Los Angeles County chambers of commerce seem to have weathered the economic downturn well, with over half reporting budget increases for 2002 from the previous year. Seven chambers reported budget decreases, with the greatest drop 7.7 percent at the Catalina chamber.
Mid Valley, a newcomer to the list, registered the largest increase a 58 percent gain from 2001. Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey and Italy-America both moved up on the list by five and six spots, respectively, due to double-digit percentage gains in their budgets. Beverly Hills crept closer to the longstanding No. 1, Los Angeles, due to a 30 percent growth in budget coupled with a budget decrease for the Los Angeles chamber.
Membership numbers for chambers appearing on the list from last year were stable, with less than a one percent increase.
Next year’s budget numbers are looking favorable, with 10 of the 18 reporting 2003 budgets showing increases, five showing no change and only three showing decreases.
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Operations: Rusty Hammer heads the region’s largest chamber (right).
The perennial leader on this list, as ranked by budgets, has reversed a steep 13-year decline in membership. New President and Chief Executive Rusty Hammer has led an extensive staff restructuring of the chamber’s lobbying and communications departments and has boosted the chamber’s public profile with regular newsletters and more coverage of chamber events and positions.
Membership has reached 1,342, 4 percent greater than last year’s 1,283, although still well off the 2,800 members in 1990. “We have focused on giving our members more value by being more active on public policy issues,” Hammer said.
Next year, Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP Partner George Kieffer assumes the rotating chairman’s post now held by Patty DeDominic, head of PDQ Personnel Services. Kieffer brings an extensive political resume, having led one of the City of L.A.’s charter reform committees and takes the helm and serving as policy advisor to James Hahn during his mayoral campaign last year.