SACRAMENTO, July 17—In an attempt to correct misperceptions that the energy crisis is crippling California’s economy, a statewide coalition of economic development groups has banded together to launch an international public relations campaign. The group, calling itself the California Association of Local Economic Development (CALED), has retained New York public relations firm Development Counsellors International—a specialist in economic development—to manage the $150,000 effort.
According to CALED president Wayne Schell, the campaign will challenge the widespread myth that “Californians are spending day upon day in the dark.” But it will also seek to leverage interest in the state to publicize California’s other “powers”—the brainpower, the creative power, the people power and the economic power of the world’s fifth largest economy, ranking between those of France and the United Kingdom.
DCI will publicize positive California business stories, including case histories of companies that are thriving, and will orchestrate a series of “power trips” to major business and media centers such as New York, Washington, Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta, where economic development staff and business leaders from the state will meet with corporate executives, site location consultants, and media.
Schell insists the campaign will not seek to sugarcoat the seriousness of the energy crisis. “Let’s face it, California’s economic development community is contending now with not one but two crises,” he says.  “There’s the energy crisis, and then there’s the international perception of the energy crisis. Anyone who has taken a trip out of state recently knows that many otherwise very informed people are convinced that we’re spending day upon day in the dark and that businesses are running out of California like lemmings off a cliff.
“That’s far from true, of course, but there comes a point when perception endangers reality.”
CALED is funded by member organizations throughout the state including the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the Orange County Business Council, the California Central Valley Economic Development Council, the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the Bay Area Marketing Group, and the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization.