You are here: Home Activities "Saving California Communities - Next Steps" on May 15, 2010 Remarks by Gary Sandy
Document Actions

Remarks by Gary Sandy

Presented at the May 15, 2010 onference "Saving California Communities: Next Steps"


Good morning.  My name is Gary Sandy and I work in government and community relations here on campus.


On behalf of UC Davis I want to welcome all of you to our brand new Conference Center.  It is fitting that this building is coming on line as the UC Davis campus enters what we are characterizing as our "Sustainable Second Century".   This is a gold-certified LEED building and it enables us even to host zero waste accommodations, an innovation which is consistent with our campus emphasis on sustainability.


Our vision is that UC Davis is in the process of becoming the national, and even international, leader in sustainability initiatives, across the board in energy, in agriculture, in transportation, the economy and so on.


Just this week we put on a conference that Governor Schwarzenegger attended entitled "Economic Prosperity, Energy and the Environment."  The two "e" words missing from that particular set are, of course, "education" which any adroit university employee would argue is implied and "equity" which I am sure you will hear more about later in the day.  I mention this because those particular initiatives are really outgrowths of what you're about here today with "Saving California Communities:  Next Steps."  This is the second of these conferences that we have hosted and we are proud to do so.  I say this because as you contemplate what those next steps will be we want to be part of moving forward with you.


We are no different than other government institutions in this trying and challenging time.  We are under attack.  Our basic floor of funding has eroded from beneath us.  We are faced with the prospect of finding new resources at a time when resources are few and far between. 


Like you we are looking for answers and where the answers are not forthcoming we're struggling to envision a new future.  We are in an era when the impetus to build bridges is as strong as the desire to break down barriers.  We are looking at new models of service delivery, exploring new partnerships and designing new paradigms. 


What if we combined fire departments with the City of Davis?  What might happen?  What if our public safety communication system was a single system county-wide instead of multiple systems?  What if we partnered with Woodland and Davis on bringing in higher quality water?  What if we partner with West Sacramento on a charter school, or an art program that provides outreach to disadvantaged Woodland youth?  What if?  What if?  What if we could stretch ourselves enough to imagine, and to invent and to innovate?


One day when my now 20-year-old son was about twelve he said to me, "Dad, why does everyone always imagine the future to be worse?  What if it’ll be better?" There's a two-by-four between the eyes.  What if we made it better indeed?


After all, you have to acknowledge that there has probably never been a time when the opportunity for change was more prevalent.  All of which means that this is certainly an exciting time to be in government!


UC Davis is here to work with you for three simple reasons:

  • We are a land-grant university, born of the perhaps most fruitful promise ever made to the people of the United States that their public universities would work with them, hand in hand, in service to the greater good.
  • Secondly, we are all in the same boat.  Your struggles are our struggles and we are fundamentally part of this and a great many other communities throughout the region.
  • Finally, we see ourselves increasingly as a convener of the important conversations taking place in the region and this, today, is one of the most important.  We want to be part of these conversations.


Thank you for your attendance today.  You are our guests and we are glad to have you in our midst. 


I hope most of all today that you will focus more on the solutions than you do on the problems.  Often at the end of one of my kitchen table diatribes, my wife will look and me and calmly say:  "Gary, I think we have loved the problem to death now.  It is time to move on."


And so, chastened and humbled, I leave you with this.  It's an outgrowth of a principle, the roots of which can be traced to the African American Methodist Church.  It's called the "Noah Principle".  Simply put it is this:


"There will be no more credit given for predicting the rain:  It is time to build the ark."


Happy sailing.

This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.