Friday, May 25 , 2018, 6:12 am | Fair 50º


Local News

Schneider Cuts Ties with Chamber of Commerce for Santa Barbara’s State of the City Breakfast

The State of the City Breakfast will look a bit different in 2015 after a decision by Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider to terminate a long-standing partnership to host the event with the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce.

After the chamber secured the venue for the 15th annual address, business sponsors and a date of March 20, 2015, Schneider recently informed chamber president Ken Oplinger that the city wanted to handle the event on its own and in a different way.

The mayor told Noozhawk she made the decision in an effort to increase public participation in the State of the City by offering free admission.

Last year, Oplinger said, the breakfast event cost $60 per person and was hosted at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort.

Oplinger said he was trying to get word about the change to the business community this week, since the decision came as a surprise.

The chamber was disappointed with the mayor’s decision, he said, because staff already worked to gather the more than $10,000 in sponsorships and even cleared the 2015 date with the city.

“We were ready to go with the event,” Oplinger said. “We were very excited to be able to do it for the 15th year. She was very clear this wasn’t up for discussion. We’ll be stepping aside.”

Beyond cost, Schneider gave few other reasons for the decision to make the change.

“The State of the City is the largest event the city has to inform the public about current municipal affairs, and there will not be a change in the actual presentation in 2015,” she wrote in an email. “In prior years, participation at the event has been somewhat limited due to the cost associated with attending.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider

"The change the city is making is simply in production, and my goal is to increase participation by making admission free and open to the public.”

Oplinger said the 2014 address drew 25 percent more guests than in past years, with 450 people from the local business community.

“She felt there was confusion between the State of the Chamber and State of the City events because they’re so close together,” he said. “She felt it wasn’t really appropriate for the city to show any favoritism to the chamber over other groups.”

The State of the Chamber is a luncheon hosted about five weeks apart from the State of the City event, and Oplinger called it more of an annual meeting where local businesses are recognized with awards.

Losing sponsorship means missing out on the business community’s biggest chance to have the mayor’s ear and vice versa, he said, noting the chamber might soon announce a new chamber event to take place later next year.

“I think there was a real benefit to the city,” Oplinger said. “I know that her hope is she’ll still be able to do that with business and the rest of community. We’ll be looking at other options. We certainly don’t want the mayor to feel like we’re trying to eclipse her activity.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >