Let’s say you’re addressing a senior leadership group and its staff asks you to list the community’s top five issues — just to get the conversation hopping.
That is my assignment from Greater Naples Leadership, for which I am co-moderating a discussion next week with former Florida Rep. Dudley Goodlette.
Before I show you my verbatim submission, let me add that it was compiled within 20 minutes late Monday afternoon. I thought I would be presenting it at the event, and comparing it with Goodlette’s, but on Monday the nice GNL staff leader said no, I was wrong. The list was needed ASAP.
Let me also add that I know I did not use best practices to tackle this assignment. For anything other than a personal size-up, it is best to consult colleagues and the community well ahead of time. Readers may still want to weigh in, and are welcome to do so.
Against that background, here goes (and I still haven’t seen Goodlette’s Top 5):
1. There is an issue that dominates the community like no other single issue ever in my 35 years in Southwest Florida.
Everything else pales by comparison.
Some or most of the responses to the economy are out of our hands, which makes this doubly frustrating. We are not accustomed to being told “no,” especially when the options are beyond our reach.
What we can do is get serious about growing good new jobs — diversification.
The Economic Development Council’s Project Innovation is on the case and needs to be encouraged. This time it’s for real and, given the depth of our jobs problems, personal.
2. Public education. We now have a framework for civic goal-setting, Connect Now. It is time to match resources and promise with performance.
3. Growth management. We can strive to make sure we do nothing to inhibit a return to orderly growth, nor take away too many of the controls/protections such as concurrency.
4. Good governance. This means honest people who know what they are doing working with citizens to move our community forward. This never goes out of style.
5. Efficient governance. Consolidating where we can. Large and small. Charter government?
Still, as I said before, the economy is soooooooo overwhelming that it could be counted as the one and only issue. It is so big it is all that counts.
The usual suspects such as growth density or roads are taking back seats.
* Added Tuesday in an e-mail to Greater Naples Leadership:
I’d like to add a P.S. if possible:
Health care: Will all of us be able to afford what we need, and will local docs and hospitals be fairly compensated?
Jeff Lytle is editorial page editor of the Daily News. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Call him at 263-4773. Check his blog at naplesnews.com/blogs/jefflytle