Friday, May 12, 2006

Chamber of horrors

I read an article about the power struggle in the Tracy Chamber of Commerce in a paper issue of Tracy Press in a doctor's office today. They also have an Web version. Tracy press appears to provide an excellent coverage of the issue without taking sides, which is really surprising and delightful. Usually, a town newspaper is someone's pocket, and that someone is friends with someone running the chamber. But perhaps it's only as sign telling just how insignificant our Chamber is on the radar of town movers and shakers.

Is there anything besides a clash of egos in the story? I think there must be. Firstly, a Chamber of Commerce is a union of businessmen, so it collects dues. But why won't the dissenters (which, as I understand are the absolute majority) quit and form a new chamber? Because there can be only one - the one recognized by the city government and put into the phone book. The government is the gatekeeper.

Since I am not an American by birth, it was news for me that a significant amount of business (and, thus, money) may be involved. In 1999, I went to Edwards AFB for the 50-th Anniversary of Breaking the Sound Barrier airshow. Before we went down, an American friend of mine picked up a phone, called Mojave Chamber of Commerce, and asked: "We are coming down for the airshow, would you recommend a decent motel?"

Unfortunately, Denise Ellen Rizzo of Tracy Press does not go out of her way to explain in every article what businesses Mr. Dan Maloney owns (if any), who he knows in the government, who his friends are, and so forth. Or, if he's only a hired gun, then who pulls the strings in the board. Someone (maybe Denise) did reporting on that before, but I cannot find a reference now. It would be an interesting piece of investigative journalism, but alas, there's not even a reference to any previous piece.

Current board looks like this (from

Dale Backlund, Dow Chemical Co.
Juana Dement, Realtor
Mike Gilbert, M. J. Gilbert Construction
Walter Gouveia, Tracy Unified School District
Ray Morelos, El Castillo Cafe
Karen Mudd, Sutter Tracy Community Hospital
Richard Pifferetti, Tracy Gateway
Dr. Ian Pulliam, Patel, Pulliam & Medical Associates
Irene Woods, Regency Real Estate

So, we see a government exec from TUSD, two realtors, the guy from the bottle factory (presumably), a development middleman, and a small assortment of bona fide businessmen (and businesswomen).

I know I should've tracked this, but at the time I thought it too insignificant.

By the way, ousted Steve Hartje has a curious history on this blog. I recorded him proclaiming full support for the Bow Tie redevelopment hallucinations, where he imagined yuppies coming out of appartments to sip on lattes (instead of druggies coming out to ask for spare change).

I don't think this affects me in any significant way, because we aren't having a new bond at the moment. But still, funny things are going on.


Blogger rwhite692 said...

Nice to see that the Tracy Chamber of Commerce, in it's infinite wisdom, just let ANOTHER one of those predatory, scumbag, amoral check-cashing joints open on Grant Line Rd. next to the new (and quite good) Mongolian BBQ place.

Tracy has to be the most incredibly mis-managed town that I've ever seen. I've put in 10 years, and every year, the fumbles just keep coming. I've about had it.

The idea of the "Community of Tracy" is a joke because, since Tracy can't find a way to attract any significant employers to the area at all (Offer some REAL tax breaks...Hello???), basically the entire population of the town has to leave town and hit the road every weekday morning for a typical one-hour plus commute and come back home to their tract-home boxes in the evenings exhausted and pissed off.

These same people are supposed to then be active, wonderful, super-duper contributors to the community in their free time?

(Oh yes, they could have taken that ridiculously expensive, slow-as-molasses ACE ex-frieght train, 2+ hours each way to work, and come home well-rested, and having diddled on their laptop or read a book, but they are still pissed off since they have still lost 4 hours out of their day that they could have been spending with their families, and are also light in the wallet to boot).

The City needs a REAL economic development plan that will give industry a reason to locate there. Take a few lessons from Livermore and Pleasanton. Get professional help. Do SOMETHING.

Otherwise, just change the name of the town to: "Commuterville, now featuring...MORE retail!!".

3:26 PM  

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