MY 999 PLAN
OCTOBER 21, 2011
Herman “Hagen-Dazs Black Walnut” Cain has become the latest center of attention in the on-going Presidential vetting process.
At the pinnacle of his presidential game plan is the ever-famous 999 plan. So simple, in fact, that people speculated that Cain had lifted it from the once-popular SimCity video game series.
I’m all for a 999 plan, not necessarily Cain’s plan, but a 999 plan all the same:
9 minutes a day spent catching up on local and national news: An informed society makes better decisions.
So grab a copy of your brand of spin: be it the Wall Street Journal, New York Times or even The Daily Dues, and give it a good read. You’re likely to find something that enrages you to oblivion or actually informs you of something you weren’t aware of previously.
Either way: get informed. Ignorance is like being left out of an inside joke; everybody laughs at you for not knowing the punch line.
9 days a week working for your employer: In this kind of economy, can you afford to work the regular business week?
One day, we Americans might get irrational enough that the work week lasts beyond the seven days on our calendars. But until that time, just remember to work hard, because it’s important
9 seconds to clean your ears with Q-Tips: This is your The Thinker moment. You can ponder the wonders of life and luxury while cleaning your ears of orange gunk.
Be glad you don’t have to sit naked on a slab of granite to do all of that.
These 9 seconds provide a moment to think through things, plan out your day, remember a funny joke, or ask Siri to marry you. Bonus: it’s also multitasking.
/PAGE is the weekly column of The Daily Dues
BLOW IT UP! BLOW IT UP!
OCTOBER 14, 2011
Open it, Close it. Who cares? Let’s just blow it up.
The Fulton Mall is the local political equivalent of Social Security: it’s a third-rail (touch it and you die).
As the opinon makers at the Bee have clearly demonstrated, there’s always going to be someone disappointed with the choice made by the city’s mayoral administration.
But when Fresno’s downtown future is in-play, it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation for anyone who even remotely cares about the largely shuttered area of the city.
On a larger scale, the battle over Fulton Mall is between the downtown business community (a group which muscled its way to create Chukchansi Park against the wishes of the sitting Mayor) and downtown originalists who favor tasteful improvement over radical renovation.
Then there’s the Mural District supporters, who are begging the city to avoid inhibiting their current streak of growth, similar to a Pluto Delegation begging to stay into the Solar System as a planet.
As we all anxiously await Judge, er, Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s verdict, let’s just pause for the idea of blowing up the Fulton Mall and starting all over.
Since I received plenty of flak for suggesting that we extend Uptown’s growth by turning Pinedale into a new commerce and community third space for Fresno, I decided that perhaps the focus of downtown is still relevant in spite of its lofty position amongst Fresno’s policy goals.
Let the talking heads talk and the special interests wring their hands at the notion of change in downtown, but Fresno needs a miracle or a severely radical solution in order to turn around a widely-perceived sad excuse of a downtown.
/PAGE is the weekly column of the Daily Dues
OCTOBER 7, 2011
Eating my lunch Thursday, I opened up a copy of Occupied Wall Street Journal.
To my dismay, I was perhaps more disillusioned about the East Coast movement circulating throughout the Financial District than I was earlier just watching footage on CNN.
And finally, some of the pieces of my confusion fell into one stack: Occupy Fresno.
Perhaps more confusing than the protest kick-started in New York was the protest held in Fresno yesterday evening.
To begin, I completely understand why people are occupying Wall Street. The turnaround of our economy revolved around the uplifting of Wall Street and industry and not the uplifting of Main Street and American jobs.
And now people are in the Financial Districts complaining about that.
Then two different posts came across my variety of social media accounts: a Tweet from Mike Oz and a Facebook status update from Travis Sheridan.
Mike’s post on the Beehive referenced a story by the Business Journal (copied below):
One local event organizer said the movement hits close to home as foreclosures and layoffs have taken their toll in the Fresno area, which has led to cutbacks on the state level that have meant higher fees for college students. Though arrests have been reported at other demonstrations across the country, he said Fresno’s demonstration won’t get out of hand.
“I want to stress that this is peaceful,” said Steven Avila, a California State University, Fresno student and co-organizer of Occupy Fresno, who said he spent about $1,000 of his own money printing fliers for the event. “We’re simply trying to get our voices out there and expressing our solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement.”
My assessment of the reasoning behind Occupy Fresno is this: there’s a lot of major complaints that are all linking to one place: tuition increases. And that, to me, is absurd.
I understand the frustration about foreclosures and layoffs, but I fail to understand how those things are contributory to the CSU and UC Boards’ decision to increase tuition. While economic pressure does cause things like this, the two Boards have plenty of other options (reduction of enrollment, etc.).
And the lack of a standard bearing message leads me to Travis’ Facebook status:
I don’t know how I feel about #Occupy________. Just read a little about it today. What is the end-goal? I saw something about a presidential commission. Okay. What will make the situation better? What is the ideal solution? Seriously, I am ignorant.
Perhaps Travis isn’t as ignorant as he’s asserting.
There aren’t a ton of remedies that a popular movement that Occupy Wall Street is proposing. Essentially, protesters are demanding room at the dinner table in exchange for nothing. As cynical as that reads, it’s true.
Wall Street has a tremendous amount of power that is completely separate from government.
To me, the best chance that the Occupy Movement has of doing anything, aside from getting protestors arrested, is starting a political movement similar to the Tea Party and change the politics of our economy.
And, as far as I can tell from the Occupy Fresno (and other cities) website, that’s what they’re doing.
Until the movement can yield a real result, something I find doubtful (on the exception of the Tea Party-like movement), then I’m going to remain unoccupied by the movement.
/PAGE is the weekly column of The Daily Dues
LET’S SCRAP DOWNTOWN.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011
Synonymous with unicorns and moonbeams is the ever-popular political topic of downtown’s needed revitalization.
And rather than beat a dead horse, I’m going to change the topic.
The most recent conversation about downtown Fresno has put much of the focus on Hotel Fresno, which the Mayor wants to place a $16.5 million appropriation of non-general funds to finance a redevelopment project that will create an apartment complex on the upper floors while allowing for commercial space on the ground floor of the historic hotel.
City Council politics aside, Mayor Ashley Swearengin has plenty of downtown problems on her plate. And she finally got the chance to address them last Friday, giving her vision of downtown with a new plan.
Then the Bee’s George Hostetter hit the jackpot from Downtown czar Craig Scharton: scrap all of the former downtown plans and make one cogent plan for revitalization that affect the specific neighborhoods under Swearengin’s new initiative.
It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that I thought perhaps Fresno should take that another step further.
Let’s just scrap downtown altogether.
Fresno’s greatest disappointments, both economically and politically, have come from our continued plight to reinvent the wheel on a model that no longer fits our city. Over this mayoral administration, Fresnans have had more of a chance than any to influence the changes needed for downtown Fresno and nothing has gotten far.
The Fulton Mall is still a mess, the Met is still closed (and losing funds for the City), Chukchansi Park isn’t bringing in the droves we had hoped and business and government isn’t heading downtown, instead relocating up north (I’m looking at you Board of Equalization and Consul of Mexico).
Let me be clear, I’ve been a downtown skeptic and I have constantly tried to excite myself about events on the Mall or in downtown (and I’ve been occasionally successful).
But Sunday afternoon, I drove alongside some of the neighborhoods in Pinedale and noticed the perpetual decline in the neighborhoods and asked myself: Why haven’t developers like Lance-Kashian (visionaries behind River Park) and Tutelian & Company (Palm Bluffs and Villagio) aggressively try to take over the Pinedale community and create a centralized city center in uptown Fresno?
I have some explanations: likely the two, along with other commercial property companies have tried to buy out residents of the area to no avail, and the current economic outlook is so terrible that no one would want to build at the current time.
Why it would be fantastic to see development downtown, it hasn’t happened in the last three mayoral administrations to the degree that Fresnans would like. And as businesses continue to move north towards Shaw or Herndon, why not try to draw a new blueprint for the perfect business center that mixes retail along with commercial office space?
While River Park, and the surrounding developments, continue to grow and add new spaces, why not add more commercial office space for businesses to start and grow? Instead of having co-working startup OfficeBay at an abandoned rail station, how about putting it in a multi-level office complex that can accommodate a number of businesses?
As the City works out the many problems that downtown currently faces (mostly fighting battles of antiquity versus progress in reconstructing the downtown atmosphere) Fresno deserves to create a communal space, a city square, that combines the consumer-friendliness of River Park and, at one time, the Fulton Mall, the competitive atmosphere of a business epicenter where businesses can establish themselves while giving workers a space to work and play.
My suggestion for this wishful uptown city center: Blackstone Quarter.
/PAGE is the weekly column of The Daily Dues
FRUSTRATED WITH SILICON.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2011
Frustration frustration go away.
It’s been a while since the Tech industry has had a really good news week. And by good, I mean one where their stories actually have some importance to the mass populace.
And finally, we got one.
After too many months of daily iPhone 5 rumors (which will likely all be debunked come October), and no substantive news from Silicon Valley (aside from Google’s current anti-trust investigation), the company needing the most help PR-wise tried an interesting maneuver to bolster public perception.
Sunday night around 9 p.m., it all began with Reed Hastings’ announcement that Netflix would be separating its DVD mailing and online streaming services, renaming the prior Qwikster. And the barrage of angered and annoyed tweets from the Netflix faithful came pouring in, hammering Hastings for hiking rates two months ago.
To analogize, Hasting’s apology-announcement (announce-ogy?) was the textual version of a Steve Jobs chick flick. All heart, no balls.
In essence, it was about getting news out there (and cushioning for impact) rather than truly apologizing.
And Hastings decided that he needed to be “extra-communicative” about explaining price changes rather than just explaining how business works. Even worse: his explanation didn’t really change the message communicated by the price hikes in July. To boil it down: prices are rising because costs are rising, so get over it.
Economically, it’s a 2+2 equation. In a customer service scenario, it’s a lot like Vietnam (no-win).
Two days later, Facebook radically changes the format of news feeds, once again confusing user base of the most-visited website in the world. Follow it up by an announcement that Facebook would also be changing the design of personal profiles and Facebook is, essentially, redesigning the whole layout of the website.
This is the point in which I hoped for a story about Rick Perry’s secession plan, or perhaps another gaffe from Michele Bachmann (Perhaps an assertion that Wayne Gretzky is from Waterloo, IA, too.)
But no luck.
Then Silicon Valley got some even bigger news, former eBay CEO and Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was rumored to replace Leo Apotheker as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. For some, like Gawker, the news seemed horrendous (or maybe a match made in heaven):
“Worst Politician Ever to Run Worst Tech Company Ever” was the headline used by the political culture site.
HP’s story is too sad, and just overly-dramatic to event write about. The bottomline, however, is that the Hindenburg of Silicon Valley will either get fixed by or explode because of the next CEO (be it Whitman or not).
Overall, it’s just plain frustrating.
>>/PAGE is the weekly column of the Daily Dues.