The Suwannee Valley Transit Authority’s Live Oak bus route will
begin operating on Monday, July 20, running continuously from 7 a.m.
until 7 p.m. throughout every direction of the city, Monday through
Friday. The route’s unofficial stops include apartment complexes and
other residential neighborhoods, public schools, grocery stores,
parks, government offices, nursing homes, the library and the
Amy Liu spoke about globalization last week in Orlando,
about clean industries leading economic growth.
Even though she was talking linear growth,
her Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Institution
has some interesting points that mesh with the exponential growth like compound interest
Georgia can get on with in solar and wind power.
The national economic
recovery is slow, the middle class has been hard-hit,
and Florida is recovering faster, except on unemployment.
The U.S. population is rapidly getting older and by 2050
53.7% will be minorities, each of which have very different
educational achievements, and much of this is happening
in metro areas.
Business exists to make a profit. Government exists to provide
public services like law enforcement, water, sewers, roads, and yes,
trash collection. Sure, balanced books are good. But money isn’t the
main point of government: providing what the people need is, and
the people didn’t ask the county to exchange the waste collection
centers for lower prices
that won’t last.
The Chamber, the Industrial Authority, and various other local leaders
say they want knowledge-based jobs, or creative jobs.
We won’t get those just by teaching students to show up on time and
do what they’re told: that’s how you train factory workers,
not knowledge-based employees.
For creative jobs we also need Technology, Talent, and Tolerance.
How do you measure Tolerance?
One key component is the concentration of gays and lesbians.
South Georgia Pride Festival
is a good sign for creative jobs in south Georgia!
The map above shows how metros across the U.S. score on the
Tolerance Index, as updated for The Rise of the Creative Class,
Revisited. The chart below shows the top 20 metros. Developed by my
Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Kevin Stolarick, it ranks U.S.
metros according to three key variables—the share of
immigrants or foreign-born residents, the Gay Index (the
concentration of gays and lesbians), and the Integration Index,
which tracks the level of segregation between ethnic and racial
Do you recognize that shape in the middle of south Georgia?
That’s the Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area,
consisting of Lowndes, Echols, Lanier, and Brooks Counties.
Looks like about 0.4 on the Tolerance Index.
So sure, we’re no Austin, Texas, but we’re in the same range as oh,
If you want to help promote creative jobs in south Georgia,
there’s a festival going on today:
Larry Hanson, Valdosta City Manager, asked for the regional council to reconsider aviation projects, especially considering that the tax was supposed to be for projects of regional significance. Then he pointed out
Out of that $503 million about 40% of it or $212 million is projected to be generated here in Lowndes County. And when you look at what's being returned, for instance to the city of Valdosta, it's $47 million. It is certainly one thing to be a donor, but that's a pretty substantial donor.
He said he appreciated all the other counties, but much of the money would go to counties that are not contiguous to Lowndes County and are not part of the Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes the four counties of Lowndes, Brooks, Lanier, and Echols. He continued:
Lowndes County is about 26% of the region's population and we generate about 38% of the revenue, and we're not quite getting that back in terms of the distribution.
You may wonder why a City of Valdosta official was speaking for Lowndes County. County Manager Joe Pritchard was there at the start of the meeting, and I think County Engineer Mike Fletcher was, as well. County Chairman Ashley Paulk came in late and summoned Pritchard and Fletcher outside the glass doors of the meeting room. They stood there for quite some time, peering in, and then vanished.
Aviation Projects, and Valdosta is a substantial donor –Larry Hanson @ T-SPLOST 2011-09-19 T-SPLOST Public Meeting, Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC), Corey Hull, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 19 September 2011. Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).
Today I received an invitation from the Industrial Authority to attend a focus group interview for input to their Competitive Assessment and their Economic Development Strategy. So, dear readers, what do you think I should say to them? Don’t worry; I have some ideas already, but I’m all ears for more.
Invitation from Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) to a focus group interview 20 June 2012 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 1 June 2012. Scanned by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).
Long distance transportation: Interstate 75 near I-10, numerous state highways,
and an airport.
Delta Airlines (I never thought I’d be writing this) for competitive airfares
(except during holidays). And landing on one of the longest runways in the state.
Railroads going in every direction carrying freight, which can also carry
passengers whenever state and local people and governments get organized to do it.
Businesses moving in to take advantage of the transportation;
working towards enough good jobs that young people don’t have to move away to find one.
County and city governments that are at least a little bit sceptical about exactly which businesses they encourage to move in.
Moody Air Force Base, by far the biggest employer, bringing diversity to the community both in serving personnel and in later retirees.
Two hospitals: South Georgia Medical Center and Smith Northview Hospital.
There’s even a
Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
including the counties of Lowndes, Brooks, Lanier, and Echols, with
a combined population of about 130,000.
This is enough people to try things without waiting for Atlanta or Washington to tell us what to do.
Valdosta State University, one of two large regional campuses of the
University of Georgia System, and one so active politically that it
got its own voting precinct this year, the only college precinct in
Georgia Military College, a liberal arts junior college.
Valdosta Technical College, or whatever it’s being called since
the state reorganized it.
Thriving downtowns in
Valdosta and Hahira.
First Friday, Winterfest, Honeybee Festival:
those are doing more to attract attractive businesses than
any number of road projects.
Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area, preserving a little bit of the original ecosystem
of the area; you know, pine trees, live oaks, wiregrass, pitcher plants, cypress swamps, alligators, great blue herons, and bobcats.
Maybe you don’t. Go and see!
Winning sports teams in Lowndes County and Valdosta high schools and VSU
caused ESPN to name Valdosta
Maybe that winning attitude can carry over to
Theatre at the
Dosta, VSU, and the high schools.
If theatre was a sport, we’d be winning that, too!
La vie est belle,
La vie est gai?
Tell me why
is filled with music,
Tell me why
on clouds above?
We live in an area with many advantages.
You can probably list more of them.
Why stop with what we’ve got?
Why not play up our advantages of transportation, natural environment,
local culture, etc., and attract jobs for young people and make the place
even better for everybody?