As our initial review, I wanted to select a theme on which I was eminently qualified to speak. That issue has to be “decline”. I spent over eleven years as CEO of a major economic development organization in Erie County (Buffalo), New York. During my tenure, I presided over a decade of frustrating, solution defying population and job loss, and to make matters ever more pleasurable, was usually cited as an important cause of that decline. Accordingly, when I read the Hamilton Project report I was impressed that a prominent research think tank had called attention to a real but ignored, situation; a group of beleaguered communities no longer had to suffer in shame and isolation.
Richard Dreyfuss looks out the window of his ascending airplane and sees the girl of his dreams, the girl he had spent a weekend chasing and never finding, driving off into the proverbial sunrise-never ever to be seen again. So ends American Graffiti. The frustration and disappointment which ends that story is the beginning of […]