According to a story by the International Business Times, Fremont was ranked 4th in the nation — sandwiched between Madison, Wis. (3rd), and Lincoln, Neb. (5th). The criteria included having a local government that encourages businesses to prosper and create job, high rates of high school graduates, along with low crime and poverty rates. The list’s No. 1 city is Virginia Beach, Va., and the only “big city” to make the list is Seattle, which ranked 7th.
It’s easy to be cynical about these lists — when I do a story like this, I frequently hear, “Yeah, but what does it really mean?” In addition, people with axes to grind with current leaders might argue, “Yeah, but think where we’d rank if we maximized all of our opportunties.”
I think these lists, as easy as they are to mock and as inaccurate as they sometimes are, are vital in the PR war, especially among similar Bay cities clustered together, jostling for attention and businesses. The more kudos you get, the stronger your arsenal for business recruitment.
I grew up in Healdsburg back when the tiny country town was a forgotten backwater. In those days, nobody went to Healdsburg, unless they got lost on the way to Santa Rosa. But in 1989, Newsweek magazine did a national feature on California and included a sidebar on Healdsburg, calling it (I’m paraphrasing) a wine-country oasis. Within a decade or so of that gushing national exposure, Healdsburg became an international tourist destination. I’m sure other factors played a role in that development, but there’s no question that the Newsweek blurb was a demarcation point.
I know some will disagree with the “Best Run” tag the city received. Either way, with the economy showing signs of life — finally — I’m sure Fremont’s leaders will be excited to tout this latest kudo.