A few years ago, I overheard a conversation about the troubled Fort Bragg hospital. One person spoke critically of it and then another said, “well instead of complaining, why don’t you do something about it?” At that moment I felt a prompting, like a shove in the back, to run for the hospital board and contribute my time and skills to improving the hospital.
After three years, I believe that I have done that. I have made a sizeable contribution toward ensuring the continuity of health care on the coast including launching the effort to build a new facility.
But a new hospital isn’t built in a vacuum and as I thought about what it would take to ensure that the hospital would be a success, I received another shove in the back to run for the Board of Supervisors. I realized that a successful hospital must be a part of a successful community.
A successful community in my way of thinking begins with a thriving economy that creates new jobs, new housing, and the financial resources needed to deal with big-time issues such as water shortages, lack of broadband, homelessness and mental health.
Building a successful County requires serious people doing serious work. Having the skills and the drive to turn plans into action items and seeing those actions through to completion. This is what I have to offer.
What I see instead is a County that is like a sailing ship in the doldrums – it has no wind in its sails. With no serious leadership.
SO, HERE IS WHAT I AM GOING TO DO ABOUT IT.
ELIMINATE the CEO position and transform the Board into a working board. There is nothing like delving into the details to really understand what needs fixing, not to mention having a personal investment in the outcomes.
END THE EMPIRE building that has become a way of life at the County. Focus on serving the needs of the community first. Little things like time return of phone calls make a big difference in someone's life.
GO ON THE INITIATIVE to solve problems by being pro-active, not reactive. For example, finalize the Strategic Plan, reduce to action items, assign ownership of actions to Board members. And then hold each other accountable for following through on work commitments.
PUT THE FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER beginning with a transparent look at the state of affairs.
TAKE THE CRITICISM THAT COMES WITH LEADING the efforts to change things.
FOCUS ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPEMENT something I will take on as a personal mission, including creating the conditions that will attract new businesses to the County.
Economic development spins off the money needed for water storage projects, Broadband, resiliency projects and other critical needs.
It is said that failure occurs gradually and then suddenly. How much more time do we have before the County fails suddenly?
There is a wide-spread sentiment these days that change is needed at all of our institutions. But change is uncomfortable. We feel uncomfortable when we are in the midst of change.
My final thought is that if you do indeed want change, then you may need to vote outside your comfort zone.
February 28, 2022