Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Group Targets Tucson Chamber

A group calling itself Tucson First is targeting the Tucson Chamber of Commerce as the enabler of the local corruption, incompetence, cronyism, nepotism, influence peddling, and outright fraud that infests the economic development activities of Tucson and Pima County.

Frustration with local economic development is nothing new, and Tucson’s woes predate most of the current players. When looking at the whole mess after getting myself entangled, I coined the term "cloth" based on the ridiculous language and mountains of bullshit one hears in this conversation. People talk about "leveraging regional attributes," "weaving the community fabric," "the creative class" and other meaningless tripe instead of the common sense development efforts like, imagine this, recruiting businesses to the area.

One can appreciate the anger of the local business community, for the overpaid Cloth, the greedy collection of suits who are supposed to be enhancing business opportunity and growth for all, is entirely self-serving. DTP dismissed a competent director so it could hire the wife of a friend. TREO stole funding for a Goodwill program that trained handicapped youth for entry level jobs. Raytheon had to build a $1M+ training center because TREO stole the funding for an existing training center that served Raytheon and 100+ other businesses. TREO stole funding from MAC, a small non-profit that helped small start-up companies. Instead of serving the community, helping existing businesses expand and attracting new ones, the Cloth takes from the community to stuff its own coffers. TREO has over $1M stashed away. Is that money helping your business?

Research going back to 1991 produced this Detailed History of economic development in Tucson. Remember the yellow streak? Remember the hours of meetings to create a good slogan, resulting in "Tucson, a great place"? The first page at the link covers 1990-2000. Subsequent chapters go into more detail from 2000 through 2007.

It's not clear to me that the Chamber is the source of the problem. Still, a highly effective Chamber would of necessity go up against the blood sucking Cloth if it were serious about economic development. Tucson First has their work cut out for them. The Cloth not only seek to destroy all who work against them. They also work to destroy any entity that actually succeeds in promoting substantive economic development. Those who don’t produce results are always threatened by those who do.



Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Off topic, but:
"That" infamous parking lot is on the front page of the Tucson newspaper this morning:


12/16/2009 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Framer said...


The Chamber is a huge part of the problem. TREO and the Downtown partnership exist because the Chamber does not do what chambers are supposed to do. If we had a strong Chamber that actually accomplished what TREO and co. have failed to do, you remove the fig leaf for their very existence.

If the chamber becomes an engine to bring business to Tucson, and represent the expansion of jobs. The next step would be to totally defund and destroy TREO. Especially in light of the local budget travails. That is why time is of the essence.

12/16/2009 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack Camper has outlived his usefulness, if ever he had any usefulness...

12/16/2009 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Change Tucson Chamber" web site has this statement:

"We the undersigned have lost faith in the direction of the Tucson Chamber Of Commerce."

But there are no signatories. Looks to me like they are an offshoot of the Tea Partiers... Immediately suspect.

12/16/2009 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Tea party or not, the criticism is legitimate. Framer is right that the abysmal performance of the Chamber is what gives rise to efforts to do it in other ways. If the Chamber were truly functional and producing results, the concept of TREO would not occur.

An excellent Chamber could also do a lot of what MTCVB pretends to do.

Have you ever gone to a Chamber event? It's like going to a bad sales convention where everyone is trying to sell you something you don't want, like attorneys, accountants, advertisers, magazine people, copying services, web design....

About as appealing as a hemorrhoid operation.

12/16/2009 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

The existence of other chambers such as Northern Pima County Chamber, and the MTCVB are evidence that the TMCC has not been competent or responsive.

The Tucson Chamber is an enabler of the status quo, and does not function as an advocate for local business. What better evidence that the Chamber only exists to backslap the local electeds is there than the bullshit "State of . . . " luncheons that the Chamber hosts?

Camper is a misogynist fool. I've probably visited the Chamber's office 20-25 times over the years, and aside from the few times I was there for a meeting that Jack was part of, I never once actually saw him there.

Someone in city or county government should do an analysis of the output of TREO versus the output of GTEC, and see how much the county and city have spent per job recruited.

The City of Tucson is about to enact a 40% cut to outside agency funding over the next year and a half, and that funding may never come back if the economy is slow to recover. By the time the economy improves, hopefully the city and county will see that they are not actually getting less of a return on their reduced contributions, so why pay TREO more? TREO can dip into that $1 million reserve fund if what they do is so important.

I wish that the Tucson First site had some names on it too, but what I've heard is that it is a group of about 70 Chamber member businesses.

12/16/2009 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize the Chamber is the focus of this post, but at least the Chamber funds itself through its membership. Funds going to the Chamber are voluntary. As far as I know, the Chamber is not taxpayer funded.

TREO and DTP stick their fangs into unwilling taxpayers hijacked by corrupt politicians. The city and county take OUR money to pay these criminals to do nothing.

The corrupt politicians take real money from real workers to pay Snell and Lyons a fortune to fondle each other. Tucson's economic development is a cloth orgy at great cost to Tucson taxpayers and businesses.

Think about it. Snell stole money from a program for crippled kids so he could put it in the bank for himself.

12/16/2009 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

That's a very good point about the public money versus memberships, Anonymous. It is an important distinction.

Tucson needs a strong business community characterized by an entrepreneurial spirit. A chamber that nurtured such an environment would not be seeing its voluntary memberships decline from 3300 to 1700 as the TMCC has.

12/16/2009 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

This story makes it to the front page of the Tucson morning daily today....

12/17/2009 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew x4mr was right about the Cloth, but I didn't realize how right until reading the article in the paper, the comments after the article, and then thinking about Rio Nuevo and the Partnership and TREO.

Then it clicked. I get it. It really is a collection of ridiculously overpaid egos that just meet with each other and talk about "fabric" and "plans" and "blueprints" when in truth they do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Snell, Lyons, Walker, Camper, Singer, and Cloth, Inc. just have their luncheons, take their trips, and make their presentations to EACH OTHER and the politicos.

They really are emperors with no clothes strutting around like they're nobility. Even with coaching Snell couldn't run a lemonade stand, so he pretends to help others and takes full credit for the success others achieve.

The people who succeed in this town do so in spite of these assholes.

12/17/2009 1:25 PM  

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