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Behind the Scenes


An interview with...

Carol Whiteside
President, Great Valley Center

What 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.

What 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.

Looking 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.

Do 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.

What 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.

Is it worth trying to establish a more "regional" mindset for the Valley?

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.

The issue of transportation has major ramifications in terms of air quality. Do you see that as one of the cornerstones for developing some sort of consensus?

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.

Should 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

Have 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.

What 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…so 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.

There's 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

But first you have to stash the growth outward. Do you think that feasible, that's doable?

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.

Do 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

Is 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.

Is 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 water supplies…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.

Are 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.

You 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.

What 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.

Will 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.

How 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 win-win.

Scare 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

Do 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.

Is 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 right direction.

Is 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."

Then 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 steps.

Have 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.




The complete text of New Valley Episode 101 -- Preserving the Dream...


Presentation also made possible by a grant from
the Great Valley Center


New Valley Official Site