By Paul C. Granillo, President and CEO, Inland Empire Economic Partnership
Part of the mission of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership is to ensure that the needs and reality of the economic situation of our region are represented in national and statewide organizations whose decisions or influence might effect the Inland Empire.
One of those organizations that I am pleased to be associated with is California Forward, whose goal is to make the promise of the California Dream attainable for all. Its mission is to inspire better decision-making by governments at all levels in order to: Grow Middle-Class Jobs, Promote Cost-effective Public Services, and Create Accountability for Results. This year California Forward celebrates its 10-year Anniversary as an organization, and I was honored to attend their Gala celebration.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Former Defense Secretary and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta.
Secretary Panetta served as the founding co-chair of California Forward, along with Tom McKiernan, the former CEO of the Automobile Club of Southern California. One was a democrat and the other a republican. Their goal was to help create a organization that would work in a non-partisan way to find solutions for California problems. Sounds easy but it is hard work. In his keynote address Panetta decried the lack of civility and accountability by elected officials at all levels of government. Put plainly, are we electing people who only care about themselves and have lost or never had the understanding that before winning for themselves or their party they were elected to govern? Whether you are a Republican at the national level or a California Democrat, majority control means nothing if choices to tax, regulate and educate are not made with bipartisan input and the motivation that governing means creating the best solutions for the lives of the governed. Sometimes in the Inland Empire we feel forgotten and unappreciated. We cannot let those feelings stop us from holding our elected officials at all levels accountable, not just for their votes but for their attitude toward how they carried out their role in OUR governance structures. It is easy for people to call themselves leaders; it is much harder to actually be one.