Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chambers of Commerce & Water

I am a strong advocate of business chambers and have been a member of most of the local chambers at one time or another and still serve on the board of the North Sacramento Chamber, and chair their Parkway Task Force.

It is through the chambers of commerce, locally, statewide, and nationally, that the interests of business are best represented, especially the small local business, and the emergence of good public policy is enhanced.

This year one such was recognized for their work with water issues, as reported in this news release from the California Chamber of Commerce.

An excerpt.

“(November 13, 2009) Dave Penry and his company, Pacific Landscapes Inc., rely on water. “It affects my business; without water we don’t have anything,” Penry said.

“This reliance pushes Penry, a 2009 recipient of the California Chamber of Commerce Small Business Advocate of the Year Award, to work at the local and state levels on water policy issues in the Northern California communities his company and chamber serve.

“Pacific Landscapes, a 75-employee operation headquartered in Sebastopol with a satellite office in Napa, serves Napa, Solano, Marin and Sonoma counties.

"The company provides high-end commercial landscaping, and Penry has spent the last several years establishing himself in the community and throughout the state as a leader in the water arena.

“I’d rather be at the table than on the menu,” Penry said.

"With water issues front and center in California politics, Penry works as a diligent water advocate through the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce Environmental Resources Committee and Advocacy Council.

"Water Advocacy

"Penry, along with co-owner Darryl Orr, opened Pacific Landscapes Inc. in 2000 and soon joined the Santa Rosa Chamber. After attending a few chamber breakfast meetings, Penry asked if he could get involved in the chamber’s Environmental Resources Committee.

“I saw the water issue coming down the road and wanted to be involved in the political side of the community,” he said.

“In 2007, in coordination with the Environmental Resources Committee, he helped put on a water summit that included the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Sonoma County Water Agency.

“Over the last few years, Penry and other businesses in the Sonoma County area struggled against a summer ban on turf irrigation by the SWRCB.

“The reasoning behind the ban: three endangered fish species in the Russian River. This in turn would affect the amount of water being released out of Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma.

“In April 2009, the SWRCB allowed parks and their facilities to use the irrigation, but all other commercial turf was restricted from the water.

“Penry moved into action by joining a business alliance group with several business park owners and contacted a fellow representative in water from the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) of which he is a longtime member and a past president.

“The alliance began working on an industry response.

“The entire group, along with a water rights attorney, went to the SWRCB and persuaded the board to loosen the regulations. Penry and his associates marked it as a victory.”