Guest view: Brickbats, bouquets on chamber merger |

Guest view: Brickbats, bouquets on chamber merger

Fred Johnston

A few words about some recent letters concerning the Chamber of Commerce merger and transition process.

First of all, brickbats to Ms. Boyer who would try to dupe us into thinking that the Transition Board wasn’t “stacked.” Indeed, there were six members from each state but if we look more closely at whom the California members represented, we quickly discover that only two or three of them were true Californians with only California interests. We might also note that because the merger vote was not conducted by secret ballot, anyone who had voted against the merger wasn’t allowed to sit on this so-called Selection Committee, on the so-called Transition Board.

Brickbats, too, to Mr. Birdwell who said in his letter that this was the “democratic” way. For a man seeking election to City Government I would have expected more. When a single person forms a committee, Mr. Birdwell, and fills it to his liking without accepting input from his constituents or letting them sit on particular committees because of their perceived proclivities, we have an “autocratic” way. There is quite a difference.

And brickbats, too, to Mr. Cefalu who would now actually consider joining the Chamber because of the change. Maybe he could lend his expertise in trying to balance the new budget that several accountants have already stated is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Unfortunately, however, this isn’t just about change. It’s about a pre-meditated assassination complete with burial; the end of a brilliant 50-year tradition that has served this community marvelously well and put millions and millions of dollars in the coffers of the local business community. It’s about the end of a courteous, efficient, dedicated and hard-working staff who never failed to give less than 100 percent in serving the visitor and member businesses. And, finally, it’s about the completely unjustified and underhanded displacement of one of the most capable, influential and effective leaders this city has seen in a long time. Duane Wallace has been a dedicated and faithful servant to this community for twelve years, always performing his duties with a passion that few have ever exerted. And in his place, we get an unknown, unqualified neophyte whose only claim to Tahoe is as a ski instructor? Lord, help us all! John Wynn must be turning in his grave.

A couple of bouquets, however, to Bob Attinger for his continuing yeoman-like efforts to prevent this from happening; and another to Ed McCarthy for having correctly labeled this select committee as a “cabal” as there is no better word.

The question now becomes whether or not the citizens of this community want the City Council to send $101,000 of your tax dollars across the border each year to fund a Nevada-based business. I should hope not. And I should hope that all of you will express this opinion to the Council members. This kind of money could go a long way in funding a new Chamber of Commerce Ð sans the Nevada interests, of course.

– Fred Johnston is a seasonal employee of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce. As a former business owner, he was a chamber member for 30 years.

Support Local Journalism

Your support means a better informed community. Donate today.