Some conceptions and misconceptions about the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce:
It is not a free standing operation. It operates under the umbrella of The Heartland Partnership.
It by no means represents the opinions of many businesses who are members.
It often represents “special interests groups.” These groups make certain that they have the right people on the Board of Directors.
Even though they are under The Heartland Partnership, the Chamber has their own Progressive Political Action Committee. This group not only recommends candidates but often times support them with money. For example during my campaign for Peoria Park District President, this group gave $2,000.00 to my opponent. After all, all I had done for area was to establish a business in Peoria, pay large amounts of sales taxes and meet a payroll up to ninety employees while occupying 73,000 sq. ft of space in Peoria alone. My opponent was partner in a small law firm and President of a tax collecting body, who collected over $11,000,000.00 of your tax dollars last year.
Three months after my opponent was reelected to office, Roberta Parks, Vice President of the Chamber stated that the Chamber had run out of money to continue supporting an advertising campaign called “It’s All Right Here”, which was to promote growth in this area. (JS 7/8/03)
Interesting!! Guess they didn’t like my position on spending $800 Million dollars on the Highway to Chicago. More details on the money apparently wasted on studying this dubious but highly Chamber touted project later. (Close to $10,000,000.00 just for studying.) Remember the favorite whine of the JS and the Chamber as they attempted to discredit me was, “and he didn’t support the highway to Chicago.”
While I was brought dollars into the community (I sold my business in 1992), my Chamber supported opponent was seeking an assessed property valuation reduction for a prominent west side client of his, a reduction of $2,790,714.00 and he was asking that a decision be made without holding a hearing. Then he later filed without allowing the Board of Review to testify and cross examine himself at a hearing and asked the decision be made by the PTAB without holding a hearing. Election records show that my opponent received a sizeable contribution to his campaign from this client. What I am saying is all a matter of public record, the Editorial Board of the Journal star knew about it but didn’t think it was of any interest to the voter. I believe, based on the Journals past history, had it been me, they would have made it a story.
Anyway, for various good reasons, Peoria County was not a member of the Chamber when I was elected is and not likely to be during the remainder of my term on the County Board. By the way, The Peoria Chamber of Commerce committees are a matter of public record and there are many good community people serving the Chamber. Then again, remember what I said about “special interests” and those in power.
Now you know a little more about what the Chamber does and how they operate, which might explain the whys about some of my previous posts. Remember the old saying “no good deed goes unpunished”