Changes with you in mind


mike_mooneyWith this issue, you will find new features in both the print and online editions of The Central Valley Business Journal.

In case you skipped ahead to this column, for which, of course, I am eternally grateful (I’ve always known that our readers have impeccable taste); head on back to Pages 4 and 5 – BUT NOT YET – to check out The Journal Roundtable and Sound Off!

Our inaugural “Roundtable” features Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston. The mayor met with The Business Journal and a host of community and business leaders; providing an informal update on the state of the city and its finances since she took office. Johnston defeated Councilman Clem Lee in a November 2008 runoff election.

The idea behind the Roundtable is simple: an informal “give-and-take” session between city and county leaders and members of the business community with Journal staff, including yours truly, moderating the hour-long session. The monthly mid-day meetings are designed to facilitate a friendly discussion of the business and community issues of the day.

Hopefully, the dialogue will lead to better understanding, and, who knows, maybe a possible solution or two. Next month, The Journal Roundtable will expand into Stanislaus County as well.

Sound Off is a community forum aimed at generating meaningful discussion about business and the decisions, actions, issues, laws, etc., affecting the Central Valley’s diverse business community. We ask only that you keep your thoughts to 500 words or less, so we can publish as many opinions as possible.

It is fitting that Frank Alegre, a Lodi businessman who owns and operates Frank C. Alegre Trucking Inc., is our first local contributor to Sound Off. Alegre is passionate about our country, still the greatest in the world. He wants us to succeed. And he’s very concerned, as are many of us, about the way things are going; as in to “H-E-*-* (double hockey sticks) in a hand-basket.”

Alegre, in a conversation with The Business Journal, raised an intriguing point. Simply put, Alegre believes we – as a nation – have lost our sense of self; of what it means to be American.

The way Alegre sees it; we’re a divided camp of mini-nations; without common purpose.

Of course, it’s been that way from Day One; when diverse ethnic and racial groups first arrived at our shores, hungering for freedom. Many us still refer to ourselves that way, you know: Irish-Americans; Mexican-Americans; African-Americans; Italian-Americans, etc.

So, it could be that Alegre is onto something here.

Maybe it is time to put America first. Maybe it is time we realize we’re all Americans first. Maybe that is the best way to turn around this economic crisis, as Americans – all really working together with a common purpose to achieve a common goal.

That doesn’t mean we have to deny our heritage. It’s good, and necessary, to remember from whom, what and where one is derived. So, go ahead and celebrate your roots. God knows I certainly do. But let’s keep America first.

From this day forward consider yourself to be an American-Irish, American-Mexican, American-African, American-Italian, etc.

It’s worth a try.

I can tell you this much; when I traveled some years ago to Ireland, the primary country of my heritage, I never was called an Irish-American. People referred to me as a “Yank” or the “Yank from California.”

Think about it.

Finally, if you haven’t already, please check out our recently revamped and still evolving Web site – We feature not only a new look, but new features as well, including a stock ticker, Fox Business News and CNN Breaking News. And more business-oriented news, features and chat will be added in the weeks and months ahead.

We’d like to hear from you. Tell us what you think of the Web site – the good, the bad and the ugly. Also, let us know what features you would like us to add. We’re in the process of putting together a list of Central Valley stocks to highlight on our stock ticker throughout the day. So, let us know which Central Valley companies you like to follow and we’ll see what we can do about listing them for you.

OK. You’re now free to continue perusing the paper and don’t forget to visit – or revisit – The Journal Roundtable and Sound Off.


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