“Old” Chamber vs “New” Chamber — Is a Smackdown Coming?

“Old” Chamber vs “New” Chamber — Is a Smackdown Coming?

By Robert Haugh

Something interesting happened at the May 23 City Council meeting. During public comments, John-Michael Dyer of the Silicon Valley Organization (SVO, the new name of the San Jose-Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce) showed up to introduce himself.

He said that the SVO has a total of 1,400 members, 60 based in Santa Clara. And the SVO is committed to working with Santa Clara. This makes us wonder:

  • Is the SVO expanding in Santa Clara?
  • Is this a conflict with the Santa Clara Chamber?

“The Silicon Valley Organization has historically been regionally focused and engaged, Matt Mahood, the SVO President & CEO wrote to us. “Where are our members have current or future operations, we have an interest in engaging and representing their interests.”

We also heard a rumor that Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta set up a meeting between the SVO and Assistant City Manager Ruth Shikada.  Caserta confirmed it.  “We met last month and discussed economic development. I strongly believe in working with all our community partners to achieve such an important public policy,” said Caserta via email.


That raises some interesting questions:

  • Is a big smackdown coming between the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and the SVO? It could be like when the n.W.o. invaded WCW or when WWE Raw and Smackdown battled for bragging rights.
  • Does the SVO smell blood because the Chamber is stumbling badly these days?

We previously reported that the Chamber is in trouble.

At their State of the City event in March, Mayor Lisa Gillmor was a no-show. And not a lot of other people showed up. Plus, Chamber CEO Chris Horton could not even get four council votes to be appointed to a commission. And they’ve lost some high profile votes like the one to increase the City’s minimum wage.

Last year, the Chamber PAC, led by Miles Barber and others, shot themselves in the foot by opposing City council incumbents for re-election. That move clearly hurt them this year.

We also noticed recently that the SVO may be looking for money. They may need to expand into Santa Clara for more dough.. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors just turned them down for a $508,000 request. Ouch. That’s like being hit with the Undertaker’s Tombstone piledriver.

Maybe competition is good. We’ll continue to watch this situation or smackdown as it unfolds. We may need to buy popcorn.



  1. Robert, again you are not doing your readers any justice by your non reporting of the facts. To state that the Santa Clara Chamber is stumbling badly is your opinion and not a fact. You’re not a member nor have you quoted any members or people from the chamber in this article. Why don’t you do some interviews with both organizations to see what’s really going on instead of speculating? If you did that you would actually see the big picture instead of being so narrowly focused on your hatred of Miles Barber and anything he has to do with. Your biased against the Chamber because Miles Barber is a part of it overshadows everything you write about the organization. You should be even more diligent in stating facts due to this overwhelmingly apparent biased. Why even mention him when he is not even in a leadership position? I’ve personally been a member for 10 years and we’re doing great right now. We have more members now than in the history of the organization so how is that stumbling? When you say things like Chris Horton couldn’t even get appointed to a commission, why don’t you state the reason? Do you even know the reason? Did you know that the Chamber agreed to a minimum wage increase at a certain level and then Caserta changed the amount to a higher amount during the council meeting? Do you know that Caserta is planning on running for higher office and is seeking endorsements from business organizations? My point is do your homework things are not as simple as they may seem. It’s definitely not as simple as your wrestling analogies.

    • First off, I don’t have “hatred” toward the chamber or Miles Barber. That is merely a rumor started by who knows. Feel free to call me or email me. I’ll gladly provide you details on that. People say a lot of untrue things about me and my thoughts about Miles.

      I’ve given the chamber plenty of positive attention, here on this site and promoted the chamber and convention center. I’ve also multiple times offered Horton and other Chamber execs an opportunity to respond for comment and/or to write a guest editorial.

      Barber was on the Chamber PAC Board and government relations committee … So that was relevant in regard to the last election in which the Chamber didn’t fare well. That is both my opinion, and fact. The chamber PAC supported candidates Did not fare well.

      I covered the city council meeting where Horton was not voted onto the civil service commission. You can find that on this site. It was a meeting where his residency was questioned. I can’t speculate beyond how the votes went at that meeting. And Horton didn’t have support from the council to be appointed.

      I’m aware that Caserta is running for higher office, and is seeking endorsements and financial support. And I’ve addressed the minimum wage issue in detail – and did so years ago when I worked for the SC Weekly … I even quoted you … The minimum wage issue clearly has created some division locally, and I’ve published both sides of that issue. As you know, the City is actively soliciting comments from the business community as the city moves forward on that topic.

      I’m not a chamber member, as the Chamber provides no benefit to the needs of what I’m doing professionally Or personally. Sorry, it just doesn’t serve me.

      To those that think I have hatred toward Miles, or the Chamber, you’re dead wrong. Just because I have opinions and criticize people and organizations, doesn’t mean I hate them. I’ll gladly discuss this off-line. That hatred seems to go the other way, to be frank.

      The chamber always has an opportunity to share news and views with me and this site … FYI if you didn’t know, I’ve been publishing regular articles promoting local events and businesses … If you’re so inclined, ask your Chamber board to submit a 300-word article to me on the importance of the Chamber, events, meetings and upcoming activities and such. You of all people know I very much pro-business, especially small businesses …

      Please email me upcoming events presented by the Chamber and ask CEO Horton to write something for my site. I’ll gladly publish it. Since Carol left, I’ve received only a few chamber-related press releases … FYI.

      He can write about minimum wage, housing, whatever it might be. I’m here she willing to share differing viewpoints and information.

      Please do suggest the chamber send me periodic guest opinions and information on events and meetings.

      Also, as with any newspaper or media outlet, some items published are opinion, some are news. I publish a mix of both.

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