For years, Collier County’s efforts for economic growth and diversification have leaned on the active and retired captains of industry who already live here.
The school of thought is that these men and women can move their work here or have friends who can.
That strategy gets new life in the consultant’s report that seeks to light a fire under our economy.
The consultant also mentions a regional economic approach, which would include Lee County — where the captains of industry cog is already in high gear.
Lee’s Horizon Council features the Catalyst Club to offer advice on what does and does not work — and to tell the county’s “Together, We Mean Business” story around the world.
“Since 1996, 4,996 new jobs and $1,047,649,879 in economic impact have been committed to as a direct result of key local incentive programs,” the Horizon Council says, adding: “Successful communities have to be innovative, flexible and market-savvy to attract businesses.”
The Horizon Council has clout, with members from government and business. But it needs help. That is where the Catalyst Club comes in.
“We need to collaborate with valued partners like you who have influence, knowledge and connections,” prospective members are told.
“Working together,” the pitch goes, “we can diversify Southwest Florida, strengthen our infrastructure and enhance our quality of life.”
Estero civic leader Don Eslick, retired from economic development and investment banking, is aboard and “pushing hard.” He is recruiting others who call him at 207-8152.
The campaign is so far along that training sessions are planned for these savvy pros.
Eslick points to the vicinity of Southwest Florida International Airport and Florida Gulf Coast University as the potential epicenter of good things.
“If we are to diversify our economy that is where it is going to happen,” Eslick says, adding one more thing: “These initiatives need the support of the press and the public.”
The business of business and jobs can get tricky.
Florida Sen. Garrett Richter found that out when another auto sales lot was proposed next to his First National Bank of the Gulf Coast branch on Pine Ridge Road. The bank protested the project as incompatible and won concessions including a limit to used-car sales and auto-body work.
When asked about that, Richter replied: “As a state senator I would agree that Germain represents the kind of jobs that the state can promote.
“The bank challenged the project because of concerns regarding the financial impact to their investment in the Class A Corporate Plaza.”
Meanwhile, while efforts for new jobs work hard to attract attention, plans for an alligator-petting tourist attraction at Tin City raced around the world.
Naples City Hall was on the receiving end of an email avalanche from networked animal lovers and others. Excerpts, with spelling and grammar cleaned up:
n You are nuts. Many ladies will not go to Pinchers or Riverwalk or the shops of Tin City knowing there is a live alligator. Geesh. They freak out over a spider or a mouse or a cockroach or a dead bug in their house. Are any councilmen married?
n Please deny Gatorman Mike’s permit to let tourists “hug” alligators. Alligators are unpredictable reptiles with big, sharp teeth and they will eventually bite someone. This is a dumb idea.
n What Neanderthal lack of education would perpetuate and condone the likes of Gatorman Mike? If we keep on exploiting and degrading wildlife we will pay the consequences. ... Our exploitation, cruelty and lack of compassion need to come to an end. Conservation, restoration and balance are the order of the day. Yeah, I know, Gatorman Mike and his supporters can vote for you but the alligator cannot.
n Alligators were not created by God to be played with.
A tip of the cap to columnists whose work appears in the Daily News — David Moulton of Naples and Ann McFeatters of Scripps Howard News Service.
In Moulton’s Oct. 2 column about the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team consistently winning while spending far less than their major opponents in New York and Boston, Moulton writes:
“Consider this a warning shot, Republican and Democrats. You guys are the Yankees and Red Sox of five or six years ago. If these guys could take them down, they wouldn’t have to break a sweat beating you.”
McFeatters chimes in:
“Texas Gov. Rick Perry was hot — last month. But his stumbling performance at the Tampa GOP debate was similar to the Red Sox blowing a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays. (Guess where the GOP nominating convention will be in a year? Yup. Tampa.)”
Lytle is editorial page editor of the Daily News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Call him at 263-4773. Check his blog at naplesnews.com/blogs/jefflytle