The moose says you're closed . . .
"The moose says you're closed. I say you're open." A little confession: Those immortal(?) words, spoken near the conclusion of the original "Vacation," have been my secret inspiration throughout my professional life. Listening to the wonderful conversation during the ACCE board meeting in Salt Lake City last week, I realized that Chevy Chase's determination as the comically heroic Clark Griswold is actually shared by chamber people everywhere. They face the gates and walls of pessimism in their regions each day, but like me and the goofy family in the National Lampoon classic, they're determined to get into the park and ride the damned roller coaster.
Arizona Passes Immigration Legislation
I am currently reading up on the sweeping new Arizona immigration bill. It is certainly generating a lot of sensational headlines. This sounds a lot like the Oklahoma bill currenlty under legal review.
Please share thoughts about the impact for businesses in Arizona and other states nationwide.
Hometown Democracy Back on the Florida Ballot
Private Sector Led City Planning
All the land use wonks out there should check out this article from Slate.com:
The author chronicles the decline of America's faith in city planning since the 60's and 70's. He also discusses how private sector actors including real estate developers and non-profits like historic-preservation societies and downtown councils (or chambers of commerce) are increasingly shaping how communities grow and develop.
It is not a long article, but if you don't take the time to read it, this quote pretty much sums it up:
"The important lesson is not that city planning is unimportant but, rather, that urban development should not be implemented by the public sector alone and that in a democracy, a vision of the future city will best emerge from the marketplace."
High Speed Rail Advice
From Florida to California, metropolitan regions are taking a harder look at investment in high speed passenger rail. The interest is fueled by $8 billion worth of stimulus funds that were earmarked for high speed rail development. Allocation of those funds was announced in late January - for information on the 13 rail corridors that received seed money from the stimulus bill CLICK HERE.
High speed rail has its share of advocates and skeptics. Regardless of which camp you're in, I recommend reading: Five Things You Need To Know About High-Speed Rail by David J. Carol, Market Leader of High-Speed Rail at Parsons Brinkerhoff.This succinct article from Planetizen.com discusses opportunities and challenges and is good reading for anyone new to passenger rail policy.
Holiday and Spring
As a former altar boy, I was always confused about Easter. Was it a time to feel happy or sad? What the heck was the bunny about and why did he carry eggs? When I reached adulthood (my wife says I've yet to get there) and started to experience a broader world, I became just as confused about Passover. The fact that the angel of death was going to postpone the visit to your house while slaughtering someone elses' kids didn't seem like much to celebrate. There are, of course, centuries-old traditions and miraculous elements to both holidays, but from the point of view of my new friends in Malaysia, Turkey and South Africa, they're kind of hard to explain (still easier than Halloween). Spring, on the other hand is simple to understand. Renewal. Rebirth. Emerging from hibernation. New generation. Campus protest. A young man's fancy. Kites. First 18 of the season. Wishful thinking for Cubs fans. Tourists crawling all over DC. Unexpected tragid floods in too many places. Unexpected glorious afternoons everywhere. Hope. I am glad to be home today on one such glorious afternoon, but also looking forward to my next trip out in the world -- Jackson MS is next itinerary. Have a good Easter and/or Passover (mixed marriages in our family). Please do me a favor. Take a minute or two this spring away from your keyboard to notice the season.
As a former altar boy, I was always confused about Easter. Was it a time to feel happy or sad? What the heck was the bunny about and why did he carry eggs? When I reached adulthood (my wife says I've yet to get there) and started to experience a broader world, I became just as confused about Passover. The fact that the angel of death was going to postpone the visit to your house while slaughtering someone elses' kids didn't seem like much to celebrate. There are, of course, centuries-old traditions and miraculous elements to both holidays, but from the point of view of my new friends in Malaysia, Turkey and South Africa, they're kind of hard to explain (still easier than Halloween).
Spring, on the other hand is simple to understand. Renewal. Rebirth. Emerging from hibernation. New generation. Campus protest. A young man's fancy. Kites. First 18 of the season. Wishful thinking for Cubs fans. Tourists crawling all over DC. Unexpected tragid floods in too many places. Unexpected glorious afternoons everywhere. Hope.
I am glad to be home today on one such glorious afternoon, but also looking forward to my next trip out in the world -- Jackson MS is next itinerary. Have a good Easter and/or Passover (mixed marriages in our family). Please do me a favor. Take a minute or two this spring away from your keyboard to notice the season.
3 Words on Healthcare
Yesterday evening I stumbled across this sober, measured discussion about the federal health care bill from our friend Bob Ward at the Rockefeller Institute of Government. You may remember Bob from the panel on state budgets at the 2009 ACCE Convention in Raleigh.
The central thesis of this short piece is simple: We Don't Know.
We're not sure exactly how, over the long run, this bill will impact American's who currentlyhave medical insurance. Nor are we sure precisely what impact expansion of insurance coverage will have on state budgets. We do know there is a lot of uncertainty and we also know how it will be challenging to decrease costs.
Last month ACCE members racked up air miles and built international connections.
On March 6-12, the Dubai Chambergenerously hosted an ACCE Metro Cities Council delegation of 45 people from 22 states and one Canadian province. This group, headed by ACCE Chair Dave Adkisson (president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce) and ACCE Metro Cities Council Chair Roy Williams (president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce), visited many parts of the Emirate state. Highlights included a visit to world's tallest building (the Burj Khalifa), the Palm Jumeirah luxury off shore development, and the world's largest man-made seaport. They had a visit at with the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at his palace.
Sandra McDonough, President & CEO of the Portland (OR) Business Alliance, compiled her notes and observations from the trip on a dedicated blog. Click to visit The Alliance in Dubai blog.
Dubai wasn't the only international destination for ACCE in March. From March 12-20 Citslinc Internationalsponsored 70 ACCE members on a trip to China, the third such trip in the past 18 months. Among the delegates on the China trip were 25 graduates of the ACCE-Ford Foundation Regional Sustainable Development Fellowship. In addition to seeing the sites, the Ford Fellows group heard from speakers on China's rural development, legal climate, urban planning, and human resources. They also had an executive briefing in the AmCham Shanghaioffices, toured a manufacturing plant in Shanghai, and visited Zhejiang University (one of China's top 3 schools) in Hangzhou.
Todd Shimkus from the Adirondack (NY) Regional Chamber of Commerce took copious notes on the trip and chronicled his experience in a blog for the local newspaper. Check out Thinking Global, Todd's blog for the Glens Falls Post Star.
Big things afoot at our organization
Dear ACCE Members,
Big things are happening at our organization.
In March we took more than 100 members on trips to Dubai and China. I was in France for the World Chambers Federation board meeting where I serve as vice chair. Last week more than 80 of our top membership sales professionals met in Nashville, and next week we’ll hold our first entrepreneurship support retreat with the Edward Lowe Foundation.
Our convention planning team just returned from Milwaukee, and Charge! 2010 is shaping up to be one of the best conventions ever. Membership has held strong throughout the past year and so have our retirement accounts. Also, I don’t have to remind you that we are in the midst of launching a new strategic plan that will take this organization to new levels.
Big things are truly happening, and 2010 could be a watershed year for our organization and the entire profession. As we open more international doors for our members and do more to help chambers position themselves as regional leaders, I think it is appropriate that our name reflect who we are and what we do. That’s why I propose that we change our name to the International Chamber and Regional Association Professionals.
International Chamber and Regional Association Professionals, or ICRAP for short, builds on our strong reputation as the home for chamber professionals to network and share best practices. But ICRAP also indicates where we are headed as a profession and as an organization.
ICRAP can carry us forward in new and exciting ways. I've had our team create a webpage mockup so that you can see what ICRAP will look like representing our organization - www.acce.org/icrap
Counting Everyone in Salina
Census workers are gearing up to take a headcount of America, and an accurate count has important implications for local communities. Census data is used in a wide range of state and federal funding formulas and to determine elected representation. Population is also a key driver for many corporate location decisions.
Because so much is riding on getting a full count, many chambers have gotten involved in promoting the census. In Ada, OK the local chamber has worked to ensure that their community has enough blank census forms. Lake Zurich, IL has seen a higher than average return rate on mailed census forms thanks to a joint marketing effort between the chamber and the Rotary Club.
In Salina, KS, census completion efforts spearheaded by the chamber have received national attention. Chamber CEO Dennis Lauver was featured on a recent NPR story on the importance of getting an accurate census count. In the last census Salina came up a few people short of 50,000, an important benchmark for some automatic funding calculations and a threshold for many retailers and restaurants.
Click to hear more about Salina's efforts to get everyone counted - NPR: Salina, Kansas, Counts On Its Census Tally To Grow