Tuesday, August 08, 2006

An Unenjoyable Political Barbecue???

As my buddy San Jose Rookie and I can tell you, political barbecues are fun! Who doesn't like schmoozing and hamburgers? But there's one barbecue coming up in two weeks that local Democrats are claiming will not be so fun. Last week, the chair of the Santa Clara County Democratic Party, Steve Preminger, sent a letter urging local activists to boycott this year's annual COMPAC Barbecue. The heading of the mailer reads, "Fundraising barbecues are fun. But there's one you should skip." This letter was distributed to all of the guests at Zoe Lofgren's fundraising barbecue on Saturday, August 5th.

COMPAC is the political arm of the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce that spent $163,000 during the June primary on sending mailers that bashed Cindy Chavez and her questionable Grand Prix spending. Because the mailers were candidate focused rather than issue focused, the Chamber was supposed to only finance them with individual contributions of no more than $250. Instead, they financed the mailers using huge donations from various wealthy Cindy-haters. In his letter, Mr. Preminger explains that the Chamber "unleashed a grossly unethical, misleading, hypocritical and, ultimately, illegal smear campaign against Cindy Chavez." I think Preminger's language may be a little harsh, but he does bring up an interesting point about the hypocrisy of this mailer.

The Chamber of Commerce criticizes Cindy Chavez for supporting the subsidy for the Grand Prix. But the question is who benefits from the Grand Prix? We've heard from several news outlets that the streets of Downtown don't benefit, and clearly Cindy Chavez and the City Council aren't benefiting from all of this criticism. In fact, one of the only groups you could say really benefits from the Grand Prix is the Chamber of Commerce. After putting so much money into bashing Cindy Chavez and her investment in the Grand Prix, the Chamber of Commerce worked to promote the Grand Prix. After all, the more people come to watch the race, the more people will go to the restaurants and bars in Downtown, which means more money for the Chamber of Commerce. I'd like to remind the Chamber of Commerce that you can't always have your cake and eat it too...no matter how much money you spend. After reading this article, you at home must solve the barbecue boycott moral dilemma for yourself. What’s more important to you – knowing that you haven’t contributed to a seemingly unethical organization? Or the feeling of warm barbecued wieners in your tummy?


At 8:48 PM, Anonymous wonderwoman46 said...

Does the Chamber of Commerce support Chuck Reed? It seems like he's anti-development (opposing BART, baseball in San Jose, and the Grand Prix). But it also seems like they really dislike Cindy. Are they going to be involved with the mayor election at all at this point?

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please view these two videos and check out the website that follows. Even if you do not agree with all of it, we all need to have a better grasp of what truly happened on 9/11/01 in the US, 3/11/04 in Spain, and 7/7/05 in the UK. We are looming closer and closer to being pulled into an even more disastrous war in the Middle East. Another terrorist attack in which the government is involved could easily be framed in such a way that rallies the people around a new war. However, the government could be deterred from faciliting a terrorist attack or could fail in their attempt to rally the people, if enough people at least suspect government involvement in recent terrorist acts. So please share this with others if you feel compelled, as I do.

documentary on 9/11

documentary on western government terror


Please remember this core fact in all of the debate over the events of 911. The total disintegration of the twin towers into dust and rubble within seconds is a mark of a controlled demolition, not a building pancaking.

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

I want to know WHO is on the Chamber of Commerce. Who makes their decisions? Who sits on their board? What groups, companies, organizations, etc. comprise the Chamber? If, say, the Mercury News is a member of the Chamber, doesn't that impact their credibility when it comes to reviewing the Compac controversy???

At 1:39 PM, Blogger SJ Rookie said...

Hey Tom, thanks for your question. For your own reference here is the link to the Chamber Of Commerce's homepage:


As you can see, the San Jose Mercury News, along with Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Cisco Systems, is a Diamond Sponsor for the Chamber of Commerce. The site also has a list of all of the businesses that compose the Chamber of Commerce if you go to:


At 3:55 PM, Anonymous d.h.k. said...

Ok, I followed the links to find out who actually sits on the Board of the Chamber.....

Nanci C. Williams
Orloff/Williams & Company

Jeff Kiel
San Jose Mercury News

Rich De La Rosa
All State Insurance
(Another big surprise, right?)

Kathleen Gallagher
Bank of America

Jan Sonneman

Brian Baer

Shari Boxer-Baker
JDS Group

Pete Carillo
Silicon Valley Advisors

Carol Cody

Jeffrey Colvin

Thao Dang
Century 21 Real Estate

William "Boots" Del Biaggio
Sand Hill Capital

John Di Napoli
J.P. Di Napoli Company

Vintage Foster
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

Mark Golan
Cisco Systems - World Wide Real Estate

Laura Guio

Don Iglesias
SJ Unified School District

Mary Ellen Ittner

Frank Jesse
BEA Systems

Bob Kieve

Brad Krouskup
Toenisketter & Breeding

Rob Lynch
Orchard Supply Hardware

Mark Normandin
Normandin Chrysler Jeep

Bill Peacock
Nth Air

Laurie Smith
Santa Clara County Sheriff

Kurt Utterback
Westfield/Valley Fair

Scott Yoo
San Jose Water Company

Bill Baron Brandenburg, Staedler & Moore

Gino Blefari
Intero Real Estate Service

Fred Bertoldo
Wells Fargo

David Cohen
Silicon Valley Community Newspapers

Mark Crowley
Lockheed Martin

Cyril Isnard
Fairmont Hotel San Jose

Michael Jacobson

Leslie Kelsay
Good Samaritan Hospital

Michele Peacock

Joe Pon
Applied Materials

Karen Yang
Ireland San Filippo LLP

Navarra Williams

If you disapprove of what the Chamber has done and are a (potential) consumer/customer of any of the aforementioned businesses, you should let them know! Shoot them an email and let them know that you are considering taking your business elsewhere. (I'm researching alternatives to Wells Fargo and Comcast as we speak...)

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Victor said...

I sure would like someone to tell the truth about Chuck Reed and his involvement in the Hoestetter Scandal, where he violated council ethics policies and met outside of the city to ask the developers to make some prearranged pitch to the BCAC. This is Chuck's Norcal.

Reed also violated the Brown Act in November when he voted to keep the Grand Prix deal quiet.

At 1:01 AM, Anonymous jessica1 said...

Victor -

Please tell us more about this scandal. Inquiring minds want to know!

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You talk about hypocracy... how much more hypocritical can the labor group be than to get outraged over a set of true fliers when then have many times sent out last minute false hit pieces on candidates. Just look at what they did to Debi Giordano, Tony West, Rich De la Rosa - just to name 3.

They and their consultant, Darren Seaton, are the King of sleaze-ball, below the belt hitting, negative campaigners.

Search the Merc archives for details, and read Bob Kieve's commentaries on KLIV.com


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