In case you missed it, the San Diego Business Journal offered up a much more extensive follow-up to the news below that San Diego’s business leaders — who have long been on the hook to support the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corp. (with some taxpayer help) and Connect — are considering a plan to pay dues to only one combined entity. Many seem to be hoping it works.
Behind the scenes, top-level board members are pushing a merger to revitalize the chamber’s role in influencing public policy in the region, sources said, and see a melding of the three organizations as vital to those efforts.
Those board members felt that the agency has abdicated that role to such agencies as the EDC, because of the political background of chief executive Julie Meier Wright, who served in the Cabinet of Gov. Pete Wilson in Sacramento in the 1990s.
This isn’t something the Business Journal needed to attribute to behind-the-scenes, top-level board members. These are just the facts. The EDC is charged with attracting businesses to the region but it has clearly seen its mission more as a voice on public policy, which has only an indirect influence on attracting business to the region. And it’s awkward for the EDC to be funded by the city’s taxpayers and then have it use that and come right back and lobby the city.
Now it appears the city is cutting EDC off.
This will be very interesting to watch. Please continue to send in your thoughts. If you have a full column or letter you’d like published, send them along too.
Update (3:50 p.m.): Right after I posted this, I saw a comment below from Richard Kiy, a local thinker I respect highly.
Here’s his comment (let’s get a dialogue going on this. Send in your thoughts):
“The idea of merging the EDC, the Chamber and Connect is an excellent idea. It will provide real economies of scale, avoid duplication of effort and help better align San Diego’s efforts to promote expanded economic develoment and innovation in our region. Perhaps the SD World Trade Center (WTC), should also consider the benefits of joining forces. It is worth noting that during the Texas real estate bust of the late 1980s , the Houston business community decided to combine their EDC, Chamber and international development promotion agency (WTC equivalent) into the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). Those interested in learning more about GHP and review their 10 year strategic plan can visit the following link. The synergy of joining business promotion forces made sense for Houston. It also makes a lot of sense for San Diego.”