Saturday, September 8, 2007

Waterfront Redevelopment: Navigating Charbydis & Scylla

'..leadership is all about making things (good and bad) happen that might not otherwise happen and preventing things from happening that ordinarily would happen.' -Thomas E. Cronin
According to Wikipedia, 'the phrase between Scylla and Charybdis has come to mean being in a state where one is between two dangers and moving away from one will cause you to be in danger from the other'.

The two sides of the Strait of Messina, off the toe of Italy, are literally within an arrow's range of each other, so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis will pass too close to Scylla and vice versa.
Between Scylla and Charybdis is the origin of the phrase "between the rock and the whirlpool" (the rock upon which Scylla dwelt and the whirlpool of Charybdis) and may be the genesis of the phrase "between a rock and a hard place".

Most knowledgeable mariners avoided this dangerous passage, and those who did not often suffered casualties, shipwreck and, fear made real by the experience.
It is said that Thetis guided the Argonauts through this strait without loss of life.
Odysseus made it too, but lost 6 men in the process.
Others were less fortunate.

Like navigating Charbydis & Scylla, the Waterfront Redevelopment faces twin dangers; defining & completing an ambitious, but very desirable project, and garnering the very public confidence & trust necessary to support the effort.

Like the ancient Greeks, people can view Waterfront Redevelopment as a Goddess, a Sea Nymph or as a Monster.
Goddess means an outstanding opportunity that should be pursued vigorously, but with caution.
Sea Nymph means a siren song that lures the unwary and uncautious into unexpected situtions that can be dangerous.
Monster? Well, each of us has our own idea of what that can mean, but none of these connotes good things!

If one recognizes and accepts the twin dangers of Waterfront Redevelopment, then 50% of our problem can be considered as essentially solved.
But, both dangers need to be addressed as simultaneously as possible.
To accomplish this, readers may wish to review my posting on August 30, 2007, entitled 'Lake Whatcom: Goal Statements & Methodology Aren't Enough!'
The methodology described by Hans & Anne-Marie Bleiker absolutely screams to be used on Waterfront Redevelopment!

I know, first-hand, how difficult it is to set up and have an effective public process on an issue as important as this one.
But, it is not only necessary, but critical!
I know there has been very substantial 'public process' already done, and that is also being done now. All of that counts.
But, as the parameters of the project, and its costs are becoming better known, now is the time to think about the Citizen Participation that counts the most; the effort that will result in the best possible result for the Waterfront Redevelopment - its demonstrated overall acceptance by our community!

My posting 2 days ago, on September 6, entitled ;Waterfront Redevelopment: BEYOND LEED to a Triple Bottom Line' discussed Joe Van Bellegham's concept of the 'triple bottom line', that means satisfying needs for Economics, Ecology and Social Equity, the 3 'E's".
Or, put another way, it stands for PEOPLE, PLANET & PROSPERITY.

I think Joe could play an important part in helping us define 'the project' in terms that inspire the strong public support and trust needed to proceed systematically with confidence toward our goals as a community.
Who could possibly be against any of those things, PEOPLE, PLANET & PROSPERITY?

Many years ago, Sun Tzu in his writing 'The Art of War', said 'the aim is invincibility, victory without battle; unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics and psychology of conflict.'
Sun Tzu was as right then as he is now!

The last thing we need is trying to navigate between Charbydis & Scylla before the ship is even built!
"A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for." - – Grace Murray Hopper