The Lompoc Valley Magazine has showcased the diverse economy of the area twice a year since 2005.
More than just an advertising vehicle, it includes a hefty features section and hits weighty topics such as green practices in the Lompoc Valley and the meaning of happiness.
“I had seen chamber of commerce publications … and decided to take it a step further,” said Kate Griffith, editor in chief of the magazine and the city’s economic development manager.
“It has all the basic information, the chamber or city information with community contacts, calendar of events, dining and lodging,” Griffith said.
Each glossy, 40-page issue also has a theme, reflected in six feature stories. “That makes it more of a lifestyle magazine,” she said.
Few communities, especially those as small as Lompoc, publish their own lifestyle magazine.
Not everyone in the community has supported the economic development activities, Griffith said.
But dealing with naysayers may have only made it sweeter when the city won an Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council.
“It’s very satisfying,” said Griffith, who has attended many IEDC events in her six years as Lompoc’s economic development manager.
The IEDC is the world’s largest professional organization for the economic development industry.
The award, recognizing publications in communities with a population under 50,000 [Lompoc’s is 39,000 excluding the prison] will be presented in October at the annual IEDC conference in Atlanta.
The winning issue was winter 2008’s “The Happiness Quotient.”
As Griffith explains in the magazine, she is a student of the idea of happiness.
A trend in “happiness economics” – measuring the happiness of a population along with its economic output – prompted her to examine Lompoc’s own. She compares it to that of Bhutan, a Himalayan country with its sights set on raising its “gross national happiness.”
“Bhutan and Lompoc both have relatively small, emerging economies, insignificant globally. Yet, both governments have implemented forward-thinking policies by placing quality of life above other measures,” she writes.
“There are four major pillars: economic development; preservation and promotion of cultural heritage; preservation and sustainable use of the environment; and good governance.”
In addition to Griffith’s exploration of Lompoc’s achievements in those four areas, other feature articles include a comparison between experiential happiness [joy] with long-term happiness [a life well lived] by Santa Barbara City College philosophy professor Joe White; a look at true happiness and popular culture by Joyce Evans, and an exploration of work-life balance by Dulcie Sinn, former family resources coordinator for the City of Lompoc.
The current issue, summer 2008, is a “green issue,” highlighting 120 years of the city’s green practices and new innovations on the horizon.
It also features excerpts from Griffith’s interview with former Vice President Al Gore.
The winter 2009 edition will highlight local examples of cottage industry. Back issues are available at www.cityoflompoc.com.
The Web site also has streaming video of “Discover Lompoc,” a television show hosted and produced by Griffith.
This month’s episode features wine tasting facilities in Lompoc. Wine tastings by appointment turn out to be big business, she noted, with serious tasters often plunking down $1,000 for cases of a favored vintage.
Griffith has been writing and publishing since she was in high school, with a long list of publications since then.
After earning her master’s degree in international affairs from Colombia University took her to Latin America for communications, economic and social development work, she returned to her home state to pursue economic development on a smaller scale several years ago.