Councilman Lou Waters


It's our job to plant Oro Valley's flag wherever and whenever Oro Valley's interests intersect with ideas and advances in Economic Development.

For Councilmember Hornat and me, The San Diego effort by TREO was the first such effort by this Council to connect with the Best Practices of a sister city with once serious problems similar to our own...and succeed.

I lived and worked in San Diego as a News Director and watched, sadly, as this beautiful inner city teetered near bankruptcy. San Diego's redevelopment and resurrection is no less than stunning. They did it with partnership, planning and singular purpose. Every responsible member of that community, from Government on down, realized the potentials and built the infrastructure around them:

A new Civic Center. A new Library containing a high school and community center.

The fortress against decline - known as Horton Plaza - is being torn down and re-developed.

The inner city population has now exploded, the City is the business friendliest city in California - where doing business is not an easy business.

When CM Hornat and I arrived - a day late due to the Oro Valley Council session - we were taken from the Airport to the basement of the hotel where a session was underway by a group called CONNECT - a non-profit group connecting entrepreneurs, UCSD research and Tech industries. Sound familiar. It's exactly what Oro Valley is working on without the CONNECT part. It's something we learned we need to work on.

From there we took a bus to the Downtown for lunch while listening to a lengthy presentation on "The Secrets of Successful Regions".

We know it's Regions that succeed in the Global Market. Arizona State President, Michael Crow speaks eloquently of the Sun Corridor - from Flagstaff to the Mexican Border competing on the world stage. Cities can no longer go it alone.

CM Hornat and I sit on the Tucson-Mexico Trade Coalition now focused heavily on the Billions that can be added to our successes by enhancing trade with Mexico.

After lunch in San Diego we headed to the Chamber of Commerce to learn: "How San Diego has worked with Mexico to create a shared economy".

Right up our alley.

And, on the bus headed for our evening session, we received an update on efforts of the project known as, Imagine Greater Tucson - the extreme effort here to map a citizen generated map to the future.

Our evening was spent absorbing a detailed blueprint of the re-development efforts behind San Diego's success.

Was it worth it: You bet.

In fact there already has been an indirect bonus for Oro Valley which will be revealed in the near future.

I regret that a Tucson elected official apparently misbehaved on the trip and that the Tucson City Council must deal with that.

But TREO's efforts in putting business, academia, government, and entrepreneurs at the same table to concentrate on REGIONALISM, COOPERATION, GOVERNMENT, PARTNERSHIP, SHARED CREDIT, AND A GOAL OF ECONOMIC AND FUTURE SUCCESS, need our support.


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