Nov 16, 201208:44 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Madison Chamber lands high draft pick in Zach Brandon
(page 1 of 2)
The selection of Zach Brandon as president of the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce is great news.
Brandon can change the dynamic of a city that has for the better part of 40 years regarded capitalism as the devil’s spawn, that has punished entrepreneurs with ever-shifting demands, made them jump over newly invented hoops, and given unelected neighborhood associations effective veto power over development.
The Madison culture, at its base overtly socialist, does not understand business or how wealth is created. Entire neighborhoods spit out the word “developer” as an epithet. The political discourse is dominated by a noisy few who wail about a scruffy few substance abusers who choose homelessness as a lifestyle. Few appreciate that the public sector, especially state government, is no longer a growth industry. Madison’s future is high-tech private enterprise.
Zach Brandon is an ideal choice to lead the Madison Chamber.
Zach Brandon can change that dynamic. It says everything that Zach Brandon will share a microphone with the Divine Miss Vicki next Monday on her WIBA 1310 AM afternoon radio program. It is the highest-rated talk program in greater Madison. You go where the audience lives. That tells me that the man will be a major player both behind the scenes, as was his predecessor, and in front of the cameras.
Zach Brandon will take business’s fight to the streets of Madison.
This, then, should be high on his to-do list: Educate the people of Madison on how business improves their lives, is necessary for our well-being, how business rises and falls on how well it serves its customers. That is Task #1.
The new Madison Chamber president must carry a large portfolio. Schools, taxes, the environment, law and order, housing, regulation, transportation – all are within his purview. Everyone with ears to hear and eyes to see must have no doubt about where the chamber stands on all of those issues.
In other words, Madison should hear more from Zach Brandon than from John Matthews of the teachers union – and fear him more.
But he will also need to rally his own membership. That is Task #2. Too many of Madison’s businesspeople have Stockholm Syndrome, an identification with their captors, a willingness to take orders rather than give them.
I took heart from the comment Zach made upon his anointment, as quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal: that he will “demand a seat at the table.” Not request, but demand.
He must also make clear that an injury to one business is an injury to all. A threatened boycott of one business – think of the Siege of the Capitol – because some of its executives may have contributed to a particular political campaign should be met by a unanimous and coordinated show of support by every other business and especially from its more Lefty owners.
Task #3 is to require the chamber’s member organizations to recruit among their employees candidates for public office. Quick, name the businesspeople on the 20-member Madison Common Council. (I can’t do it either.) Or the 37-member Dane County Board (outside of a couple bar owners from suburban Madison, who are among the dwindling number of conservatives). Better candidates make for better government.