Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cross-Posting Extravaganza!

QEA makes an interesting point about the role of Propel and Progress Oshkosh in the civic marketplace at the moment. The comment thread that follows predictably goes a number of different places, but here's my two cents:

It might be interesting to note to what degree the Chamber's waning influence (if Stew is right in his column) is a function of the new make up of the council as opposed to what has to be considered a lousy sales job by the Chamber.

The sale of the building to the city wasn't a very hot idea to begin with and that seemed to show by the lack of attempt to change people's minds on the issue.

Which brings me another point: there really isn't much of a "Chamber faction" on the council any more and that's largely the leadership of the Chamber's doing. Every time the Chamber's in the news these days it's usually because it wants something from the city and yet it hasn't given anything back in return.

When was the last time a new business opened up shop in Oshkosh through the assistance of the Chamber? Instead of encouraging new businesses to relocate to the city, or helping local folks with the entrepreneurial bug to open their own doors - the Chamber has been content to just work with what it has.

Oddly enough, that's the same problem that's been afflicting City Hall lately: both sides seem content to do the bare minimum, and when that happens expectations are frequently not met -- and when that happens expectations then often get lowered (and thus a vicious cycle).

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Chamber is actually the Mother Teresa of the Oshkosh economy, nursing weak businesses to health and midwifing the next Microsoft at an undisclosed office park ... Maybe it's just a PR problem -- but if it is, that's part of the problem! They need to start selling themselves better.

I get the feeling that everyone on the council is to some extent aware of this, and that the Chamber will have to rouse itself from its laziness if it wants is way in the future.

This might mean it's a good opportunity to for the Chamber to either get new leadership or re-evaluate it's relationship with city government. Now would be a good time to finally develop a partnership with City Hall.


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