Meg Arnold is the managing director of Valley Vision, a regional leadership organization working on issues like transportation, air quality, and economic development in Northern California. She spoke in the Zócalo green room about staying open-minded and following the rules of the road before taking part in a Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation panel discussion in Sacramento entitled “Is the Central Valley Finally Embracing Its Urban Future?”
If you could take only one more journey where would you go?
Much as I love to see other places in the world, if I only had one journey that I could ever make again I would go to my family’s summer cottage in Canada, where I’ve been every summer of my life. It’s a homestead in the sense of its standing in my life, and its importance and the feeling of home that comes. It’s in Ontario, it’s a lake with a whole bunch of different cottages, and a really strong multi-generational community and activities center, about an hour and a half east of Toronto.
What’s your favorite season?
I have always loved the spring, no matter where I am. It’s probably partly because my birthday is in the spring, and when you’re a kid that’s important. And here I love the extended spring. Growing up on the east coast you’d have winter and then you’d have 10 days of spring and it would be hot and humid and gross. I lived in England for three years and spring there moved at a very stately pace, which seems the case here in the Central Valley as well.
Do you a television guilty pleasure?
I watch extraordinarily little TV. Right now my husband and I are watching The Last Ship, which is good but it’s very post-apocalyptic. We actually had to go on hiatus from it in the last month or six weeks.
Was there a teacher who particularly influenced you or even changed your life?
My eighth grade English teacher, Miss Canning, in New Jersey, who was a real stickler, did not suffer fools gladly, and really emphasized writing in a really fabulous way.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
Under promise and over deliver. And seeing multiple sides of an issue and staying open-minded.
What are you like behind the wheel?
I was trained in New Jersey, so I am assertive. I drove to Fresno and back last night, and I did that in three hours at an average speed of 74 miles per hour. I believe in using blinkers and obeying rules of the road.
But you let ‘em know that you’re there.
Yes. And the left lane is for passing!