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Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023

Adelstein Resigns Position at VEDC

Wayne Adelstein has resigned as chairman of the Valley Economic Development Center after serving less than five months in the position. Adelstein is also the CEO of the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, a position which has brought him into conflict with other chambers in the Valley. Chambers are an important constituency of the VEDC, according to VEDC President Roberto Barragan. The United Chambers of Commerce and the Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber in particular have complained about the North Valley chamber’s recruitment tactics. “It has become apparent that Wayne has become a lightning rod,” VEDC president Barragan said. “Rather than having VEDC harmed, he decided to step down.” Adelstein, who gave up his position on the board Nov. 16 in addition to his chairmanship, said he was afraid that friction between the chambers may have harmed the VEDC’s ability to reach out to the business community. “It’s an organization that I’ve had a passion for the 13 or 14 years I’ve been on the board, but the organization is far more important than my being chair or even being on the board,” Adelstein said. Barragan said that neither the VEDC board nor any outside influences forced Adelstein from his position. Barragan said that Adelstein is operating a strong chamber in the North Valley. “Unfortunately, that has put him into conflict with the UCC and the Chatsworth Chamber,” he said. He added that the board’s nominating committee will convene and recommend somebody to the full board, with a successor likely to be named by the end of the year. The North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce was formerly the Northridge/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce. Adelstein said the organization changed its name earlier this year after deciding that since many of its new and existing members represented other parts of the North Valley, the new name better reflected the organization. The name change was followed by complaints from the United Chambers of Commerce regarding the North Valley Chamber’s business practices. Joel Simon, UCC Board Chairman, called the North Valley chamber a “cancer” in the group’s October newsletter. Simon claimed, for example, that North Valley staff members were encouraging potential members to steer clear of the Chatsworth chamber because it was likely to become part of the North Valley Chamber. Adelstein said he addressed these accusations with his staff, and also hired an independent company to conduct a survey of the chamber’s 100 newest members. Adelstein said that 72 out of 100 companies replied, and that each one of them described the office staff as “professional.” Adelstein said he has no way of knowing what those companies who did not join the chamber experienced but said that it’s “pretty doubtful they were treated any differently than those 100 who did join.” The North Valley chamber has officially withdrawn from the UCC, which is an alliance of Valley chambers. Adelstein said the group felt the UCC’s lobbying efforts duplicated the work of groups like VICA. Simon said that since October no further complaints about the North Valley Chamber have reached him. He said that Adelstein had some good ideas on making the Valley chambers stronger, and he regretted that the two groups could not have worked together under a better relationship. Ivy Weiss, CEO of the Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce, said that the other North Valley chambers, excluding the North Valley Regional Chamber, have strengthened their collaborative efforts, and will work more closely to remind their members that “we’re still here.” Editor Jason Schaff contributed to this report

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