Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was impressed by a Carson City contingent in his country, a nation where the contingent learned “fascinating” things.
That was the gist of reports from Mayor Robert Crowell, Supervisor Brad Bonkowski and City Manager Nick Marano after returning from a trip to the 30th Mayors International Conference. The trio traveled to the Mideast at their own expense, as all three were eager to impart when contacted about the trip, but Crowell was stoked about the fascination factor. “It was fascinating,” he said.
“I was fascinated to learn how much Israel has done on entrepreneurial activities, innovation and education,” the mayor said. He noted Israel has been around as a nation for only 67 years.
Crowell also said Israel’s prime minister, busy with matters due to tense times, had to reschedule a meeting planned during one day for later that evening, but still made time for a group of the international visitors. Netanyahu “was astounded” there were so many people from Carson City, the mayor said.
On the trip were the three city officials, the wives of Crowell and Marano, and Bonkowski’s business/life partner. “The guy made time for us in spite of a lot of things going on,” said Crowell.
Bonkowski said the Northern Nevada group learned “really just a lot of cool stuff” that included technological innovations for communications, Internet software applications and the like, a reference similar to matters about which the mayor spoke. Bonkowski said there were multiple chances to meet with other mayors from around the world, as well as additional governing officials, and it was obvious problems were similar in many communities.
“We had a lot of opportunities to sit down with these people and discuss what they do,” he said. The supervisor from Carson City’s Ward 2 said even though the problems were similar, it also was clear priorities differ depending on the locale and the views of officials.
Marano, meanwhile, compared Tel Aviv to Silicon Valley.
“I was impressed with how thoroughly Israel had embraced the startup culture,” said the city manager. “Many areas of Tel Aviv buzzed with the same intensity that you see in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.” He said he was amazed at the amount of collaboration between the Israeli and the United States tech sectors.
“It’s clear to me that if cities want growth in high-paying jobs,” he said, “they need to foster an innovative, entrepreneurial startup culture.” He added smart transport is an aspect of that high tech growth formula.
Marano was even more explicit about the trip being paid for by the travelers than the two elected officials had been when they were contacted earlier, saying no city finances were involved.