Congratulations to the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce which has become revitalized, energized and on fire. This despite a severe blow from our own City Council last year.
Following a long-term and successful history of operating the Convention Center for 35 years, the Chamber was “fired” last year. This controversial and questionable action by the Council defied gravity since the Chamber turned in a $2.2 million profit benefiting our City.
Friday night, the Chamber held their annual awards dinner and board member installation. And where was this event held? Not at our convention center, which had hosted this Chamber event for decades, but in San Jose at Naperdak Hall. Some 300 Santa Clara businessmen and women were in attendance to demonstrate their support for the Chamber and the Chamber’s importance to our business community.
Outgoing President Jan Eric Nordmo, President of Off the Wall Soccer, was brief in his comments. Considering the actions by the Council during his term, he was a great deal more reserved in his remarks than the Council had been during their termination of the Chamber.
Nordmo introduced incoming Board President Chris Boyd, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara.
Coincidentally, Kaiser is the largest and perhaps most influential employer in our City. While Boyd didn’t mention this point, Kaiser’s importance to tens of thousands of Santa Clara residents does signal an important step in keeping the Chamber on the community radar.
Boyd wasted little time in covering more than 100 years of Chamber history in Santa Clara and the contributions the Chamber had made to the City and general community. Referring briefly to the current difference in our local political climate, the actions by the Council have forced changes in the Chamber. The transition has been a challenge and the result has made the Chamber stronger.
The crowd was thrilled when Boyd unveiled the new Chamber logo and name. Effective July 1, the Santa Chamber of Commerce will become Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce, incorporating a broader outreach and more encompassing of its widening scope.
The new logo is absent the three pyramids associated with the Convention Center and incorporates more of the historical founding of the Chamber and our community.
Boyd noted that the City’s allegations and actions terminating the Chamber management of the Convention Center injured the Chamber’s growth. However, with the appointment of Nick Kasper as Chamber President, a strong board and a solid core of membership, they have turned the corner and have resumed their growth of adding new Chamber members.
We might note here; as suspected and reported, after all the charges made against the Chamber by the Mayor, her Council along with City Manager Santana…they found nothing of significance, criminal or damning.
However, the City has still not paid the Chamber its Management Fee for prior services, which they still owe to this day.
Why did we need to go through this bruhaha, damaging political attacks and insulting behavior by our Mayor and Council?
Out-of-control political egos and a power grab which remains unchecked.
This can, and most likely will, be fixed during next year’s election.
Miles H. Barber has been on the Chamber Board on and off until he resigned in January 2019.