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Chamber members ask for vote

 Some disagree with board’s stance on Measure 18-80
Ty Beaver, Herald and News 11/2/10 
     Some members of the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce want to revise bylaws so the chamber’s executive board cannot take political stances without first polling the general membership.

   At issue is the executive board’s public opposition of Measure 18-80, which asks voters if Klamath County commissioners should stop their involvement in Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and dam removal negotiations.

   Frank Goodson, a chamber member and supporter of the measure, said a number of members were upset when the chamber’s executive board recommended a “no” vote on 18-80.

Monday meeting

   Charles “Chip” Massie said the executive board met Monday with Goodson to discuss the petition and meeting proposal. Massie said a recommendation to move forward was made, but it is a process and it’s not yet clear when a general chamber meeting would be held.

   “Today’s meeting was not going to be a final decision,” he said.  

   Both Massie and Steve Kandra, a chamber member and proponent of the restoration agreement, said the executive board acted within its bounds.

   But Goodson said he and other members think the general membership should have been polled. They plan to ask the executive board to repeal its stance on the measure.

   “Good leaders should   know when to poll the members or not get in the fight,” he said.

   Opponents of the KBRA, which seeks to resolve water issues in the Klamath Basin, sought to have the advisory measure put on the ballot

   A “yes” vote urges commissioners to stop participating in the KBRA while a “no” vote urges them to remain involved.

   The advisory measure is not binding.  

   Vote to oppose

   The chamber’s executive board voted Oct. 12 to publicly oppose 18-80. Massie said a “no” vote represented the best interests of the Klamath County community. He refused to provide the vote margin from the decision.

   The chamber’s membership, which includes about 600 business owners and community members, endorsed the KBRA in February.

   Goodson said Monday   he has submitted a petition with 30 signatures to call a general chamber membership meeting, per the organization’s bylaws.

   The petitioners requested the meeting be Dec. 9 with the purpose of altering the bylaws to prevent the chamber board from taking future positions on ballot measures and initiatives. They also will ask the executive board to revoke its recommendation.

   The next step

   Massie said the next step is to have a meeting of the chamber’s general board and present the issue to it. He said the date recommended for a general chamber membership meeting is doable   but is during the Snowflake Festival, an event the chamber is heavily involved in.

   “The date may change,” Massie said.

   Goodson said his efforts are aimed at saving the chamber, which could lose a large number of its members because of the executive board’s position.

   Kandra, who is an irrigator on the Klamath Reclamation Project and past president of the chamber’s executive board, said he respects the board’s decision. He declined to comment about whether it should have polled its membership before taking a stance.

   “They’re not yielding to what I’ll call the ideology of Frank,” he said, referring to Goodson.

   Goodson said the chamber already has a restriction in its bylaws to prevent the organization from taking a stance   on political candidates.

   If the executive board had supported Measure 18-80, Goodson said he would expect chamber members opposed to the measure to raise concerns.
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