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Paradigm Shifts and Innovative Choices

While discussion becomes more heated on the proposal to build a motor sports facility in the region, one can’t help but notice the rhetoric and sound bites from both sides on the issue.

Kitsap is on the nation’s radar given these negotiations, and while we must exercise prudence and ask the difficult questions, we must also be mindful of leaving the impression that potential projects will always face scorched earth campaigns and absolutism to the point of myopia.

We must raise the level of debate on the NASCAR issue by looking at it beyond sloganeering. Skepticism is healthy, but great things in the world have been built because of those who had the vision to make the unthinkable occur. Leaders and citizens alike should overcome the temptation to churn about obstacles, and to instead offer proactive solutions.

ISC shouldn’t get a pass to wax fantastic regarding all the track will do for the region. Nor should fatalistic “what ifs.” Both must substantiate their positions. Due diligence to lay bare all potentialities should be standard operating procedure — not gamesmanship, a lack of cooperation, and scare tactics. Real dialogue and efforts to educate and inform pave the way towards objective assessment of the pros and cons. Strategic and intelligent decision-making then replaces manipulation. An economically vital region requires that we change the way we do things.

What is the region’s vision for SKIA, and addressing issues which will result from its inevitable development?

It is simply not realistic to presume it will permanently remain as is, whether it’s the track, Kitsap SEED, or a high tech campus. This is much bigger than drawing lines in the sand between the left and right, green and business. Certainly, we can demonise the auto racing industry and the products or services which come with it. We’re doing so because it is not currently operating at its most effective or efficient. Why not embrace a paradigm shift wherein society changes the way it makes things? Sustainability guru William McDonough describes it as “reinventing the world.”

Washington State’s political leaders have a prime opportunity to firmly negotiate ISC into creation of the world’s first green motor sports facility, wherein ISC can be encouraged to offer funding, lobbying and community support to Kitsap SEED’s efforts to race the clock towards development of the world’s first Clean Tech corridor.

The latter is an opportunity to map a future which creates family wage, community-based jobs for generations to come, as well as educational opportunities via degrees and courses in this field. Health and health care are also impacted, because we are actually walking the talk towards changing the way we build and operate business. Transforming the industry, creating cleaner race cars, providing jobs for engineers, scientists, and clean tech professionals — all of this has the potential to make society a healthier place in which to live.

To fund the track, some of the solution may reside in tax credits, grants, federal and state monies…as well as other corporate contributions from entities wanting write-offs for an investment in sustainable or green initiatives. We should urge the inclusion of as many details upfront as possible in the event it requires reworking the numbers.

Green materials and choices are also less expensive in the long run. We’re not talking about greenwashing the project in order to push it through the legislature, but a serious commitment coupled with efforts to assist in incubation… be it via advertising to encourage Fortune 500 capital to SEED, or ISC community partnerships.

The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance is expected to execute on the region’s vision to ensure sustainability as a hallmark when recruiting or retaining business. Kitsap leaders cannot afford to stonewall or sequester themselves in ivory towers. They need to think outside the box, and assist with the incorporation of this groundwork into negotiations whether or not a particular deal on the table pans out.

If NASCAR doesn’t land in Kitsap — it doesn’t. But while negotiations are underway, it is imperative to ensure it can at least complement efforts to create a world-class clean tech corridor. This shouldn’t be an either/or proposition. Let’s start thinking about this in a more visionary way, because hard line “for or against” posturing is but one method to bring about change. Another way is via transformation — and it is much more difficult.

The world’s first LEED Gold certified motor sports facility and Clean Tech corridor are both bold strokes which don’t come without risk, but Kitsap and Washington State can become leading edge pioneers towards innovative change.

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(Editor’s Note: Doña Keating is President and CEO of Professional Options, a prominent innovator in the policy and consulting industry which creates solutions for businesses, organizations and governmental agencies. Visit www.greennascar.com for additional information regarding the above article.)

 
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