Thursday, January 31, 2008

LIA Breakfast ...

I attended the LIA breakfast this morning featuring the Nassau and Suffolk County Executives as I do most years. It is always a well run, well attended event and this morning was no different.

Both individuals are bright fellows, it seems, and their hearts are in the right place. But I came away more convinced than ever of the need for better communication and collaboration along the lines of the efforts we're engaged in with our One Long Island series of projects.

Without going into too much detail, there is a disconnect between all of the various projects, commissions, ideas, between organizations, between the various levels of government, between existing projects and proposed projects ...

Healthy competition is great, so long as we can shake hands after the competition and get things done. To the victor belongs the responsibility to reach out and collaborate, even with his or her oppponents. Long Island requires this type of magnanimity to move forward.

Whether its the new "tax cap" commission" leaving out school administrators (there may be good reasons for this) or Suffolk and Nassau talking about creating alternative energy centers when Stony Brook is already in the lead on that issue (again there may be valid reasons for this) or a whole host of issues which require the type of "dynamic collaboration" we've been promoting, again, there is just a "disconnect" which prevents us from acting as a region while the reasonable amount of autonomy and local control that residents seem to like and demand.

For all the talk about consolidation and streamlining and all the benefits it may bring, we don't seem to be able quite yet to consolidate or streamline our ability to organizate projects and ideas for the greater good.

The good news is that more folks are recognizing that we're in this together, regardless of affiliation of whatever type, and that we must find a way to "get things done." And as I stated many times previously, I'm always impressed by the sheer number of bright folks we have at our disposal her on Long Island.

We just need to break this "cycle of stagnation" which impacts on all Long Islanders.

I'll keep trying to do my small part.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Constituent Expansion and Interchange: Part One

One of the more powerful aspects of the One Long Island series of projects is the ability to "share" constituencies and even "share" constituencies which may at first seem to have nothing to do with one another.

This is the "meta relational" aspect to what we are working on. Once information is more freely available in an "open" format and the public is given the tools to access the information and to collaborate with one another, relationships will become apparent which were heretofore not realized.

Who would be for this type of access? Individuals and organizations who want real information, collaboration and who wish to build broad based coalitions to effect a positive outcome for Long Island.

More in part two.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday random thoughts ...

I was watching a show on PBS last evening about absolute zero.

What you may ask does that have to do with Long Island and the One Long Island project? Maybe nothing, maybe something.

What I found interesting in particular, among the many concepts explored, was the Bose-Einstein condensate concept wherein at a certain temperature gases, liquids and solids become a unique entity.

If they can do it in physics, we can do it organizationally on Long Island. If we "cool" the level of hostility, posturing and rhetoric that exists between individuals and groups, then we can begin to see a type of "condensation" of our own in a manner we began to explore here. Groups and individuals "condensate" to form "new organizational structures" to solve or collaborate on one or multiple issues.

Debates must be about ideas, not about what keeps individuals and organizations in "power." The One Long Island series of ideas can return "power" and decision making back into the hands of Long Islanders in a way Thomas Paine might have enjoyed.

It is as much art as science, even in the field of physics, hence the need for a (meta) multi-disciplinary approach to solving problems.

What uses does this have? I mean why work so hard for something that has no immediate payoff? Scientists are still exploring the potential uses including the generation of energy from alternative sources.

The point is the stretch the boundaries of knowledge and to explore what is possible without having to justify an immediate practical application.

Knowledge and ideas are then, in a sense, a means to an end in and of themselves.

Why do I say this?

Well, some folks tell me that while they enjoy this site, they can see no immediate practical application to my ideas. I hope to remedy that, at least in part very soon with the help of some of my new found friends and colleagues with a couple of "real world" One Long Island projects.

As I've stated before, we need to operate on many different levels simultaneously if we are to be successful. So working in the practical world and the theoretical world is certainly something we need to do as well.

The point is that if you don't think out of the box, sometimes WAY out of the box, you never really know what is possible.

If you don't draw on the lessons of other disciplines you are unreasonably limiting yourself and your organization and, by extension, the future of Long Island.

So what does absolute zero have to do with Long Island?

That's really up to you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hometown Democracy Amendment ...

I was in Florida for a few (too few) days and ran across this unique project which I thought might be of some interest to you.

We know that people care about the place where they live and trust the people to make decisions that will protect their community's future. The Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment seeks to take this faith in the people and make the current land use system more accountable by giving the power over certain land use changes (comprehensive plan amendments) to the voters.Property owners in Florida have the right to use their property in accord with the comprehensive plan designation. For example, if a property is designated agricultural, the property owner has the right to use it for any and all agricultural purposes. Agricultural land owners do not have the right to use their land for high-density residential and commercial purposes.Citizens in a community have rights, too. We have the right to demand that our "quality of life" not be harmed by endless construction.Comprehensive plan amendments, which typically allow for more density or intensity of development on a particular parcel of land, are political decisions. These changes should not be granted unless our elected commissioners make a determination that the community's well-being will not be harmed. Our elected officials take an oath to protect the public interest. But too many county and city commissioners just can not say no to comprehensive plan amendments that are destructive to a community's well being.The Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment will mandate referenda for comprehensive plan amendments approved by city and county commissions. Because these plan changes are just about the most important decisions that local governments make, the voters should have the final word about decisions that can make or break their community's future.

More here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Change ...

With all the talk about "change" in this presidential election, I thought I would republish this post as I think it has some relevance to the current debate.

Long Island Podcast Network ....

The Long Island Podcast Network fills an important role in the Long Island communications "matrix" and are to be commended for their ambitious agenda and success thus far. The more independent voices we have the better.

As with all new ventures they could use your support. They have an anniversary party on February 9th.

I think they are a project that is well worth your support. As you can see, "One Long Island" has already become a sponsor.

By the way, if you don't have a podcast yet, you should really add it to your "arsenal" of communication tools.