Ventura California’s City Manager, Rick Cole, has had two recent pieces at, here and here, titled “The War for Jobs.” In these pieces, he outlines some important changes in California cities’ environment, and what Ventura is doing to attract or grow jobs, because, as he says, governments don’t create jobs.

Rick’s right. Governments don’t create jobs. They can do their best to create an environment that encourages job growth, but that’s about it. I tend to think that a region has a certain job-growth potential, and governments should try not to kill too much of that potential in the process of providing government services or addressing inequality issues.

Rick is also justifiably proud of Ventura’s somewhat unorthodox, approach. The City has a couple of really creative initiatives. They created what they call a Jobs Investment Fund, to partner with a major venture-capital firm to attract new, high tech, businesses to Ventura. They also have a new City-owned incubator.

This is all good. I’m glad to see my city working to improve opportunity, and I’m glad to see them being creative. I’m afraid though that they may not have much success, and it is not the City’s fault.

To continue Rick’s war analogy, in California, cities and counties are the infantry. The State is the general, the one with the big guns: artillery, air support, tanks, and the like. Unfortunately, the general is withdrawing. Local governments, the infantry, are sitting in the foxhole without support. Odds are the war can’t be won by a few guys in a foxhole.