Chamber champions policies and 
candidates that help businesses

I feel I can safely say the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce must be doing something right based on the wise old saying that “if you not taking flak, you’re not over the target.”

It seems like the chamber’s taking quite a bit of flak, and since it comes from the same quarters a lot of objections to pro-business and jobs agendas originate, it’s probably on the right target.

Apparently there were even five or six protesters to the organization’s politics who managed to show up and roam around Fourth and Main Tuesday morning, which I appreciate. It’s refreshing to see people flying a sign on a street corner downtown who aren’t asking for beer money.

The publicity must be working since chamber officials tell me their membership interest is up.

It would, however, be nice to see a few new faces at these kinds of rallies, other than the ones I think of as the “Gunsmoke” crowd.

Those are people whose idea for community progress, as near as I can tell, is to go back to living like people did during the days portrayed on the television series “Gunsmoke” — except without the guns or the smoke.

Granted, there was a lot more gluten back then, but not many people worried about global cooling or warming or ozone holes (I think that’s cleared, up by the way).

Thankfully, we moved on from those days of agrarian survivalism, although, ironically, many of those opposed to this forward momentum refer to themselves as “progressives.”

Interestingly, the chamber is getting complaints from those quarters seemingly because it is advocating actual progress in the fields of jobs, full employment and sensible economic policies.

The red herring in all of this complaining is the idea that chambers of commerce somehow shouldn’t be involved in politics, which raises the question of what they should be involved in if not advocating sound policies for business, as many of those policies unfortunately now evolve from government edicts.

If one seeks organizations that just do community good deeds, there are plenty of fine service clubs in the area in which one can participate. If it’s sponsorship of parades or a tofu hot dog eating contest, many can do that. But, when it comes to speaking out on behalf of employers and folks who ultimately fund all this other exciting stuff, it’s pretty much the chamber.

I understand some folks don’t like to be involved in politics, even by association. The problem with that was summed up by our friend Plato when he said, “One of the penalties for refusing to be involved in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

I’m telling you, that dog of Mickey’s knows a few things. Goofy may have gotten the looks but that Plato got the brains.

In the case of Grand Junction, when you have a city that tries to manifest a budget by writing speeding tickets and laundering TABOR money, somebody had better find an adult to jump into the driver’s seat and chamber members stepped up.

Let’s sum up the dire situation by pointing out we have elected officials for a community that’s a point or two above the state average in unemployment, probably lost about 5,000 people from the workforce and has a $2.2 million shortfall in the best guess at a budget. And these leaders have been firing millions of dollars at entertainment projects like a tipsy cheerleader shooting a T-shirt cannon.

That being said, I can understand it is easier for me to accept a chamber presence in the political arena because, most of the time, I’m going to agree with pro-business and jobs positions.

The California Chamber of Commerce is targeting Republicans with a pro-relaxed-immigration stance, which they feel is best for their constituents. While I might disagree with the bill the California chamber is championing, it still seems an appropriate point of discussion for them.

I would not expect such an entity to take political positions on purely social or moral stances in the public square. This is not their purpose. As long as the endorsements are based upon the more narrow confines of a chamber of commerce’s mission, we should at least value their input.

Rick Wagner writes more on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


COMMENTS

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I agree.  The chamber does many good things.  Being a political entity is not one of them.  Being arrogant about it is less becoming an organization whose mission should certainly be to champion business and community.

To ignore the push the chamber makes in local politics is well just plain ignorant.  I don’t think anyone can argue that pro-business and job creation is a bad thing? But how can a $2 million shortfall be predicted?  And those 5000 jobs, many of which are based on the volatile gas and oil industry, will return when the price of natural gas goes back up.

In the meantime, chamber members should keep their political agendas stuffed in their personal bag and get on with the business of supporting community goals.  Besides, it makes an organization look really stupid when backing candidates that are at best laughable.

What happened to democracy? Aren’t elected officials supposed to be chosen by the voters? Instead we have a small group of people who decide who to put up for election, how to get money to support their candidacies anonymously, all in the name of pro-business.

Yet these pro-business people can’t see the value of a venue like the Avalon on Main Street and think that a cop has more business experience than a community banker.

The choices made by the Chamber are laughable. They need to get back to the business of encouraging networking among local businesses and providing them opportunities to learn about workplace issues, like their recently announced domestic violence sessions.

Let the people decide who they want to represent them…

This guy really thinks Plato was Mickey Mouse’s dog?  And didn’t he also carry on about how the Ryman was torn down when the Opry moved to its new site?  He could use some editing.

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