Very good article from newgeography.com
The recent political conflict between the Obama Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has thrown a new spotlight on an old communication problem. Local chambers of commerce, although they predate the U.S. Chamber by nearly a century and a half, often are assumed to be part of the U.S. Chamber, or otherwise under its direction. They aren’t. They are independent.
During the pre-election controversy this year, it was clear that many people, including many chamber members, did not know this fact. They believe that U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue and his colleagues on H Street directly or indirectly control all that local chambers do. But Donohue and his staff don’t exercise such control, nor do they want to.
Few people think about what chambers do locally. For example, who knows that Elliot Tiber, president of the Bethel, N.Y., Chamber of Commerce, secured the permit for Woodstock?
It was also a local chamber – the Business Men’s League of Atlantic City – that came up in 1920 with the idea of a festival to keep tourists in town after Labor Day. Pretty women in beachwear would turn out to be the centerpiece of the annual event. We have that business group (now called the Greater Atlantic City Chamber) to thank for the Miss America Contest.
Was Charles Lindbergh’s plane called The Spirit of Enterprise (the U.S. Chamber’s tag line)? No, the flying bucket of bolts was, of course, The Spirit of St. Louis. The president of the St. Louis Chamber came up with the name in order to promote the great river city. And why should Lindbergh object? The chamber president also raised most of the money for the aircraft.
And who sent out the promotional brochure that enticed the first movie producer to southern California in 1907? It was the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. In nearby Hollywood a chamber was later active as well, helping re-fashion the famous Hollywood sign out of a decaying advertisement for a real estate development called “Hollywoodland.”
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