chamber role

Malibu small and medium size businesses lost a true advocate when Rebekah Evans was asked to leave as head of the Malibu Chamber. I worked with Rebekah on a number of Chamber projects, and her heart was with all the small businesses in the Chamber. This city is small business, but the Chamber board is made up of developers and real estate people as well as Pepperdine and HRL execs. Why? They don’t reflect the heart and soul of Malibu.

I was asked by Rebekah to put in an application for the new 2012 board, which I did. Soon after, she took me to lunch and suggested I withdraw because I was too “outspoken” (not her words but someone else’s). I knew what she meant, and left my application in anyway because I have served on many boards, including Chamber’s, and thought that I was definitely qualified to be on this board especially since I had volunteered so many hours this past year.

When I saw who got the three vacant spots on the board, I was flabbergasted. With all the talk about catering to small business, these new board members are part of national chains. We have so many other businesses that are reflective of the heart and soul of Malibu, but the board does not reflect this at all.

Rebekah took a beating at the local meeting that was hosted at City Hall, but those people who were hard on her did not realize where her heart was. It was very devastating to Rebekah to be singled out when she cared so much. Anger should have been directed at Don Schmitz and Roger Gronwald who are the top people on the board and don’t give a hoot about small business despite all their lip flapping. Rebekah, you can be assured the small businesses in the Chamber appreciated your work even though the press release announcing your dismissal, I mean resignation, did not have the class to thank you for your service. There is no reason to renew membership when the big guns have all the say.

Susan Tellem