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Officials from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and Connect are discussing a possible merger of all three operations, a person close to the talks told me today.

The source asked to remain unnamed because the discussions are still unofficial and the various directors from each group have yet to vote on it.

But there are clearly economies of scale that can be achieved for the groups whose leaders are still reeling from the Election Day drubbing business-friendly candidates received at the hands of labor-supported candidates for local elected offices.

The idea of merging the Chamber and EDC has been circulating for years. I had thought the merger was close in 2004 and 2005. But it may have taken the poor performance at the polls and the apparent ascension of powerful unions in the community to shake the groups into action.

But the inclusion of Connect in the talks is a fascinating development. Connect works to network investors with technology entrepreneurs and boost San Diego as a place for technology companies to potentially thrive.

EDC has had as its mandate to lure businesses to San Diego but it has more often served mainly both to lobby for specific public policies and to coordinate public relations campaigns. It has faced criticism for its lack of effectiveness and the high compensation of its CEO, Julie Meier Wright.

Apart from individual efforts of its leaders, the Chamber itself has had very little impact on public policy issues for years — as it has often been slow to either take a position or ineffective at expressing it. The Chamber used to be a fountain of public policy positions and comments on myriad issues.

So this would be an interesting development.

What do you think about the Chamber, EDC and Connect?

SCOTT LEWIS

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