Shameful and disappointing tactics

What a muddled mess Chris Cot
é’s relationship with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce has
become.
Cot
é, along with a few chamber members, recently raised valid
concerns about the chamber’s endorsement process.
What a muddled mess Chris Coté’s relationship with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce has become.

Coté, along with a few chamber members, recently raised valid concerns about the chamber’s endorsement process. The Dispatch’s editorial board agreed with Coté that the chamber ought to revise its endorsement process if it truly wants to fulfill its promise to reflect the will of the local business community.

In our editorial urging the chamber to allow the full membership to vote on candidate and issue endorsements, we also noted that the chamber has the right to establish any endorsement procedure it wants. That said, the chamber has to realize that businesses also have the right to decline to pay hefty dues to an organization if they feel it doesn’t truly represent them. If a groundswell of chamber members insist on endorsement reform, the chamber board will be forced to act.

It’s very disappointing and telling, however, that the important topic of endorsement reform has become clouded by Coté’s recent actions that seem designed to humiliate the chamber, not improve it.

Coté recently made a motion to invite a member of the Gilroy Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to join the chamber’s endorsement committee. That motion could not be approved because it would have been a violation of the organization’s by-laws. To make matters worse, Coté did not obtain the approval of the Hispanic Chamber before he made his motion. Perhaps that’s because he knew from the group’s president, Raul Vega, that the Hispanic Chamber’s bylaws prohibit members from making political endorsements. Vega told reporter Serdar Tumgoren that he told Coté two weeks before the ill-advised motion about the Hispanic Chamber’s bylaw restriction.

But that wouldn’t matter to Coté if his goal was not reform but humiliation.

If Coté believes that the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce needs more Hispanic members and leaders, and he is probably right, then he needs to follow the established process to change that.

Instead, he chose to make a motion that he knew would not succeed in accomplishing the reform he claims he seeks, but would accomplish the humiliation that is apparently his goal.

And that’s too bad. No one and no group is perfect. There is undoubtedly room for improvement at the Gilroy Chamber, and fixing the group’s endorsement process is a laudable goal.

It’s too bad that key point has been lost, thanks to Coté’s shameful tactics.

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