Business Associations

September 5, 2010

Governor Schwarzenegger leading Trade Mission to South Korea

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be leading a trade mission to South Korea, next week,  from Sept. 12-16. The purpose of this trip is to showcase California goods and services, promote tourism and the expansion of trade between California and South Korea. The trip is being organized by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and will be will be organizing a number of business opportunities throughout the trade mission to allow California companies participating in the mission to connect with key business and government decision makers.

South Korea is California’s 5th largest trading partner, a press release by the Chamber notes. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world today. Its economy relies heavily on exports to prosper. The following are some of the sectors that the Korean market demands more products from: automotive, broadcasting, communication and computer technologies, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals/nutritional supplements, and environmental technology, education and training services.

Filed under Business Associations, California Government, South Korea by

April 7, 2010

California Chamber of Commerce funding Republican Attack Ads

The California Chamber of Commerce is apparently continuing its transition from a business association to a political lobbying organization for the Republican party. They are now funding vicious televised attack ads against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, implying that he is somehow responsible now that “California’s lost one million jobs” and the fact that “we’re 200 billion dollars in debt”

The Chamber broke a tradition of non-partisanship dating back more than 100 years when it endorsed Schwarzenegger in the 2003 recall election. For this, they were rewarded handsomely by the Schwarzenegger administration and were given unprecedented access and influence over our State government, to the detriment of almost everyone else – especially small business. The “job killer” label they put on any legislation they didn’t like, for example, for many years virtually guaranteed a Schwarzenegger veto.

According to several news reports, complaints have now been filed with the California Fair Political Practices Commission that say the Chamber didn’t even fund this ad through its own political action committee- since that would have been subject to disclosure regulations, and instead paid for it through their membership dues, to the tune of more than one million dollars! They also noted that Republican candidate Meg Whitman’s campaign manager, former Gov. Pete Wilson, is on the chamber’s board.

The man responsible for turning the California Chamber of Commerce into this overtly partisan political organization is apparently their President and CEO: Allan Zaremberg, He was the Master of Ceremonies at the Republican Primary Gubernatorial Debate in Orange County last month, touting his take on “the importance of a business-friendly governor to California”.

He is also the head of the “California State Protocol Foundation” – a shadowy “non profit organization” has paid for millions of dollars’ worth of Schwarzenegger’s overseas travel and other bills racked up by his office, including the use of private jets. This group claims these payments allow the Governor to meet with foreign dignitaries, “thereby supporting business opportunities between California and their countries” but what they have really done is turn what should have been public interest trade missions into luxury junkets with blatant cronyism. More than anything, this organization has corrupted and perverted California’s international trade and economic development programs, and it is almost unbelievable that they have gotten away with it.

The ad now being run by the California Chamber is stunning in its dishonesty. For example, they attack Brown for having been against Proposition 13, the property tax initiative, not mentioning that they were also opposed to it at the time. The theme of the ad is “enough is enough” and that may very well be the way many in California feel about the California Chamber of Commerce.

Let’s hope the next Governor- who ever he or she is, from whatever party, will stop this bullying and political manipulation by the California Chamber of Commerce. The rest of us – especially small business, deserve a seat at the table on California business issues for a change. It seems to me that members of the California Chamber of Commerce should not only resign from this organization, they should also demand a full refund of their membership fees for as many years as they have been members. Regardless of their political party, I’m sure they didn’t sign on for this garbage.

Filed under Business Associations, California Politics, Opinion by

October 6, 2009

Apple leaves U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Apple Inc. has quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because the group has been too critical of proposed steps to cut pollution. This seems like a good move. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents many of the really huge Corporations in the U.S., but has never shown any real interest in small business concerns, or in the rest of our society for that matter. As reported in San Francisco Business Times:

The Cupertino computer and popular electronics business is just one of several businesses, including Nike Inc. and PG&E Corp., that have criticized the chamber’s stance. Nike resigned from the chamber’s board of directors but stayed as a member of the group. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce criticized proposed “cap-and-trade” legislation passed by the House of Representatives and due to come before the Senate. Apple’s vice president of worldwide government affairs, Catherine Novelli, sent a letter to Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the chamber, in which she said, “We would prefer that the Chamber take a more progressive stance on this critical issue.”

Filed under Business Associations, Energy Industry, Environment and Climate, Opinion by

March 12, 2009

San Francisco Chamber on anti-”anti-junket” junket

Fifty members of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce have taken a business trip to Washington D.C. to protest the “anti-junket” attitudes that have gripped Congress and the public after several incidents of abuses by bailed out financial firms. As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Big business is cutting back on convention travel these days, afraid of being branded as lavish spenders in a down economy. And that’s having a real impact on cities like San Francisco, where conventions and business meetings have a huge impact on our economy. That’s the message a delegation of the city’s civic leaders will deliver to Congress today, specifically asking the Northern California congressional delegation to help tone down the criticism of such business meetings. The San Francisco officials are concerned that businesses that otherwise would send employees to meetings and spend appropriate sums on food and entertainment will increasingly cancel meetings out of fear they will be singled out on Capitol Hill and by the public as overindulgent. “They don’t want to be on the front page of the newspaper or on the 11 o’clock news, seen as frivolously spending money even though it is for legitimate purposes,” said Joe McInerney, the president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, based in Washington. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce-led delegation, consisting of some 50 participants, is in Washington to ask members to keep in mind the economic contribution of travel and tourism while they negotiate proposed restrictions on recipients of federal emergency funds. They do not want legitimate business travel chilled because of extravagant spending by others… “We do not want to support irresponsible extravagance, but we also do not want to discourage business from holding conventions and meetings so they can spend appropriately on entertainment in San Francisco,” said Steve Falk, the chamber president. Among those suffering the consequences of a falloff in business are service employees, he said. “While we understand the need for transparency, we want to make sure that legislation (covering emergency fund recipients) does not have the unintended consequences of impacting negatively on the hospitality workforce,” said Mariann Costello, vice president of Scoma’s restaurant in San Francisco, who is among the chamber delegation.

Filed under Business Associations, Travel and Tourism, U.S. Government, U.S. Politics by

November 17, 2008

Federal grant of $125,000 awarded for sustainable wine program

The California Sustainable Winegrow-ing Alliance, created by the San Francisco-based Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers has received a $125,000 specialty crop block grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service to create a certification system for the effort. According to a Business Journal Report, the program started five years ago with the creation of the voluntary Code of Sustainable Winegrowing. Some environmental-protection advocates have called for third-party verification of compliance with the extensive best-management practices in the code. The alliance is currently drafting guidelines for certification.

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Business Associations, U.S. Government, Wine by

June 17, 2008

Wells Fargo gives $100K to Hispanic chamber

Wells Fargo made a $100,000 grant to the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, of which $25,000 will be used to start a CHCC Foundation. Since 2000, the bank has given more than $1 million to the chamber. The CHCC says it represents the interests of more than 600,000 Hispanic-owned businesses and more than 60 Hispanic chambers and business organizations throughout California.

Filed under Banking and Financial Services, Business Associations, Governor Schwarzenegger, Philanthropy by

March 12, 2008

Bridges to Italy economic development group launched

Bridges to Italy has launched as a first-of-its-kind economic development organization focused on helping Southern California entrepreneurs, researchers and investors pursue new business opportunities with their colleagues in Italy and throughout the world. The nonprofit organization will foster cooperation and collaboration through an ongoing series of networking events that highlight Italy’s emerging technology sectors. The first such event was held February 25th at UC Irvine, and introduced business leaders from Southern California and throughout the US to some of Italy’s most renowned biotechnology pioneers. “The goal of Bridges to Italy is to help business and research leaders in Southern California connect one-on-one with their foreign colleagues to build successful new ventures in the technology sector,” said Bridges to Italy founder Bianca Dellepiane. “Information and personal relationships are the building blocks of international business collaboration.”

Bridges to Italy events present information about business, research and investment opportunities in a format that transcends language and cultural barriers. The organization’s approach to international business introduces Italian and US participants to each other’s unique cultural, as well as business, resources and opportunities. This in turn helps its events attract a uniquely multicultural and multidisciplinary crowd. “We want to make learning about international business opportunities an approachable and even fun endeavor,” Dellepiane explains. More information about Bridges to Italy can be found at www.BridgesToItaly.org

Filed under Business Associations, Economic Development, Italy by

December 24, 2007

Did the National Associaton of Realtors cause the housing bubble?

Did the National Association of Realtors cause the housing bubble by engineering a “belief system” based on economic fallacies? The Irvine Housing Blog makes the case that NAR had an almost religious like belief system that help fuel public delusions about the economics of real estate. It provides on overview of the psychology of bubbles and is worth a read.

Filed under Business Associations, Real Estate and Housing by

November 8, 2007

California Chamber finally gets called on it’s “Job Killer” label

The Sacramento Bee has reported how the California Chamber of Commerce has used the “job killer” label they coined to kill any legislation they don’t like, and how the label virtually ensures a Schwarzenegger veto. The Chamber broke a tradition of non-partisanship dating back more than 100 years when it endorsed Schwarzenegger in the 2003 recall election, and has been a reliably Republican institution ever since. The article also describes how this slogan has been used to advance the career of Allan Zaremberg, who has now hung out as Chamber President for more than a decade. It is good that the media finally reporting on this, as the Schwarzenegger administration has been in virtual lock step with the California Chamber and has never understood that being “pro-corporation” and being “pro-business” are vastly different things. What this simplistic bumper sticker slogan had really killed is serious debate on business development in California.

Today, calling a bill a “job killer” is the kiss of death for legislation the chamber deems unfriendly. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed all but three of the chamber’s 41 job-killer bills on his watch. The chamber’s job-killer list, a compendium of a dozen or so Democratic bills that would rein in businesses, has become the unofficial score card that industry and trade groups use to measure their success in beating back unfriendly legislation. The chamber issues laudatory press releases – “From day one in office, Gov. Schwarzenegger has demonstrated his commitment to protecting California’s economy and encouraging job creation,” reads one dated Oct. 12 – and the governor takes a bow. “Since I took office, California’s business climate has dramatically improved,” the Republican governor said after vetoing all 12 of this year’s job-killer bills.

But critics charge the chamber simplistically tags as job killers all legislation that would improve environmental protections and consumer protection, including tort reform, insurance reform and landlord/tenant law. “I think it’s part of the whole movement by the free marketeers, extreme right-wing of the (Republican) party that has identified this as an effective phrase,” said former Democratic Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson. “Unfortunately, it resonates with people in way that takes the focus off the real legislation.”

Filed under Business Associations, California Politics, Opinion by

October 7, 2007

CalChamber merges with CCIT to form free trade lobbying group

The California Chamber of Commerce has announced that it will join the California Council for International Trade (CCIT) and form a new lobbying organization it plans to call “California Chamber of Commerce Council for International Trade”. According to a press release issued by the Chamber: “The CalChamber Council for International Trade will boost the ability of California businesses and organizations to advocate sound international business policies by bringing together the two leading trade policy organizations in the state to form a single unified group of business leaders on international issues”.

The California Chamber, a business association with close ties to the Schwarzenegger administration, has taken a position that “enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide”. Allan Zaremberg, CalChamber president and chief executive officer said in a statement: “We are at a historic time to take action on several free trade agreements pending before Congress, the merged CalChamber Council for International Trade will enhance our ongoing work with state and federal administrations and lawmakers to influence international business policies that support California’s global success, job creation and sustainability.”

The California Council for International Trade is a trade policy lobbying group that has been around for decades but in recent years has been less active and far less dynamic. Its primary activity has been organizing a yearly resort meeting with Federal and State elected officials to discuss trade policy, and has been held together by Wells Fargo and a few other large corporations. A search of the Internet to find more information about CCIT for this story found that it may no longer exist. Their old web address “ccit.net” now redirects to the CalChamber website and it is not clear if any part of that association is still active, or if it has been completely absorbed by the California Chamber of Commerce.

Filed under Business Associations by

September 13, 2007

California Biodiesel industry starts trade group

Biodiesel industry leaders have created the California Biodiesel Alliance, a new not-for-profit trade association to promote increased use and production of high quality, renewable biodiesel fuel in California, according to a report in Central Valley Business Times. The founding members of the group is are biodiesel feedstock suppliers, producers, fuel marketers and distributors, technology providers, fuel retailers, consumers, and advocates. “We’re inviting industry and members of the public to join us in unleashing the power of the biodiesel market here in California,” says Alliance Chairman Eric Bowen of Tellurian Biodiesel.

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Business Associations, Energy Industry by

August 9, 2007

Western Growers hires former Trade Negotiator as new Lobbyist

Trade negotiator Cathleen Enright has been hired to head Western Growers’ office in Washington, DC. , according to a press release issued by the association. Enright has served as deputy assistant U.S. trade representative, plus held positions in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. State Department.

“Cathleen stood out for her combination of academic training in science, intellectual firepower, her energy and determination, and her substantial record of achievement in the difficult world of foreign trade negotiations,” said Western Growers president and chief executive officer Tom Nassif.

As deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative, Enright negotiated bilateral and multi-lateral agreements with U.S. trading partners that restored market access, or opened access for the first time, to U.S. agricultural commodities. Among these included agreements with South Korea for California citrus, India for California almonds, and Canada for northwest U.S. potatoes. Enright served from 2000 to 2006 as assistant deputy administrator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She negotiated the resolution of 30 plus phytosanitary trade barriers affecting U.S. agricultural commodities. From 1995 to 2000, Enright served as a policy analyst with the U.S. State Department, where she coordinated interagency and international coalition efforts for negotiation of an international treaty in trade in products of biotechnology.

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Business Associations, U.S. Government by

April 26, 2007

Governor’s non-profit gives 15 companies award for innovation

The California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth, a non-profit group started by Governor Schwarzenegger and his business associates, has recognized 15 large companies it says are the most innovative in the State:

The award recipients include Autobytel, Inc. in Irvine, DJO Inc. in Vista, FormFactor, Inc. in Livermore, Symantec in Cupertino, QAD in Carpinteria, Kintera, Inc. and QUALCOMM in San Diego, IXYS Corporation and NETGEAR in Santa Clara, and Callidus Software and Covad Communications Group, Inc. in San Jose. The City of Sunnyvale was the big winner though with four local companies winning the award: Kyphon, Juniper Networks, Network Appliance, Inc., and Trimble.

The awards cap off the California Tech 100 event—the “first-of-its-kind” statewide conference that has brought together a unique ensemble of angel investors, venture capitalists, CEOs, educators, and workforce talent professionals focused on celebrating the Golden State’s success as an innovation hotbed. California State Secretaries Victoria Bradshaw of the Labor Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) and Dale Bonner of Business, Transportation and Housing (BTH) both spoke before enthusiastic audiences yesterday.

The California Innovation Corridor partners, managed by the California Space Authority (CSA), a statewide nonprofit organization, and administered through the Labor Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), chose the final recipients based on market leadership within their industry, employment figures, continuous innovation of products and services, contribution to the California economy, and significant accomplishments in 2006.

“These innovative companies” added CSA Executive Director Andrea Seastrand, “give people hope and dreams. They make us globally competitive and proud of our heritage as a nation of inventors, creators, and thinkers.” The California Innovation Corridor is a region spanning the length of the state from Alameda county in the north to San Diego county in the south, and eastward into the Inland Empire.

Filed under Business Associations, California Politics by

April 24, 2007

California Technology Industry Adds 14,400 Jobs

AeA has released its 10th anniversary Cyberstates report detailing national and state trends in high-tech employment, wages, and other key economic factors:

California’s high-tech industry added 14,400 net jobs — a two percent increase — for a tech industry total of 919,300 in 2005, the most current state data available. This marks the first net increase in jobs since the tech bubble began to burst in 2000. Leading the way in job creation were the computer systems design and related services sector (+7,100 jobs) and the engineering services sector (+6,400 jobs).

The report found that California continues to lead the nation by most high-tech industry metrics. California’s tech workers had the highest average wage at $95,300, which is 109 percent above the state’s average private sector wage. This differential is also the highest in the nation. Venture capital investments increased 14 percent to $12.2 billion in 2006, accounting for 48 percent of all venture capital in the country.

“This job growth in California’s high-tech industry is a boon for the state and San Diego ” said Kevin Carroll, Executive Director AeA San Diego Council. “Tech is been one of the most critical — if not the most critical – - industry for promoting economic growth, innovation, and job creation in the state. Since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2001, the high-tech industry has continued to help grow the economy and spawn innovation, but not until the release of this latest data can we say definitively that we are back in the business of creating jobs for the Golden State. And these are high paying jobs with average wages that are more than twice as high as the state’s average private sector wage.” What the data does not show is it
is not just Silicon Valley but Southern California and San Diego which has also experienced job growth.

Filed under Business Associations, California Economy by

April 10, 2007

Santa Ana chamber pushing residents to learn English

“In a city where about 80% of residents do not speak English at home, the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce has initiated a $4.5-million campaign to get 50,000 residents to learn the language over the next four years. As part of its project, the chamber last month launched an aggressive advertising campaign, with messages urging residents to learn English plastered on buses and at bus shelters, the train station, supermarkets and self-service laundries. Census statistics show that at least 51% of city residents ‘speak English less than very well.’ More than half the city’s employees speak Spanish, most Asian merchants have learned the language, and nearly every retail business has Spanish-speaking employees.”

Filed under Business Associations, Immigration by

April 4, 2007

Corporate "nonprofit" funds another junket for State officials

The Sacramento Bee has written another expose about the “California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy”. This so called “nonprofit”, actually made up of some of the largest Corporations in the State, made the arrangements for this “all expenses paid” trip to Japan for officials in the Schwarzenegger administration and several California State Legislators:

The California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, a San Francisco-based nonprofit not required by law to disclose its donors, is paying for the trip. The group’s board of directors is populated by the top executives at the biggest energy and telecom companies in the state — among them AT&T, Verizon, PG&E, Chevron, Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison and BHP Billiton — as the lawmakers and regulators tour Japan to discuss telecommunications and energy technology.

Along on the Asia trip — whose participants departed Thursday — are Timothy Simon and Rachelle Chong, two of the governor’s appointees to the Public Utilities Commission, the powerful state board that regulates California’s multibillion-dollar telecommunications and energy industries. Also participating are Sen. Christine Kehoe of San Diego and Assemblyman Lloyd Levine of Van Nuys, both Democrats, who chair the legislative committees that oversee energy and telecommunications policy in California. Sen. Alex Padilla, a freshman Democrat from Los Angeles and a potential swing vote on the Rules Committee — which will decide the fate of embattled PUC nominee Simon — is on the trip, as well.

“What makes this trip so particularly egregious is that the corporations are focusing on the exact levers of power in hosting this junket for the state’s top utility cops,” said Doug Heller of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a consumer-advocacy group. “If you had to identify the people with the most responsibility over utility issues in the state, they’ve brought the two in the Legislature and 40 percent of the Public Utilities Commission.”

One of the corporate executives traveling this week in Japan is Kenneth McNeely, the president of AT&T California. Last year, McNeely helped secure major legislation allowing phone companies access to the state’s cable TV and Internet market. AT&T spent $23.6 million in lobbying for the bill, which was jointly written by Levine and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, and signed into law by Schwarzenegger… On Friday, the Public Utilities Commission announced that it had approved a video franchise agreement to allow AT&T access to California’s lucrative broadband market. McNeely, who was traveling with PUC members Chong and Simon in Japan when the deal was announced, issued a laudatory statement, which Heller jested was made “over sake shots with the regulators, no doubt.”

The article did not mention that AT&T also gave generously to the Schwarzenegger reelection campaign, and some of this money may have been used for the huge bonuses the Governor recently paid to his senior staff. A smaller campaign contribution of $25,000 was transfered from Schwarzenegger to his Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy just a few weeks after she voted to approve the purchase of AT&T by SBC Communication, leading many to believe that this was a payment made by the giant telecommunication firm in exchange for this vote.

Filed under Business Associations, California Government, California Legislature, California Politics by

March 28, 2007

Bay Area WTC Board Member Wins Supply Chain Award

“Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine, leading business magazine and the executive’s user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, this week announced the seventh-annual listing of Pros to Know in its February/March 2007 issue. This year’s top Provider Pro to Know of the Year is awarded to the Bay Area World Trade Center’s… Sergio Retamal, President and CEO of Global 4PL Supply Chain Management. Global4PL was listed as one of 16 companies to watch by the 2006 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine. Mr. Retamal was invited to present his Direct to United States Customer From Singapore program in Hong Kong at the World Development Congress—Supply Chain Management Forum: Creating Strategic Partnerships in Asia. Mr. Retamal’s teaching experience includes teaching and board member positions at multiple campuses of the California State University.”

Filed under Business Associations by

March 15, 2007

Alcoa receives large business award from Fullerton Chamber

“Alcoa Fastening Systems’ (AFS) Fullerton Aerospace Operations was recognized as the Large Business of the Year at the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce President’s Award Banquet held recently in Fullerton, Calif. U.S. Congressman Ed Royce presented the award to Craig Brown, director of operations for the facility. ‘We are extremely pleased that the city recognizes our commitment and contributions to the business community in Fullerton,’ Brown said. ‘We have been an active member of the community for over 40 years and we will continue to support it’. “

Filed under Business Associations, Manufacturing by

March 14, 2007

Oakland Mayor backs out of China trip

Unlike other politicians in California, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums is concerned about the possibility of a conflict of interest and will not travel to China as part of a trade mission. According to the Oakland Tribune:

The mayor wanted the trip to take a holistic approach, with Chinese officials presented with a united front of federal, state and local officials working to ensure the Port of Oakland and the Bay Area benefits from the growth of China’s economy, said spokeswoman Karen Stevenson. The mayor’s decision followed the announcement Friday that U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, would not be able to go on the trip. “The mayor envisioned a multijurisdictional collaboration that wasn’t coming together,” Stevenson said. Jose Duenas, president of the Bay Area World Trade Center, organizer of the trip, said the trade mission would be rescheduled. Government watchdog groups said it was inappropriate for the trade group to pay the mayor’s way, because the trip would offer tremendous access and could make Dellums more likely to back their proposals.

Filed under Business Associations, California Government, California Ports, China by

March 5, 2007

Large Corporations still controlling Schwarzenegger’s foreign trade agenda

The San Francisco Chronicle has written still another expose of Governor Schwarzenegger’s use of business associations and large Corporations to fund his foreign trade missions:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s foreign trade missions are paid for by the California State Protocol Foundation. Though neither the governor’s office nor the foundation will disclose the group’s funding sources, tax records filed by other nonprofits doing business with the foundation show that it received $75,000 from agribusiness interests and banking. The foundation is led by two of the state’s most influential business groups — California Chamber of Commerce and the California Roundtable.

The Chronicle quoted Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger’s spokesman, as saying the governor accepts the gift from the foundation because both share a “passion” for creating jobs in California. He said Schwarzenegger is not influenced by those that pay for the trips and makes his decisions based on what is best for the state.

This is extremely difficult to swallow. There is a huge difference between being “pro-business” and being “pro-Corporation” and to-date the Schwarzenegger administration has not shown the slightest interest in small business concerns. The non-profit organizations he uses to fund his trade missions- including the California Protocol Foundation, The California Chamber of Commerce, The California Roundtable, the California Commission on Jobs and Economic Growth and others are primarily interested in supporting their large Corporate clients, for the simple “Willie Sutton” reason: “that’s where the money is”.

Together, these groups form a private network of Schwarzenegger supporters that have no real interest in diluting their influence with the Government with annoying small business concerns. Since the Governor has essentially used these “non-profit” groups as proxy economic development agencies they have the power, but not the responsibility that comes from being part of government. On the important issue of economic development and international trade promotion, the door is simply not open to the rest of us.

This won’t be the first time that one of California’s big newspapers has done an investigative report on this issue, but we are nearly three and a half years into the Schwarzenegger administration and nothing ever seems to change. Governor Schwarzenegger, who just two years ago said: “I want your ideas, and the more radical the better” now seems to only be interested in input from a few closed groups of his own associates. Since the Governor has not made economic development part of his Government “for all the people” pledge it may be time for the State Legislature to step in and make sure that all California citizens interested in this issue are fairly represented.

Filed under Business Associations, California Government, Governor Schwarzenegger, Opinion by

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