Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Open Letter to Mayor Frank Tower addresses economic development concerns

[following is an open letter to Mayor Frank Tower that we are pleased to share with readers...]


I wanted to follow-up with the discussion of Economic Development in Oshkosh. I agree that the city and the council need to do a better job keeping citizens informed of the city's economic development projects and ideas. I also understand that this can be difficult, as many people don't seem to care until there is something to complain about.

But I do think it is important to take things one step further than just creating awareness. In addition to letting citizens know what those in charge decided, we should include citizens in the decision-making process. This will increase accountability, improve the diversity of ideas, and take steps towards ensuring that the decisions made reflect the interests of all of the city.

I also think that it is important for the council and citizens to have a direct role in the planning and decision making of our economic development efforts. Too often the current efforts are focused on high-profile plans with high-end costs. What is often void from the discussion (at least that I am aware of) is the development of a locally-owned small business entrepreneurship plan and the development of living wage employment opportunities. Yet these two areas are significant factors in determining the economic health of a community and the quality of life for the residents.

I strongly support the development of a city economic commission that seeks to bring together the existing economic development efforts, and also seeks to bring in regular community members, small business representatives, and knowledgeable specialists in the areas of labor, community, and economic development.


Justin Mitchell


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