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.