An interview with...
Great Valley Center
do you see as the most daunting issue in the Valley?
Well, I think it's
easy to say the most daunting issue is growth. I'm troubled by the fact
that there isn't a cohesive strategy. There doesn't have be a regional
government but we all ought to be, it seems to me, thinking about what
it means to deal with the kind of growth that we have coming. Where
do we get the water? Where do we get the power? How do we handle the
traffic? Where do we put the housing? How do we save the wetlands and
the habitats for the birds? What do we do about the agriculture? And
we're doing a lot of it willy-nilly with a lot of very short-term solutions
-- quick fix solutions -- rather than having a strategy, even though
we have the ability to understand what the implications of the tremendous
growth are going to be.
do you think it's going to take for elected officials up and down the
valley to come to some sort of consensus on these things?
You know, it's sort
of an old saw: there are no leaders without followers and I believe
that the mayor's, the supervisors, the legislators follow what the public
wants. When we want to deal with smoking policy, or we want to deal
with air quality, or we want to deal with recycling, or the environment,
the politicians respond. So what it's going to take is the public understanding
the implications of this and saying, "Look we don't care where
the city limits stop. We don't care where the county line is. We want
you to deal with it because our lives don't go on in one single place
anymore; we cross the boundaries of jurisdiction. We cross through water
districts and community service districts. Our kids go to school in
one place and we work in another place. Get your act together, elected
officials! Figure it out!" And that's how I think eventually we'll
make changes -- when the public starts insisting that people begin to
deal with these issues in a comprehensive way.
at it in the perspective of a resident, how do we get their minds focused
on a little more density?
Well, I think that
the belief that everybody wants an acre is a fallacy to begin with.
The reality is: not everybody wants to deal with yard work, not everybody
wants to have to drive their kids everyplace that their kids need to
go. And I think there are lots of people who begin to realize there
are tremendous advantages to living in cities instead of out in the
country. I think a lot of people are deciding that they would rather
live in a smaller place closer to where they work than they would live
on that one acre place and be stuck in traffic for two and half hours
on the way to and from work. So the first thing is that we ought to
be offering choices so that people at different stages in their life
can make different choices. Right now the historic pattern for the last
ten or twenty years has been
to just keep building out on the fringes; keep moving further out, keep
using up new land. And what that means is that people drive further,
they're less connected, and they have frankly fewer options for entertainment.
So if there were more apartments, more condominiums, more different
kinds of choices, I think the complexity of our population would use
all of them.
you think the mindset is starting to lean that way?
Oh, I do. I think
clearly people want to move back in and I think that's why there's huge
pressure on housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, because people want
to live there. They don't want to want to drive 80 miles to Modesto
or Tracy or Stockton. I think there's a real pressure for people to
come back to downtown Sacramento, and you can see that with the sort
of resurgence of housing in the downtown area. And I talk to people
all the time who are driving from Folsom or Roseville and who say, "You
know, I don't like that very much. I would really like to move back
in to the city," and the prices in some of the older neighborhoods
are beginning to rise. So I think there is kind of a counter trend.
One of the interesting aspects that I find people talking about is that
it's generational. The kids who grow up in the suburbs think they're
boring and it's the young people who want to come back in the cities
where there's restaurants, there's entertainment, where there's coffeehouses
and they feel there's a vibrancy they don't get in the suburbs. So there's
a lot of activity from the multimedia culture and the dot-commers and
the younger generation generally that wants to be in the city.
kinds of responses are developers giving to these new outlooks
Well I think developers
respond to the public just like politicians, and so I've talked to several
developers who pick up on their survey and marketing opinion focus groups
and on this new attitude. And so all of a sudden developers are looking
for chances to get back into the cities and build different kinds of
housing. Coffman and Broad have hired Henry Cisneros in this new initiative
called Housing America, and the total focus of this venture is to put
new housing back in downtowns and back in center cities to provide opportunities
for people. I think the struggle is that when you try to build in downtown
areas and older areas sometimes you're dealing with contamination. You
have issues of neighbors who are nervous: "What does it mean to
put a new apartment building in my area?" -- this sort of "N.I.M.B."
phenomenon. So it's not always easy to come back into the cities but
there are certainly a number of developers trying to do it.
it worth trying to establish a more "regional" mindset for
Well, I think people
tend to think of regions in sometimes very narrow terms and I think
that we tend to think that a region is a finite boundary just like a
city or a county, when the reality is that regions can be very different.
If you look at Sacramento, for instance, you have one region, which
is a commute corridor between where people live and work along the I-80
and 50 corridor. If you look at where Sacramento gets it water the region
looks a little different. If you look at an air quality issue, the region
is a little different, or if you look at the university attendance.
So the idea of region isn't confined like it used to be, and even within
the nine counties of the Bay Area Association of Governments, there's
some issues where Solano County connects to the Bay Area, there are
other issues where what happens in the East Bay and the West Bay are
very different. So I think when we talk about regions and we talk about
these collaborations we have to be flexible and understand that if you
have a region, everybody won't be dealing with all the same issues.
It's sort of like the Silicon Valley task team, where you form a region
around a specific problem. Well, we've got an air quality problem; we
ought to bring all these people in this air basin together to deal with
it. Or let's form a collaboration around this transportation issue.
It's not realistic to assume that the people in Sacramento and the people
in Fresno are going to have the same regional view and same regional
issues, except if we needed legislative attention to Valley issues:
to water, to transportation funding, or something. Then we'd gain by
forming a regional collaboration because we'd have a louder political
voice. So I think we need to think differently about regions and I think
we need to be very flexible and allow for this kind of collaboration
to solve problems rather than creating regional governments.
issue of transportation has major ramifications in terms of air quality.
Do you see that as one of the cornerstones for developing some sort
I think it is, because
the transportation links cross traditional regions. One of the things
for the Valley has been that it's been geographically isolated, which
is why the economy has stayed separate from the rest of the state and
the global economy and that sort of thing and so the connection that
comes with new transportation links has all kinds of impacts. Not only
does it make it easier for people to live and work different paces,
it moves commerce; it does all kinds of things. The high speed rail
authority is currently proposing a high speed train from San Diego to
Sacramento with a branch south of Merced that would go over the Pacheco
pass into Santa Clara county and San Francisco. That project is so enormous
that it seems to me it ought to be the vehicle for talking about the
strategy for the region, because the ability got be in Fresno and work
in Santa Clara County in less than an hour is enormous in the potential
impact that it has. So it could be the way that we would talk about
where we're going to save farmland, where we're going to have housing,
where we 're going to have the roads. I mean it just has enormous potential.
we be looking at high speed rail, or should we be concentrating and
bolstering bus systems, light rail?
Well, I think we
should look at all the options. I mean, from my point of view this is
an opportunity when at least in the Central Valley the future is an
open book -- a blank tablet -- and we ought to consider everything.
It's fairly clear if you do the numbers that you can't build enough
roads to support the kind of population that is going to be in the region
and expect that any of us are going to be able to breath, frankly. I
mean too many cars, too many lanes, too much air pollution is just not
a good vision for the region. I've heard CalTrans people say that too
accommodate the population of the Central Valley would require 18 lanes
over the Altamont. I mean big, big numbers -- you just can't do that.
So the question is are we looking at buses to move from Stockton to
Modesto or are we really looking at a population requirement that would
be able to get to L.A or San Francisco -- or how do you connect the
major urban places of the state with some of the other metropolitan
areas in a most efficient and fast way? And I don't know the answer
but I think it's okay to ask the question
you lived in the Valley all your life?
No, I moved from
the Bay Area to the Valley about twenty-five years ago like lots of
other people and I was born in the mid-west and moved to California
during the 50s like lots of other people. So I'm an immigrant.
is this influx that's coming in from the coast? What is this going to
do to our infrastructure?
Well, first let's
be real clear about the fact that not all the growth is caused by coastal
people moving inland. Lot of birth rates, lot of immigrants
the population is very diverse, and it will change the dynamic of the
region a lot. In the northern San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento
area we certainly are getting a lot of that push out from the coast
because there's no housing, people can't afford to live there and there's
just too many, in there mind, too many people. So I think potentially
the move into the Valley and into the Sacramento metropolitan region
brings people who are skilled members of the work force who have an
expectation of a certain quality of life, who hopefully have more affluence
and are better educated and can change the employment picture. The other
possibility is that what we will get is the other lower end of the work
force in the Bay Area people: who can't afford to work there, people
who are at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, who come into the
Valley only because the Valley has inexpensive housing and as soon as
they either get promoted or have another opportunity they move back.
So I think it's very important for the Valley to think about not just
attracting the residents but think about, what's the strategy for getting
investment for jobs, for raising the opportunity here so that we get
people who are professional, who are indeed highly paid and who ultimately
will work and contribute to the Valley and not just come and go from
the bedroom community to a workplace someplace else.
been a lot of talk that with the influx of new business that we're really
going to loose our agricultural identity. In the event that happens,
are there going to be large pockets of workers who more or less depended
on their work within the ag industry, floundering around looking for
new things to do because they don't really fit a new profile?
I think it's possible,
and I think it's one of the least desirable alternatives: that we will
grow and change at the expense of agriculture. In which case that huge
base that provides huge employment opportunity now for many people who
are on the bottom of the employment scale -- they work up, they go through
a series of learnings and trainings, and maybe they start as a seasonal
worker, and maybe they become a milker and maybe they become a farm
manager; I mean, there's a lot of upward mobility in agriculture --
that those people won't have those opportunities anymore. That means
that we not only lost the direct farm jobs. We lose the truckers, we
lose the equipment salesmen, we lose the marketers and the distributors,
and so I don't think we should push that aside lightly. It does mean,
in fact, that there might be a different kind of an economy. But in
all honesty, when Los Angeles urbanized and when the Santa Clara Valley
urbanized, there was a new industry economy coming in. It was the entertainment
industry; it was the defense industry -- all of these things were building
up and reemploying the agricultural workers. What we see happening,
especially in the San Joaquin Valley now, is that if you displace agriculture
there is no replacement economy so you could in fact end up without
people having means to support themselves. The best possible world,
it seems to me, would be to support agriculture and keep it healthy
and diversify the economy so that there are parallel job opportunities
growing while you're still supporting the pace. I don't see how California
could willingly let a $25 billion-a-year industry go by the way side
and it seems to me that it ought to be possible to have healthy agriculture
and other kinds of things -- whether it's technology, or exporting or
shipping, or entertainment. It should co-exist and again, if we're thoughtful
about it that ought be able to happen
first you have to stash the growth outward. Do you think that feasible,
I do think it's
doable. I mean you may remember a couple of years ago we did a competition
called "Housing the Next Ten Million" and we asked people
to envision what communities might look like. And if you take the whole
Central Valley and you really look at it there's plenty of land for
farming and cities and conservation areas and schools and so on. If
you just let cities grow without paying any attention to the most valuable
natural resource -- the agriculture -- we could lose the valuable part
and then you end up with a bunch of houses and nothing left. If there
really is some thought given to that -- just like the Cosumnes River
where they've decided that there is some very valuable riparian habitat
there and they're preserving the river, and they're doing some conservation
and saving some agriculture there -- that's a way to allow growth to
occur but still save what is important. So I think a lot of us believe
that there's plenty of room to have it all here but that you have to
be thoughtful you can't just be opportunistic and slap down the cement
where it's the most convenient at the moment.
you sense a rush by developers now, in terms of how they approach development
-- that they're trying to get as much out of the land as they can now?
Well, it comes and
goes with economic cycles. So I think the push out from the Bay Area,
which is hot in 2000-2001, creates a new market and there is a lot of
intensify. But a savvy developer knows that it takes eight or ten years
by the time you zone the land and go through the entitlement process.
So it isn't that easy; they can't respond that quickly. I think what
the real anxiety in the development world is, is the backlash against
badly-planned communities with chocked traffic and no schools where
people start passing initiatives and start limiting growth by ballot
box methods -- which sometimes look like meat cleavers. You know, they
don't always give you good policy but people get so frustrated they
try to shut things down and I think that's the developer's worst nightmare.
So the savvy developer tries to figure out in advance: how can I provide
for schools? What can we do for roads? Some of them are even putting
industrial parks with the housing so you create jobs and houses at the
same time. And there is an attempt for the developers -- the smart ones
-- to avoid some of the public backlash. There are lots of people who
go in and make a quick nickel and move on and don't pay any attention
to it. But I think cities and counties are ultimately the ones who are
in charge and I keep suggesting to the planning commissions and the
cites and counties that if they are clear about what they want the developer
will respond. If they're not, the developer comes in and build to his
or her own convenience and we live with result. So the real obligation
is on the city and the county to make the rules
there one spot in the Central Valley that you see as more in need at
this moment than others?
Well, I think that
the Sacramento metropolitan area and the northern San Joaquin Valley
are getting a lot of the Bay Area spill-off, so I think the intensity
of change in terms of building and new subdivision is certainly hottest
there. If you look at the issues of poverty and growth then you go to
the southern San Joaquin Valley where you have lots of immigrants who
have enormous community needs and social needs, big job needs, and you
have a lot of growth but not a lot of economic opportunities. So it's
very different depending on where you are in the region. Fresno is trying
very hard -- I think legitimately, but they haven't quite captured the
vision yet -- to figure out what to do with what is a decimated downtown.
I think arguably Sacramento and Modesto have done a pretty good job
of refocusing activity in their downtowns, and Stockton and Fresno are
still struggling. So every part of the Valley has its own set of issues,
and we all share water. I mean, everybody's talking about water -- and
I guess about energy now.
there every going to be a point where we can say we're happy with how
water is managed in the Central Valley?
It's the consummate
California problem, it certainly is. And so, no, I don't think it's
ever solved. I think right now there's a lot of tension because the
farmers are insecure about the water supply in the future, and in fact
even when there is water in the dams they don't always get their full
delivery. The environmentalists think the farmers have more room to
conserve and they ought to be conserving more water and the farmers
think the environmentalists are taking too much for the fish, and we
who live in the city without water meters don't care. We just keep wasting
water, unfortunately, in a sometimes not very responsible way. So nobody
wants people to have to go through drought, nobody wants people to have
real shortages but we're not always real careful without a crisis. I
think for all of us conservation and really paying attention to water
is a very important issue, and I think as we see going into this year
we may not have big rainfalls again, it may require further cutbacks
and we may see the same kinds of shortages that we've seen in energy.
I don't think if you wanted to raise Shasta Dam or you wanted to do
the other kinds of things that people are talking about to create new
those are not quick fixes either. So probably for
the next five to ten year regardless of the solution we are going to
have problems in the valley.
our poorer citizens able to keep pace, in terms of education? Is the
infrastructure there to handle their needs?
Well, I think there's
a lot of issues for education and I think that's why both the president
and governor have made it such a huge priority on the public agenda.
There's also a very complicated matter. It's not only good schools,
it's about family support for their kids in schools; it's about good
teachers; it's about access to technology and so on. I think we all
worry about the capacity of the system to turn out really 21st century
workers, and to make the kids not only well educated in the basics but
also to give them the skills to allow them to handle these sorts of
rapid changes in technology. Right now in the Valley we still have 40
to 50% of some of our population who don't have Internet or computer
access. That not only means they don't have computers which is a tragedy
to begin with but it means they can't access government services, they
can't do research for school projects, they can't do a job search online,
they can't find out about medical care or a whole lot of things that
we are increasingly become dependent on online. And so it's incumbent,
it seems to me, on school districts and policy makers to make sure that
everybody learns about technology. It's a job skill and it s a personal
requirement. It's also going to be an increasing issue in this region
to provide enough school facilities for people, because schools are
overcrowded in lots of communities and in spite of a lot of state money
that is available it isn't enough to meet the need of all the districts.
Kids don't learn very well when they're in overcrowded classrooms and
some school districts have not been able to implement this small class
size -- the class reduction policy -- because they don't have enough
buildings. They can't even house the extra classes. So I think it's
one of our biggest challenges is to make sure that kids have good facilities,
that we have enough qualified teachers, and in fact that the kids in
the smallest rural towns have the same access to information and technology
and the sort of rapidly changing parts of education that the kids do
in Roseville and Sacramento and Modesto.
suggested that it's important for parents to take some responsibility
for assuring that their children receive a good education. But if those
parents didn't receive a good education themselves, how are they going
to be able to cope with it?
It's a very personal
thing and it's a hard thing. You know, if you're in a big city and you
see television producers and state legislatures and people who have
got jobs and are doing well, then maybe you can aspire to that. If you're
living in a small town where everybody in town is a farm worker, and
your parents don't have an education, and you don't see anybody who
is well educated, and you don't understand out there are other jobs
out there, it's very hard for kids to aspire to go to college. And so
often times they stay home, they get married very early, they may not
stay in high school...and what we have to do is give kids of every level,
of every background, every cultural background, a sense of hope and
a sense of aspiration. We did a study last year actually at the Great
Valley Center and found something that we called the "Aspiration
Gap." There are very many communities in the Valley where kids
don't take the Scholastic Aptitude Test. They don't think that a college
education is even a possibility for them. There are other communities
where there are college scholarships that go unused because the counselors
don't believe that the kids have the incentive or the will to go to
college. So I think that part of our job as adults is to inspire to
kids to understand that there are enormous opportunities and in fact
the very most the basic jobs require fundamental education, and address
that question of hope. We've got to give our kids hope.
are your greatest worries about the quality of life in the Valley?
The thing that I
worry about more than anything else is the quality of what we're doing.
When we grew and built in the forties, or especially in the fifties
and sixties, there was a willingness to invest in design. We built beautiful
public buildings, and we built big libraries, and we built beautiful
buildings. And there's this tendency now that every government dollar
has to be the cheapest and most efficient. And our schools aren't always
very attractive. Our public buildings are too often tilt-up concrete
buildings and so it seems to me we don't generate the sort of investment
that makes us proud of our communities. And that's the legacy question
that I have. When I go to Washington D.C or even to the state capital
there is a enormous sort of pride that wells up in you that these grand
buildings represent the best of our society. And I don't see us making
that same kind of commitment now and it worries me a lot because I think
that that determines the our attitude about where we live.
the loss of agriculture in the Valley have an impact on other key industries?
I think so. And
I don't know that anybody has actually measured that, but I do know
that in some communities one out of seven people are employed by agriculture
-- and in some places its one out of three. If you look at not only
direct farm employment but all the related industries: the support industries,
the food processors, the shippers, the canners, the others kinds of
things. And so the sort of the rollover impact, the multiplier impact,
of losing a major industry is enormous and I think that's why communities
are so upset when a big cannery closes, or when a big food processor
goes down because it has big impacts. You know, there are fewer people
buying groceries, and there's fewer people buying houses and so on.
It is a question of understanding the fingers and the way that infuses
whole communities. In the drought of the early nineties, when water
was taken away from agriculture, there were some whole communities which
shut down because they didn't have any other sector of employment. There
was nothing there to back them up. Well, all of a sudden you realized
how deeply ingrained in those communities agriculture was in every single
aspect. And I don't think we can ignore them.
quickly do we need solve these problems?
I think we have
ten years, especially in the northern San Joaquin Valley, and I think
that our future will be shaped in ten years. And it's not about the
last acre. People always say to me there's plenty of farmland; that's
not the issue. It's the tipping point. And the tipping point isn't about
the last acre; it's about attitude. And it's about when people decide
that they have confidence in their future and they want to invest in
the region. So at some point the farmer decides that he either sees
a future in which he can afford to invest in sprinkler systems and plant
trees and crops that grow for a long time...or he says, "You know,
I'm not going to stay here," and he starts looking to buy land
elsewhere or he starts figuring how he can downsize his crops or he
pulls his land out of the Williamson Act. The same thing happens in
other industries. They say, "You know, this is a community where
I can see that a long term investment here is going to pay off; it's
worth building an industrial park. I'm going to put in a new building.
There is going to be housing for my workers. I can have confidence in
the quality of the schools." And there are people who on every
issue are looking at the Valley right now -- and have more in the last
probably three to five years than every before -- more attention being
paid to the valley. So what we have to worry about is the tipping point.
When Santa Clara county switched from the valley of hearts to light
-- you know the canning and food processing industry -- it was long
before the last acre was organized that agriculture decided they had
to pick up and move to the Valley. And they did that. Same thing in
the Chino Valley, where the dairies are moving into the Central Valley.
Well, if people decide to move out of the Central Valley there is no
agricultural valley over the hill. This is it, and so these decisions
are tremendously important. And it seems to me it doesn't have to be
a choice of either/or but the farmers and the agricultural people have
got to start talking to the cities, and the cities have got to start
bringing together the business people and the agriculture people and
figure out how to make this work. Otherwise its win-lose instead of
us to death: what happens if we don't do anything?
Well, I think if
we don't do anything we follow the path of all the other urban regions
that we don't want to be like. You know? We'd look more like Los Angeles,
we'd look more like San Jose, and we'd just end up with lots of faceless
subdivisions that kind of blur the landscape. We'd lose the advantages
of our open space and our natural environment. We'd pollute the air.
We'd crowd the highways. People would get very frustrated and they move
away. How's that?! One of the things I worry about right now is that
I see a lot of people who are thinking about where they're going to
move in retirement. They don't have confidence in the region, and I
think we have to worry about that a lot because we need to keep people
here who have helped build the region and they need to feel good enough
about it that they want to stay. It's not a very comforting thought
to have these folks think that they want to move someplace else
you have confidence in the generation that's coming up?
Well, I think the
generation that's coming up has a couple of challenges. First of all,
you have this huge baby boomer generation and we're not making room
yet. We're sort of occupying the field. And so the younger generation
is, first of all, still very engaged happily in raising their kids putting
in the front lawn in, and figuring out how they fit into all of this.
But I think from my point of view we have to reengage people in believing
that they can make a difference these decisions. I think people are
cynical. I think they are many times not working with government. They're
discouraged about government You know, fifty people at the city council
meeting three times in a row changes the world. But people have forgotten
how they can go down to city hall or go to the board of supervisor and
really get some things to change. And that's what the younger generation
has to believe. They have to sort of re-engage their own belief that
the system works for what they want it to do.
that cynicism towards our government officials unforunded?
Well, as in every
field, whether you're talking about gas stationers or teachers or firefighters
or government officials, you've got great ones and you've got ones that
aren't so great. So I don't want to make a class distinction here about
all elected officials. But again, if the public says, "Fixing potholes
is the most important thing you can do in my life," you know those
elected officials are going to fix potholes. If on the other hand the
public says, "We want you to have a vision and we want you to work
on investing in this place that we live in so that ten or twenty years
from now this is a better place than it is now. Do the potholes but
do this investment thing first - have a vision," then the elected
officials will do that. So I firmly believe that part of this job here
is for our expectations to be communicated to those elected officials.
We have to give them permission to look at the long-term view and to
sometimes defer fixing a short-term, small problem in order to get a
better long-term solution. There are communities in the Valley that
were convinced that a short-term economic development strategy was to
build a state prison. That wasn't in many people's minds a good long-term
investment because now you have towns that are prison towns and they
aren't going to be attractive to certain other kinds of job developers.
The people in that community were hungry and they wanted a quick fix,
and the prison offered that opportunity. So maybe all of us have to
pull back a little bit and say, "You know, a long term out come
is better than a short-term quick fix." And it's easy to say if
you're not hungry. If you haven't got a job and your kids haven't got
any hope and you haven't got a place to live, you make different kinds
of choices. But I think in all these cases what you have to do is understand
that there are tradeoffs and that some times, just like our parents
did, you defer the pleasure of the moment in order to do something better
for your kids.
What do you see happening right now that leads you to believe that we're
starting to make a difference?
I think having the
conversation is very encouraging and I think up and down the Valley
people are having the conversation. I think right here in the Sacramento
metropolitan region, you have a group called Valley Vision, you have
a group that is being started by some elected officials called the Bridge
-- which is a regional conversation that is happening among elected
officials in the region. In Fresno you have the Fresno Business Council
that's very engaged. You have a group called the growth alternatives
alliance; there's a citizens group in Bakersfield. So I think part of
what's happening that should make us all feel good is that everybody
knows there is going to be growth. That's a given now. So now people
are beginning to go to the next step and saying, "What are we going
to do about it and how are we going to deal with it?" I think the
opportunity is that the communities in the Valley are beginning to understand
that they have an identity that they want to protect and we're beginning
-- just beginning -- to get people engaged and say, "How can we
ensure that our future's what we want it to be?" Those are seeds
of hope and we should all encourage them and keep them growing in the
there a fear that some of the less crowded areas - north or south --
aren't really signing on to all this?
Well, I think what
we always see is there are stages that communities go through. And when
communities aren't growing very fast and they have huge unemployment
they welcome investment. And sometimes they are able to say, "Here
are the rules, here are the parameters. We want to do it only on our
terms, and in certain ways," and sometimes they don't, and sometimes
they take anything that comes along. And eventually when they grow too
fast and things get too crowded, the schools don't catch up, the shopping
isn't right, the traffic isn't right, neighborhoods aren't working.
Then people say, "Wait a minute," and they start changing
the rules and making the rules. It's a very rare community that understands
the importance of standards and clear rules early on. And I often tell
people the only difference between Las Vegas and Carmel is who you elect.
It's not written in the sand that there will be casinos in Las Vegas
and small ice cream shops in Carmel. That s the result of public policy
and public attitudes. So for cities like Marysville and Yuba City, and
Chico, they are developing their own character. Chico is developing
a little boutique high tech area. Marysville and Yuba County, it seems
to me with the new amphitheater and the new race track that's coming
online, has the opportunity to present some entertainment alternatives
but they're going to have to tend to the community the same way Anaheim
has had to do. You know, Anaheim let Disneyland come in and kind of
rollover the community and all of a sudden they said, "Wait! We
want streetscapes and we want bus systems and we want things in our
own community." So the pubic, all of us the voters the residents
the parents, the teachers, everybody has to sort of get engaged and
say, "This is okay, but lets figure out how."
in your view it doesn't make a difference whether its north or south,
east or west valley? The mindset has to be there?
In fact, that's
the key to region. People often wonder why the Great Valley Center says
the region is from Redding to Bakersfield. What does Redding have in
common with Bakersfield or Taft or Stockton? What we have in common
is an agriculture base, a series of poverty issues that are very compelling,
and enormous change in growth. And so even though different communities
are at different stages we learn from each other. We're dealing with
the same kinds of challenges, and eventually we all go through the same
we seen this type of growth and change in the Valley before?
Well, I think probably
Sacramento is the first place where it's happened because Sacramento
started as a small town, and when the gold miners came all of a sudden
you had rapid change and the economy changed and cities grew quickly
and people had to go back and kind of pick up the pieces and fix it.
So I think on a smaller scale we have seen it before. I think what's
different now is that because of the speed of transportation, the highways
that take us everywhere, our communication systems, that it's happening
every place at once instead of in one small city or in one defined area.
It reminds me of if you've seen the picture of mold growing in a dish
where lots of spots grow simultaneously and that's what's happening
now and that's what's makes it different.