Dan Cort is the visionary developer that Stockton needed to jump start the redevelopment of our once vibrant downtown. When no one would risk buying and renovating our neglected historic buildings, Dan stepped up and made it happen with tender, loving care and a “can-do” attitude that set the stage for our downtown turnaround. Dan is a pioneer in promoting and practicing the fine art of revitalizing, not only buildings, but the communities surrounding them.
In Congress, we say “all politics is local.” Downtown Turnaround: Lessons for a New Urban Landscape, shows local governments how to recapture their historic and cultural souls. Revitalization of Main Street is the best investment for sustainable economic growth. As Cort points out, it takes a sense of pride and ownership from residents to enable politics to implement the necessary turnaround to maintain a quality community.
I am a board member of Sealife conservation. We have sailed the 65 ft. research vessel the “Derick Bayliss” up and down the coast and inland waterways of California, mapping plastic contamination and working with cities to rethink environmental policy. Towards that end, I have worked tirelessly to end the proliferation of single use plastic bags.
I am a member of the Oceana advisory board. Our goal is to abate ocean acidification and contamination.
While Mayor of Pacific Grove, California, a law was passed to ban polystyrene. We formed an ocean summit consisting of 15 coastal mayors, members of Congress, and California Assembly members who nearly unanimously agreed to work to eliminate polystyrene containers in our restaurants and fast food establishments. I also helped to develop a reservoir to capture storm water runoff before it contaminated our pristine Monterey Bay, while capturing non-potable water for parks, golf courses, and the like. I helped to develop green building ordinances and introduced power purchase agreements for solar energy.
The first word of this book is Imagine, the first challenge is to see the world, your world, through new eyes. The next is to take action toward transformation within your community.
My hope is that, after having read this book, one person’s story—the adventures of a contra-developer—you feel empowered to craft your fortune, your future, your individual vision while becoming a steward of the environment.
I believe the cities of the past hold the keys to the cities of the future as we tackle the challenges of climate change and diminishing resources. They are a last frontier for us—new pioneers—to explore, develop, and re-inhabit.
We all must contribute to changes in policy that preserve and utilize our architectural heritage and create new architecture. Fifty percent of our greenhouse gases can be traced to our building practices. Reducing this percentage is one of the most powerful means toward a cleaner, safer environment for our selves and our children.
I’ve presented the urban building blocks. Now I invite you to take your first step—choose a project. Take a walk in our neighborhood, look around, investigate. What could you do here? What do you envision for that empty building? How might the design change? What other transformations might it encourage?