The chamber’s choice

The Chico Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for City Council last week. Nobody was surprised by them. The chamber almost always endorses business people over, say, teachers, government employees and health care workers, even when those business people have little or no experience in city government, as is the case with one of its endorsees, Michael Dailey. The youthful BofA loan officer is as green as a Granny Smith when it comes to civic involvement.

Being a business person is evidently more important to the chamber than actually working to improve Chico’s business climate, or its Board of Directors would have endorsed Mayor Scott Gruendl. The guy’s as pro-business as they come, pushing to develop a city venture capital program and even coming around to support a downtown parking structure—not an easy thing for a so-called progressive to do.

Chamber President Jim Goodwin said Dailey and the other endorsees (Dan Herbert and Mark Sorensen) “are all business leaders, and we are a business association.” We understand the motivation to protect one’s own interests, but bestowing “business leader” status on a 28-year-old in the formative stages of his career seems an overstatement. Gruendl, in comparison, is a proven leader, even if he doesn’t have that business label.