24 January, 2010

More On Economic Development And Why Animal Abuse Is Bad For It - Even In Huntington, WV

Higginbotham At Large Sunday 24 January 2010:

In This Issue:

- Why Some Huntingtonians Need To Look Up "Vigilantism" In A Dictionary

- Why Animal Abuse Is Bad For Economic Development

Why Some Huntingtonians Need To Look Up “Vigilantism” In A Dictionary

When Huntington passed a dog-tethering ordinance certain members of Huntington’s city council tried to prevent the new ordinance’s enforcement by cautioning animal activists against “vigilantism”, by which they meant reporting violations of the law. When a well-intentioned Huntington woman made a list of Huntington residences where dogs were being tethered in violation of the law, some of them without shelter during our recent 15 degree cold snap, and handed this list to law enforcement officials she was accused of “stalking” a city councilman whose address was on the list. So worried that her group would be accused of vigilantism, one animal welfare leader actually sided with the animal abusing city councilman against the woman who turned him in.

This is why some Huntingtonians need to look up the word “vigilantism” in a dictionary. And while they’re in research mode I hope they will also go down to the Huntington police department and find out if there’s such a thing as a citizen’s arrest for, if making a citizen’s arrest is not vigilantism then certainly it is not vigilantism to report a crime – which is all the animal activist did.

Huntington, if you’re reading this blog online then you have internet access and can use Dictionary.com which defines a “vigilante” as “any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.”

The woman who made the list of addresses where dogs were being tethered in violation of the Huntington law did not “take the law into her own hands” nor did she “avenge a crime.” She simply asked Huntington to enforce its laws and she merely reported a crime. This, folks, is good citizenship. When you see a crime being committed you are supposed to report it. Don’t they teach citizenship in Cabell County schools? Oh, you say Cabell Countians are just Wayne Countians who moved uptown? OK, don’t they teach citizenship in Wayne County schools? And how can members of council tell Huntington’s children to grow up to be good citizens if they refuse to obey and enforce Huntington’s laws?

By the way, Huntington, you can’t get this definition from a dictionary but you need to know its meaning. When a so-called humane officer, police chief, mayor or city council member says a law is “unenforceable” that’s code for “I don’t want to enforce it and you don’t have to obey it.”

Certainly any law is more enforceable when citizens are not intimidated into not reporting violations.

Incidentally, Kanawha County readers, you have a new dog tethering ordinance, too, so when you see your city councilman or your pastor or your neighbor tying his poor dog to a stake in the yard without food, water or shelter for hours at a time, don't hesitate to call the police and the Kanawha Charleston Human Association Animal Shelter. If you are dismissed as a "vigilante" or a "stalker" by your mayor or your city councilman or by a so-called humane officer, call the news media.

If you know where there’s a so-called “humane officer” who won’t investigate animal abuse laws, get them fired. If you know where there’s a city council member who violates animal abuse laws, make sure everybody in their ward knows. Oh, and report it to the news media. Shame and embarrassment often work where so-called humane officers won't. Did you ever wonder why Native Americans didn't need prisons or why the ancient religious practice of "shunning" is such an effective means of reigning in behavior that doesn't meet with society's approval?

Why Animal Abuse Is Bad For Economic Development

“We don't want tourists or businesses to perceive our community as a place that condones animal abuse," Dr. Cecelia Perrow, President, Grants/Cibola county Chamber of Commerce.

Civilized people don’t want to live in a city where their neighbors can tether an animal 24 hours a day in freezing temperatures, with no liquid water to drink and no shelter against the wind and the cold. As I’ve written in my blog before, “stray” animals and wild animals are better off than tethered dogs because a tethered or confined dog cannot go in search of warmth, water, food or shelter but even a wild raccoon can climb into the warm engine compartment of a parked car to seek some relief from the cold and a “stray” dog or cat can search or beg for food.

Suppose you were visiting friends or relatives in a city that allowed people to abuse animals either by its refusal to pass animal protection laws or its refusal to enforce them? Would you want to live there? Suppose you bought a house in a city where city council members commit crimes against animals and when you tried to report it to the police or humane officers you were scolded for “stalking” or “vigilantism”, what would you think of this town? Could you tell your business associates and friends that this is a good city in which to start a business or raise a family?

Unnecessary and preventable cruelty to animals isn’t just an ethical and moral issue it’s an economic development issue. Chambers of Commerce and other economic development organizations should help brand their cities as enlightened and civilized “creative class” cities by insisting on specific animal protection laws and their enforcement.

When asked about cockfighting's role in New Mexico's economic development, John Garcia, Secretary of Economic Development, recently said on KOAT Channel 7: "It's an absurd form of entertainment that is from the Dark Ages. I think we need to look ahead at different benefits, different industries ... prostitution has an economic impact, too, but it's not legal." In addition, the Grants/Cibola County Chamber of Commerce and the Lordsburg/Hidalgo County Chamber of Commerce both are opposed to cockfighting in their communities. "Cockfighting is not the image we want the world to have of Cibola County. We don't want tourists or businesses to perceive our community as a place that condones animal abuse," Dr. Cecelia Perrow, President, Grants/Cibola county Chamber of Commerce. (From http://www.apnm.org/)

What’s bad for your city’s brand is bad for your city’s economic development. Yes, I know your city may lose a few animal abusing rednecks if you pass and enforce laws against animal abuse but the kind of people who hurt and abuse animals for sport are not the kind of people you’re going to feature on the front page of your Chamber brochure.

22 January, 2010

22 Jan. 2010 -STARDA ,Economic Development, Alban Arts and Conference Center, Creative Class, Tri-State Talk With Bobby Nelson, The Corporation

Higginbotham At Large Friday 22 January 2010:

In This Issue:

- Misused Expression of the Week: "Economic Development"

- “The Corporation”

- Q&A On My Wednesday Appearance On “Tri-State Talk” hosted by former WV legislator and former Huntington mayor, Bobby Nelson.

Misused Expression Of The Week: “Economic Development”

There are only two ways for a city, county or state to accomplish “economic development”. One way is by transfer of wealth from one region to another. Too often in human history the transfer of wealth was accomplished by war or by good old fashioned sacking and pillaging but these days it’s more often accomplished by figuring out how to get people who live in, say, Kanawha County, to spend their money in Putnam County or vice versa or figuring out a way to get Kentuckians to spend their money in West Virginia or vice versa. Let’s say I build a huge shopping mall in, say, Putnam County and drain off shopping dollars from Charleston’s Town Center Mall and from Barboursville’s Huntington Mall. I have created jobs, increased the tax base and performed economic development in Putnam County but I’ve done so at the expense of other parts of the state so it’s a zero-sum game. A shopping mall in Putnam County doesn’t create new wealth it simply transfers wealth from one area to another. Even if it could be proven that shoppers in the Cabell-Putnam-Kanawha corridor go to more movies, eat more meals at restaurants, and buy more stuff, the shopping mall pie didn’t get larger it simply got sliced up into three pieces instead of two. Nothing was done to give the spenders more discretionary dollars to spend. The shoppers who made $X before the new mall was built are still making the same salary. Were new jobs created? Yes, in Putnam County but chances are that jobs were lost in Charleston and Huntington so, overall, the economic pie was not made larger, the pie is simply being sliced more ways and smaller pieces are being redistributed.

The second and better way to accomplish economic development is to discover or invent and then monetize something that was previously not discovered, invented or monetized. When The Beverly Hillbillies discovered oil on their land, this oil was previously undiscovered, previously unmonetized new wealth. When Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, built the computer that was small enough and cheap enough to, in effect, prove his concept that one day small, inexpensive personal computers would be in most people’s homes and change the world, he invented and monetized something that was previously nonexistent and unmonetized. He not only created new wealth for Apple but he made it possible for individuals and businesses everywhere to work more efficiently and create new wealth.

Someone asked me the other day if I approved of St. Albans Mayor, Dick Callaway and STARDA’s (St. Albans Regional Development Authority) purchase of the old Alban Theater and turning it into the Alban Arts and Convention Center. I said that the Alban has the potential to be an important first step in attracting the creative class a known engine of economic development and growth.

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of Dr. Richard Florida’s books or see the speech he made at George Mason University (occasionally shown on PBS) then you may not know that the old economic development model (workers go where the employers are) has been replaced by a new model – employers go where the creative class is.

A creative class worker is any worker with the skills and technology to live and work pretty much anywhere that there’s internet access and cell phone coverage. A creative class worker isn’t tethered to a certain employer, plant or office building. Because of cell phone technology, the internet and his skills, the creative class worker can create music or computer apps almost anywhere on the planet. These high autonomy professionals get to choose where they live and spend so cities must become places where the creative class wants to live.

Yes, of course I’m aware that Richard Florida has his detractors who say “creative class” is just another way of saying that America’s middle class manufacturing based economy is being replaced by a knowledge based economy, something we’ve known for decades. But even if “creative class” is interchangeable with “knowledge workers” – which it isn’t, exactly – this observation doesn’t negate the mounting evidence that cities and regions which become places where the creative class wants to live and work are the cities and regions that experience the kind of economic development that actually makes the economic pie bigger.

Ask Pittsburgh about the high cost of not becoming the kind of place where the creative class wants to live and work. As Richard Florida said in his televised speech at George Mason University, Pittsburgh lost a company it birthed – Lycos – and the thousands of jobs that went with it when Lycos relocated to Boston because Boston already had the creative class workers they couldn’t recruit to Pittsburgh. For those of you who don’t know, Lycos was a search engine before Google reinvented search engines.

I was one of the original incorporators of STARDA back in 1990 and I think STARDA’s and Mayor Callaway’s purchase of the old Alban theater could be a small first step in making St. Albans the kind of place that can compete for creative class brains. It turns out that the creative class wants to live in places where there is a vibrant arts and entertainment community and a “night life”. Remember, creative class workers are highly autonomous, don’t have an 8-5 job and just might want to see a movie at midnight or go to supper or a play or hear some live music at 2AM.

In addition, it turns out that cities that attract and retain the creative class are cities with great racial, ethnic, religious and generational diversity.

I could elaborate but I’m hoping some of my readers will go get some of Richard Florida’s books and read for themselves why some cities grow and others shrink under the new economic development model. Find out why West Virginia’s PROMISE scholarship program is a step in the right direction. Find out why The Republic of Ireland has long been a tax haven for certain creatives. Find out why Lycos left Pittsburgh and went to Boston.

Find out why bringing arts and entertainment to Main Street in St. Albans may do much more than just transfer a few convention and entertainment dollars from surrounding towns.

Imagine a St. Albans where the next Apple or the next Google or the next Microsoft is founded. A little town like St. Albans might be only one Steve Wozniak or one Steve Jobs or one Bill Gates from becoming the engine of West Virginia’s economy.

“The Corporation”

The Supreme Court’s decision to let corporations spend as much as they want to buy elections led to some interesting discussion about what a corporation is and how we got them at last night’s Drinking Liberally meeting. While we waited for the Kennedy-Blankenship debate to come on TV, we talked about a film I’ve long encouraged everyone to see called “The Corporation.” It’s based on the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan. I mentioned that I own a copy of The Corporation on DVD and that if we can find a venue at which to show the film, perhaps we should show it at a future DL meeting.

When I lived in Lexington my friend, Richard Mitchell, was showing The Corporation at The Lexington Public Library to crowds that were surprisingly large considering that Richard didn’t have an advertising budget and most of the attendees heard about these public showings through word of mouth. The film runs 2 and a half hours, by the way, so if we were to show it we might have to do so over two or more nights as Richard Mitchell did in Lexington.

But Charleston DLers who wish to see the film may not have to wait for a public showing. You can now download The Corporation at http://www.thecorporation.com/index.cfm?page_id=23.

Q&A On My Wednesday Appearance On “Tri-State Talk” hosted by former WV legislator and former Huntington mayor, Bobby Nelson.

A few of my regular readers have asked me some questions about my Wednesday appearance on what I believe to be the only live, local, liberal talk show in West Virginia, “Tri-State Talk” with former Huntington mayor and former WV legislator, Bobby Nelson.

Q. “Is there a podcast of the show?”

A. No. The show’s producer barked in our headphones that there was some kind of technical problem that prevented him from recording the show so there won’t be a podcast. Sorry.

Q. Did you get any conservative callers?

A. No. This was my second appearance on Mayor Nelson’s show and we didn’t get conservative callers either time I’ve been on. We did, however, get calls from liberals who want me to help them start a Drinking Liberally group in Huntington. I am in touch with these folks and have assured them that if they will get a group of people together for an “organizational meeting” I’ll be happy to come back to Huntington, answer their questions, tell them more about DL and put on a little “workshop” about how to get started. On a personal note, I think Huntington might be a better place to start a DL than Charleston was because the liberals are lonelier. And, of course, they can probably depend on Mayor Nelson to give them some PR during his 3:05 to 4PM radio show on WRVC 930AM and 94.1 FM.

By the way, if conservatives don’t call Mayor Nelson’s show it isn’t because he would mistreat them the way conservative talk show hosts mistreat liberals who call their shows. Mayor Nelson believes in civil, informed discussion, which is why his talk show would succeed in markets where bombastic liberal talk shows have failed. You see, liberals don’t want talk shows that mirror the bombast and incivility of the big name conservative talkers like Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage. Liberals wouldn’t support a liberal talk show host who calls conservatives names, yells at conservatives and then hangs up on conservatives. And liberals don’t need constant validation of their views. Liberals want to listen to talk shows where issues and current events are civilly discussed from all angles. Huntingtonians of all political stripes will feel welcome on Mayor Nelson’s show as long as they keep it friendly and polite.

16 January, 2010

16 January 2010. What Jeff Foster Gave Lexington. What Bobby Nelson Offers Charleston

Higginbotham At Large Saturday 16 January 2010:

In This Issue:

- Jeff Foster Organized It. Will Lexington Join His Job Club?

- What Charleston Needs: Former Huntington Mayor Bobby Nelson’s Radio Show

Jeff Foster Organized It. Will Lexington Join His Job Club?

My Lexington readers are going to want to know Jeff Foster. When Jeff emailed me to say that he was a fan of the things I’ve been preaching about how to find a better job and that he has organized a “job club” (Jeff is looking for a cooler, less generic name) I just had to help him spread the news.

I don’t want to steal all of Jeff’s thunder but during last night’s phone call Jeff told me he plans for his job club to be a real, roll up your sleeves and get something done workshop at each and every meeting. No venting about your bad boss who hates you and plans to fire you. No complaining about your company. While those things may all be true, one of the first things a job seeker has to learn is that employers tolerate no negativity at all so the job club should be a place where job seekers learn how to purge negativity from their speech and learn to restate or recast all negative info as a positive.

Jeff’s job club isn’t a place where the unemployed and the underemployed go to sip coffee and shoot the bull. Jeff wants recruiters and headhunters and other employment experts in the meetings to help job seekers “get inside the heads” of employers and recruiters and learn to think like the employer thinks in order to offer what the employer wants.

Jeff is definitely the right man for the job. Jeff is blessed with more clear-eyed empathy than almost anyone I know. I’m using the word “empathy” the way Asperger’s researchers use it. You see, people with Asperger’s are “mind-blind” meaning that they lack the ability to imagine how others feel, what others want. Empathy is the antonym of “mind-blindness” and if there is one thing all job seekers need it’s empathy, the ability to understand what an employer wants.

When I was serving as an “expert panelist” at a University of Kentucky career night event, I told the crowd that employers don’t give a damn what applicants want. They don’t care about your hopes and dreams. They don’t care how much money you want to make. They don’t care that you want “work / life balance.” All employers care about is what they want so as a job applicant you have to know what they want and assure them that you will give them what they want.

Jeff understands this better than almost anybody I know and he is blessed with more of that kind of empathy than almost anybody I can think of.

Jeff is also a proponent of what some of us have been calling “the transparent resume” which I have defined as a resume that reveals more than it obscures. Let me call out my Lexington friends Beverly Clemons, Deb Hildreth and John Meyers in connection with “the transparent resume.” Traditional, reverse chronological resumes with rigid rules about dates, employers and job titles don’t work for every job candidate. As some of you know, I have experimented, with some success, with the “press release resume”. Deb Hildreth has blogged some interesting resumes. Beverly Clemons once reminded me that a resume should be an “advertisement” for the product (the candidate) and, as we all know, there is no one right ad formula.

Most of all, Jeff understands that job seekers are most likely to find their next job by networking. Networking doesn’t come naturally to some people so if you don’t have the networking gene, Jeff can give you a gene splice. And he can show you how to effectively use social media. Jeff once wrote the following comment on my blog post about how a job candidate with a resume is no match for a candidate with a relationship: “First tech job - I was friends with a VP's son. I got in. Second tech job - I had a friend that was a team lead on a different team. I got in. Third tech job - One of my team mates moved to a new company and opened a door for me. I got in. Fourth tech job - Back at the 2nd company - I listed 20+ references that worked there. I got in.”

Jeff gets networking.

So far, Jeff has a diverse group. He has attendees who are re-entering the job market. He has young professionals with slim work experience. He has “older workers”.

By the way, if you’re in your late 40s or early 50s, yes, you are old enough to experience age discrimination and to have some unique job seeking needs.

I’ve been a fan of my former Lexmark co-worker for a long time. If you go to Jeff’s LinkedIn profile you’ll find this recommendation I wrote for him: “Jeff has too many talents to be neatly defined by and confined to the narrow "individual contributor" specialty roles Fortune 500 companies squeeze multi-talented people into. In a room full of techies, Jeff is the guy thinking business. In a room full of business people, Jeff is the guy who understands the technology. Somebody should give Jeff a job that he can grow into, a job that requires him to use all his skills all the time.” May 20, 2009”

Call Jeff Foster at 859-797-7798 and join his job club.

What Charleston Needs: Former Huntington Mayor Bobby Nelson’s Radio Show

I’ll be Mayor Nelson’s radio guest this Wednesday January 20 at 3:05 PM. Topics: “Governor Manchin’s State of the State Address” and “The Current Legislative Session”. Call the show at 877-420-8255. If you’re in the Huntington radio market listen live on 930 AM. If you’re in Charleston, you can’t hear any live, progressive talk radio at 3PM or at any other time.

From a technological standpoint, there’s no reason Mayor Nelson’s show can’t be aired in Charleston. Reeves Kirtner and the folks at Kindred Communications can easily provide the show to any Charleston station willing to bring liberal talk show listeners back to the radio.

If you’d like to lobby Charleston market radio station owners to air Mayor Nelson’s show live at 3PM here is what you need to know:

Bristol Broadcasting of Bristol, VA and LM Communications of Lexington, KY, own stations in the Charleston market. Lisa Nininger Hale is the CEO of Bristol Broadcasting and she can be reached at (276) 669-8112.

Bristol Broadcasting’s cluster GM is Mike Robinson. Phone Mike at (304) 744-7020 and tell him you are a liberal and you want Mayor Bobby Nelson’s radio show on the air in Charleston.

Former St. Albans radio mogul, Lynn Martin, owns LM Communications. WKLC in St. Albans was Martin’s first radio property and now he owns stations in several states. Call Lynn Martin at (859) 252-4137 and tell him Charleston needs and wants a liberal talk radio option.

LM Communications’ cluster manager here in the Charleston market is Steve Z. Zubrzycki. Some of you know him as “Steve Z”. Call Steve at 304-722-3308. Tell him you want Mayor Nelson’s show on the air in Charleston.

12 January, 2010

Higginbotham At Large 12 January 2010

Higginbotham At Large 12 January 2010:

- Social Media Psychographics and Demographics

- St. Albans Architecture Executive Launches New Blog

- Why Is It Called “Drinking Liberally”?

- If You Organize It They Will Join

- Russell Williams Organized It, Will You Join?

Social Media Psychographics and Demographics:

LinkedIn’s 50 million users have the highest average income ($89k) of all social media users. 58% of LinkedIn users earn more than $93K annually.

Facebook users are more likely to be married, White, and retired, compared to users of other social networks. They have the second-highest average income ($61k).

My Space users are younger, with the lowest average income ($44k). They are more likely to be Black or Hispanic, single and students.

Twitter users interests include politics, personal finance, sports, restaurants, religion, TV, reading, music, movies. On average, they are more likely to buy books, shoes, movies and cosmetics than users of the other networks.

Sources: Anderson Analytics, Ad Age

St. Albans Architecture Executive Launches Blog

Joe Bird, ASLA and Sr. VP at Chapman Technical Group in St. Albans, has launched a blog that is, as far as I can tell, the only architecture blog in West Virginia. It’s called Spaces For People and you can see it at http://spacesforpeople.wordpress.com/

Why Is It Called “Drinking Liberally”?

I’ve never seen anyone become inebriated at a Drinking Liberally meeting. I’d say that at least half the times I say the words “Drinking Liberally” the hearer thinks I said “Thinking Liberally” – a name I like better anyway. No, I haven’t asked Drinking Liberally headquarters if they’d kick the Charleston chapter out if we called it “Thinking Liberally”.

To sign up for the Charleston chapter mailing list go to http://livingliberally.org/drinking/chapters/WV.

Thinking / Drinking Liberally meets at 5:30PM the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at Bruno’s, 222 Leon Sullivan Way.

If You Organize It They Will Join

Speaking of organizing new groups, here’s a fact: nobody expressed an interest in joining Drinking Liberally until Malyka Knapp Smith and I just sort of announced that a chapter already existed and called our first meeting.

As some of my regular readers know, SMPS.org (Society for Marketing Professional Services) recently put a link to my blog on their site and called my short series on referrals and relationships “outstanding business development advice”. I mention this because I think West Virginia needs its own chapter of SMPS and I don’t think we’ll ever have it until SMPS drops the requirement that we have 15 SMPS members in the state before they’ll certify a chapter. But I believe that if they first certify a chapter we’ll soon have more than the 15 members they require. In other words, if you organize it they will join.

Charleston-Huntington marketing pros and business developers are not going to drive to NOVA, Lexington, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh to attend meetings – and there’s really not much point in belonging to a group if you can’t attend its meetings. I’d love to offer my organizational and promotional help to Tina Myers or Ronald Worth or any other SMPS executive who agrees with me.

While I’m on the subject of If You Organize It They Will Join, if I were Helen Han, Kelly Scanlon, Wendy Lopez or any of the other leaders at NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) I’d find a champion to help me start a NAWBO chapter in Charleston, WV. A few days ago I made an offer to my friend, Beverly Clemons, a former President of the Lexington, KY, chapter of NAWBO. I offered to help her identify and recruit Charleston area women business owners if she would become the missionary/apostolic chapter planter here in Charleston. There are NAWBO chapters in Pittsburgh, Lexington and Columbus but Charleston area women business owners aren’t going to drive 3 hours to attend meetings so I’ll make the same offer to NAWBO’s national office that I made to my friend Beverly: send Charleston a missionary and I’ll help her identify and recruit Charleston women-owned businesses. Maybe Columbus chapter president, Gail Froelicher or Lexington, KY, president, Janey Moores or Pittsburgh chapter president, Jill Kummer, would like to make a mission trip to help organize a Charleston chapter.

If I were a woman, I’d organize a NAWBO chapter myself. Frankly, I’m surprised that Sharon Chapman, Rebecca Kimmons, Sarah Halstead, Julie Hewett, and other Charleston-Huntington area business owners aren’t all over this.

And now that Metro Valley and A Woman’s View have ceased publication, Charleston no longer has a magazine for professional women.

Perhaps it’s time for Dateline Publications to launch a new mag aimed at women.

Russell Williams Organized It, Will You Join?

A Charleston entrepreneur, Russell Williams, has started a Meetup group for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs. Join at http://www.meetup.com/charlestonwv/.