A: Tough question. We have many factors that are impeding our economic growth. A community is a like a three-legged stool: thriving economy, excellent schools and superb medical care.
We have a very weak education system, with math and literacy rates at around 30% (see chart on last page). We have lost 20% of our students in the past two years, and we have lost many of our teachers. Our hospital is unable to hire and retain qualified doctors and specialists for any number of reasons. Until we start thinking "community" and helping those other legs of the stool to improve, we will be battling uphill.
The city is drawing in small businesses, but we do not have entertainment facilities for teens and young adults and families. I would try to encourage people to start those types of businesses. Of course, we, the community, need to support those businesses or they close. A good example is our movie theaters.
We all know a dollar doesn't do any good in a community unless it is spent 7 times. The energy of a community is the flow of capital within that community.
The mayor and the city council each have one vote. We need the community to start demanding changes in our education system, our medical system and our spending of your money. I will be asking a lot of questions, and I hope to be the voice of the people.