THE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE IN IMPERIAL VALLEY are part of a changing scene that has been sparked by the ever-present need for money.
Seems the Chambers in some of the cities get their funding through the city’s Redevelopment Agency.
Gov. Jerry Brown targeted RDA funds from the state to be dropped as a program that had not worked.
That is supposed to go into effect in January and in Calexico, at least, it has left the Chamber way short on cash to run its operation.
The same holds true with Brawley, El Centro and other cities where municipal funds are suddenly in short supply.
As a result, the larger chambers in the Valley have some people missing and we would suspect some programs too.
What used to be offices with full staffs representing our cities, are now one person entities relying on volunteers.
The Chamber is supposed to be the voice of business in a community. As such, it is supposed to bring new business to town, and promote its member businesses through the local newspaper. They are also supposed to present a business opinion on city affairs to the various councils in the Valley.
I have always been a big Chamber supporter. I see their value as an extension of the city. One that can bring lots of attention and respect to the city if you have the right people.
Too often, however, these days the Chamber is being discredited by the very people who should be relying on it to help out during times of slow business.
The Chamber can contact more businesses than any other entity in a matter of minutes. As such it could help the city act as a catalyst to get more interest generated from outside businesses and help out with special events to get more people into those businesses. It can also add some creativity. Such as when it runs ads promoting those businesses. Or offers discounts to the public to shop in Chamber stores.
It can also get the word out about changes in the law or new growth areas in a town, which can help its members meet new needs.
But, in these times of short funds and budget cutting that is thought to be fashionable, some of these bodies are going to need more money to keep going. Now is the time for the business community and the city to form a partnership to make life better for both of them.
The Calexico Chamber has proposed a sterling membership to the city which would make it a partner in Chamber affairs. The city contribution, $30,000, would be huge to some folks but considerably smaller than hiring outside specialists to help with the problems it faces.
It would also be less than the money it has given the Chamber each year through the RDA.
The Chamber, for its part, needs to start functioning like a business. It needs the things that make its member businesses function. That means good record and bookkeeping, as well as public reports on where its funding is going to and where it is coming from.
It also needs to set up more fundraisers throughout the year and monitor how much it needs to raise to keep its programs moving forward.
Do theses things with the help of the city, which will be a Chamber member, and you will have a winning combination that can carry both organizations to prosperity over the next 10 years.
THE BIG BOYS IN WASHINGTON continue to want to cut spending, limiting the amount of money spent on public broadcasting. Cut out funds for Sesame Street? Egads!
How hard-hearted can you get? Don’t any of these curmudgeons in Congress have grandchildren? Some of them look old enough to have great-grandchildren.
But they’ve become as heartless as Scrooge the day before Christmas!
People aren’t interest in budget cutting They’re interested in getting back to work. If Congress can’t see the crowds gathering in cities around the country, and aren’t planning to answer them, then they should be put out of work.
Perhaps we could start an occupy Holtville movement. We could gather in Holt Park and stay there until every business in the Valley hires one additional employee. That would end the unemployment crises here.