I'm sensing profound change in Santa Cruz. A new ethic is coming out of the business community -- both from established companies and from startups and entrepreneurs.
ITEM: The Santa Cruz County Business Council re-emerged from months of silence on Friday with a riveting panel discussion by six leading business executives from Santa Cruz County. The discussion, as summarized by Jondi Gumz in the Sentinel Saturday, addressed the challenging economic times -- but also the opportunities presented. This discussion portrayed a Santa Cruz not always seen -- the major players in the local economy that too often have not been part of important political discussions around the county. (NOTE -- I'm going to follow up on some of their comments in the coming days). The only negative: not one elected official from anywhere in the county attended. These elected folks would do well to do a better job of listening to the successes and the needs of the business community.
ITEM: Dozens of could-be entrepreneurs gathered at the old Sentinel building over the weekend for a "TechRaising," -- an event designed to design and promote new tech business and to help young and innovate entrepreneurs. In this case, an elected official did attend -- Mayor Ryan Coonerty , as quoted in the Sentinel's story Sunday, said: "I think there is a huge opportunity in Santa Cruz. The city has streamlined its permit process, and we also have a Technology Task Force. We have talented and creative people here."
What is emerging, I think, is that business community is willing to speak up and discuss the need for and the benefit of economic growth in Santa Cruz County. Local elected officials are also starting to understand that a better economic climate means more local jobs and more revenue for local government services.
At one time in Santa Cruz, business was seen as a threat to the quality of life in Santa Cruz. That way of thinking in the new tech economy doesn't fit anymore. More people are looking at economic growth as a cornerstone of local quality of life -- and not some sort of pro-development evil.