It’s less about the bridge you’re willing to cross than picking the right bridge in the first place.

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Staight up: The assistant editor has a valid point about the river.

Local tourism boosters always point to the fact that those living elsewhere in America see Louisville as one big entity, situated south and north of the Ohio. They don’t see a state line. Those of us who live here are very aware of the state line’s significance. At times, perhaps it would be helpful to ignore it.

Bridge tolling makes this difficult, though it’s never too late for show trials.

As many of you know, I’m a member of the Leadership Southern Indiana Discover Class of 2017, and continued thanks to Dr. Dan Eichenberger for his support in making it possible. It was a wonderful experience.

As such, given the impetus of the assistant editor’s thoughts was Leadership SI’s annual meeting, there’s a point I’d like to make in response.

Leadership shouldn’t imply a process of willful indoctrination. During the course of my leadership class experience, it occurred to me again and again that just because we were being told something by an authority figure, it didn’t mean the authority figure was to be trusted — without further and closer examination.

Especially as it pertains to economic development, we’re constantly being told that it’s One Southern Indiana’s way or the highway (such irony in this formulation, but so be it). This seeped into the lesson plan again and again during my classes.

Conversely, over the years here at NAC, we’ve examined numerous other grassroots options for development, from small independent business principles and entrepreneurial development to Strong Towns, and including numerous ideas for grassroots empowerment as opposed to the top-down oligarchical model favored (unsurprisingly– duh) by regional oligarchs.

Simply stated, the News and Tribune tends to uncritically swallow the bait offered by the “economic development as usual” stalwarts.

The newspaper is forever eager to take the side of the powerful. I think this is mistaken. Rather, the newspaper should be comforting the afflicted  and afflicting the comfortable — asking follow-up questions, getting down to first causes, and upsetting a few apple carts on occasion.   

Leadership isn’t stenography. It’s a skill set, wherein you’re constantly examining and re-examining premises to see if they’re functional. The newspaper underachieves in this task.

Now go read what the assistant editor has to say.

THOMAS: A river runs through the mantle of leadership, by Jason Thomas

 … How often does the Ohio River stop us?

The region stands on the edge of a new era. The River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville and Charlestown has awoken from its slumber as a decommissioned Army ammunition plant to a glistening sunrise of new infrastructure and endless possibilities. The Lewis and Clark Bridge now connects Louisville’s east end to Utica — with easy access to River Ridge — instantly making the region attractive to national and international companies eager to stake a claim on America’s crossroads.

A stone’s throw from the east-end connection is the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville — the fastest growing port on the Inland Waterway System, according to River Ridge. The nine-month tonnage for 2017 at the port was 9 percent higher than the previous five-year average, and the port continues to track toward a fourth-consecutive year of handling in excess of 2 million tons of cargo, according to the port’s website.

Add to the mix a dual renaissance at the region’s most important downtowns in Jeffersonville and New Albany and all the ingredients are in place for Southern Indiana to soar to new heights.

But we can’t do it alone.

We’re part of a bigger picture. No longer can we look at Louisville as a rival. There is no river.

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