Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Building a Foundation for the Future

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Building a Foundation for the Future

Article excerpt

This past week I got the chance to participate in an extraordinary exercise, dreaming about the future of Oklahoma City.

The experience did for me, and I hope others, what I think the organizers of the work session wanted. It helped several, wildly different thoughts gel and then settle in for future consideration.

Our discussions covered a wide array of ideas. We talked about transportation systems like bullet trains and monorails and we discussed the much-needed overhaul of the state's workers comp system. Everything in between was talked about, too.

What this did for me was to personalize the process of developing a strategy for growth and investment in our city for the near and not so near future.

The group was honest enough to realize that we have major obstacles to overcome before the perception of our city changes. There are two perceptions that matter, the one we hold about ourselves and the one held by those who consider moving or staying here.

Psychologists tell us that perception becomes reality, especially the perception that we hold that we think others have about us.

The group was very good about identifying our strengths, too, so this wasn't just a gripe session about what's wrong. We were also honest enough, I think, to list some shortcomings or challenges that we must deal with.

The gist of the mental aerobics was that there are some things that we can control and if we identify those things and have a plan, regardless of the magnitude we can have some impact.

Like I wrote a couple of weeks ago, we can't move the Rockies or the beaches of Florida here, but there are some challenges that we can overcome.

The most interesting of the challenges was the proper way to focus our attention on education in the state.

One dream stated was that no school should have to be housed in buildings that were in disrepair, unsafe or not connected to the Internet.

To make that happen, we have to address school funding and the ability to raise capital.

To make that happen, we have to address the supermajority requirement that school bond elections must attain for passage.

To make that happen, we have to change state law.

To make that happen, we must find a coalition of legislators that put aside regional or philosophical differences and vote for what's right and best for our schools. …

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