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...
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.
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This is a commentary from me...