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How Pinole Is Thinking Outside the Box for Economic Development

From episode: Pinole Councilwoman and Mayor, Norma Martinez-Rubin - EPISODE 06

From the host - Jared Asch: I do a lot of economic development consulting, helping a number of cities, a number of business improvement districts grow, and a lot of the conversation around business attraction is, how do we help a city sort of make the permit process easier? It's still got to be there, you still have to conform to certain regulations, but I'll give you an example. Last week in the paper, Vacaville attracted a new science business, and their city manager was in the paper and said, we will have everything permanent and approved within 90 days, and we will bring in the utilities and the water and the sewer to help them start their process. Knowing that PG&E and their sewer company, can't move as fast as 90 days, but at least starting the conversation and getting the city's approval done. That's why Vacaville is landing the larger life science company that's going to employ 10,000 people.

(These blog posted are generated utilizing AI from the podcast interview transcripts and may contain errors)

From host Jared Asch recently, I was speaking to a community development director in a mid-sized city along 880 yesterday, and he said, there are a lot of people in their town that distrust government, but they have some entrepreneurs who have great ideas, some small business owners that could expand and could benefit. During that, we talked a lot about how to reach out to them and find who they trust. It might be at their church. It might be, you know, which might be in Chinese or Vietnamese or in Spanish, as well as in English. It's getting in front of who they trust and using them as a middle partner to provide those resources. That's not easy for the government to do, especially at a time when a lot of cities are short-staffed, but there are firms like mine and others that can help with the outreach. 0I like Councilwoman that you're at least thinking about that in a panel on both of those issues, fast-tracking permits or automating systems, as well as doing that community outreach to a diverse town.

From The Councilwoman - Well, we're thinking about that, being the Council Members that I've served since 2018 come from different backgrounds, not necessarily economic development ourselves. I rely on the expertise of the staff, as few of them as there may be, who are there full-time to bring to us as council members the current best practices, if you will, or within the trends in economic development relative to cities our size. Not only as they exist here in the Bay Area, but throughout the country, throughout the world, you know, we're not unique necessarily. We'd like to believe in some regards we are, but we're not unique when it comes to environmental issues, psychosocial issues, or political issues. Borrowing from the good lessons learned from others and doing as best as we can, given our circumstances is one approach. The size of Pinole is relatively small city with a population that covers around 19,000 and with population increases in the next 10 years or so, not being regarded as high. We are a small footprint compared to other parts of the East Bay and our neighbors and we have been pretty much built out. The constraint then is also what available land space we have. In my opinion, my interest is absolutely necessary to balance what gets developed, whether it's commercial or housing development, with the natural amenities that exist. It gets back to what is the quality of life and there may be different perspectives about that, but overall, and I think since we have experienced the pandemic, we have generally gotten a greater appreciation for the importance of having open space available to anyone. That means public space, not private areas, but public space where families and anyone, the bodies of babies, can access and enjoy.

We're fortunate that East Bay Park District is a neighbor to us and a partner to us in maintaining those open spaces. And we can avail ourselves of those and can know the number of walking trails. And I'm pleased and so happy to know that we have a creek, a watershed, that traverses the town for about 10 miles. So it's beyond the land, the land size of Pinellas, about five miles. And that creek gives character, as well as life, to the town.

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