It’s called the Mayor’s Innovation Project, and it was held recently at the Carolina Inn. This story says about 70 mayors from North Carolina and around the country attended. Check out this comment attributed to managing director Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Local leaders and staff members, including Town Council member Sally Greene and Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, helped lead workshops on affordable housing, land use and transportation, among other topics.

Other local leaders joined the visitors for after-hours social gatherings. The public and media are traditionally not invited to the event, Rhodes-Conway said, but Chapel Hill officials negotiated to keep Friday’s incubator tour accessible to local media, she said.

Limiting access leaves mayors free to suggest innovative ideas without worrying their comments might be taken out of context in the newspaper or cause a public backlash at home, she said.

“We want to keep it small and intimate to have a really good, in-depth conversation,” Rhodes-Conway said.

Wow. I understand the idea of wanting to brainstorm and discuss ideas freely. But what in the world did this gathering discuss that the organizer deemed had the potential to, as the writer put it, cause a public backlash back home? And backlash of what sort? Policy? Politics?

I suggest this group focus on bolstering opportunity and prosperity in their communities by following some basic principles in dealing with local issues. They will find excellent ideas and suggestions in JLF’s City and County Issue Guide 2014.