My blog., Uncategorized

Looking Back.

I came across this while looking through one of my flash drives today. This was an exercise I did in a course called Strategic Grants All In One. This took place at the now defunct Center of Continuing Education at the Cleveland State University in the winter of 2011. The instructor, a woman who used to work for Catholic Charities, wanted us to visualize what we would do five years later.
February 15, 2016

Dear Taray;

I’ve had one heck of a day and you should’ve been there. I drove down to Tower City Center for the Inaugural run of the Cleveland to Pittsburgh High Speed Rail service and it exceeded all our expectations. Ken (train advocate) did manage to come as did a slew of the usual suspects.  Frank (big city mayor) was surprised to see me and was even more so when Ken told him I was the one who pulled this whole thing off.

I think that we did reach speeds of 90 MPH in Ravenna and around New Castle but I was told it was more like 75 MPH__much better than the 39 listed for the CCC Rail Project Thank God. Naturally, it was crowded for an inaugural run but after talking with many of the people, I believe that this will be successful. I do think though that the time schedule can be better. We did pull into Pittsburgh within two hours but it should have been earlier yet. However, the Mayor of Youngstown didn’t have to deliver that speech when we stopped there.

I was surprised in Pittsburgh to see (public official) there with Secretary Lahood, and he actually took the time to talk to me. I don’t know who told him I was involved I this but he congratulated me and asked how I ended up getting involved in this. I reminded him of the regional network conferences, the reports I’ve done and even mentioned you helping me out in all this. He went on about the need for more commuter rail in Ohio and that’s when (another public official) and Mr. Lahood came over and talked to us. I think it was only then that (public official) realized I’ve been meeting with (another public official) on this for the past five years.

It was very busy as you know and I can’t believe I’ve been able to accomplish something like this and I appreciate your help in this. I’d give you a call tomorrow as soon as I get back from DC and treat you to lunch at Sokolowski’s.

As for me celebrating, I already booked a table at Chez Francois and shocked the hell out of Mr. Mars by asking for champagne.

Thanks again;

Jim V.

Obviously, it didn’t happen. Even then, it was an act of ‘creative writing’ on my part but inside this historical document there were in fact kernels of truth.  Who knows what would have happened if, in 2001, I was able to immediately get a job with my Master’s Degree in planning?  The jobs just weren’t there.   I knew one classmate who got a job with Cleveland Hopkins International Airport but not too many others.   While there was a job posting I was qualified for with the Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation on Cleveland’s West Side, they were paying even less than the job I had at the time.  The other opportunity, possibly a position in Berkeley California, I’m glad didn’t happen looking back.  Yet, if I was willing to take a gamble, or if a dream job like with the Cleveland Planning Commission was there at the time, perhaps that vision of a high-speed commuter rail line to Pittsburgh would actually be now in the works.  We never will know.

Now, what is the point of all this? Well, it’s the same thing as the list I came up with at the beginning of last year on this blog for what I hope the year would be like. While we do have lower gas prices and El Nino is bringing much needed storms to Northern California, the senseless shootings continue and it was a tall order to think the world would be a more peaceful place. Nobody can predict the future; you don’t know what Lady Luck will throw at you. I just can’t believe that five years have come and gone; but then again so has everyone else I know who said the same thing.

All I know that, outside the job that pays my bills, I’ve continued to write. We will see where this takes me…


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