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LETTER: Chamber of Commerce endorsements ignored membership, public good

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | 12:40 p.m. CDT; updated 1:59 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A fateful moment was reached when the Columbia Chamber of Commerce decided to recruit and endorse McDavid for mayor. That moment marks the end of the 104 year history of neutrality of the chamber in local political affairs. If you thought the chamber was a community booster, a kind of Welcome Wagon or another League of Women Voters, think again!

No longer can the chamber be considered a public service or benevolent organization whose membership is drawn primarily for the business community but whose aims and interests are identical with those of the community at large. With this endorsement its actions will now be evaluated primarily by the criterion of how it benefits the business community and not the city as a whole.

The process by which this endorsement was decided is largely a mystery. This much we know, it was decided by the directors of the chamber and not by a polling of the membership. In a stunning display of hubris, a small group of persons at the top decided, without consultation, on what is good for people at the bottom. Did the directors act ultra vires, that is beyond the scope or in excess of their legal power or authority? Whatever internal controls there might be on the activities of the directors, the net effect of their action is a hijacking of the good name of the chamber for purely political ends. Does the membership really want to take the chamber down this new segregated path?

Sid Sullivan was a candidate for mayor of Columbia.


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Comments

Ray Shapiro April 7, 2010 | 9:41 p.m.

("They said that they were weavers, claiming that they knew how to make the finest cloth imaginable. Not only were the colors and the patterns extraordinarily beautiful, but in addition, this material had the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.
Am I unfit for my position? No one must know this. No, it will never do for me to say that I was unable to see the material.")
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type1620.html#...

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