On April 25th, I attended the City Club of Boise's panel discussion on "2020 Vision: Perspectives on the Future". The discussion had an interesting format where the moderator first presented a doomsday vision of the valley in the year 2021. He then asked the panelists how we got there and what is life like. Shifting to more positive terms, the question of what should life be like and what it takes to get there. The panel closed with the question of are you optimistic or pessimistic about the valley's future and why.
Without going into the entire 2 hour discussion, I wanted to point out a few of the interesting responses. In the "What happened" scenario, I think Bob Kustra summed it up with a comment about what I believe is one of our biggest issues here in the valley - "Inability of leaders and citizens to recognize the value in the public good, not the private good."(approximate quote). Hilde Ayer pointed out that with the increased diversity, the community struggled with who is "we". The result was fragmented community at all levels (schools, neighborhoods, businesses, etc) and no cooperation.
As the discussion shifted to what we would like to to be like in the future, the discussion turned more optimistic, but also more controversial in how to get there. Sandra Bruce pointed out that we need urban growth with a focus on healthy communities. That the city and county should not be arguing over a de-tox center (large applause!). Bob Kustra emphasized the need for strong education with a focus on affordability and access for all. Stephen Trott emphasized addressing the transportation issue as a foundation for many other issues. This would be re-emphasized by him and others through the evening. David Adler embraced an emphasize on living wage and affordable healthcare for those here and those moving in. Karl Dreher pointed out that we need to make sure our service infrastructure is not politicized. He pointed to a number of issues that exist today. Rich Raimondi pointed out how critical to get citizens and private industry involved in solving these issues. He emphasized more responsible environmental focus, building a sense of community and caring for one another, and ensuring affordable housing near employment. Stephanie Witt pointed to the issues with cross jurisdictional boundaries. We must find leadership which is willing to solve issues for the communities as a who, not focus simply on their jurisdiction. This signalled a move in the discussion toward leadership. Bob Kustra spoke up on the need for leadership to make the tough decision, not the least common denominator. Must call on private sector, don;t trust elected officials who only worry about re-election. David Adler pointed out the some of the most important programs came form elected officials, not private sector. Medicare, pensions, etc were all fought by private business. Betsy Russell spoke of the importance of an informed community, the importance of letting media do their job, and the importance of an open government/open leadership.
In the final segment, panelists were asked if they were optimistic or pessimistic about our future. While there was some variation, most were optimistic, but emphasized that time is running out to address some fundamental issues.
Overall, I found the panel very insightful and engaging. Clearly got me thinking about a number of issues. In that it was a success!
Profiles from the invitation: The ten forum presenters who will envision the Treasure Valleys future have all been City Club speakers during our first ten years. They are David Adler, Hilde Ayer, Sandra Bruce, Karl Dreyer, Bob Kustra, Rich Raimondi, Alan Shealy, Stephen Trott, Stephanie Witt, and Betsy Russell.
*David Adler*, Professor of political science at Idaho State University, specializes in American Government, U.S. Constitutional law and American political thought. A prolific author, he has published over 40 scholarly articles and has edited a forthcoming book on the Clinton Legacy. A former journalist, he is a member of the Idaho Humanities Councils Speakers Bureau. He frequently lectures to nationwide audiences and has done interviews with the /New York Times/, /Washington Post/, NPR, BBC and NBC, among others.
*Hilde Ayer* is Executive Director of Boises Lee Pesky Learning Center, a nonprofit education organization fostering literacy skills for children with learning disabilities. Her professional background includes directing the Casey Family Programs, Boise division, and working as a strategic planner for the corporate office of the multi-state child-welfare foundation. She holds degrees from Mt. Holyoke and the University of Iowa as well as a Masters degree in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine Law School.
*Sandra Bruce*, president and CEO of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, came to Boise nine years ago with over 20 years of hospital and health care administration experience. She is immediate past chair of the Idaho Hospital Association, a position she also held in Michigan.
She serves on the Board of Blue Cross of Idaho and is immediate past chair of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce as well as the Boise Public School Foundation. She holds degrees from Western Michigan University and the University of Notre Dame.
*Karl Dreher*, Director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources, has served in that capacity since 1995. A licensed professional engineer with B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from Colorado State University, he has more than 30 years experience working in both the public and private sector. As the state's chief water administrator, he oversees such diverse activities as water rights permitting, dam safety, flood plain management, stream channel protection, maintenance of minimum stream flows, and the state's energy office.
*Bob Kustra* is President of Boise State University. His administration has been marked by an emphasis on upgrading admissions standards, improving the undergraduate experience, retention of first-year students and increasing the number of graduate and doctoral programs. A former president of Eastern Kentucky University, he served for ten years in the Illinois state legislator and for two terms as lieutenant governor, and was chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He holds political science degrees from Benedictine College, Southern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois.
*Rich Raimondi* is Vice-president and General Manager of Hewlett-Packards U.S. Commercial Business. With nearly 30 years at HP he has broad marketing and management experience in storage, printers, and e-services. While based in Barcelona he had worldwide responsibility for DesignJet printers and their European fabrication. A graduate of Stanford University, he holds a masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon.
*Alan Shealy* was appointed to the Boise City Council in 2003 to fill the vacancy created by Carolyn Terteling-Paynes appointment as Mayor.
Elected to a full term in November of 2003, he serves as a liaison to the airport, the Arts Commission, internal audit, library, parks and recreation, and parking. He also serves as a representative on the Air Quality Board and the Humane Society. He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford, is active in the Idaho Conservation League, and is a Boise school volunteer. He has 23 years of investment experience and is president of North Lake Capital Advisors.
*Stephen Trott* is a Boise-based jurist on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Nominated in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, Judge Trott had served as chief of the Los Angeles District Attorneys Office, as a U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, and as an Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice. Holding degrees from Wesleyan University and Harvard, he was a member of the Highwaymen of Michael, Row the Boat Ashore fame. Boise Philharmonic goers know him for his pre-concert lectures.
*Stephanie Witt*, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Boise State University, is a political scientist interested in urban politics, the rural-urban link in environmental policy, ethics in the public sector, state and local government, and gender and politics. She has authored four books including /The Urban West: Managing Growth and Decline /and/ Anti-Gay Rights: Assessing Voter Initiatives/. Witt received her Masters and Ph.D. degrees from Washington State University.
*Betsy Russell*, Idaho capitol bureau reporter for The Spokesman-Review, and is the current president of the Idaho Press Club. She holds degrees from the University of California-Berkeley and Columbia University. She has been with The Spokesman-Review for 15 years, and previously worked five years as a reporter and editor for the Idaho Statesman in Boise.