James G. Needham (Jim) has a plan!
If you ask Jim what his plan is, this is
what he would tell you:
Our country, and the world, is facing some major
problems which would take the wisdom of Solomon to resolve! The first step
in solving any problem, however, is to identify it. I don't believe it
takes a 'rocket scientist' to realize we have some serious fiscal challenges
here in Molalla. These issues did not just happen. They were the
result of a leadership deficit - trying to manage a city by
delegating all authority to staff, and then failing to provide the consensus
supervision to ensure exceptionalism in staff instead of mediocrity.
Leadership from behind is simply untenable as doing the same things expecting
We also have grave energy problems when
the price of gasoline can increase by a dollar per gallon in a few months, and
then it takes "the worst recession since the Great Depression" to bring the
price back down to an economically manageable level! The best way to
address such issues at the community level is to set target goals such as
providing Community Based Agriculture and expanding local
commerce to provide employment sufficient for every member of the
Molalla workforce who may wish to work locally - in family-wage jobs.
We have unprecedented levels of home foreclosures and
homelessness, primarily among children and veterans, right here in Molalla.
There are things we can do as a community which are not possible to achieve by
government. We have many assets and resources in the Molalla area which
are viable methods of addressing Housing, Healthcare, Employment,
Transportation and Family Skills. We have accomplished great
achievements by collaborative efforts to provide a Library, Swimming Pool, and
continually improving Parks and Recreation Facilities. There is no reason
we cannot make it a community goal to address repair and improvements to our
Transportation infrastructure and/or establish a trails/bicycle
paths to ensure the safety and recreational needs of Molalla citizens
and our youth.
The problems are great, and without precedent, but not
hopeless. However, failure to address them may be catastrophic! The
solutions will require everyone to make contributions and perhaps sacrifices - not just one
component of the economic structure. Sacrifices must begin with the
individual - then escalate to the community and beyond. Americans
comprise approximately 5% of the world population but consume over 20% of global
energy and resources!
The following propositions constitute a starting point - a foundation for the
Energy conservation must begin at home.
If every home in America reduced their energy consumption by just 15% we
would no longer need to import oil!
We must overcome divisiveness at every
level of government, focusing on common community needs, and work together to find a
consensus solution. The winning team is the one which works best
Government costs must be reduced by shifting
provision of social services to volunteer, faith-based, community service
and 501c(3) organizations at the local level - where they belong and may
be most effectively identified, addressed and monitored.
A vigorous energy policy must be developed
at every level without delay. Leadership cannot lead without vision
and a plan.
We need to engage stakeholders in more
government decision-making. The head cannot function without the
body, nor is the body able to function without the head!
ACTION is the imperative - Any
Change To Improve Our Nation!
In a July 16, 2008 OpEd titled “We Must Act Now
to Prepare for Molalla’s Future”. Jim wrote for the Molalla Pioneer he included
most of these proposals in what he called the "Molalla