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OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 135



Week #135

Join us this Friday for OneRouge Week#134 at 8:30 am via Zoom. We will be talking about “Leadership from Across the City”. We wil also hear a report out on BRAC’s Canvas Benchmarking Workshop in Greenville, SC, which Southern Living magazine named the South’s “Best City on the Rise. Both of these topics will provide insights on how to tackle the Nine Drivers of Poverty. Our featured speakers are:

  • Michael DiResto – Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) Executive Vice President

  • Anthony Kimble - Founder and managing partner of Kimble Properties LLC, a privately held real estate investment and development company.

  • Whitney Hoffman Sayal - Downtown Development District (DDD) Executive Director

  • Chris Meyer - Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) President and CEO of the

  • Sherreta Harrison - MetroMorphosis Thinker. Speaker. Catalyst.

Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!



Casey Phillips: This is we're gonna actually end the year on the next two Fridays on what I would consider the positive, up and up. We all know the challenges that our city and our state and our country face. We focus a lot of these Fridays around the nine drivers of poverty. But it is also important to stay inspired in this work and as an outside of just self-care, however you do. Part of the inspiration that we all derive is from one another, each other's energies, our ideas. And there was a group of over a hundred of us that went to Greenville, South Carolina thanks to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber for organizing the canvas trip. And there were a lot of conversations that were had both publicly and privately about the future of Baton Rouge and how we're going to move forward as a city Rouge an equitable and economic and prosperous way, and I thought that it would be really appropriate to lift up a lot of those conversations that were in Greenville and that were had around the dinner tables together in the coffee shops and bring it back to the community so everyone can be part of the conversation on the future of Baton Rouge. So with that being said we are going, we have our distinguished speakers today.

Mayor Broome: Thank you. And I am humbled that I would be considered one of your quote keynotes speakers today. I just love being involved in conversations like this with positive energy as we look at our community and work to address the nine drivers of poverty that you guys focus on a regular basis. And I will tell you that I believe as I reflect on the trip to Greenville that had about a hundred people on it, as you said, which was pretty remarkable in and of itself, that people would dedicate that amount of time to go and see another city that was progressively making their mark and see what takeaways we could have. Now the first takeaway I'm going to say, and I have recently said, on a national panel dealing with civility in the United States of America, and especially in government and with government leaders. One of my primary takeaways was the power of convening around a shared goal. As you all recall, who went on the trip, one of our speakers talked about the bonding that took place when they went on an international trip decades ago, and how all of these people were from various different backgrounds represented different segments of the community. But it was that trip that served as a catalyst to launch a bonding and a relationship around community members that lasted and as a result, served as a launching pad to get significant initiatives accomplished in their community. I bring that up because in a day and age where we know we have a multi-generational perspective, we have different political perspectives all over the board. Many of them are legitimate in their own way. I think it's very important that we as a community, number one, continue the discourse. That is so necessary to get us to a place of achieving those goals in our community, whatever background we come from. And I think that discourse has to be intentional. Certainly, Casey, what you all have done with the One Rouge community check-in is very significant when I talk about discourse. But I will tell you as a leader, that I see and feel the need to take all of our discourse to another level so that we can dissect those issues that concern us, and then put together a plan of action collectively to make sure that we are moving the needle in those areas in a very significant way. Secondly, I would say that public-private partners are indeed something that we've been talking about for a long time. I know ever since I've been in office that has been the buzz phrase, public private partnerships. But certainly when we went to Greenville, we saw the significance and importance of how public private partnerships made a difference in the achievements of that community. And so I would say that certainly we have to bring our industry partners to the table, the private sector, the public sector, nonprofit organizations, so we can move towards greater cross-sector collaboration and in the long term mutually beneficial outcomes based on a very, a shared vision of what I would call success. Thirdly, I would say one of the takeaways received from our Greenville Canvas trip is, I'm gonna call it the commitment to community. Now, what do I mean by that? One of our speakers on the panel talked about how he transitioned from one city because the city was so down on itself in terms of how he communicated about itself. Instead of seeing the glass as half full, the people that he encountered in that city always saw the glass as half empty. There was always a but behind positive statement about that community. And so one of the attractions of Greenville for him was how people had a sense of not only confidence but believing in the community that they lived in and seeing the assets and the values that exist within that community. And so I believe that we are on our way to shifting that paradigm. In being more focused here on Baton Rouge, at least I know many of the people that I have talked with who went on that canvas trip, believe that shift is indeed necessary and will be part of making that shift happen where we have to look at the the positive outcomes that we have in our community the achievements that we're making holistically as humans in this city in terms of what the possibilities are while still working on our challenges. But if we don't think highly of the place that we call home, I don't know how we can expect anybody else to. And so that was another takeaway from our trip as well. I will close with saying, given some positive data that is happening in our community right now because our economy is doing so well in the Baton Rouge area. I looked at numbers the other day that showed that we had the lowest unemployment of all time in the capital region. That's something to celebrate. We have new businesses across the region that have grown to a number of over 2,700. That's something to celebrate. Our enrollment in higher education in the region is up more than it has been in the past five years. And we know while we celebrate, our goal is to retain these students in our community and our workforce so that we can continue to grow our economy. So those are some of the positive things that are going on that we should celebrate. While we keep in mind our collective vision of developing a safe, hopeful, healthy community and a community where everyone can thrive in what I say, achieving peace, prosperity, and progress. So I think I've said quite a bit, and I'll close right now.

Casey Phillips: I'm even more pumped up for my Friday right now. All right. Thank you Mayor Broom. I appreciate you. I'm sure that you have a lot of stops to make today, so I appreciate you making the time today to share those words with all of us.

Michael DiResto: And I wanna follow up on, on some of the things that the mayors said. First, just to add to what the good that's happening for the economy in East Baton Rouge. We saw it reported yesterday. Our G D P is the biggest in the state of Louisiana. Our analysis of census data shows that the capital region has had its highest net in migration since 2017. And East Baton Rouge has led that. We keep hearing the stories like we're bleeding people and talents leaving. We're hopeful that we're turning the corner on that as well. East Baton Rouge leading the charge to keep our folks and have net in migration. I also wanna follow up on, on what some things the mayor said and as I segue into kind of doing the curtain razor on the trip to Greenville we started working on this gosh, probably back in January. Our process internally is to look at several cities. See what they're good at see if what they're good at matches up with some of the priorities that we think the Baton Rouge region needs to focus on. And then I made an initial trip out to Greenville in March and everything the mayor said I could feel from the start, like the friendliest people in the world, optimistic. Singing from the same songbook, rowing in the same direction, all those cliches, but were actually real there. Now, they've got their troubles and they'll be upfront about their challenges, and I'll get to some of those in a minute. Like Mayor Broom said, Merle Code just this tremendous community leader talked about how they did a canvas trip. Now they went to Paris. I don't know if we're gonna be going to Paris anytime soon. But got on the same page. Council member Lillian Brock Fleming when I talked to her prior to the trip, I was like, Councilwoman, how is it that everybody I've talked to is so optimistic and friendly. She said not everybody in Greenville is optimistic and friendly. Wait a second, they're probably not from here. And then councilman Russell Stahl again, all he could talk about was somebody rated Greenville the most optimistic city in America. I'm not sure how scientific that is. But you could definitely feel it. And so what were they so proud and optimistic about for those who weren't on the trip? Some of the topics that we went through while we were there we did we did a session just with their mayor just on their leadership and their optimism and determination. Heard from Mayor Knox White about, they have this beautiful waterfall downtown that was covered up by, by a road, by a bridge. And the years it took to get rid of that road and to open up this beautiful. We started out talking with John Lummis with Upstate South Carolina about how they were able to transform their economy. Starting in the eighties, they were a textile place. And when the textile factories and mills started to close and they were able to land Michelin and B M W and now they are a leading. Automotive engineering hub throughout the upstate of South Carolina. As the mayor mentioned, public private partnerships. We heard from Bob and Robert Hughes, father and son developers who work closely with the City of Greenville to really just transform it. And as the younger Hughes, Robert said you need developers who care. It's one thing if they were able to get a deal done for a public private partnership with Nancy Whitworth, who's longtime community and economic developer and city government, he's but you gotta be willing to take less money. It's not about maximizing profits. If it needs to be, you need to have the right vendors and shops in there. You've got to adjust your rents so that it's affordable for more people. And so that was really powerful. What we also learned about Greenville is that with the, just the robust growth of the downtown and getting more people back in they had to keep in mind those communities surrounding the downtown that potentially were getting lost in the shuffle. And they have, they, they saw the gentrification coming and they were able to startup a group. We heard from Brian Brown at the Greenville Housing Fund to really start to to make a dent in, in, in affordable housing. And it also spilled over into how they approach recreation. And we were able to see this fabulous new unity park that was championed by Councilwoman Brock Fleming and then the city gave the housing fund 8 million to try to start doing some more affordable housing. Greenville Housing Fund, I think, gets an appropriation of 1 million per year from the city of Greenville and 10 million per year from the county of Greenville. So they're really trying to make a dent. One of the speakers we didn't have, John Castile is. He's in charge of their redevelopment authority. He wasn't able to join us on the trip cuz he was gonna be outta town. But when I asked him, he said I wish we had started 20 years ago. We're behind. Is sounds like it's giving us ideas of where we need to go. And just I've got one minute left. Just some other topics we talked about there. That was inclusive redevelopment, entrepreneurship. We saw two dynamic speakers from Greenville's Minority Business Accelerator. Talent, attraction, retention, business and education, workforce partnerships. And then and then young professionals in the future of Greenville. We also got a big treat, Carl so Budzinski who seems to own every great restaurant in Greenville spoke to us about not only what he does, and he does this neat thing where he sells his restaurants back to the employees. But he is very much involved in the community. And as the mayor said just that palpable feeling that everybody they're they all seem to want to give back. We heard the words word mentorship. Throughout the trip of more established business people. Whether it was the young professional being mentored by Councilman Russell Stahl, or one of our one of the speakers from the Minority Business Accelerator saying, oh, by the way, Bob Hughes took me under his wing years ago. Just amazing how people were giving back.

Anthony Kimble: Anthony Kimball founder of Kimball Properties real estate developer. Definitely, thanks for having me on this morning. Very grateful for this opportunity. The trip was definitely eyeopening. I'll start with Greenville's not a huge city, I think with a hundred thousand people or something, it has a pretty big surrounding county. I think the thing that stood out to me the most and the mayor touched on some of these things were their commitment to public-private partnership, their commitment to dialogue and understanding that there wouldn't be a lot of quick fixes. I think, they talked about, they started a lot of these meetings like we're having now amongst leaders of the city. And they met every, week for years starting in 95, and they're blessed there to not have term limits. With some of their public leaders, these meetings were able to go on with the same people 10, 15 years. But, I think that's something that we just have to be aware of. With looking at some of the issues we have in Baton Rouge that understanding for sustainable fixes. It won't typically be quick things. And there's gonna be a lot of dialogue and some things we're gonna try won't exactly work out and you'll have to tweak, adapt those things, and continue moving forward. But, talking back public private partnerships, from the city perspective, How they were able to execute these things. We're looking at things like surface parking lots, looking at things like parking garages that the city owned. Saying, hey, these are probably not the highest and best uses of these parcels. And then saying, okay, how do we put off a R F P and bring in, developers? To, develop this into the highest and best use, but also the wealth generation that, that, causes from, that developer down to the service providers that are part of those projects. I think that was key how to be able to use those public privates partnerships to get this property in downtown areas developed. Empower developers and then, in turn empower the service providers that are, part of that project. And I think, that leads to my next topic of the importance of thriving downtown, they felt was how important that was for their city and how, that, was able to create, Opportunity wealth and things like that. And also, push their city forward, with looking at their downtown loan. And I was astonished about this. They're not a huge footprint. 200 restaurants and bars in their downtown area. Most of these were mom and pop type restaurants, locally owned. We talked about the restaurant, the restaurateur that owned a ton of these restaurants that we were able to eat at. So I think that was something that I pulled that was very important for them to have this thriving downtown. That's also become from, with the parks, with the waterfall. Points of gathering for the city. And I think that was very important. I think another thing that was, that stood out to me was the Greenville Housing Fund. And the first thing that really stood out to me was the guy, Brian Brown, that led this housing fund wasn't from Greenville. He had previously been in Columbus, Ohio, had a ton of success in their housing, doing development in these public private type partnerships in. Greenville was able to identify this guy and say, Hey, this is a, phenomenal guy doing great things in Columbus. How do we get him to come to Greenville and take over our housing fund to be able to implement some of those things? With what we're looking to accomplish in Baton Rouge saying that, hey, sometimes it takes outsiders and people who have different perspectives to come here and we need to be able to attract that type of talent. If, Greenville can attract talent from Columbus, and I think another guy was from Cincinnati that they had attracted, we need to be able to do some of those same things here . Identifying that talent, and then I think the last thing was that their commitment to education they had, I think raised like a billion dollars, like 15, 20 years ago to rebuild all of their public schools. Also with their technical college program. We talk about them landing BMW and some of these other entities, but part of that was they made a commitment to their technical college program in the sixties and seven. And it took years to see the fruits of that labor, but that was some of the ways that they were able to attract some of these business. So I think, just, my takeaway from all of this is, hey, it won't happen overnight. But with a commitment to planning, continuing that dialogue and saying that, Hey, we're gonna continue, adapting these things till we figure out what's what works. The councilwoman talked about how she had been working on this part like 15, 20 years. But she knew it was something that was valuable to a constituents. And so it was something that, hey, as long as it took to get done, we were gonna get it done. And I think, we have to have some of that same commitment and say, Hey some of these things will be frustrating, you have to just keep working, keep having dialogue, and com a commitment to figuring itself out.

Whitney Hoffman Sayal: There was a big focus on town on downtown and how important it was to rebuilding their entire community. And I think that's something that I always understood and is why I do what I do. But it was really nice to hear that reiterated and talking about the word you mentioned. And Anthony mentioned as well the commitment to it. That's a big word. So they realized that the downtown value for their entire community was important in terms of it being that sort of focal point and that heartbeat for the rest of its community. I would say also one of the things that really struck me another kind of powerful word I think is the citizen ownership of downtown. So everybody felt and talked like downtown belonged to them. And that's another reason why I do what I do, because I believe downtowns are for everyone. It is the living room. It's where we meet, it's where we have a drink. It's where we celebrate our graduations. It's where we have our government functions. It's really the living room of our community. And so then I got to thinking about, how did they move forward in getting people to have that sense of ownership to their downtown. There's a whole lot of pieces that go to it. It's pretty complex. One thing that Anthony touched on was the attractions and also the waterfall that was mentioned. I think we, we have a bigger attraction than they do, and that's the Mississippi riverfront, so how do we make that an attractive place to be? Speaking to what Mayor Broom said, but also celebrating what we do have, right? Like we have a great levy path. It's 13.1 miles. There's access to it. It's a great recreational spot. But how do we make that even better? How do we make people want to go to it? We have the rotary sculpture, but I think that there's things that we can do more in that regard. Someone mentioned the restaurants as well. In addition to that, I was just impressed with their retail, especially in these times of shopping online. And that really speaks to the fact that the downtown environment is a place where people want to go, right? So cuz you can buy something from Gap or whatever online, right? But for those retail establishments to be thriving, it means that people wanna be there from their entire community. And some ways that you can do that, like we talked about the attractions. I was also really impressed with their street scape. It was clean, it was well lit, it felt walkable. Something that Nancy mentioned, I think she said Walt Disney said it, but your feet take you where your eyes want to go. And that really struck home to me. And thinking about that and then also thinking about then how does downtown connect to its surrounding communities. We've done a lot of work with the downtown Greenway, and I think that's been successful. We have a project on the horizon that will hope to break that barrier of the interstate between our central business district and Downtown East with some, artistic lighting and elements under the interstate that draw you in. Some gateways perhaps they also really focused on retaining their young professionals and also being really inclusive about it. So I think that is really important as well to really get that buy-in from your entire community. I think that one of the things that really struck me too was their intentional behind things, and that comes with planning, right? And again, to celebrate our success. We've had a lot of success with implementing Plan Baton Rouge, too. I think that in the near future, that's a call for a plan. Baton Rouge three, what's the next step? And one of the things I really appreciated that the community park that was mentioned, Unity Park. It was great. And we have green spaces, too. Our central green we've moved a long way with that, but one of the things they did was recognize that the land value of surrounding that park and the downtown would obviously have increased. And so the city took some of their properties and intentionally set it behind for affordable housing. And I think that there's a huge opportunity here in Baton Rouge for that in our Downtown East area. And then, in terms of thinking how Downtown East connects to our central business district, is that street scape like that feel, that comfort that comes with such a beautiful street scape that they had. And so they they would build the parking and the developer would build around it and they did a really good job of making the parking hidden if you will. So it wasn't the primary aesthetic of the area and that's really important cause you don't wanna walk across big, giant monolithic structures. And I think that's something that we can take in celebrating some of the success that we've had downtown. You've seen in the past probably 10 years, a lot of success from the public-private partnerships that were mentioned. I think that's something we need to continue also with the historic rehabilitation tax credits. So you've seen a lot of our old historic buildings being renovated and converted into residential living, and the residential demand is high. But I think that we need to make sure that we do include some affordable opportunities while that demand is increasing. And then I think that with those tax credits and those turnover, those historic buildings was great. We still do have, if you look at the riverfront, we have vacant parking lots. We have a lot of vacant spaces spattered around our downtown. And so I think one of the messages our office hopes to pursue is that we've had a lot of success and we need to celebrate that, but we're not done yet. There's a lot of work to do. We wanna make our downtown great. We wanna make sure that it's a place where everybody feels welcome and helps keep our residents and attracts new residents to our area so our community can just blossom as much as it can.

Casey Phillips: Awesome. Thank you Whitney. And those are all really great observations and ideas and visions. And I have to agree. David David Beach and I were talking and Adonica we were talking we got up really early in the morning and David took us to go do hot yoga, which I had never done before, which I referenced in one of the calls, but, What was incredible was is five 30 in the morning and we were, you would just notice the streetscape, right? Your feet did follow where your eyes went, and it was so intentional and there was a commitment to excellence, right in the yes design choices. And what we really realized was is that unconsciously, We felt completely safe. We were the only people on the street, right? There was not really a whole lot of other people around. And it almost felt like you were walking through the mall back in the days, right? Is said, it was just like lada and we were just talking and looking and stuff, and there was no like glancing over your shoulder as much, and that was all just so intentionally designed with the lighting as in the wide street, the wide sidewalks. And it was just really gorgeous. Another thing that really struck me about the trip was the quiet leadership that everybody that was on the trip. Nobody was really trying to take up more space. We were there to learn and give everyone kind of an equal opportunity. And I feel like one of the leaders on the trip who's our next speaker, really embodied that more than anybody. Chris Meyer. Chris I don't know if I ever really saw you stand up, except at the very end, right? You gave space for everybody else and you were sitting back and listening and and deeply in writing a lot of notes. And also a lot of times in the trip y'all. People were checking out, they were outside, like talking on the phone and stuff. And I noticed that Chris was like front and center for all the panels and just like really highly engaged. And Chris, I'm really curious to get your perspective and your takeaways from Greenville cuz we haven't really had a chance to connect. So the space is yours my friend.

Chris Meyer: Thanks Casey. And good morning everybody. I was not front and center at Hot Yoga cause they knew better than to invite me to that. But I'm not gonna repeat, I think what some of my friends and colleagues have said. I think that the interesting thing about Greenville is really structural. So that's hopefully the new nugget I wanna add here, which is you think about all these sort of end results that we had the privilege of seeing. But I think when we start to peel it apart, and I think what's a really a question for a great group like this, which is. As you heard folks mention, there was no one entity that was capable of accomplishing the results in the city today. And not to say that everything in Greenville is perfect they readily admitted. We have our own challenges we have to work on, but I think if we want to be serious about transforming challenges in our community into opportunities, I think we have to start thinking about some of the structural choices they made. Not that they may be right for us, but that was the next level of conversation that I started to take away and think about as we come off the trip. And that's what I think is really an invitation to everyone in, in, in this group, is how do we address that one structural component that I think is front and center and has been a discussion by our own mayor and city council is how do we think about organizing our government? How do we think about the role of a city manager versus a strong chief administrative officer? The mayor supported before the trip, but it didn't pass the council , a push just to, to do a strategic plan, looking at the structural arrangements of that. I think that's healthy and, kudos to the mayor for taking a look at that. I think that's something that in the Greenville context, while yes, you had a mayor and I've seen some of the chat who had been there for many terms, really the person behind the mayor that was moving the ships and arranging the sort of deals with more civically minded developers and with other partners in and around downtown was a city manager who had been there for, decades and then they'd passed it on to someone now who has also been there for a significant amount of time. I think that's really important. I think another structural piece is you heard Anthony talk about this the really creativity behind the public-private partnerships, they were able to rebuild every, as Anthony said, every public school in their community. In one fell swoop because they valued that every kid should have access to a high quality learning environment. Now, we didn't get into a lot of what was going on in those buildings, but, certainly they made a sort of statement of their values in that every kid's gonna be in a great facility. And even though they didn't have all the money in place at the time, they got really creative with private developers and bonding capacities. Again, getting really technical and structural and like, how do you make that happen because that matches our values. And you saw a lot of that work, I think on the downtown redevelopment, as you've seen again, structural, they got really deep in the weeds, not at the high level emotional talk. I think you see a lot of alignment, but we got into the specifics. So that's my biggest takeaway is the structural components of that city. I also think it was really important. That community had an identity that, that came through loud and clear, and it was an identity that bubbled up from the people and from the positivity. And so that creates not this sort of forced and fake brand, but a very real and honest belief that like the best days were still ahead which I thought was really exciting. The final thing, which we haven't gotten into as much here but I do think is really important is the sort of design behind what their economy was going to be. We described the transition from textiles now to advanced auto manufacturing advanced technology. And there was an entrepreneur space that was really well organized. You could see where an entrepreneur could link into universities as Clemson had moved their business program intentionally to Greenville versus its campus an hour. I think that whole ecosystem felt very intentional. And again, back to the structural component, you could see where everyone fell in their lane to make Greenville better than what it was before. And so I think, you know that my mind's going to the sort of now what. How do we take advantage of the natural assets we have, the people we have on this call, other leaders in our community to create a better space for us. But I think that's where frankly the sort of talk has to get much more specific. And we have to get intentional about some of those structural elements that make a community go. I don't think we have yet a clear identity on what our future economy is gonna look like. I think there's a lot of great conversation about it, but I think we can be intentional in this moment as we make a lot of transitions, both because of workforce, because of our natural assets that we have to get to. I think these plans for downtown, but not just downtown, frankly. What do we start to do in the corridors around and connected to? I think we have the opportunity to take some of these ideas and really move us now at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, as many of have been here about nine months. I'm really excited to, to be part of the solution with you all because we're not gonna get it done and let's roll together and. I do agree with Whitney and others I think we have more wind in our sails and more opportunity in front of us. And certainly a Greenville could do it with what they had. I feel very optimistic about our future.

Casey Phillips: Thank you Chris. And good points. But the reality is that it wasn't always Kumbaya, right? Like Greenville, there was a struggle. There was a tension there and Ebony made a great point that the demographics of Greenville are much different than Baton Rouge, right? And every community is different. And there was a. And pull, but the togetherness came as a result of that, right? Like getting those conversations out in public, in the truth and really talking it through. And there was a councilwoman that spoke and she's been on the council for a long time and she was real open about the fact that there were a lot of people that tried to stand in the way of a lot of the projects that we're talking about. But they were also the people that showed up at the ribbon cuttings when the projects did happen. That turned out to be good for the overall community at the park, at the waterfalls, all of those. Because at a certain point you can disagree, but you gotta move forward together. And once it's behind you, then you just move forward onto the next. And that's healthy tension. And one of the things that was palatable to me, On the trip was, I'm gonna use this as a the Go Tigers phrase. It was it was annoying to me, right? We had the chancellor of BRCC, the new president of Southern University on the trip with us, and I'm not talking about from our side. It was uncomfortable on their side. And it's great they have Clemson Pride and all that stuff. There's no disrespect to that, but there was like this palatable sense in the air that it was just, LSU and Clemson is the conversation, right? And I'm making that point only to the sense that our city has a long way to go when we can think about all the people who were on the trip, right? And all the people that weren't on on the trip, and how we're only going to move in this together when we actually value everybody's voice in everyone's perspective and how it all ties in together. A thriving downtown helps instigate redevelopment in Scotlandville and how that's connected to Downtown east and into mid-city and into Old South Baton Rouge equitably. And it was palatable for a lot of us who do this kind of work. And I think that we need to continue to have those conversations out in the public with each other to be able to move forward together. And I think that's a really important thing to lift up.

Sherreta Harrison: Thank you all again for inviting me to be a part of this conversation. I wasn't sure if I was gonna be invited to be in subsequent conversations around this, so I won't repeat a lot of what you already heard because you've heard great detail about the trip and a lot of the things that have mentioned here were also things that I noted. But I do have two concepts that I think might be helpful framing for my remarks here. And the first thing is that is what I call the two things principle. And its idea that two things can be true at the same time. And for example, can be both a beautiful city and still have some work to do, right? And so this idea that you don't have to choose size. And these issues are usually pretty complex. And so a multiple perspective are probably true at the same time. The second concept that I think is helpful framing is this notion of overcorrection. And it speaks to the idea that or the tendency of people to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction as a correction to something that they see wrong. And this idea that when we have an issue to tackle lot of times people can think that the solution is to just the very opposite . My first observation from Greenville is that the champions indeed had a shared vision around not only the development, but where they wanted to develop. And we didn't hear from the dissenters of that conversation. This idea that there were obviously some people who may have other perspectives. And that wasn't highlighted on this trip, even if those conversations were had. The second thing is downtown was indeed beautiful and vibrant and filled with people. And I even went into one of the shops and bought beautiful stuff. It was the greatest thing ever. And they had a transient community asking for money as we were. And so this idea that less downtown had been built up, but they also still had this population of people that had been left out of the larger economy. And then my third observation is Greenville was absolutely an attractive option for young people. Tyler Lit and Trey Nelson did a wonderful job of moderating a conversation with young professionals and it was a conversation largely around young professionals despite Greenville's manufacturing history, right? And so we've heard about the manufacturing industry, but we didn't hear from those those laborers who labor in those manufacturing spots are in that. And I say all of that to say that there were so many great lessons from Greenville, and I think it's important that we see Greenville as a model that was showroom ready, but incomplete. And so if you think about a 3D rendering, we probably saw three sides of that building. And if we had to spin that rendering around, I wonder what we could have seen on the other side of that. And I think that's important for Baton Rouge cause as we begin to co-create what we wanna see, I offer these three things to keep in mind. The first one is that we have to be honest about the trade offs and the potential losses that are gonna be felt by people in different communities, Reverend Anderson's question around, was this a trip about downtown? And depending on how you answer that question, the answer can be yes and it can be no. But what I think is important is they started with downtown and they connected it to a community that had been historically neglected. And there was this beautiful analogy that someone used that said, it's like when you take a shower and your mirror gets foggy, if you hold a blow dryer to one spot, It will the dryer will radiate and it'll clear the entire mirror. The question I would ask is, what's the criteria for where you hold the blow dryer first? Because theoretically you could hold the blow dryer in any part of the mirror and it would radiate out, and so what is that criteria? How do you decide? And we have to be honest about what that criteria is, and we have to be honest with people about what losses they will incur as a result of us holding the blow dryer in one space. Yes, at some point everything will be better for everybody. But that's not immediate. And when you have a certain heart of your community that is already lagging behind and you continue to ask them to wait, you're gonna get some pushback and you have to be ready to overhear. Thing we need consider is that we have to remember that there's gonna always be perspective and experiences that are on the fringe of the conversation. So again, as I'm walking downtown and going into the relatively overpriced but lovely boutique to buy, when the gentleman asked me for a little change to help him get something to eat, I did not stop and have a conversation with him about how he's experience in downtown where he is. It's his downtown, and he asked me for money. I gave him the money and I walked away, reminded me that there are conversations that we don't have, and I think it's important to remember that those perspectives, those conversations, those voices need to be engaged and not just in a way where we hear what they have to say and then we go and make decisions, but in a way where those conversations and those voices actually drive. And then my third and final piece is that we have to find a way to balance our legacy with our future, right? And so similar, we've talked about the manufacturing aspects of South Carolina. And they said that they started as like a textile community and they realized that they needed to grow and expand. And they did that. I think it's important to note that to avoid any disastrous over corrections.


Michael DiResto: But I would also add the analogy, and I think it was Robert Hughes who did the analogy about the blow dryer and how it radiates about if you remember Councilman Russell Stahl talked about, and I think it floored a lot of people from Baton Rouge that he's trying to grow the boundaries of the city cuz the city population, the boundaries are relatively. And there's a feeling I think among some of the council members that people outside the city limits are getting lost in the shuffle. And they want to, they actually wanna start annexing more neighborhoods so that they can provide services to more people. And I think somebody from the Baton Rouge contingent made the observation that while we have areas of East Baton Rouge Parish that are trying to break. They're trying to add so that they can be more inclusive. And I thought that was a really stunning thing, that they're, they know that they, I think they know that they live in like this, Walt Disney, world City and they're trying to make sure that they're expanding out. For those folks who may not have experienced, the latest waves of their prosperity.

Casey Phillips: Thank you for that, Michael. And again heartfelt thank you for you in particular for the orchestrating of the trip. I know it was a team effort, but you threw a lot of time into it and I look forward to having coffee and hearing more about those conversations.

David Beach: Yes. If I, and I'll reiterate, my highlight of my trip was to do hyper yoga with Casey by far and away. That was the most fun I had the hot trip. But, three things and trips we've made through our work at the Wilson Foundation studying places. The places where we're seeing that are growing the fastest are those that have a very inclu inclusive atmosphere. You going to a restaurant, then you see a wide range of people from age perspective, from families to young people, from ethnicity to interests, all that kind of good stuff. That's what we see in places that are growing the fastest. So I think that's something to emulate. Two is that theory of positivity. It was a very positive environment. Everyone you spoke. Whether they were someone who was a part of the panels or whether you were speaking to someone who was serving you a drink at the bar. It was, they were very positive about the place where they live. And what I take about this is what I keep telling, people that I have conversations with is we can't expect others to speak positively about us unless we speak positively about ourselves. And the last thing that I'll impress upon you that none of our speakers covered today, and they did cover almost everything, was the importance of visuals. And so we have to really inspire the creative presence that we have through the arts Council, through the Futures fund, because people didn't necessarily get on board with some of these massive, risky projects that took place until they could actually see a visual of it with their own eyes. That beautiful bridge around that waterfall, there were a lot of naysayers around that. But it wasn't until a beautiful visual was presented on a full page print of their newspaper where the entire community said, yep, let's do that. That's a good idea, let's focus on creating those visuals for the places that matter the most across our city. All of these things don't cost a lot of money to do, being positive, being creative being inclusive. Those are fairly inexpensive things to do on the grand scheme of things and things that we can lead the way, we can be an example to others in doing that.

Casey Phillips: Those signature projects, I think is like what you're hinting at, right? The signature projects are incredibly important to create cornerstones across the ecosystem that drive people in movement. And they become hub nodes, whether it's around housing , God, the housing conversation was really fascinating across the board. And housing in communities is so specialized in every city that we all do work in in Baton Rouge. I feel like that housing conversation really needs to shift a little bit. Thank you for that, David.

Manny Patole: So get ready for four weeks of pent up comments coming out right now. So I couch this in understanding that first I wanna appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers that have been sent to me over the last couple of weeks with the passing of my father, and I appreciate all of you. Second thing, I wanna couch this and saying, and being brutally honest, I understand the privilege I have because I am not down there, and I also understand that there's repercussions. That probably are not felt if I say something right now, because I am not in the political sphere that you are. And I think the third thing that also has to be noted is how you consider things being inclusive. The way that you are, the way you look, if you were gonna start name dropping, if you look at w e b Dubois and the idea of the veils that we wear when we go into spaces, and I'm gonna, I'm gonna pick on David. When you're a white male who's been of privileged for some time now you're a military veteran. You worked in a bank and now you're working in this, you may be able to say that those things, like you're talking about being kind and being this and being that don't cost a lot, but it's easy to say that when you've been on one side for a lot of your life versus when you've been the other, if you've never been experienced about being spat on, thrown dirt at. Hose dog sat on you set on you, things like that, and you're told, oh, be proper. Kill them with kindness. All that stuff, that internal cost is much higher than any sort of financial cost you can ever imagine, right? And I'm not gonna tell about black white, I'm talking about cross the color spectrum there. And while this has been going on, for those of you who don't know it, my brother-in-law lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and he does agree with some of the things you said, but there's also a lot of things that aren't said. Yes, there is that great waterfall, but the water quality is piss poor because of all the manufacturing and lack of environmental controls. And those places that are affordable, for some of those people to live, are also the places where there's a lot of environmental justice issues, right? So yes, you have, you have this great manufacturing at the cost of the environments for some people. And then when you're talking about this growth and you're saying the word inclusive. Be mindful words have meaning and depending on context, right? The fact that you're trying to bring people in doesn't mean that it's great. My brother-in-law's saying there's no infrastructure. You're expanding too fast without any plan for that. Yeah, you wanna bring these people in. There's no roads there. There's no additional schooling there. When you expand housing in all these things, you're not understanding the total cost of ownership. And is she still on here? Sam, when we did do the shameless plug for the One Rouge podcast the idea that how you build housing is not just housing. You have to connect all that other stuff to it and account for all those other things too. So when we're thinking about all these things, a yes is great. Building out and building more doesn't mean you're building up and creating more opportunity, right? You have existing structures that could be re repurposed. And when you're thinking about all these other stuff, to the point that Sherreta made those people in those non spaces that are often ignored and not part of the conversation, right? Non-space, meaning those places, those spaces that are within areas that aren't, they're part of infrastructure. They're the glue, but they aren't made nice, right? That person was probably on in an alley or in a sidewalk or something like that. And then finally, when you're thinking about all these numbers, understand what unemployment you're looking at. Are you looking at U six versus U three? For those of you who are not familiar, right? U three is the folks who are considered unemployed on and only for that four week period, whereas U six has a bunch of other categories connected to it. And when you're thinking about the overall, one of the things I tell my students as well, besides planning for versus planning for whom, the idea that GDP in and of itself is not an, a good indicator of growth. It's not including how many people are getting educated. It's not including how many people are getting housed. It is just an aggregate metric that ca puts everything together and says we have more than before. So just to put that out there, and I can say this because I have no political ramifications on saying this because I'm not an elected official and on term limits or anything like. So just putting that out there, and I know that there's gonna be people over, but where you disagree with me, that's fine.

Casey Phillips: Manny always appreciate the perspective even we never really had talked about it publicly, right? Manny pushed against me one time and he just caught me in the wrong day, right? And when I popped. It's a natural recoil effect when someone brings the truth right into your bosom, right? And I appreciate that about him. And I apologized at a later date. That's the power of a brave space. You actually used that word and created that space inside of here. And and I appreciate that because again as Sherreta said, two things can be true at the same time.. And and I said I appreciate you bringing that.

Reverend Anderson: Good morning Casey, and I'm apologize. I've been having trouble hearing you all. One I wanted to thank Manny and build a little bit on that. In the respect that and I'd ask the question in the chat, haven't we done a bunch of these trips in one form or another? And I guess one of the things that I most enjoy about the One Rouge space is it's not just saying truth to power, it is inviting the voices that don't normally get it in the room. And one of my questions about these kind of trips is that we had a wonderful One rouge last week about the power and the possibilities of Scotlandville. We could talk about, I don't even know how many communities in this facility in this city that literally it is their time. And in the 20 plus years I've been here, there's always been one push or another to put a lot of money into downtown. And these are always somewhat half-hearted efforts, whether they mean or. But my concern is, one I really would like to know what voices were represented in Greenville's team, but also on ours, because we have other chambers here. We have a Hispanic chamber, we have the North Baton Rouge Chamber. We have a number of other chambers that have interest in economic development, and I really want at some point for us to start being purposely inclusive. I want us to involve Lori Louisiana, organization of Refugees and Immigrants, in those conversations, I want us to send somebody from the Homeless Alliance in these conversations, because one of the struggles I have is that we just had an event where we brought, I wanna say it's probably 150 people from all over the country . And there are some places where, I don't care who you ask in Baton Rouge, if you say, Hey, Florida Boulevard, you gonna get one kind of comment? Why? Because it's the truth. Not because it's being negative. Because it's the truth. And one of those events that I had where people came here from around the country, you know what they took away? They took away how many people got parking tickets downtown. And I think sometimes that. Kumbaya statement that is not undergirded by one. It may not be somebody's time. They may have taken their time and they didn't use it well. And the second one, and I do say this with all truthfulness. Oh no. , I can't pause or she's . I was like, oh man, is she widening up for the hunch? Oh, you can't, especially cuz we have two, two world class universities. We have to start thinking about these things with a wider brush and not being embarrassed about that brush. So that was just mine. The other thing is, I'd like to see. The demographics. I really would. I don't know Greenville, so I'm not gonna pretend that I know that community, but I would like to know how these places are chosen. And again, and maybe somebody can help me with this, how many of these trips have there been.

Casey Phillips: Yeah. Reverend Anderson, your last point, by the way, you may wanna drop it into the chat cuz you're, you came in and out, Michael. But Rev, I can lift up a couple of things. On the first night that we were at the first day. with with all the leaders that were there. First of all, you learned a lot about the people in this on this trip because of the race car approach. And I'll just leave it at that and we don't need to go too deep into that. The sec, the second is that in the, I put it in the article that I wrote, I think it would be for the next Canvas trip, it would take $50,000 for a large, a big business here to underwrite 25 seats. I think that's right. It was 2,500 bucks to go and, to put 50 Gs down on the ground and make sure that Reverend Anderson is at the next one. And another 24 leaders that represent the spectrum that she just lifted up because I think that the nature of the trip it would. I think it would enhance the conversation during the trip. I think it would enhance the trip after with the follow up meetings that have happened, and I think it would make it incredibly powerful. But again, that's money. Like that's not the chamber's responsibility. Corporate partners could underwrite that and I think it would really make it for a more impactful trip. Michael, you want to talk about the cadence, how many trips there's been, what the cadence of it is, and how the cities are?

Michael DiResto: Sure. And again, now I've been at BRAC since 2013. I think going back gosh, I wanna say a couple of decades, we've tried to do one almost every other year. All the way back to those old enough to remember a trip to Austin years ago. We have at times on the question of how places are. Gone to bigger cities. I think one of the things that people appreciated about going to Greenville this time was it didn't feel like too much of a reach where we're going to a city that has, three times the population. And I think in Cincinnati, one of the jokes was, okay, if you want to have a great city first, get eight Fortune 500 companies and there was a sense that maybe some things were unattainable there in terms of the demographics and of Greenville, while the city boundaries are pretty tight the metropolitan area is almost a perfect match for the Baton Rouge metropolitan area, about 900,000 people. The racial demographics are about the same. Not only did we look for those topic areas where we thought they were doing a good job, especially talent retention and recruitment and looking at ways of of doing affordable and inclusive redevelopment. We also saw in our breakdown kind of that economically very similar to our region. But they seem to have figured out ways of doing things that, that are priorities for us to do better as well.

Casey Phillips: On the first day that we were at the performance center, and then the first dinner there was a text thread that was going with a group of us. And I was just dropping data around, it's not just what the population is, which was primarily a very white city, right? But when you looked at the poverty levels from at the United Ways Alice population study, it was fascinating. And when I used the word fascinating, that's not something to be glorified. What I found fascinating was is that when you looked at the data from 2012 to 2018, there were significant drops in poverty rates for Latinx population and for African American population. I didn't really get to go in and really dig in on. That what that, what the causation of that was. But I did find that the data from the United Way of Greenville's website was actually really illuminating if you want to dig in on it a little bit to understand the nuances of of the demographics. But . Anyway, that's now I'm just lifting that up because it was there was a lot of obvious questions because again, when you go, it's like we started playing this game. It was it was Eric Dexter and myself and one other human as we were walking. Oh. And and and Jay we were walking down the street and we said, okay, so if people are coming to Baton Rouge, script out where we would bring people for three days. And to be honest, it was jam packed. There's actually so many assets in the city. And when we were also talking, it's like how would you show that asset but also show everything that we've learned over the last 140 Fridays, right? How would you actually present that in an honest, unbiased way of here's the shine and here's all the opportunity, all the challenges and opportunity for improvement. And it's a difficult thing for a city to be able to do to show their left and the right foot. But Ben Ridge definitely has a lot of assets. And if you really start. Going down on it. Yeah, we have a lot of challenges, but we also, we are starting to get a lot of things right over the last few decades, but we got a long way to go. Okay. Open chat. You've heard from a lot of folks, and I've spoken a lot of words today, so anybody that would like to speak, whether it's a community announcement, whether it is a thought on what you heard.

I said I really appreciate the time today, and it was good as a build

Fantastic call today. As always, I wanna address a comment that was made in chats about term limits, and I'm on my phone, so I just couldn't quite type it in. We have to be careful with term limits and understand where institution monarchies are created or they created at the legislative level, or are they created at the staff level for the legislation legislators? Because when you limit terms of legislatures, you create more of a monarchy with the administration that. Runs the legislation. Does that make sense?

Manny Patole: Yeah. So I'll start with this. So when you're looking at the adminis, like the elected officials, right? You think about at the presidential level after Teddy Roosevelt's, like midway through his fourth term. A lot of people within the US were like, okay, we're reverting back to, colonial England and someone being there, even though that they were elected, they were still in the same seat and having the same political views. So the idea that it was legislatively put in to have term limits so people could, so there's the idea that there's more opportunities for other people to cycle in political views, values, and. We're looking at the institutional side. Think about Robert Moses and if anyone has done anything about anything related to planning. Robert Moses is the epitome of what you're talking about with institutional monarchists. For people that aren't elected right at is the peak of his power, right? This is a person that was never elected for a role, but was the director or. Min, whatever you wanna call it, for up to 17 different departments at New York State. It's also the reason why you start creating bureaucracies, right? And in terms of how you, there's supposed to be a checks and balances, not only on the elected side, but on the appointed side as well. And if you want to read the Power broker and have, two months to read, over. 2000 pages of stuff. I highly recommend it, especially the stuff on parks and how parks were made or how parks were made inaccessible to people of color by limiting heights of bridges that a or roadways to parks, right? So they, if you ever see a parkway and an overpass, why is that Archway only about eight feet? It's because it was built, it was designed within 10, so buses couldn't go through it. I digress, but when you're thinking about this on the institutional side, it's also by how people are appointed and how the elected officials who appoint them can. Create these mechanisms that there have to be some sort of approval by another elected body, like instead of the executive, the legislator or the judicial. So that's one way to check and balance that too, because otherwise you can be, I can be elected, governor of Louisiana and I point Casey, I get, I get voted out, but Casey could still have his job. So there's that, and then there's also this distinguishing of politics and leadership, right? You can have leadership within the communities that push a project through over time, like the Wilson Foundation. Doesn't mean that they were elected or whatever, but they're able to continue, the progress of things that are going forward because they're able to work within or outside or in con in, in, in conjunction with those other opportun officials.

Casey Phillips: Awesome. Thank you Manny and friend for that. Thank y'all for lifting both of that up and speaking of the Wilson Foundation, Ebony .

Ebony Starks: Yes. Casey was like, you look like you're thinking. And I am. And I just wanna share that I feel like, and this is coming from a perspective I definitely feel like I'm part of the community now. I feel like this is where our community gets stuck sometimes. And Casey, I'm getting a little feedback, I think, am I hearing myself through your. and I think where we get stuck, I think the trip was great. I think visioning what can be is great, even if it wasn't perfect, right? I think there's so much potential and so much momentum, but I think where we get stuck is there's a focus on collaboration and consensus, and that's all important. That's all so important. But who owns. Who owns this, who carries out the vision and leads forward the progress. The fact that there's been multiple trips like this, that's great. What, where are we placing responsibility to move this community forward? Who owns things? Who owns. and I am not saying this from a place of frustration. Some of this is genuine questions from somebody who is new to the community, but I think that we get stuck so much in reflection and takeaways, and it's important. And there's one, there's so much, it's such a vibrant conversation. This has been wonderful. But it seems like what happened in Greenville is there was leadership that spawn the collective vision and moved it forward. Through policies, through partnerships, through collaborations, through money, and I think we get. Many times around the idea of what is collective action. I don't know that we know what that is. And I will say from my, and this is just a side note, from my personal experience, I have not seen a city transform. Its downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia is a great example of where it's something very similar to what you all are talking about has taken place without a city manager. I know that was mentioned at the beginning of the call, we. move forward from that. I have yet to see a place where a real comprehensive city level revitalization has taken place without the leadership of a city manager, an individual who is dedicated, whose job is dependent on seeing that plan through. So I just wanted to just leave those thoughts with you. I don't want us to marinate here for so long that the next trip comes and then we reflect on that and the next trip comes and we reflect on that. Who owns this? And I don't have the answer to that, but I hope that as a community we can have some consensus on that.

Michael DiResto: Casey, if you don't mind, let me jump in. That's a great, that's a great, great point. , we get those questions, right? We do these trips and people look at us, the staff of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber okay, what's gonna happen? And who's responsible for, trying to push forward on these things? And we look right back at everybody on the trip and say, you are. We've collaborated on things. When I think of takeaways, not just reflection, but I think in 2013, looking at. The hospital district in Orlando gave people the idea to, now we have a, a health district working collaboratively in Baton Rouge, where we went to, I'd say Phoenix in 2015. That's where we met the basis in great Hearts charter schools. We're now in Baton Rouge and in Cincinnati we learned about their minority business accelerator and their. Procurement, diversity programming, and we've instituted that, but we at the chamber, we can institute the things that are, things that Chambers Institute. I think people were fired up. I don't think it's unfair to say that folks on the trip to Greenville were fired up. We've already had one reconvening. And we want to do more of those but then branch out obviously to include folks who didn't get a chance to go on the trip. But we're trying to do it Ebony in a way that yes, we'll help, organize next steps, but you can't look at us because one of the biggest takeaways from Greenville was, there were lots of different centers of leadership and responsibility but then coming together when they needed each other. But yeah. We don't even want to think about a next trip to anywhere else unless we do something with the lessons we learned on this trip.

I wanna be clear that my question was really in no way directed towards the chamber. But part of reflecting that back and the question, the answer being you is who's you? I think that allows us as a community to consistently look at others to be the reason why something isn't moving along. There has to be a way to have inclusive ownership and account. for what the city looks like. We have to have a centralized place for forward thinking and visioning and it could be the lack of a really comprehensive planning arm in our city parish government. It could be, there, there's a myriad of things. It could be, and I'm not here to necessarily have that conversation, but I, it doesn't just rest on the chamber. It. Just rest on breath. It doesn't just rest on the various nonprofits who have been trying to fill in these creases for years. But I think if we all just say it's all of us, we will stay stagnant for much longer than we can afford and many of our communities can afford.

Manny Patole: And to that end, I want to just highlight two, a couple of things. One, this organ, this grouping right, actually brought down a lot of gates, right? Because a lot of people were able to. And I wanna give a special shout out to the Walsh project, to the Wilson Foundation, the ones who've always been here. And when you say, why are we looking to, to the chamber? Like why not? If you're talking about what Ebony's talking about, and you're talking about, okay, we're all gonna go to these meetings. We have Kumbaya, we were very excited. Three weeks later, no one's talking about anything anymore. And if we were talking about collective action, and this is where we're talking about this idea of leader. You as the Chamber or someone else, like the Wilson Foundation has their very, they have their topics right? The Walls Foundation has their stuff. Pats has their purview, but when you're talking about an area chamber and what is your relationship and your authority as it's been determined, right to the point made before about how it's related to what's the overall city charter there, right? You have, there are some responsibilities that you can definitely, leverage to actually mobilizing some of these people, right? Because you're in that position, right? If Casey does something, , Casey's a troublemaker, right? He may mobilize some folks, but he'll polarize others. The Wilson Foundation the same way. But if you're a Chamber of Commerce, that's pushing all businesses towards doing so. Then you'll definitely get more people mobilized and resources mobilized together as well. So when you're thinking about all these things, I appreciate, thank you, Michael. If you have to go at 10 o'clock, is that it's always easy to say we have to do this, and there's collective action. The collective action needs someone to coalesce those p, those groups and start making that plan. You don't have a co comprehensive planning on Sherreta but how do you get that done?

Sherreta Harrison: I'm sorry I do have to drop off but y'all know I can't drop off without talking about this collective action thing. Absolutely everything that y'all just said. And I dropped a few things in the chat because I think what? We have to acknowledge is that there's this confusion between around what exactly collaboration means. People typically mean. Collaboration means let's just get together and do some things without this discussion and decision making around the infrastructure to support the collaborative action or the collective action. And so that's the first thing. That's why And the Wilson Foundation and the Purpose Built Communities talk about the community quarterback. That's why collective impact talks about the backbone organization or the container for change. That's why Metro has talked about strategic support. I say all of that because it is very clear that if you don't have an entity, a group of bodies that is focused on the. Of creating space for this big change, it is gonna get stuck because people are busy and they are doing the work of change. So somebody has to make sure that all of those efforts are coordinated. And so that's number one. But the other thing about that is, . We have to be honest, and this is not just specific to Baton Rouge, I think people see it across the country, but I'll frame it in Baton Rouge, having been here for 20 years, we have to be honest about the feelings of territory that we have here in our city. There is, there are a lot of very passionate people doing many good things, and it's not always outta selfish. When someone says, oh, but I was already doing that. It is about how it is about trying to piece together how something new or someone different is going to impact the stuff that I'm already doing. And so we have to have a conversation when those feelings come up and we have to recognize that's. Contributes to why we get stuck. And then the last thing that I'll say is that historically having a single owner has meant that certain people don't get a role in stuff. And so when you hear people saying this is gonna be owned by a certain entity or a certain group or a certain whatever. People automatically hear that I'm being pushed out, and that is because ownership has typically been about implementation and decision making and not about mobilization. Real true leadership for really complex challenges requires you to mobilize people. If the work that you are doing does not mobilize people, you're going to be a more opponent and than you are people with buy in. And so I just offer those thoughts because as we talk about collaboration and collective, We cannot talk about collaboration and collective action without actually having the infrastructure for how that happens. So I do have to go cause I have 10 o'clock. Thank y'all. Letting that. Thank you for closing us out.

Casey Phillips: It has been good to be. I looked up, it's 10 0 4. You always know it was a good Friday when you run out of time and it's pastime. Thank y'all for sticking in and being so engaged and woo. There's a lot of wonderful things that were said on the microphone today. And we'll pick it up again next Friday.

Zoom Chat

08:30:31 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

I am here, just eating my bagel and will be back on cam

08:31:34 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Chris… I do like the Croatians.. but Vai Seleção!

08:32:15 From Chris Spalatin | BRAC to Everyone:

haha! Should be an epic game!

08:32:58 From Chelsea Johnson to Everyone:


08:33:18 From Samantha Morgan to Everyone:

Good morning everyone! If you haven't already, please take a listen to the new season of Walls Plus One. Episode 5 is focused on electricity. This is SUPER fascinating stuff.

08:33:25 From Chelsea Johnson to Everyone:

oops sorry tablet was on keyboard.. Good morning everyone!

08:39:03 From One Rouge to Everyone:

“Seeing the assets and the value that exist in the community “ is KEY! that shift is necessary and we can make it happen!

08:41:10 From One Rouge to Everyone:

BR has the lowest unemployment of all time in the Capital region. Have new businesses in the region. Enrollment in ed is up over the past 5 years.

08:47:02 From One Rouge to Everyone:

It’s not about maximizing profits!

08:51:28 From Mayor Sharon Weston Broome to Everyone:

I am going to sign off for another meeting. Please email me and tell me your 2023 wish list for Baton Rouge. Email me at

08:51:40 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:

Thank You Mayor Broome!

08:52:07 From One Rouge to Everyone:

Thank you, Mayor Broome

08:52:18 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

Not having term limits is really an important note when you talk about building consensus and continuity

08:52:35 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone:

Thanks Mayor Broome!

08:53:26 From One Rouge to Everyone:

@ebony, i agree that continuity is important. but that could be addressed with long term strategic planning and succession plans by party leaders

08:53:35 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

But having term limits prevents the creation of institutional monarchies

08:54:15 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

Definitely agree Manny. Just important to note when making comparisons. Important context :)

08:55:12 From One Rouge to Everyone:

how can a 100k population support 200 restaurants downtown??? are they dependent upon tourism??? (is that a stupid question?)

08:55:51 From One Rouge to Everyone:

Tech schools are AMAZING!

08:56:03 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:

I’m still waiting on Bob’s answer on how that $1B deal for schools was put together

08:56:04 From Michael DiResto to Everyone:

The county has 500K and the metro region has 900K. it's just that the city boundaries are smaller

08:56:39 From Helena Williams to Everyone:

What does the urban sprawl look like in Greenville? Was there a white flight similar to here?

08:56:43 From One Rouge to Everyone:

@casey, i would love to hear the answer to that as well

08:57:34 From OTMhousing to Everyone:

Good question @ Helena Williams.

08:57:45 From David Beach l Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

There was a very positive tone about "workforce housing." Affordable housing often isn't seen in a positive light, but Greenville placed workforce housing on a pedestal recognizing the future of their economy relied upon it.

08:58:57 From One Rouge to Everyone:

citizen ownership of downtown <— very cool!

09:01:20 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Citizen Ownership vs Value Capture/Shared equity models are very different things. My first question to all my students: are you planning for the people you have or the people you want.

09:01:42 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone:

Commitment to PEOPLE before places and things. Commitment to education, health services, etc. has to be first and foremost.

09:02:30 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

I would push back on what “workforce housing” means vs family housing or affordable housing or community housing.

09:02:54 From One Rouge to Everyone:

@Manny are those mutually exclusive concepts? can the people you have be the people you want? and if different, can you plan for the people you want without excluding the people you have?

09:03:24 From Helena Williams to Everyone:

I was thinking the same thing @pepper. Maybe ALL people because want can be very biased

09:03:42 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

@OneRouge, yes in theory it is possible. However, the enabling environments currently do not see this as a both and, more of an either or.

09:04:26 From One Rouge to Everyone:

@manny eww.

09:04:38 From Helena Williams to Everyone:


09:04:42 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

Greenville's population characteristics around race, age, and median household income is also helpful context

09:04:46 From SK Groll to Everyone:

And making things permanently affordable. I am following what Jane’s Place is doing in New Orleans and thinking about the possibilities for high quality, permanently affordable, tenant-led housing initiatives here in BR!

09:05:36 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

I would also ask the folks who went to SC about how they got around, what is defined as affordable, how were environmental issues addressed, and if spaces were places, neighborhoods, or communities.

09:06:03 From Adonica Pelichet Duggan to Everyone:

Highly recommend the hot yoga

09:06:18 From Helena Williams to Everyone:

Don’t forget a towel 💦

09:07:27 From David Beach l Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

If you haven't see Casey do hot yoga you haven't lived.

09:07:41 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone:


09:09:20 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

Was this a trip about downtown?

09:10:23 From Michael DiResto to Everyone:

the agenda topics:

09:10:32 From Michael DiResto to Everyone:

Transforming the economy

Lessons in leadership: Optimism & determination

Dynamic developers, downtown & PPPs

Inclusive redevelopment

Entrepreneurial ecosystem/minority accelerator

Talent attraction/retention

Business & education/workforce partnerships

Serial entrepreneurship & community leadership

YPs & the Future of Greenville

09:10:52 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

Please expand on whether private-public partnership meant tax dollars without taxpayer control and accountability?

09:12:06 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

Who were the people included in the Greenville team? I don't know this community so don't know the demographics.

09:12:23 From One Rouge to Everyone:

intentional ecosystems are the only way anything will work!

09:12:42 From Helena Williams to Everyone:

Walls has a post recapping the Greenville trip here:

09:13:41 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

How many of these trips have occurred? I remember an Austin trip and maybe a Nashville trip?

09:15:56 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

I'm having trouble hearing Casey. Is it just me?

09:16:20 From Helena Williams to Everyone:

@Rev A I’m hearing ok

09:16:29 From Team Kimble Properties to Everyone:

@Rev clear on my end

09:21:18 From One Rouge to Everyone:

YES! have to be honest about the trade-offs and the people who will be left out

09:23:01 From One Rouge to Everyone:

i think the definition of boutique is relatively over-priced, but lovely

09:23:51 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Yes, to the conversation of how those living in the non-spaces are considered and how non-spaces are featured/developed as well as public spaces and places.

09:24:53 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone:

Thank you Sherreta

09:25:12 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

Wonderful wrap-up Sherreta

09:26:06 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:

If you were on the CANVAS trip and would like to add your voice to this dialogue please raise your hand.

09:29:15 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

The Walt Disney reference reminds me of the beautiful bronze mice that lined the streets so that the littlest people could also enjoy the art!

09:31:02 From Mary Stein to Everyone:

Yes--people cannot imagine easily

09:31:20 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone:

People want to be included

09:31:26 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

You also can't imagine if you've never been exposed or have no frame of reference

09:31:31 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone:


09:35:37 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

If you have to say inclusive, you have to also acknowledge that have been exclusive...

09:36:22 From SK Groll to Everyone:

I hope we think about inclusivity as the indicator of positive growth for cities the next time the state legislature attacks LGBTQ populations in our state. It’s happened the past few years, the attacks are increasing, and it feels exhausting for those of us engaging with it. I talk to LGBTQ people all the time that want to leave this state because they don’t feel like they see themselves or can see themselves in public life. We do not have employment or housing protection for LGBTQ people in this state, or this city-parish. (Naming that this is from the singular perspective of a white queer person.)

09:36:39 From One Rouge to Everyone:

@sherreta TALK TO ‘EM!

09:37:15 From SK Groll to Everyone:

Really appreciate you, Manny.

09:37:21 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone:

Thank you Manny

09:37:54 From One Rouge to Everyone:

@manny welcome back!

09:38:08 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Thanks… Truth+facts+opinion

09:38:21 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Err Truth =facts+opinion

09:38:51 From David Beach l Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

Great comments, Manny. Part of being inclusive is being willing to listen and consider the perspectives of others.

09:39:32 From OTMhousing to Everyone:

My growth place....Scotlandville was a rich and enchanting place.

09:39:43 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Also keep in mind SC is a right to work state… my BIL sends me info in the bathroom because he has no breaks at his job after working 12-hour days in retail.

09:41:20 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Missing Middle Housing -

09:41:42 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

And understanding the options of housing beyond single-fam

09:42:16 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

09:43:09 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

And random opportunity share -

09:43:36 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

$100k/2 years unrestricted for The Just Tech Fellowship supports and mobilizes diverse and cross-sector cohorts of researchers and practitioners to imagine and create more just, equitable, and representative technological futures. Fellows will identify and challenge injustices emerging from new technologies, and pursue solutions that advance social, political, and economic rights.

09:43:42 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

09:44:26 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

Thanks Ebony for sharing the census information.

09:45:25 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:

09:47:19 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Play the game: am I the only one...

09:47:36 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Am I the only one of X in the room…

09:48:25 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

Assets and access to those assets is an important part of the conversation.

09:48:40 From Esperanza Zenon to Everyone:


09:50:25 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone:

Sherreta, right.

09:53:48 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

Say that

09:54:33 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

Ebony, I think it comes back to a misunderstanding of collaboration and collective action.

09:55:45 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

Most people think that collaboration/ collective action means everybody all in doing stuff together instead of developing a sound plan for execution that includes ownership and accountability

09:57:14 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

And we don't have real conversations about how territorial we can be. If we named an owner someone will surely feel that they should have been the manager. And it's not necessarily from a selfish place. It's from a place of passion. Everyone want to have a role and naming an owner historically has meant that others don't get a role.

09:57:35 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

We have to figure out ownership that is about mobilization and not simply implementation.

10:00:24 From Sherreta R. Harrison to Everyone:

Good stuff! I have to drop off!

10:00:44 From Michael DiResto to Everyone:

Hate to go but I have a 10:00 meeting. Thanks for having me today

10:01:10 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

Thank you so much to everyone who facilitated this conversation. It has been really insightful

10:01:37 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Terretiorial equity and collaboration

10:02:25 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Focused on the work WITH RESOURCES to do it or support others doing it.

10:04:03 From OTMhousing to Everyone:

We must always recognize who is in the room and at the table. "Honor where Honor is due."

10:04:24 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Honorable Chisolm… if not seat at the table, bring a chair...

10:04:33 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone:

Thanks all! Great and meaningful conversation!

Community announcement for Louisiana 4-H:

Today is the last day to order 4-H tickets for Night With the Pelicans before our block opens up. If you have questions about youth activities before and at the game, please feel free to email me

Date: Friday, January 6, 2023, Tip off 7:30PM

Game: New Orleans Pelicans versus Brooklyn Nets

Location: Smoothie King Center, 1501 Dave Dixon Dr, New Orleans, LA 70113

Deadline: to purchase tickets December 9, 2022

Pelicans Tickets

10:05:25 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone:

Thanks for a wonderful conversation!

10:05:25 From Kelli Rogers to Everyone:

Great discussion today!! Thanks everyone.

Community Announcements

Louisiana 4-H:

Today is the last day to order 4-H tickets for Night With the Pelicans before our block opens up. If you have questions about youth activities before and at the game, please feel free to email me

Date: Friday, January 6, 2023, Tip off 7:30PM

Game: New Orleans Pelicans versus Brooklyn Nets

Location: Smoothie King Center, 1501 Dave Dixon Dr, New Orleans, LA 70113

Deadline: to purchase tickets December 9, 2022

Pelicans Tickets

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