesses that would/could serve the innovation businesses that might locate if we had a place for them.

      Getting the participation of that cohort of “her family and coworkers” is relatively easy to do. Getting the participation of “the members of her coworkers families and the people she would serve on her job” is nowhere near as easy. When we extend our reach from audiences that are directly affected to audiences that are indirectly affected the tried and true question, “What’s in it for me?” tends to determine whether the people in those extended audiences will take the time to become informed and/or involved.

      I agree with you that the Cannery discussion extended over a long period, but I don’t think that happened because of a failure to discuss any downside impacts of the development. The discussions lasted for as long as they did because of two factors. The first was the alternative use of the site as a business/industrial park rater than as housing. The second was the protracted time it took for Davis to decide which special interest groups in Davis would get a portion of the financial “pie” that the developer was going to have to prepare, bake, and serve if they wanted to get their zoning change and entitlements approved. The Climate Action interest group wanted solar. Citizens for Healthy Aging wanted senior housing. Small Construction companies wanted the right to build some of the homes. Bikers wanted two underpasses and appropriate connections to the current bikeways. Downtown interests wanted a parking garage in the lot next to FedEx/Kinkos. Other Downtown interests wanted a parking garage in the lot next to the Boy Scout Cabin.

      There was some discussion about adverse affects, mostly about automobile traffic on Covell, but for the most part the time was spent trying to either (A) sort out the various competing “What’s in it for me?” requests, or (B) discuss the pros and cons of devoting the site to a 100% business/industrial use. Because of the competitive nature of (A) and the highly competitive nature of (B) the process was indeed lengthy and messy.

      In her presentation on Wednesday night Betsy Cantwell did spend some time talking about the series of “Meet-Up” meetings that Livermore has been having, and will continue to have on topics that relate to their innovation ecosystem. Davis would be wise to initiate a similar series of “Meet-Ups” covering topics germane to Innovation in Davis. The presentation about the Mace Innovation Center from 5:30 to 7:30 last Monday was in effect the first in a series of “Meet Ups.” The challenge that City Staff has is that once specific applications are received their role changes and the focus shifts from Rob White and Sarah Worley (Economic Development) to Mike Webb and his staff who process the application(s).

      There will be hearings before the City’s various Commissions, but from your comments above I get the sense that there are questions you would like to see answered that either go beyond that formalized application review process, or that you would like to see happen much sooner than that formal City application review. if that is the case, how do you propose that such meetings happen? Who should host them? In the Cannery process community interest groups like Valley Climate Action Center and Cool Davis and Davis Bicycles! and CHA hosted focus meetings to discuss specific areas of concern that they had. What interest groups do you think would be logical hosts for meetings to discuss “the implications and various downsides to the project”? Valley Climate Action Center and Cool Davis and Davis Bicycles! and CHA all had a very clear sense of what their respective downsides were for the Cannery project. Does that same kind of focused interest in specific issues exist for the Mace Innovation Center or the Davis Innovation Center (or for that matter the Nishi-Gateway Innovation Center)?

  10. Tia Will

    SODA

    I am in complete agreement. Information is all that I am seeking. I feel that we probably do have somewhat different takes on the presentation given although I very much appreciated your question. Part of the problem that I see when I pose a question is that I have been identified as a “slow growther”. This seems to be interpreted as that I would always oppose any growth of any kind which is certainly not true. Once you have gained a label, others who oppose your point of view find it very difficult to believe that you are capable of considering any issue outside of the “box” that they have stereotyped you into.

    I am hoping that since you are not so labelled, perhaps your enquiry will be seen in a more neutral light and judged as more deserving of an objective response.

    Another interesting point from your post that illustrates how much value is in the eye of the beholder.
    I do not consider the Mori Seiki building attractive at all although I certainly agree that it is huge.
    I remember having a similar discussion years ago about the aesthetics of the painting of the water tower which I find very attractive but which one poster did not like at all. I sincerely doubt that I am going to find a business park design attractive , but am fully willing to acknowledge that this is a matter of personal taste and not a major consideration when discussing a project that has the potential from million dollar benefits over time.

  11. SODA

    maybe my ‘attractive’ for Mori Seiki was a little generous; it seems to have clean lines?
    and I did not like the water tower and made some disparaging comments about it until we walked around it and undestood what it was trying to ‘say’. Now I smile when I pass by it…and have defended it to a few friends!
    Don’t tell anyone, but I am slow to middlin growth myself! 🙂

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