Sunday, May 06, 2007

"Just the Beginning"

Tucson, Arizona. These were the most apt on many levels closing words of Dr. Peter Likins this evening at the Tucson Regional Town Hall Dinner. Everyone came as far as I could tell. At the pre-dinner schmooze I ran into Congresswoman Giffords and could not resist asking her if she, indeed, had a Vespa in her living room. She acknowledged that yes this was indeed the case for her place on 4th (Tucson), "I have lots of bikes."

I did not inquire as to why the living room was the storage location of choice, nor did I ask her how Daniel Scarpinato had acquired said information. We spoke briefly about my particular situation, and then she told me something I simply could not believe.

She said she reads this blog every night.

No way. I don't believe it. Yes, this place gets its share of DC hits including the or whatever, but I just don't believe it. Well, at any rate, it is cool that she at least says she reads this blog every night. I am not going to say this person is lying, but it's hard to believe.

Now, I am not saying she said she reads only this blog. I was left with impression that there is a list that she makes a point to read regularly . I am flattered.

Not even my parents read this blog every night, and it's a miracle if I can get the daughter to look at the thing once a month. The first time the daughter checked it out, she remarked, "It looked long, and I was tired."

Later she remarked, "Ha Ha. Pretty silly, and very you."

Why do I mention this? Well, uh, in almost exactly two months "Something Else" is here. If Gabrielle Giffords reads this blog, she will read "Something Else."

This is more than a little disconcerting. Giffords is a main character in the document.

Tim Bee attended the schmoozing up until the actual dinner but then had to leave. Certain folks with a certain perception scanned his demeanor. This guy is sharp and clearly rising. Janet is term limited, no? Forget CD 8, Tim. If 2006 was any indication of the GOP gubernatorial field, hello? Who do the democrats have?

They ran the event like professionals, with Peter Likins ringing the bell at 6:05 with excellent opening remarks acknowledging, "We don't really know what is going to happen."

Unlike most events of this sort, we did not have to endure the acknowledgment of every dignitary in the room. Likins later noted this as intentional because "there are too many of them." Thankfully, no presentation of colors.

We ate dinner, and I sat next to Nancy Ledeboer, who runs the County library system. We had an excellent chat about the libraries in Pima County and the impact of the internet and computers on libraries and the various databases the library has purchased for the use of anyone with a card and got into an interesting discussion on the distinction between the public library system and the university libraries.

Anyways, after eating, four people spoke MC'd by Likins. First up was Congresswoman Giffords, who kept her remarks brief and noted that a Town Hall was a saga, a journey, encouraging us to participate and engage. She noted that Arizona is now the fastest growing state in the nation and that this presents challenges regarding water, education, transportation, and the environment. She ended with, "Listen. Learn. Engage. Think big and be bold. Think outside the box."

Likins was impressive, and I cannot do him justice, but I recall elegant remarks something like, "We seek the balance between saying and listening and learning."

Jennifer Burns, R-District 25, spoke next, and she acknowledged Tim Bee's presence earlier and said some stuff about the budget probably meant to repair recent tizzies before she laid into Maricopa, and Jennifer laid into Maricopa. She acknowledged that their growth rate far exceeded the rest of the state including Southern Arizona, and that Maricopa now has the votes to approve legislation regardless of what the entire rest of the state thinks. She did not hold back, "This is the State of Arizona, not the State of Maricopa."

Now Jennifer is a republican, but she acknowledged Governor Nepolitano as managing the state as whole with the big picture perspective.

Next was Steve Lynn, high ranking TEP executive, always and every time a phenomenal speaker, and he spoke phenomenally, cutting close to your humble blogger's heart with statistics about the pathetic wages in this town and that Tucson ranks 227 out of 361 cites for per capita income. He ended with alliteration, which if you read this blog at all, you know I enjoy profusely, calling the group a "credible cadre of catalysts."

The 162 or so folks are split into five groups: 1) Cholla, 2) Hedgehog, 3) Ocotillo, 4) Saguaro, and 5) Yucca.

Split into these groups and facilitated, we will discuss the issues I have already posted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice summary of the events at the dinner last night. I was also impressed by Likins' request to those of us participating, not to come with a constituency, because if we do, we preclude any opportunity to learn something different. The fact that our name tags contain only our name and NOT our affiliation, speaks to that.

The other thing that impressed me was Steve Lynn's comment about Southern Arizona Leadership Council concentrating on "stewardship" during one of their study sessions. I thought all it took to be a "Southern Arizona Leader" was a $25,000 check.

I've been through an Arizona Town Hall several years ago. Let's give it a chance to work, eh?

5/07/2007 6:50 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

What was the eventual outcome of the Town Hall of several years ago? What do you think was accomplished?

5/07/2007 8:39 AM  

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