Should the Two Chambers Merge?

This is a commentary from me... The Menifee Sun City Chamber of Commerce is asking its members if they want the chamber to merge with the M...

This is a commentary from me...

The Menifee Sun City Chamber of Commerce is asking its members if they want the chamber to merge with the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce.

This is a debate that's been going on for about as long as Menifee Sun City Chamber (MSCC) has been around, although the details of why the new chamber should merge hasn't been explained.

Often dubbed, "the new chamber", MSCC was created a few years ago after the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) sought to merge with Hemet Valley Chamber of Commerce. This merger would have left the business people of Menifee underserved by the merged chamber. It turned out the merger attempt failed, and today there are still two chambers of commerce in Menifee Valley.

But the facts are that many members of the "new chamber" are also members of the "old chamber". And since a chamber of commerce exists to serve its members, how can members be underserved with having two chambers?

There's talk that having two chambers is counter-productive to the cityhood incorporation process. I don't know enough about the inner-workings of the cityhood process to comment. I know that board members of the old chamber as well as the new chamber are intimately involved in the cityhood drive. How this adversely impacts the cityhood effort, I don't know. I'd like to see people post some comments to that effect.

Competition between two chambers could become more fierce once Menifee incorporates into a city. If a chamber board member gains a seat among the new City Council, or even serves as Mayor, that chamber could gain a significant advantage over the other. Conflicts of interest could become worse if board members of both chambers hold elected positions in city government.

It's interesting to note that the new chamber (MSCC) asking its members to vote on merging with the old chamber, and not the other way around. This is quite a development, considering the new chamber originally claimed the old chamber was underserving the business people of Menifee Valley.

Has the old chamber made great strides towards improving its service to the Menifee Valley, such that the new chamber no longer sees it necessary to continue service? I don't have the answer to that either.

Lack of funding seems to be official reasoning for merger, if you read the article in The Californian, published Feb 27, 2007. However, like I said in the second paragraph above, chamber merger has been discussed for a long time, not recently. Also, a couple of years ago, Supervisor Jeff Stone offered to give $30,000 of public money to the new chamber to help it grow. This offer fell through because of negative publicity that Stone got in the newspaper. That was $30,000 of pulic money that could have been invested into our community, but we didn't get. You can read Julie Johnson's commentary about that here...
http://www.menifee247.com/2005/08/lets-talk_27.htm

When the new chamber started up, I was quite excited to join something that was focused on our community. The new chamber had been filled with hope and promise, and was financially solvent, according to ex-CEO Julie Johnson. Today, the new chamber is insolvent and pathetic. What happened? How did this thing fall apart?

As a rank-and-file member of both chambers (I think I'm still a member of the old chamber), I don't really care if the two chambers merge, or not merge. I think that's how other members feel too. All we want is a chamber that provides us with tools and resources to help us succeed.

Click on "Post a Comment" below, and share your thoughts.

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  1. Update: I received a call a few minutes ago from Jerry Stamper, President of the new chamber. He wanted to clarify that the new chamber isn't voting to merge "back" to the old chamber, but rather, both chambers are ending their current existences, and reforming as an entirely new chamber, with an election of board members.

    He went on to say that funding has been a big problem, particularly now because organizations that had previously donated money are now donating to the cityhood effort.

    He also said another problem has been businesses signing up for membership in one chamber, and thinking they had become members of the other.

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  2. Hi to all!

    I would love to comment on this since I have first hand knowledge of how the chamber was started and the politics surrounding the issue. Since I experienced the very public firing I might as well put my two cents in.

    The New Chamber was doing so very well up until they fired me. We had funds coming in, we had great attendance at our extremely successful events, we were building credibility and we were filling the need for the business community with support, redevelopment of the area and networking. The old chamber was on its last legs...they had no money to pay a CEO and could barely keep their doors open.

    Jerry Stamper was interested in talking about merging with the Chamber. The one stipulation for consideration of the merge was that the old chamber they did not want me. The old chamber knew I was good. During the 1-1/2 years I was with the old chamber, I double their income, I put $23,000 excess money in a reserve acct and coordinated and raised the $64,000 for City Hood Campaign in just 6 months. The old chamber thrived under my leadership... and the only chance of the old chamber surviving was for them to get me fired from the new chamber. It was a great strategy. In order to do that, many people, especially Darcy Kuenzi, made up lies about me and started pressuring Jerry Stamper. More people started telling lies and exagerating things. I was roasted alive. It was a absolutely worst situation that I have ever been in. To be accused so publically and not having any support behind me is something I would not wish on my worse enemy.

    So Jerry Stamper (not a very bright person in my book, but that's my personal opinion) started telling those lies to my board members. I confronted him on it. I confronted him on the fact that he was going against the board wishes not to discuss a merger with the old board. But he did. So he fired me after trashing me with the new board and when the old chamber was so close to folding. Even when some of their board members were beginning to come over and join the new chamber.

    WEll, the day they fired me was the day the old chamber won!!! They were laughing, high-fiving it and now the old chamber had a chance.
    Jerry intention all along was in the hopes that he would become chairman of the old chamber but the old chamber didn't want that at all.

    I was glad I was out, but I was terribly sorry to see the chamber be destroyed by the leadership.
    The incoming CEO, Cheryl, originally stated that she wanted the CEO job before they hired me. Unfortunately she had no idea how to run a chamber even though she may have been well intentioned. I knew it would fail and it failed big time. When a CEO quits because there wasn't enough money to pay herself says alot about her inability to lead a chamber into stability.

    But the real kicker is how Jerry Stamper tried to destroy a member in good standing of that chamber who sat on the board. Yes, I'm talking about Therese Daniels. How can a chamber take any member and destroy them based on personality is beyond me. The fact that the new chamber accrued over $17,000 in legal fees trying to get Therese off the Board is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. That is money that they stole from the members to publically humiliate another member. It is pure poor leadership.

    The truth of the matter is that the old chamber is under new leadership of Lynnea Dunjai and she is wonderful. Under her leadership, I see the old chamber regaining strength and credibility.
    Members of the new chamber simply need to just start signing up with the old chamber and let the new chamber die. There is no need to merge because if a merge did happen the old chamber would take on the debt created by the new chamber.

    The one thing I have witnessed in Sun City is that hidden agendas seem to rule the day. It's a shame. And now that I have commented, watch someone step up and start making accusations against me again. But I must admit, this feels so wonderful to get it off my chest!

    If you would like more information on what actually occurred to Therese Daniels, go to www.spa-shout.org and look under the Menifee-Sun City Chamber page.

    Perhaps at a later date I will reveal the truth about Jeff Stone and his sister Lori and how they all played a vital role in all this! A very, very, very interesting story indeed!

    Hugs to all my dear wonderful friends in Menifee Valley!
    Julie Johnson The OLD CEO of the Menifee-Sun City Chamber and a firm believer in the rights of members.

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  3. I notice in your comment about Jerry Stamper's call, you referred to him as President of the "new" Chamber. Is Jerry up to his old tricks again of calling himself president. His position is Chairman of the Board and not that of president. If you read my article "Solomon's Choice", you will see that was an issue with him over a year ago. Jerry is persisting in his convolution of reality.
    Therese Daniels

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  4. My apologies, I called him President because that's what I thought he was. He didn't specifically give me a title when he called me.

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  5. I think you "bloggers" should get your facts straight before writing them for all to see. Comments made by Julie Johnson are totally wrong and the facts regarding Ms. Daniels, are not totally accurate either. The Menifee Sun City Chamber is alive and well, and its members are well represented in the community. They are neither pathetic nor insolvent and those in the KNOW..KNOW. So beware of unfounded comments and remarks, do your homework and go to the source before publishing a pack of untruths. Defamation of one's character carries a heavy consequence!!! A word to the wise!!!!!

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  6. You "people" who respond to "bloggers" and make stupid, empty threats, make me laugh. I could careless about the two chambers, I just happen to check in on menifee24/7 from time to time. In order for there to be ANY consequences for what is said about another person, one has to prove damages. Come on buddy do you really think you are such a big mover and shaker in this tiny community to even matter and even say you were "damaged"? No one was damged here and please sign your name next time, that would make this whole thing even that much more interesting.

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  7. Thank you, Steve, for clarifying my concern about Jerry being called President of the Chamber.

    It always makes me wonder about people who remain anonymous and make derogatory comments about others who have the actual facts along with the courage to speak the truth about them. Such sneaky, secretive people have no credibility if they are so spineless as to refuse to identify themselves. Both Julie Johnson and I are excellent record keepers. We have written proof to document every thing we say. The new Chamber has no money, no CEO, and definetly is under dishonest and incompetent leadership. It lost over 150 members last year and it has alsmot zero attendance at its puny affairs. Competentleadership would never have incurred a $17,000 legal bill trying to illegally oust a founding Board member of the Chamber. Then disregard a court order to reinstate me by holding an illegal membership vote. Remeber they couldn't name one item that I did wrong. It is well known they Jerry Stamper lied to the press, lied to his Board, and lied to the membership. It is well known the other Board members covered up for him. Now they are all pretending they are community leaders. These are not the only the only blunders they made. So if Mr/Ms anonymous has hard evidance to back the claims we are wrong, then produce it. Otherwise return to your closet and do your homework.

    Therese Daniels

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  8. My article was meant to ask a question about why the new chamber is in such a position to vote on merging with the old chamber. I knew it was a controversial topic, but it was not intended to slam people. Please, no more character bashing!

    If the new chamber is in fact still a great chamber, full of ambition and enthusiasm, then my vote is to NOT merge. Doesn't that make sense?

    The Californian says the new chamber is out of money. Why? How is a merged chamber supposed to be a better chamber? What will the merged chamber do that the new chamber couldn't do? If the new chamber is structurally flawed, then fix it. Why merge?

    I'm not trying to insinuate anything, I'm just a businessman who's a member of the chamber, asking what I think are logical questions, particularly when I paid money for this membership.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is all very interesting and it does explain a couple of things that aroused my curiosity during this last year. I think that we became chamber members in January of last year...I'm not sure which one, it may even have been both. I would have to check my credit card history and tax forms.

    I'm with MenifeeLive.com. Some people may know who we are and some might not, but as a community web portal and with this region in its name, we come up pretty high in various search engines. Try a search for menifee + events, or the name of an area high school or lots of other searches about our local community. Our site typically makes the first page. We have achieved this by providing coverage of local events and activities that might be of interest to the local community. We have more than 200 visitors per day and more importantly there are more than 3000 "unique" visitors per month that access our site and on average view 12-15 pages during each visit. In the age of the Internet that's pretty powerful stuff for such a small community.

    I don't mention these numbers to impress anyone, but I have found it interesting that neither chamber has made any "real" attempt to utilize our resources in their efforts publicize the chamber(s) or its activities. Since my name was on the membership, it's also interesting that no one contacted me about renewal. I'm pretty sure we didn't. It would be great to have one group focused on meeting the needs of the community and businesses here in Menifee rather than all of the things I'm reading on this site.

    Adriaan Jacobs

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  10. Once again, thank you Steve for insightful questions and objective points of view. "In the heat of conlfict sheds the light of truth". Basically, all any objective person wants, is truthful and factual information to successfully solve problems, create systems to grow businesses, and exchange business services so all can enjoy win/win.
    After all, a problem can not be solved if it can not be identified.

    The first Chambers were founded by Napoleon in France to stimulate commerce. Since then chambers have formed all over the world. It was a great idea then and is now. In answer to your questions as to what happened to the new chamber that began with so much hope, enthusiasm, and promise? As one of the founding Directors, I brought the experience of having served on the Board of Directors of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce for several years, as well as many other community organizations. I brought to the Board ability, education, talent, experience and integrity. From this background I can say with knowledge what makes a chamber or any effort great is its leadership. Leadership which brings inspiration, creativity, benefits and integrity to the membership. Such leadership, then inspires the membership which responds to the chamber inspired which then, creates a mutually beneficial synergy which uplifts and inspires an entire community. As you know, when starting any new endeavor a "fire in your belly" commitment to a straight line effort of success is required of all who participate in the endeavor. With the commitment "failure is not an option", nature will help such determination in every way. With Julie Johnson, who is very competent and knowledgable about chambers as CEO, the Chamber began with just that kind of inspiring fire. The results became apparent immediately. There was so much good for commerce and the community this chamber could have had done. We had the opportunity to become stellar in the nation. Julie Johnson had the ability to do so. In my years of experience, there are only a few people who could match her skills. I was thrilled to begin a project so wonderful as a new Chamber. However, as you may agree, the effort would be certain to fail if any person on the team breaks the direction of straight line effort to success in any way shape or form. Sadly, it seemed, almost immediately, the non elected Chairman of the board began acting counter productive to our own chamber's straight line effort to success by continually talking about a merger with the old chamber instead of wroking towards the succcess of our own projects. Every one knows his first act of sabotage of the success of the chamber was to manipulate the Board into terminating Julie. Though I argued to the Board against it, I am ashamed to say, I voted with the Board in favor of that decision. The blueprint of what happend that followed is in my article. "Solomon's Choice" on my website, Spa-shout.org in the Section "Menifee/Sun City Chamber. It only took one month after Julie's termination for power seeking, self serving people to secretly conspire with each other for the only purpose of using the barely formed chamber for their own gains. That is when Board members stopped serving the Chamber and started their serving each other with the Chairman of the board leading the way toward continued sabotage of the chamber in his never ceasing effort to get the two chambers to merge. I was wholeheartedly against the merger then as I am now. I felt it was not in the best interest of the membership and it was a betrayal of trust. (After all a chamber is a non profit mutual benefit corporation) Businesses were asked to join us on the basis we were going to do something better and more beneficial for the members than the other chamber. In trust and good faith they paid their dues and waited for benefits which never came. Pitifully, the leadership did nothing with the Chamber but take their money and incur a $17,000 legal bill fighting me. People who sincerely wanted benefits from their membership were cheated and betrayed. The only action they got from this group was to be told the two chambers are working on "unification" with the old chamber.

    Steve, the new chamber is not alive and well as one unidentifed person wants to mislead the readers. They are in so much trouble, they have nothing to bring to the bargaining table. The old chamber is doing well and doesn't need the new chamber's debts. It is only a matter of time the new chamber will shut down completely. The members of the new chamber --if they still want to belong to a chamber--can simply join the old chamber. No, I don't think the two chambers should merge. Yes, you are correct in asking how they would benefit if they did. There are no benefits.

    I would like close with one more opinion. "It is what it is." It is what it is and should not be hidden, denied, or in any other way covered up. That is why Meagan's law was created. Because pedophiles look just like good people, they need to be exposed for the only purpose of protecting others from them. It is my strong conviction that there are many other kinds of malevolent people--who may not be pedophiles--but cause equal harm in other ways who should also be exposed. People who show flagrant contemt for their own associations laws & bylaws, their own agreements, people who trust them, and are caught in bold face lies cause just as much harm as any other kind of harm. They should not be supported on any way. Other people need to know who they are before they, too, become victims of dishonesty and malice. It is not "bashing" if it is the truth and can be proven. It is merely exposing them so others may be forearmed.

    Thank you for your website and giving people the opportunity to respond. Whether or not you publish this article, I still say thank you.

    Therese Daniels

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Menifee Chamber of Commerce will be holding elections for Board Directors. Since Chambers are a non profit corporations for community benefit, it is imperative you select Directors of high moral fiber. Please go to the section called "latest news continued Menifee Sun City Chamber of Commerce" on my web site spa-shout.org.

    ReplyDelete

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