“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.