The Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce might think about affixing an asterisk to its title -- as in *"not affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."
The U.S. Chamber is hardly a favorite around Santa Cruz -- with its strong positions firmly to the right of center on issues like regulation, climate change and health care. Local Chamber Executive Director Bill Tysseling has reported any number of complaints that he's received over positions taken by the nationwide chamber. He's even had obscene calls.
The name game isn't just limited to the chamber. Think back to when the national United Way was hit by a scandal over misuse of money. The local chapter of the United Way had no connection to the fraud -- but they still had to go into damage control anyway.
The identity issue for the chamber is coming up again because the local business group has been asked to join in the effort for a Climate Action Compact with other private and public partners in Santa Cruz. In doing so, the chamber will express its support of the following:
-- Set and present a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal for their organization;
--Identify specific inter-institutional cooperative projects that reduce GHG emissions, stimulate investment in the community and foster economic development;
--Present a comprehensive GHG reduction action plan for their organization;
-- Invite others from the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the region to join in the effort.
That's hardly a stance that would be taken by the U.S. Chamber. But if the Santa Cruz Chamber proceeds with the proposal, it just might get the word out that yes, the local chamber is its own animal. But it still might need the asterisk.