LOS SANTOS (WZ) — Last week on Saturday the first meeting of the Business Owners Alliance occurred, with Jacob Wheeler outlining his ideas for change to the Chamber of Commerce. State Representatives were also in attendance.
This meeting, attended by about 25-30 people, proved to be popular with multiple ideas being listed. Police were in attendance and the event was only slightly disorderly, with graffiti plastered on the Chamber of Commerce signs.
Jacob Wheeler, the organizer of this alliance meeting, spoke about changing the way the Chamber of Commerce operates. From making the chamber of commerce a non-government agency, to making it an ‘association or network of business people.’ They questioned how unbiased the chamber might be with people being accepted into the chamber and the application process for businesses without owners.
Representative Becks Lawson was also in attendance and let her constituents know that she is around to answer any questions they may have or to listen to their concerns about the business processes. She also spoke about the initial steps to the event she hosted on Thursday of this week.
We asked the Chamber of Commerce for comment however they have yet to respond.
Initial Speech by Jacob Wheeler
“So first, I’d like to start by taking a moment to thank each and every one of you for being here. Whether you’re a business owner, an employee of a business or a prospective business owner or even just a concerned citizen, your presence and participation is not unnoticed or not appreciated. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Jacob Wheeler, CEO, Merriweather Security Services. A realtor and a business consultant.
I hope to be able to represent the business community today moving forward. In my time, my time here in Los Santos, I’ve spoken to and worked with a number of you licensed business owners and regardless of the type of business or industry you work in, there’s one common thread here, and that’s our general sense of frustration and absolute distrust in the, quote unquote, Chamber of Commerce. I ask you guys here today, do you know what the definition of a chamber actually is?
A Chamber of Commerce is supposed to be an association or network of business people designed to promote and protect the interests of its members. All of you here today that own a business or want to own a business, you, we are members of the Chamber of Commerce. At least we should be a Chamber of Commerce. It is not supposed to be a government organization or government body at all. A Chamber of Commerce does not write laws unchecked without proper legislation or involvement from the people that we actually elected to our government.
All members of the chamber are supposed to be voted in by the business community. The people, they are absolutely meant to represent. You do not simply apply to become a board member of the chamber and you are not just chosen out of favoritism or who, you know, you are elected and as an elected representative of the business community, you do, in fact, answer to us the business owners.
It is not the role or right of a chamber to restrict how many businesses an entrepreneur may own or start. And they have carte blanche ability to decide the cost of fees associated with running a business.
I’ll just mention this, but speaking of fees, it is as much to transfer the ownership of a business as it is in a voluntary manslaughter. If I walked into this crowd right now and bludgeoned one of you to death, I would be charged as much as if I wanted to hand you the ownership of my business. […] if the Chamber of Commerce wants to increase public trust, I highly recommend that they involve the business owners more instead of dictating the laws and regulations that control us from their ivory tower here, and I’m also not really sure what the chamber expects of us, the public, when the entire bid process that was done for handlebars was an absolute complete botched job, and they basically handed the license to a business owner, a business owner that members of the chamber have a personal and business relationship with.
One of the members of the Chamber of Commerce sits on the board of Uncage Motorsports. This is no slight against the business owner that actually won the bid. It’s really just shining a light on the bias that comes to this and the inconsistencies in their policies and behaviors. And I fully expect, as I mentioned earlier, the same exact outcome to happen with the current bid process right now and ‘smoke on the water.’ I guarantee you here that anyone who has interviewed for this, or applied for this business, has not been interviewed or asked to be brought in for an interview, and that it’s going to be handed to Giles Clarke and that is currently a monopoly in the state. There is no other licensed dispensary in the city, and there’s currently no intention or plan to give out another license for a dispensary.
I highly urge the business owners of the state and everyone, for that matter, to actually go and look at the businesses that the Chamber of Commerce members are affiliated with and see the history of licenses and premises that they handed out and tell me that there is a bias or corruption.
At the state representative debate, I was asked, ‘should you not win the election, what would you do after the fact?’ this today is exactly what I intend to do. If you have a concern with our current government or the policy set in place by the Chamber of Commerce, bring them to me. I want to hear from each and every one of you your concerns, comments, questions, suggestions, because I’m currently working on two different bill proposals. One of them was brought to me by another concerned business owner and one on my own. And I intend to bring these proposals to the people that we actually elected to represent us with the intention of hopefully bringing transparency in this government that we need, and also to the chamber and to the chamber directly.
Yes, I’ve listed grievances today, issues, concerns, but I also do want to at least extend a thank you, because they have done some good work here. In a short time, they’ve been able to give us all licenses and premises and the chance to run our business out of those premises. However, a lot of mistakes have been made, the trust has been broken and it’s absolutely time for change. Thank you all. “
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