Thursday, January 04, 2007

Another New Year, another "Business Summit"

I took a couple weeks off at the end of the year, but I'm back to it now. A few things have piled up. First, the recent issue:

Oregon Leadership Summit: Every year, Oregon's pretend business groups (there are three: Oregon Business Council, Oregon Business Alliance, and the Portland Business Association) put on the Oregon Business Summit, where they create a bunch of plans for government programs and call it the "Oregon Business Plan."

Only in Oregon would the business establishment actually go along with this stuff. This year the Summit has on its agenda: 1) More money for K-12; 2) Universal health care; 3) How to "fix" Measure 37, and 4) sustainability.

That's it. All of it is public sector stuff, sold under the guise of a business plan, and validated by the collaborators - the Portland business establishment.

Sustainability will be the overriding theme. From what I hear, all the presentations were to focus on different ways businesses have found to incorporate green/sustainable practices into their operations.

The Oregonian, of course, is all agog about it. They wrote the most nonsensical editorial today talking about how sustainability is Oregon's big competitive advantage, and how much money is to be made by Oregon being a global leader in sustainable business practices. They write:

"The state's top business and government leaders will rally around a new economic strategy of building on and selling Oregon's history and expertise in sustainability."

After all, says the Oregonian, Oregon has already laid the groundwork for this new economic strategy with our: "forest practices rules, land-use planning, solid waste recycling, wetlands protection, greenspace investment, support for light rail and bicycle transportation."


So now they are calling these anti-business policies an ecomomic strategy? Forest practice rules that basically euthanized our timber industry? Land use planning that has made Oregon a totally non-competitive state to do business in and has driven up housing costs so far that few middle class families can afford a home? Solid waste recycling madates that waste tremendous resources by forcing the use of more costly recycled materials rather than the plentiful raw materials? Wetlands and greenspace "protection" that force on private property owners the costs of preserving land that supposedly benefits the public? The proven failure of light rail, which has diverted billions away from road capacity improvements and created the fastest increasing congestion in the U.S.?

In the Oregonians' mind, these are all huge opportunities to export our expertise to other states. The world is lining up at our door for us to teach them how we did it, how we achieved the status of near the top in unemployment over the last six years.

And our pathetic business community goes along with it. More later.


MAX Redline said...

Wetlands and greenspace "protection" that force on private property owners the costs of preserving land that supposedly benefits the public?

I find it rather amusing that the very folks blaming us for global warming because we're "CO2 emitters" fail to understand that CO2 is a relatively impotent "greenhouse gas". The single most potent such gas is methane, and 76% of all atmospheric methane can be traced to - wetlands.

The very thing that they want to preserve, protect - and expand.

Rob Kremer said...

That is correct, Max. And they also fail to report that the single most prevalent greenhouse gas is H2O - water vapor.

Anonymous said...

Watching the Portland business establishment suck up to the political class is nauseating.

Anonymous said...

I picked-up on this story a couple days ago at right In reading your post I was reminded of how I'd seen those "pretend business groups" endorsements in the voters pamphlet and the confusion these endorsements caused me.

Cleon Cox III said...

Thank you Rob for kicking in your two cents. You always add such great perspective in a nice blunt way. After attending the first two summits I walked away wondering what was I doing there. Under the guise of wanting our input I found it generally to be a bragging session by government sectors bragging on how they were the best for spending my money and making decisions for me. It was a total turnoff and I haven't returned. Government has a role to play and in my opinion it isn't to be a business, maybe to assist business it getting through the hoops but certainly not to start or run a business. Thank you again Rob.