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West County Times Cites Letter's Inauthenticity - Chamber Still Has Accuracy Challenges

In case you missed it, the article at the end of this email appeared in today's West County Times. The authenticity of the letter indicating Chamber of Commerce support for Measure T has been cleared up, as has been the Chamber's true position on Measure T.

However, the Chamber of Commerce has its own veracity challenges. In a West County Times article yesterday, Chamber President Judy Morgan was quoted, "To use our letterhead and my name. "... I'm speechless," Morgan said. "I find it upsetting and shocking. I take this personally. That's my signature. My signature says I represent 500 businesses."

The Chamber of Commerce may claim 500 businesses as members, but I can say without equivocation that Morgan was not representing the positions of all 500 businesses when she wrote the anti-Measure T letter. That's as much a misrepresentation as the fake letter.

The Chamber of Commerce has a political action committee, RichPAC, into which donors pay to politicize local issues. Ordinary members of the Chamber of Commerce do not expect to see their general dues used to pay for political positions they do not support.

The Chamber of Commerce has a major problem comingling its political action committee (RichPAC) activities with its general mission of supporting Richmond businesses, many of whom don't buy into the Chamber board's reactionary political philosophy. A fairer approach to the Chamber advocacy would have been to poll its members for their position on Measure T and to have published that poll.

Richmond councilman sorry for forwarding forged e-mail

By Katherine Tam
Staff Writer

Article Launched: 10/25/2008 07:51:24 PM PDT


A Richmond City Councilman said he was "scammed" when he received and disseminated through his e-mail forum a forged letter stating the chamber of commerce had reversed its position on a manufacturers fee ballot measure 10 days before the election.

Councilman Tom Butt wrote in a message on his e-forum Saturday morning that a longtime chamber member sent him the forged letter, which states the chamber now backs Measure T. Butt, who is a Measure T supporter, said he was excited when he saw the letter and decided to circulate it. He apologized for the error.

"Well, it turns out that the letter was a fake," Butt wrote. "Apparently the original letter was emailed to chamber members as an editable Word file, and the chamber member who sent it to me was disgruntled about the chamber's position on Measure T, which appeared to have been written by Chevron."

The forged letter appears on chamber letterhead with president Judy Morgan's name and signature at the bottom.

On Friday afternoon, the chamber sent e-mails to its members stating Butt knew the letter was fake when he sent it out and called for Butt's resignation.

Chamber representatives said they have not changed their position on Measure T and still oppose the initiative.

Morgan said she was inundated with phone calls as a result of the forged letter.

Measure T supporters thanked her while frustrated Measure T opponents wanted to know what changed her mind.