San Diego has been called America’s Finest City. Between the round-the-year sunshine and the crisp air, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the top five travel destinations in the country.
But even this vacation paradise wasn’t saved from the recession. In fact, more than 450,000 people have lost their jobs since 2008. Years later, the question remains: How does San Diego get back on track?
Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, said the answer will come from the community, as well as through collaboration at forums like the one held earlier this month.
“It lies in the spirit of why we’re here today, and that’s to look at where the region is right now and take a look at where we’re going,” said Cafferty. “You have to be realistic about where and when we can find something that can be done [and] we have to be unified in addressing that.”
Tim Kelley, President and CEO of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation, said “infrastructure, education, the process to get projects developed here in the state of California” are all major concerns and need to be addressed.
San Diego is the fourth regional forum held within the state this year. Ten others are scheduled in the next month, leading up to the historic, first-ever statewide summit in May.
“This regional approach, though talked about for a long time, is very ripe and actually is leading the state,” said Joanne Kozberg from California Strategies and member of the California Summit Management Team. “You know the regions are working and Sacramento isn’t. Getting everything in alignment, on a regional level, is a very positive approach to fixing our state.”
The belief is that California’s strong and diverse regions will be the keys to helping the state climb out of this recession, and getting the regions to talk and share ideas can lead to a cohesive plan.
“I think people wish the recession away,” said Kozberg. “The recession was so prolonged…that we have systemic issues which are beyond growing our way out of them, we’ve got to be addressing those issues.”