Chamber of Commerce Promotes Racial Divide

Orrie Brown

What prompted the Chamber of Commerce to develop the newly formed Latino Council? I asked Mark Bodenhamer, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, that question on January 25 and have never received an answer.

The Chamber of Commerce should not be establishing a Council based on skin color, race or ethnicity.  Yes, they have a Restaurant Council, a Car Dealers Council, Equestrian Council, and so forth, focusing on a specific segment of business.  But this Council is different.  This only serves to reinforce the cultural divide in San Juan Capistrano.

According to Mr. Bodenhamer, What the Council DOES do is attempt to get people from different backgrounds working and learning together.  The Council is almost entirely focused on two areas: economics and education.  How is that applicable ONLY to the Latino Council?  Arent those goals for the entire Chamber of Commerce?  How does having a separate Latino Council bring our community together?  Is the Latino Council made up of businesses owned by Latinos? Is the Latino Council focused on businesses that choose to serve only Latinos?

Again, what was the impetus for the Latino Council?  Did Latinos or Latino businesses feel they were not welcome or included in the Chambers activities?  Why do they feel they need to have a separate entity from the Chamber, at large?  These are all unanswered questions asked of Mr. Bodenhamer.

The fact that our taxpayer dollars, at least $25,000 per year (and a sweetheart rental in a City owned building at a greatly reduced rent), go to the Chamber gives us the right to ask these questions and we do deserve some answers.  The last thing this community needs is more devisiveness and separation by race, skin color, and ethnicity.

Instead of dividing our community even further, the Chamber of Commerce should strive to serve all businesses and bring us together.

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