On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board expressed its opinion that the Davis Chamber is "irrelevant" and implied irrationality in the selection of Chevron as a finalist in this year's Business of the Year. (Our View: Davis Chamber loves Chevron)
We value our relationship with the Standard-Examiner, but we respectfully choose to disagree on this point. We think that the Standard-Examiner would not have leveled this criticism at the Chamber if the Editorial Board members understood the process which is in place and the seriousness with which we approach this responsibility. The selection process included a group of independent Davis County businessmen and women, none of whom could be considered irrational, who reviewed all the nominees for this award and determined that Chevron deserved to be considered.
From my career in banking, I learned that one of the hallmarks of an excellent business is how well they respond to adversity. Chevron's response to its recent challenges was immediate and emphatic. Its remediation of the state parks exceeded what was required. In fact, now the state parks system is trying to determine how to spend the excess funds contributed by Chevron.
Concerning environmental problems in Utah, studies show that the overwhelming source of air pollution (67 percent) is automobile traffic, Utahns driving SUVs with only one passenger instead of using public transit options. The petroleum industry is a vital component of our local and national economy. Petroleum products are found in the clothes we wear, the computers on our desks, and the ink used to print this newspaper. The fact remains that Chevron is a major employer in Utah and has demonstrated its commitment to be good corporate neighbors repeatedly for years. For example, it was Chevron who provided the final link in our Rail Trail that linked Davis County to the Jordan River Parkway for bicyclists.
As we do with everyone, we invite the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board to get involved in the Davis Chamber. If any business thinks the Chamber is "irrelevant," I encourage it to come get involved and let its voice be heard at the table. Our purpose is to gather the business community, discuss pertinent business issues, develop a consensus, take a position, and help our elected representatives come to solutions for our common problems that will make a difference.
We are working on education, water development, tourism, economic development, energy, immigration, military issues, health care, transportation, and more. I do not consider any of those issues to be "irrelevant," so once more I invite all citizens who want to make a difference -- including the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board -- to come join us as we shape Utah's future.
Jim Smith is the president/CEO of the Davis Chamber of Commerce.