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May 19, 2003
Mayor Autry Meets
Big City Slicker

Howard Hobbs PhD, Editor & Publisher

     FRESNO -- This City played host to one the foremost business writers in New York City this week. Lynn Cook of Forbes Magazine was here for a few hours and Mayor Alan Autry eagerly explained his economic vision for a bigger and better roadmap, and of privatizing many of the City's functions. It is Autry's idea to downsize the enormous City governance.
    Cook is a widely read business writer with Forbes, the preeminent bi-weekly New York business journal, and it has become the voice of free markets around the world. Forbes attracts a fiercely loyal community of success oriented entrepreneurs and executives which continues to grow.
     It is in this context Mayor Autry presented some of his more original ideas for dismantling city government functions. So, it seems, that the Mayor plans to shift some public functions away from local government and into the hands of local investors. But, as Cook listened and watched the Mayor, he began to mentally compose a different sort of Fresno story.
    The story would be about okies coming to Fresno in the 1930's looking for a better place in time. Those who made it had escaped the dust-bowl only to discover they landed in an economic death valley. It and Fresno was shriveling up like a California raisin in the sun.
     The big city writer got it right. Agriculture is the cash crop of the San Joaquin Valley. The source of successful farming is water. But, if the farmers like J.G. Boswell can't make a living on producing food in Central California because of a shortage of water, they are going to pack up and move to Mexico where there's water and cheap labor aplenty. We get the picture.
    This straight shot of reality checking comes directly from Forbes HQ via the friendly advice of Lynn J. Cook, a good man.
    [Editor's Note: Independent documentation by the Wall Street Journal indicates that favorable mention in Forbes has sent companies stock prices soaring. Forbes Magazine Burlingame telephone number: 650-558-4800.]

Letter to Editor

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