Posts Tagged ‘Tucson Chamber of Commerce’

19th June
2011
written by JHiggins

An open letter to “Good ole boy (or girl)” business leaders

By  Joe Higgins & Chris DeSimone – Wake Up Tucson for Inside Tucson Business -

Dear Good Ole Boy and Girl,

First and foremost, thank you for your investment in the community and for the employment of thousands of Tucsonans over the past few decades. As you may have guessed, things are changing in the Old Pueblo.

There’s a new breath of fresh air in leadership at the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. There are other indications that the same old ways of how things get done here are no longer being tolerated; legislation allowing Marana to put itself in control of its own destiny with wastewater, performance audits of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau and an investigation of the mess over Rio Nuevo downtown redevelopment.

It’s time to start solidifying the business community back into one entity: the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. We led the charge for change in the organization and are committed to support efforts to reverse the fractionalization of Tucson’s business community. Strengthening the voice of business must involve three things:

1.Creating a business voter block that shows up for an election.
2.Recruiting good pro-business candidates.
3.Educating everyone on how a healthy private sector equates tobuses running on time, filling road potholes and police and fire protection.
Sadly, the efforts of CEO groups, community forums, town halls and economic development think-tanks continue to fail because a unified business voice isn’t at the table politically. Groups split away for good reason, but now it’s time to come back.

With Tucson city elections coming up this year and 2012 looming huge for the Pima County Board of Supervisors, it is time we realize that the actions you take – or do not take – will either help the region correct the course toward prosperity or allow the entrenched political machines to drive us off the cliff.

The issues are bigger than SB 1070, the failures of Tucson Unified School District or Rio Nuevo and dealing with potholes or graffiti. It’s the political culture that looks upon business as a necessary evil that exists to be taxed and regulated.

It all comes down to Election Day. The business community has a terrible track record of getting people elected. Only when things get as bad as they are now have we been able to get one lonely voice of moderation elected to the Tucson City Council.

Sadly, as we are learning, business gatherings two weeks ahead of Election Day to exclaim: “what the heck is the business community doing to help get pro-business folks elected?” are too little too late.

A few people have put their personal lives aside to try to make a difference in this year’s Tucson city elections.

The ribbon cutter isn’t seeking reelection and is going away but what are the visions of the candidates who are running for mayor? Do you even know who they are?

As for the three council seats that are up election, it’s time to find your pro-business candidate, from either political party, and start supporting him or her now.

When your family came to Tucson, I am sure they had a vision of making a living, building a legacy and leaving the efforts of your work to your children. If you are paying attention to the path we are on, the chances of that happening are dwindling by the month.

Leadership from business in Tucson has been taken over by middle managers. It’s time to tell your vice president of government affairs to step aside and for you, the CEO or owner, to join in the leadership process.

It’s time to stop sprinkling your membership support among a myriad of business organizations that have produced little to no results. It’s time you realize if we don’t all get on the same page the customers who eat at your restaurants and buy your products or services will have gone away.

We ask you to dig deep and give Tucson one more chance at getting it right. Every morning in places like Huntsville, Ala., or Albuquerque or Scottsdale there are leaders waking up looking to grow their communities and create the environment that will raise the economic tides.

We’re ready to wake up.

Contact Joe Higgins and Chris DeSimone at wakeuptucson@gmail.com. They host “Wake Up Tucson,” 6-8 a.m. weekdays on The Voice KVOI 1030-AM. Their blog is at www.TucsonChoices.com.

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