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This week’s edition!

Op-Ed: Merger presents opportunity for a clear vision for L-A

By Clif Greim

Auburn

On November 7, an important decision is being asked of our citizens regarding the One LA merger. The question boils down to the following: what we can do as one city that we can’t do as two?

The answer to this question is the reason I will be voting in favor of One LA, and I urge voters in Auburn and Lewiston to do the same. It is a golden opportunity to move L/A forward in this region.

Having worked in the private sector for 37 years, along with my work on several regional and state boards, including the local and state chambers of commerce, I have spent time thinking about public and private sector solutions to some of the problems that our communities currently face. I have found that the most important pieces of the prosperity equation are straightforward: we need to create a suitable environment that attracts business and people to operate and live here.

With one of the youngest populations in the state, as well as plenty of available and affordable real estate, we already have some of those competitive advantages in this process. But a significant administrative piece is missing: solidified clear vison for our community along with a strategic implementation plan to work towards, to invest by and to sell with. This work must be done; without it, we will continue to underrepresent the advantages of this community. Recent history shows us that this level of collaboration and planning has not been achievable.

It is readily apparent we cannot afford a winners-and-losers strategy that stems from years of isolated, individual planning by the two communities. A publically supported charter commission was formed and delivered a comprehensive evaluation of the potential of our communities. I am surprised many of the current concerns were not offered during the charter commission’s work. The commission has included the experience and policy expertise of stakeholders from across the public and private community spectrums in their plans. They understand that if we want to position our region for prosperity, we have to have many seats at the table.

The takeaway here is that strength of a community is not measured by size of its population, government or even by the number of representatives in the Legislature. Rather, it is the ability of a community to establish a unified vision, representing all stakeholders, in a strategic plan that can be understood and shared consistently by everyone who is building and supporting our communities. Consistency in message, clear objectives and a realistic strategic plan will allow our communities to demonstrate leadership and strength.

The benefits of the One LA merger will not come to fruition in the current, divided form of government. We need to join together in order to build on and accomplish the foundational objectives that I have outlined. Only this initiative can accomplish the kind of prosperity that our communities deserve.

Think about the future that results from this. We can demonstrate regional, state and national strength and leadership for this initiative too. Please consider this positive stepped process and allow our communities to become one.

Vote “yes” for One LA.

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