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.

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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