As we get well into 2015, it is always good to look back at the past year’s accomplishments to see what worked and what we need to improve on. For those of you who did not attend the installation banquet, here is what we did last year:
- Maintaining 600 members
- Maintained successful Business to Business Network program
- Continued Speed Networking within the framework of Business to Business
- A member of the Government Review Committee sits on the City and Climate Action Task Force to effectively review the Community Sustainability Plan insuring the best interest of the business.
And WHOLE BUNCH of other stuff that would make this article much too long.
Moving forward, we already have quite a list of things to do. In the political spectrum, there at two issues in particular that we are following. The first one is State Senate Bill 8. SB8 is a plan to overhaul the state tax structure. One of the points in this bill is adding a sales tax to professional services such as accounting, legal, and one near and dear to my heart, architecture. Such a tax would make professionals in California less competitive with firms from other states.
Then there is the never ending saga of ADA lawsuits. Two Assembly bills, 52 and 54, are in the works to curb the frivolous lawsuit trend. Both bills take the “fix it ticket” approach. In other words, if you are cited with an accessibility violation, you will have a chance to fix the problem before a lawsuit can move forward. To see two bills introduced at the same time from both political parties is very encouraging. There is a bit of skepticism since this is far from the first time the “fix it ticket” approach has been tried. The last time was by Senator Dutton with SB 1186. By the time the bill passed it looked nothing like the original legislation, and obviously was ineffective. It is still very encouraging that legislators recognize the need to take action. These things take time, patience, and above all persistence. We’ll keep an close watch on how the current bills are doing and let you all know when we need your support.
At the local level the Chamber is taking a proactive measure to help stop the ADA lawsuits. We are working with the City to include a flier with each business license renewal. The flier will alert business owners to the lawsuit activities, and help set them in the right direction to make themselves less vulnerable.
Last year we had three programs that helped highlight Redlands’ businesses; Cruisin’ Cuisine, the Night Light Run, and Redlands on Ice. This year we will continue all three programs, with the goal to make each of them bigger and better. One of the strengths of these events is that they bring people from surrounding areas into our community. Combined with the advertising opportunities with banners and the local business guide, these events work towards our objective of promoting Redlands.
And last but not least, we have a pilot program called Coffee and Conversation. This is a morning event that will provide an opportunity for conversation with various people of importance and influence in a small group setting. Of course a big attraction to this event is our own Chamber baristas (aka the staff). For the first Coffee and Conversation we are honored to have Chief Garcia and Commander Catren from the Redlands Police Department. Make your reservations for March 25th, 7:30 am, at the Chamber office.
We are well on our way to another productive year.