Friday, August 28, 2009

Lake Zurich Chamber Shocked, Shocked at Outrage Over Bean Town Hall

On August 24th, Liberty Watchman wrote to the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce requesting that their meeting with US Rep Melissa Bean be opened to the public:
"Please reconsider opening this meeting to the public. The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce did the same closed meeting with Reps Judy Biggert and Mark Kirk. It resulted in a huge public opinion black eye for the chamber. Please don't make the same mistake."
In an email reply,  LZACC Executive Director Dale Perrin said:
"We initially contacted he Congresswoman’s office 6 months ago to request her participation in this breakfast event. This was before the current health care issue became such a volatile subject. The intent of this breakfast meeting is not to debate the health care issue."
As the Watchman previously reported, the meeting was originally billed as a Town Hall Meeting (what is that if not a place to debate?) and the only legislative subject mentioned was health care.  Here's proof of the original intent from the LZACC's web site.

So why would the Executive Director claim, "The intent of this breakfast meeting is not to debate the health care issue?"

He went on to say:
"Frankly I’m a little confused why the general public seems to think they should have the right to attend a meeting, at not (sic) cost, that an organization they don’t belong to is conducting, just because an elected official has been invited to speak at that meeting. This is the third or fourth time Congresswoman Bean has attended and spoken at one of our Chamber events over the past several years, but the first time anyone outside of the organization has bothered to even take notice."

The Watchman is not asking for a free breakfast.  He's asking the chamber to step up to their unique opportunity to provide a public service.

One thing is clear and one is murky.  It's clear that ol' Bean is not using hers.  She's intentionally dodging a public meeting with her constituents.  The suspicion is that "Blue Dog Democrat" Bean was politically bought off in the health care negotiations in Washington.  Whether that's accurate or not is unknown because she won't sit down in a town hall forum and take questions from the voters.

The murky part is LZACC's role in all this.  Are they intentionally harboring a fugitive from the public as their bald-faced flip-flop on the intent of the meeting and mock shock at the public outrage seem to suggest?  Or are they truly ignorant that they stand at the fulcrum of the most hotly contested public policy issue to hit the 8th district -- and their business owners -- since prohibition?  Are they not aware that the voters are so angry with Bean that 'empty chair' town hall meetings are being scheduled?

The chamber has everything to gain and nothing to lose by opening the breakfast meeting to the public.  If Bean accepts an open meeting, then the chamber has performed a public service.  If she declines the meeting then the chamber has still performed a public service by flipping on the light switch in a room full of political cockroaches.

If the chamber is worried that Bean's rejection of an open meeting might result in their loss of a chamber advocate in Washington, they need not fear.  If she scurries for the baseboards, she only ensures defeat in the next election cycle.  Cozying up to a soon-to-be-defeated Congresswoman won't buy the slightest leverage on Capitol Hill.

Mr Perrin, you can charge for the breakfast or cancel the feed, but please open the meeting!

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