October 17, 2003

Editorial:

Chamber of Commerce of San Diego Using Public’s Money to Play Politics!

Well it is interesting that we have finally found something that is important enough for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the Unions to come together on — whether or not San Diego has a football team!

While business leaders and union leaders usually can’t agree about what time of day it is, it is interesting that on the subject of football they are passionate enough to sit down and break bread over this issue. It is too bad that they can’t find this same passion and come together over such issues as education, health benefits, a living wage, retirement benefits, you know issues that have a more lasting affect on a lot more people in our society.

With that oddity aside we question the role that the Regional Chamber of Commerce has in this movida to pressure the city council into accepting the Chargers proposal for binding arbitration, rescinding the ticket guarantee and other issues. We also find the question of the ticket guarantee an interesting one, inasmuch as it was the Chamber of Commerce that promised to sell tickets to help the city, then led by Mayor Susan Golding, in meeting the guarantee, obviously a job they didn’t do well! Which in affect lays some of the blame for the ticket guarantee debacle at the feet of the Chamber, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence when the Chamber talks what is in the best interest for the city.

We also note that the Chamber is funded by the city, and its leadership now wants to use the Chamber to pressure the City into entering into a new pack with the Chargers. The proposal made by the Chamber and the Unions, is almost exactly like the one the Chargers made two months ago. If the Chamber is going to act as an independent body then they should not be dependent on the city for their monies. But as long as they are receiving city funds then they should allow the city to function. Hispanic organizations are familiar with this role. As entities dependent on city grants they realize there is a line that they cannot cross and once that line is crossed they are threatened with the loss of city monies. If the Chamber wants to play politics then they should do it with their own money and not the taxpayers!

This past week the Chamber, The Labor Council and a “Fans, Taxpayers and Business Alliance”, came together to present their proposals to push the negotiations onto the fast track. The proposal was a copy of a recent proposal placed before the city by the Chargers and rejected by the city. The intent of this press conference was to pressure the city into accepting binding arbitration and by pass the legal process demanded by our Charter and legal process. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce wants to determine public policy, by taking it out of the hands of our elected Mayor and City Council, while they do it with public funds! We believe the Members of the San Diego Chamber are being misled by their leadership and are fast losing the respect of the people of San Diego. 

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