Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mystery Solved

We are grateful for the editorial in today's Northwest Arkansas Times at long last explaining what the Fayetteville Chamber of Cowbirds actually does. In pronouncing good riddance upon the staff of Fayetteville Downtown Partners, the editor says, "From our perspective, Fayetteville Downtown Partners did little more than play up everything that makes Fayetteville great. Sorry, but we’ve already got a Chamber of Commerce. Does the city need another?"

So there you have it. The Chamber's raison d'etre is to "play up everything that makes Fayetteville great." Not to bitch about the sign ordinance, not to front for developers trying to kill impact fees, not to try to move the high school to the boonies, not to demand that residents subsidize water and sewer rates for big corporations and their out-of-state stockholders, but to play up everything that makes Fayetteville great. So, what about the boosterism brigade at the Advertising and Promotion Commission, the Convention & Visitors' Bureau, and the Fayetteville Economic Development Council? We've already got a Chamber of Cowbirds. Does the city need these?

We do agree with the editorial that "What Fayetteville needs these days is less talk, more results — specifically, businesses that don’t go belly up with the rapidity of a domino effect." For example, instead of lamenting the plight of shady or bankrupt developers, the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce held a Small Business Conference this weekend that focused on providing 275 local small-businesses the resources and relationships they need to be successful in the Northwest Arkansas economy. One half of the nation’s gross domestic product and three quarters of new jobs come from small businesses, so they formed an advisory group of small-business owners, which make up about 70% of the chamber’s membership.

If the Fayetteville Chamber mooched into fewer city photo ops and the FEDC spent less time secretly trying to seduce phantom smokestacks, maybe they could pay some attention to the small businesses who actually create jobs in our community.

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