Thursday, May 15, 2008

PAD conference + CHF luncheon report

A two part post. First, I attended the Center for Houston's Future annual luncheon Tuesday. Dr. Mendelsohn said a few things that caught my attention. With construction over the next few years, the Texas Medical Center will soon be the 7th largest "downtown" in the country, which is really impressive when you think about it. My guesses for the other six, in no particular order, would be NYC Midtown, NYC Downtown, Chicago, DC, Boston, SF, and Houston.

His main push was that the TMC institutions need to compete less and cooperate more, using more collaboration and integration to get synergy that makes the whole greater than the parts. I'm no expert on internal TMC politics, but I suspect that competition has helped make it what it is today vs. more static, semi-monopoly, single-institution dominated cities like the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic. I have no doubt more cooperation would be good for the TMC - I'm just saying there's a role for healthy competition too. That's why Silicon Valley is the capital of our nation's tech industry and not Armonk, NY - home to IBM.

He also reiterated some of Houston's top issues, such as better primary education, low college graduation percentages, and the need for UH to become a top-tier public university.

Moving on to part 2: Please consider attending at least part of the national "Preserving the American Dream" conference this weekend at the Omni hotel near the Galleria, which involves national experts trying to learn from Houston's free market model. Lots of good stuff here. Yours truly will be moderating a debate roundtable dialogue Friday evening on two topics: Houston's approach to land-use regulations with Kendall Miller of HRG (pro) and Councilmember Peter Brown (con), and Houston's light rail transit with David Crossley of the Gulf Coast Institute (pro) and Paul Magaziner (con). This happens after dinner and a welcome keynote by former Mayor Bob Lanier.

I will be unable to attend Saturday and Sunday (my step-daughter is graduating UT-Austin), but you can check out the complete agenda here and download the details here.

To encourage more locals to attend, optional "a la carte" pricing (including meals) is being offered this year if you only want to attend parts of the conference:
Friday bus tour: $25
Friday evening: $50
Saturday: $60
Saturday evening: $60
Sunday: $50
More details and registration info here, although I think it's also ok to just show up at the last minute if necessary (but meal seats may or may not be available).

Hope to see you there!

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