Guest view: It’s time to ‘take back the chamber’
I wanted to explain what drove me to take action last week to start the Campaign to Take Back the Chamber. It was not one, but a series of decisions that do not represent the views of the membership.
First was the decision to locate the combined chamber office across the highway from Lakeside Inn. When polled, the California membership indicated unanimously that the combined chamber office should be located in California, positioned to greet the majority of our tourists.
Second was the decision to sign a lease that obligates the Tahoe Douglas Chamber (and our chamber, if the merger is concluded, along with any successor chamber) to pay a rent of $25,000 per month, for the next 18 years. This is a total obligation of greater than $7 million when inflation is figured in.
It was explained that by making the combined chamber the principle lessee, Douglas County would avoid paying prevailing wages as required by federal law, under the Davis-Bacon act.
The third decision was by the Nevada leadership to terminate one of the most effective leaders of either state, our executive director, Duane Wallace. Wallace was passed over in favor of one of the employees of a member sitting on the selection committee. There is no conflict of interest there!
Under no circumstances can I afford to be associated with an organization that conspires to violate federal law.
Since the merger began, there hasn’t been any decision that serves the best interest or desires of the California membership. These decisions are so outrageous and so contrary to the desires of the California membership that I was moved to go to the South Lake Tahoe City Council and ask that they not release funds to either the chamber or LTVA.
We reached across the state line with an olive branch and it was greeted with a chain saw. The merger that we thought would be of mutual benefit has become a hostile takeover.
The response of the membership is overwhelming. In the poll I conducted just this week, the vast majority of members favor withdrawing from the merger. Furthermore, a very high percentage indicated that if the merger was concluded, they would terminate their membership.
Our differences are irreconcilable, and have become more divisive in recent days.
For all practical purposes the merger is dead. It is time that the South Lake Tahoe Chamber Board vote to reflect the desires of their constituents.
– Bob Attinger is a former board member of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce
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