Here’s what some of the 500 Tucson community leaders said of Richard Florida’s comments Thursday on his theories about the shift from an industrial age to an innovative age, one he describes as the rise of the creative class.
Jim Mize, manager of the employment outreach team at the Pima County One-Stop Career Center, said those at the TREO event where Florida spoke were the usual high-ranking leaders, not the working class. Treo stands for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities.
“I still believe we are missing something,” he said. “I honestly believe we don’t tap into the creativity of our work force. “They know best how to set things up and do things effectively. We’re not engaging them in the process. I sometimes wonder if we’re losing touch with what workers are doing, what they are thinking.”
Kathy Ward, economic development manager for Sahuarita: “People have to step up to the plate. All the tools are out there. People just have to raise their hand. They have to have faith in the leadership of the community, but they have to realize they are the leaders of the community.”
Randi Dorman, developer of the Ice House Lofts here and a member of a committee evaluating four downtown hotel proposals, said: “Other cities have been aware of the creative class for a long time, but I think it’s promising that Tucson is identifying that it’s important as well.”
Nancy Lutz, Tucson Pima Arts Council chairwoman: “He’s telling us what we’ve been telling ourselves while putting together the Pima Cultural Plan. We have one of the most creative populations and unique sense of place.
“We just need to put it together.”
Jerry Dixon, master developer of the Mercado District of Menlo Park housing project, next to the proposed University of Arizona Science Center: “We need the university more involved in retaining students in Tucson.”