Friday, September 5, 2008

LANCASTER ALLIANCE: The streets of Hell are paved with good intentions

NewsLanc conducted an extensive interview with Lancaster Alliance President Jack Howell. It seemed clear that the Alliance has done valuable work and often been a positive influence in nurturing and eventually spinning off organizations serving the needs of the City of Lancaster. And contrary to questions raised by the Lancaster Post, it is a legitimate 501(c)3organization.

Representatives of the eighteen largely big business sponsors meet once each month but August to discuss and determine what projects the Alliance should nurture and support.

But like all such organizations of the powerful - be they professional associations or oil cartels - the Alliance walks a narrow line between altruistic and wise endeavors and self interests or ill conceived projects.

They wield a collective power, but are without public input and oversight. Until a recent Lancaster Post article, the amount each member was contributing was kept secret!

NewsLanc is impressed with much of the Alliance work and Howell's skills. But it saw signs that insufficient care may occur in choosing new endeavors, street cars for example, and the Alliance staff and board may be unreceptive to new information when it is contrary to its preconceptions and desires.

What is perceived as good by eighteen major local entities may not always be good for Lancaster. After all, the Alliance was the incubator for the convention center project!