I'm not against regionalism per se. I'm certainly not against getting people together to talk about how we can work together. My biggest concern about the Voices and Choices effort is the fear that its regionalism will turn into a thick suffocating blanket thrown onto us from above.
From yesterday's BJ, here's an example of good regionalism at work:
A blueprint for growth
Wolf Ledges trade association focuses on leadership structure, regional relationships, training
When the Builders Exchange of Akron lost its longtime executive director, it also lost a critical building block.
James A. Dougherty had led the trade group for 35 years before his death in 2001.
Three years later, membership had dwindled from 220 to 100. Directors who succeeded Dougherty didn't work out.
At the same time, technology was making obsolete the organization's fundamental draw -- a plan room where contractors can copy blueprints.
``We could have survived a few more years,'' President Don Taylor said.
But he wanted to head off desperation, so he and the board went looking for a salvage plan. They found it in Canton.
After extensive interviewing and searching, they decided to merge with the Builders Exchange located there. On Feb. 1, the Akron group became the third leg of the Builders Exchange of East Central Ohio, which also has a Youngstown office.
The organization now is refocused on regional relationships, education programs to help members work on common issues, and a strong leadership structure, said Taylor, who remains a board member.