Weekly Obsession: Lexicographical mashup

Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 9:05pm

It’s unclear whether it’s Prince or a bunch of texting-mad teenagers handling marketing for Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration. Regardless, the evidence remains: The governor rolled out his c plan on Wednesday, embracing the trend of not using spaces between words, abbreviating everything and replacing words with numbers.

2hip, guv! 

Surely there’s a reason for this lexicographical mashup. One commentator said it reminded her of the name of trash-pop chanteuse and Middle Tennessean Ke$ha. Maybe that’s the point: “Employment is cool, kids! Everybody is doing it!”

Except for the 10 percent of people who aren’t, of course.

Step one in this job growth plan is, naturally, firing 60 people — because nothing says job growth like layoffs.

The Haslam folks say those jobs are mainly in the sector of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which attempts to lure major corporate relocations, like Volkswagen and Hemlock Semiconductor. The new hotness — as Haslam said over and over on the campaign trail — is encouraging growth from existing firms, which accounted for 86 percent of the jobs created in Tennessee in 2010. 

These recruitment efforts focus on clusters in which the governor believes the state has a competitive advantage: automotive, chemicals and plastics, transportation, logistics and distribution services, business services, health care, advanced manufacturing and energy technologies. 

The clusters should not be confused with regions. Not that anybody would. 

On a geographical level, apparently, the old three “Grand Divisions” scheme wasn’t cutting it anymore, at least not for job creation. So Jobs4TN divides the state into nine regions, recognizing officially once and for all that what’s good for Goose Pocket (in Lake County) isn’t necessarily what’s good for Gander Branch (in Humphreys County). Each of the regions will have something called a “base camp,” signaling that Haslam will use mountain-climbing metaphors as freely as his predecessor dropped the nautical references. The hope is that the narrower focus produces a more agile and adaptive response from the state level. 

If all this pans out and Jobs4TN works, the governor will have a lot of new BFFs4Ever.