Our View: Think local

-A A +A
By Ralph Damiani

Several years ago, the state invested heavily in bringing a call center to the Albuquerque area. They said they were working to provide jobs.

That center is now closed. Moved on. Jobs gone.

Recently the governor announced that Albuquerque would be home to a $35 million automobile factory for Tesla Motors’ all-electric, four-door, five-passenger sedan. He said the facility would mean 400 new jobs.

Today, state officials are expressing disappointment that the company that built the first mass-produced, all-electric car will keep its factory in California.

Who is really surprised?

One of the oldest – and truest – axioms of economic development is that you build the businesses you have rather than focus on new ones.

Those will almost always disappoint.

We wish this were a lesson our local leaders practiced better.

There should be more help for businesses already here. More money, more programs, more help.

True progress, true sustainable growth, will come from local businesses – not by trying and trying to bring in new ones that may not last.

Invest in the ones that have proven staying power, that are here now and intend to stay.

Our chamber, the LACDC and the county should be doing more to help these local folks and less gazing out toward the horizon.

Yes, there should be some of that, but we need to look after those here now.

When you do attract a business to your community, what guarantee do you have they will be here after the relocation benefits run out? They have no commitment to the community.

Not like those folks that are already here do.

We urge local residents to take a look around the community at the shops we already have. You will be surprised – if you don’t already know – just how much of what you need you can purchase right here, at home.

So do not look to the horizon for economic development – just look next door.

Just ask Albuquerque.

Submit a letter to the editor

• Limit letter to 300-400 words, so that as many as possible may be printed. The Monitor reserves the right to edit letters for length and content. • Include contact information so that the Monitor can verify the letter is from you, and that you’d like it published in the paper. Anonymous letters will not be printed. • E-mail letters to laeditor@lamonitor.com (subject line: “Letter to the Editor”) or drop them by the office at 256 DP Road.