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Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023

Northridge Says It’s Leaving Valley Chamber Alliance

Northridge Says It’s Leaving Valley Chamber Alliance By SLAV KANDYBA Staff Reporter The Northridge/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce is pulling out of the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, citing ineffectiveness, cost and a duplication of services provided by other groups, according to Northridge chamber officials. Northridge, one of the founding members of UCC, sent a letter on April 21 to Joel Simon, UCC chairman, expressing dissatisfaction with the organization. Simon acknowledged receipt of the letter but said it didn’t specifically mention Northridge was leaving UCC. “The letter doesn’t say they pulled out,” he said. On May 6, Simon sent a letter of reply to Northridge, urging that chamber to “renew an active involvement with the UCC.” He further attacked the organization for quitting and defended UCC’s legislative program as being “influential in local, state and federal” levels. “At a time when we are making genuine reform and progress toward goals you support, you are abandoning the process,” Simon wrote in the letter. UCC is an association of member chambers of commerce with affiliates from other groups, including the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, represented on its board, Simon said. Wayne Adelstein, president and CEO of the Northridge chamber, which has 431 registered member businesses, confirmed the organization’s intentions to leave UCC. He called UCC’s services “duplicative,” adding “we’re getting our information from other sources.” One of those sources, he said, is the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), which wields power through its lobbying efforts. “We get all our letters from other chambers, tend to get them quicker and more of them,” Adelstein said. Northridge’s 24-person board of directors mulled the pullout for some time as it evaluated the chamber’s memberships with not just UCC, but also VICA and the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, Adelstein said. At the end, it decided UCC wasn’t up to par, mainly because it hasn’t increased general membership at Valley-area chambers. Valley-wide, three to five percent of some 90,000 businesses belong to a chamber, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce enlists 12 to 13 percent, Adelstein said. Bill Powers, a Chatsworth attorney who chaired UCC before Joel Simon, said Northridge’s decision was based on money. “It’s a financial consideration,” Powers said. “Their dues are a few hundred dollars a year.” He refuted the idea that VICA is competition and defined the purpose of UCC. “The UCC is not an umbrella organization, it’s a trade association of chambers of commerce,” Powers said. “VICA is directly competing with those chambers, our mission is to advance the mission of the chambers (and) we’ve done that.” Powers also said that Adelstein has suggested ideas to improve UCC but has not followed up with him personally. Northridge’s departure leaves UCC with 23 member chambers out of 25 total in the Valley. The Mid Valley Chamber of Commerce left in 2001.

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