This work (and much more not revealed here for economic development strategic purposes) is the result of thousands of hours (at least 4,000 hours as of the end of 2016) of brainstorming, research, analysis, vetting, writing, web composition, editing and re-editing. It began in late 2010, and I have only just recently (Dec. 2016) added this page.
The far more difficult work has been in trying to ‘gift’ it to Savannah (7000+ hours as of the end of 2016). Instead of the city’s ‘leadership’ welcoming it with excitement, they have largely kept their doors, eyes and ears, closed. The few engagements achieved have rendered for me an opinion of that leadership (political and business) that could easily form the basis of another John Berandt book.
The personas that make up the city’s political, business and civic leadership call to mind the fictional Hooterville, of Green Acres fame, or the more troublesome special interests and ubiquitous cronyism found at the junction of egos and avarice.
I’ve persevered in trying to find those in Savannah who are not tied at the hip to (or fearful of) the power structure, are capable of (and interested in) learning about the city’s many civic/economic opportunities not being pursued and, most importantly, are willing to step up to the plate.
However, I’m a thinker and truth teller, quite the opposite of a salesman, and thus my ability to persuade (or get people to think) is at the opposite extreme of my ability to problem solve for the benefit of all.
It is, ultimately, success on the economic front that will make all else possible, but the city has negligently, if not willfully, left that matter in the hands of the incapable and/or those who choose to use the authority granted for chiefly advancing their own financial or social interests.
A New Day
As of January 2017, I am now a resident of the city, giving the ‘head in the sand’ faux leadership one less excuse for shunning both me and the work I’ve done to better the city (for everyone).
It goes unnoticed, that the city’s most notable citizens, James Oglethorpe, William Jay, William Scarborough, Juliet Gordon Low and Johnny Mercer, all spent most or a great deal of their lives away from Savannah. While away they were formally educated, developed their talents, and/or otherwise experienced a different world, from which came the successes and renown most highly trumpeted by the city today.
When I began the work you see here, in late 2010, it was purely out of a love for the physical city I’d first visited in 1975. From that first visit I began to envision a city revitalized, and one that expanded on the superb urban ambiance which makes it unique. A lover of great spaces, I had hoped the city could recoup some of its lost treasures as an authentic means for increasing the footprint of that ambiance. My first objective was the long lost Bulloch Mansion.
I was successful in brainstorming for a suitable and fiscally sustainable justification for having restored to Orleans Square the, William Jay designed, Bulloch mansion. The same was found for another manse on this square, the Minis House, a home with a tremendous historical pedigree. However, one or both would take some degree of philanthropic seed money. It was then, to my great surprise, I discovered that Savannah had a (embarrassingly) paltry level of philanthropic resources.
That lead to recognizing the city’s economic malaise of well over a century, a time when in other cities (and towns) great personal wealth was being built. On occasion, that extraordinary wealth was converted by bequeath to a philanthropic foundation whose on-going aim was to better the quality of life for the community by funding in part or in whole worthwhile public works. Savannah was even late in the game in organizing a community foundation, having only instituted one shortly before my search.
That realization set me to work on the economic side of building Savannah. And having been attuned to civic matters from an early age and raised in a city that had long been economic steroids (like being in a laboratory of civic/economic development), I knew far more than most (even those who claim to be professionals).
With plenty of knowledge from which to draw, an analytical mind and the internet at hand for vetting my ideas, I set to work. I think out of the box (or seemingly so by comparison), a talent spoken of frequently by many but rarely exhibited. The results surprised me, I’d not expected to find the number and quality of opportunities I uncovered.
During this same time I also tackled a number of ongoing city issues, the cruise ship terminal proposal, the LNG dilemma, the short fall in new arena funding, high school drop-out rate, and more recently the ‘cultural arts center’ debacle.
I found an excellent solution to the LNG matter, but at about the same time the issue became moot with the reversal of natural gas supply sources. In late 2012, I spied a superb alternative for the city and the hospitality industry with regards to the city’s desire to obtain a new arena. That arena could, now, already be in operation, with the city saving $85 million of future SPLOST collections for other civic improvements.
At every turn, the city simply refuses to recognize these opportunities for producing better results while saving great sums of public dollars. And there is a reason for that; new and more expensive construction is more lucrative for the special interests who control the politicians and the media.
On the economic side, SEDA is no less mired in special interests cronyism; with officials who cannot even recognize the simplest structural elements that underlie a successfully diversified economy.
Here’s Your Chance to Make a Real Difference
I could now use your support, after funding this work myself for so long, via my unpaid intellectual labor and several thousands of dollars in expenses. All the while the City of Savannah, the Chamber of Commerce and SEDA (who control the public purse strings) have paid out many millions in salaries, bonuses and perks to crony appointments who produce nothing more than annual reports that spin words into seeming accomplishments.
If the people of Savannah want real economic advancement, they will have to either clean house at SEDA, or institute another entity to do the job SEDA should be doing. There is a long list of actions that need to be taken, none of which are on SEDA’s agenda.
More importantly and in keeping with my end aims, it is your vocal/active support that is most desired. Don’t ever resign yourselves to thinking these public interest matters just take care of themselves . . . because as you think that . . . those who seek the power over the public purse DO take care of themselves.
Aldin Lee/ 678-438-4389/ firstname.lastname@example.org