Tempe Chamber Of Commerce

Your Success Is Our Business

Publicly Financed Elections are a Bad Idea

Posted on | August 26, 2015 | No Comments

by Mary Ann Miller, President/CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce

Mary Ann Miller

Mary Ann Miller


The Tempe City Council is looking at a proposal to place on the ballot a Charter Amendment that would allow for the creation a publicly financed election system in Tempe.

This is a bad idea.

Here are just a few reasons to oppose this:


  • Publicly financed elections neither increase transparency nor curb the costs of campaigns. In fact, a 2010 GAO report showed that “…in each election cycle new strategies have emerged to leverage aspects of the public financing program by candidates and their supporters to gain advantage over their opponents.” Additionally, “(t)he trend of rising independent expenditures as an alternative to contributing directly to candidates is clear….”
  • The implementation of publicly financed elections at the State level has not decreased political acrimony nor increased nonpartisanship. More than a dozen years after its implementation, individuals are still reporting they feel disenfranchised from the process.
  • The proposed fee increase places an additional burden on people who are least likely able to bear it.
  • Tempe has a number of deferred capital improvement and maintenance projects. Taxpayer dollars are better spent on parks, roads and other city infrastructure.
  • Tempe’s campaign finance system already requires detailed reporting of donors and donations.
  • The program underestimates the cost and liability of an Independent Oversight Committee charged with “…making decisions, including conclusions of law…” as per the Program Overview.
  • The Independent Oversight Committee would have little oversight itself, with the Committee members choosing their own successors.

The ballot language itself is vague, and a public meeting on August 24 presented more evidence as to why this should not move forward. Even those in support of the program were confused and had concerns about how the program would be structured: Is the funding method appropriate? Is the funding level sufficient? Should it be set up on a first-come basis, or should it be a shared pool of money?

City staff reiterated that the program is not finalized. Arguments in favor of the system reference increased reporting and a reaction to the raising of contribution limits by the Legislature. To my knowledge, no has looked at alternatives at a local level.

At the August 6 City Council meeting, supporters noted their intent is to place this on the ballot, then design an ordinance that would get to the details of the system financing, amounts, oversight and other issues.

In other words, Tempe is being asked to put something on the ballot that is not fully formed. Just as city bond issues are not put on the ballot without determining an appropriate funding level and having specific plans for that funding, publicly funded elections should not even be considered for the ballot without a thoroughly vetted and well-thought-out plan.

This issue will be discussed at the September 3 Council meeting. The Tempe Chamber opposes publicly financed elections and we ask that join us by expressing your opposition to the Council. You can reach Mayor Mitchell and the entire Council by email all at once using councilcommunicator@tempe.gov.


(You can read the entire GAO report at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10390.pdf )


New to Arizona? Don’t be a Victim of the Scorching Summer

Posted on | August 14, 2015 | No Comments

by Sean Donovan, VP of Media & Program Development, Tempe Chamber of Commerce

I’ve lived in Arizona long enough to know that our summer weather demands respect and a whole new set of behaviors.

It's a dry heat. Kind of like your oven.

It’s a dry heat. Kind of like your oven.

But if you’re new to town or starting the school year at Arizona State University, you might not realize the risks that the heat brings with it.

I’ve seen more than a few students and their parents overexert themselves unpacking and moving in, and suffering from the subsequent effects of heat exhaustion. There are some practical things you need to do to make sure you’re as safe and comfortable as you can be.

The Outdoors

Limit your time outside. Take frequent breaks in an air conditioned room. Stay in the shade as much as possible. Take your time. There’s no need to rush here in the west.

Your Attire

Wear sunscreen. Wear a hat. Wear good sunglasses with UV protection. See the people carrying umbrellas? They’re not worried about rain but about keeping the direct sunlight off them. One bad sunburn and you won’t care how you look carrying an umbrella either.


Drink plenty and often. Don’t forget electrolytes. Gatorade or Powerade are good options. Personally, I will drink 16 oz. of Powerade to every 64 oz. of water. In the heat of the summer it’s not unusual for me drink a gallon of water during the day.

Your Vehicle

Locals know to not only park in the shade, but to park where the shade is going to be when you head back to your car. Use a sun shade for your front windshield. Items left in the car will melt. The seatbelt buckle will burn you.

Signs of Trouble

If you experience any of these symptoms, STOP what you’re doing and get somewhere cool and shaded.

  • Heavy sweating
  • Feeling faint, dizzy or weak
  • Headache
  • Unusually rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting

What are the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion? Here’s a great overview from WebMD.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can kill you. Again, WedMD provides a look at the symptoms and treatments.

Arizona is an incredible and amazing state. The outdoors are a big part of what makes it so special. You can enjoy it while being safe and protecting yourself at the same time. If you’re new to town, please use the tips in this article. We’re also here to help with suggestions for dining, lodging, entertainment and every other need you have.

Three Principles of Business I Learned from Playing Sports

Posted on | July 29, 2015 | No Comments

by Tim Ronan, Chairman of the Board

Tim Ronan

Tim Ronan

I thought it would be fun to compare my twenty four years of playing and coaching rugby to show that I believe that rugby was part of the learning basis for being involved in business and the starting of businesses.

As a high school baseball coach, I have also tried to teach the players how baseball is also a microcosm of the real world benefits regarding the attitude of the business person and their performance.  So rather than a focus on winning or losing, the true benefit has been to be calm, focused and keep up the work.

Here is how sports helped me in business:

  1. The value of a coach/leader who is willing to shake things up and try something new is priceless.

It is always valuable to have a team coach that observes the details of actions and inactions and is willing to shake things up and make changes for improvement of the team performance and not necessarily just one player’s performance.

It has been the same for business leaders.  If they care more about team’s performance than their own personal success, the team does improve and move forward.  Almost as important, is when those parties enforce requirements and discipline the team members for failing on their requirement to exercise the required procedures and team work. Just be sure to emphasize that it’s about enjoying the performance and that they help make the organization thrive.

  1. Communication with your team is critical.

For a team to be successful, it is crucial for the coach and players to know the game plan; for the defense to know the offensive strategy so that they can offer the right support. In the business world, leaders and team members need to understand the details and methods that each other are operating on in order to support one another. How many times have you been in situations where sales over promises and fulfillment under delivers? It’s frustrating and unproductive…and it costs money. So communication is greatly important, but needs to be accurate and specific, not necessarily lengthy.

  1. Just because you have a win, doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels.

Enforcing winning is not as important as enforcing consistent training and conditioning.  Even more important with regard to that, is to congratulate players on a win, but then tell them that while this game is over, and we have to keep working and prepare for the next one.  Even if there is a loss simply because the other team was truly better, it is still the performance as instructed that is critical, not the win or loss.

Great…but what does all that mean for you as a Chamber member?

One way that members can work on these areas is through the education provided in our Lunchtime Learning Forum seminars. This fall, members will have an opportunity to learn about strategic planning, branding and telling their company’s story. Our networking mixers and leads groups are good opportunities to connect with each other, no doubt.  But as we increase the information regarding businesses through seminar meetings, I believe we can help growth and profitability to our members.  After attending these workshops, please reach out to me with your top action items and share your testimonials of how you have improved your business.

I have no doubt that attendance at a seminar meeting will have some side networking for members as well!

Arizona Football Means Business

Posted on | July 27, 2015 | No Comments

By Sean Donovan, VP of Media & Program Development, Tempe Chamber of Commerce

Football season is on its way and with it comes a welcome influx of fans to the stadiums, hotels and amenities in the Valley.

Sun Devil Kickoff!

Sun Devil Kickoff!

Local businesses are busily getting ready for Cardinals and Sun Devils football supporters. They know that loyalty to the red & white and maroon & gold translates to a lot of green.

How much money are we talking?

A recent study completed by the Seidman Research Institute, W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, determined that the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX, the Pro Bowl and related events resulted in a gross economic impact* of $719.4 million locally. That’s almost a 31% increase over Super Bowl XLII which also took place in Arizona.

While the impact of regular season Cardinals games isn’t near that mark, it’s still a significant source of revenue as both locals and fans from out of state spend their money on tickets, food, beverages and the game day experience.

Locally, Arizona State University fans will enjoy some exciting new enhancements to Sun Devil Stadium this year. By the September 12 home opener game, the first stage of its $256 million renovation will be complete and ready for the new season. An improved student section, better WiFi, doubled restroom sizes and improved concessions are just the start of the improvements fans will see.

In Tempe, each ASU home game brings an additional $10 million into the local economy from spending by visitors and residents alike on hotel rooms, dining and entertainment.

Clearly, football is good business for Arizona. The community recognizes this and the Tempe Chamber of Commerce agrees. We continually work with local businesses to ensure that they enjoy a positive economic climate and a share of the revenue.

And when we get the chance, we like to kick back and celebrate with other fans. That’s why on August 20 we’re pleased to host the 15th Annual Sun Devil Football Kickoff Luncheon as we rally the faithful.

“Voice of the Sun Devils” Tim Healey and Rose Bowl-winning QB Jeff Van Raaphorst will interview Head Coach Todd Graham and team stars. Guests will meet Sparky and get the chance to have a player or coach sit at their table during lunch. We invite you to attend and be a part of this energetic and fun afternoon.

We’re confident it’s going to be a winning season, not only for the Sun Devils, but for the entire city of Tempe as well.


* The gross economic impact is defined as the direct amount of spending by visitors and organizations arriving from outside the state to participate in or create events directly related to the Super Bowl, as well as the indirect and induced impacts of those expenditures. Resident and local business spending was not included.


Tempe’s District Superintendents Discuss The Future of Tempe’s Schools

Posted on | July 17, 2015 | No Comments

The city’s three school district superintendents present “The Future of Tempe’s Schools” as they talk about plans, hopes and challenges for the 2015-2016 school year.

Dr. Ken Baca from Tempe Union High School District, Christine Busch from Tempe Elementary and Dr. David Schauer from Kyrene will comprise the panel. The event is open to the public and the panel will take questions from the audience.

The event is moderated by Nicole Spracale, CEO of Nicole Spracale Consulting.

Dr. Ken Baca

Dr. Ken Baca

Dr. Kenneth Baca has been Superintendent of the Tempe Union High School District since 2011. He was formerly the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services for the Phoenix Elementary School District and served Phoenix Elementary as Director of Assessment, Evaluation and Externally Funded Programs and as principal of the historic Kenilworth School.

Prior to relocating to Arizona from New Mexico, Dr. Baca was the Region Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent with the Albuquerque Public School. He provided oversight for the implementation of the Higher Education Initiative Agreement between the Albuquerque Public Schools and the Office of Civil Rights to reduce the high school drop-out rate, increase the high school graduation rate and improve student academic achievement.

Dr. Baca holds degrees from the University of New Mexico including a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Education, and Education Specialist Certificate in Educational Administration. He received is Doctor of Education degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University.

Christine Busch

Christine Busch

Christine Busch has lived in Tempe since 1964 and has been in public education for 38 years. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology and Elementary Education from Western Michigan University, her Master’s degree in Special Education from Arizona State University and was a member of the ASU Delta IV doctoral cohort in Educational Leadership.

She was a Speech and Language Pathologist and teacher in Kindergarten through 12th grades for 20 years in Michigan, Nevada and in Tempe Elementary. Prior to being appointed as the Superintendent in 2011, she also served TD3 in the capacity of Assistant Principal, Principal, Executive Director of Human Resources and Associate Superintendent.

Currently in her 28th year in Tempe Elementary and fourth year as Superintendent, her mission is to inspire excellence in children and adults, and to collaborate with community partners to ensure that all children have the tools they need for lifelong learning and to be successful members of our global society.


Dr. David Schauer

Dr. David Schauer

Dr. David Schauer is the Superintendent of the Kyrene Elementary School District.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Illinois State University and a Doctorate degree in Education from National Louis University in Illinois.

His school district serves over 17,000 students and has 2,000 employees. Under his leadership, the it has been successful in maintaining financial stability at a time of reduced school funding without compromising academic excellence.  He has been a strong advocate for early childhood education and the creation of vibrant and innovative learning environments that will prepare students for the jobs and careers of the future.

Dr. Schauer is committed to establishing and maintaining strong partnerships between the school district and the Tempe community.  He has served on the Tempe Communities to Schools Advisory Board and the Tempe/Kyrene Business Advisory Council.

Business Excellence Awards Committee Names Kristine Kassel 2015-2016 Chair

Posted on | July 15, 2015 | No Comments

Kristine Kassel

Kristine Kassel

Kristine Kassel has been named the new Chair of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards Committee. Kristine is the founder and owner of Benefits by Design. The committee identifies and recognizes companies who exemplify excellence in business development, employee development, community involvement and customer service



  • Identify best practices that organizations can use as a barometer of their success.
  • Create appropriate categories for recognition.
  • Solicit and review nominations.
  • Select and honor the Business Excellence Awards recipients at an annual celebration.

You can meet Kristine and our committee chairs and Tempe Chamber Board of Directors at the Annual Luncheon on July 16. Ted Simons of PBS 8 will deliver the keynote speech.

To learn more about joining this or our other committees, visit our committee page or email info@tempechamber.org.

Tempe Chamber Military Affairs Committee Names Todd LaBarbera 2015-2016 Chair

Posted on | July 15, 2015 | No Comments

Military Affairs Committee

Military Affairs Committee

Todd LaBarbera has been named the new Chair of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee. Todd is a Field Service Representative with Boeing Global Support Systems. The committee promotes good fellowship and mutual understanding for and with the United States military communities. The committee is open to the public and past or current military service is not a requirement to join.


  • Facilitate a favorable and mutually rewarding relationship between the business community and military units in the Valley.
  • Host a monthly luncheon where an outstanding member of the Guard or Reserve receives an award for his or her service.
  • Host an annual trip that is open to public.
  • Increase membership and committee attendance at Tempe Chamber mixers
  • Honor and recognize local high school and college students in the ROTC programs.

You can meet our committee chairs and Tempe Chamber Board of Directors at the Annual Luncheon on July 16. Ted Simons of PBS 8 will deliver the keynote speech.

To learn more about joining this or our other committees, visit our committee page or email info@tempechamber.org.


Tempe Chamber Golf Committee Names Jeff Heisner 2015-2016 Chair

Posted on | July 14, 2015 | No Comments

Jeff Heisner

Jeff Heisner

Jeff Heisner has been named the new Chair of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s Golf Committee. Jeff is a co-owner and coach at BottomLine Media Coaching. The committee organizes the Tempe Chamber’s annual golf tournament in order to create an exciting, dynamic and valuable event for participants.


  • Provide a valuable and enjoyable daylong event complete with networking, a live auction, prizes and an awards ceremony. The tournament centers around a full round of golf structured to provide the most rewarding return on investment.
  • Ensure a positive experience for a full field of golfers.

You can meet Jeff, the other committee chairs and Tempe Chamber Board of Directors at the Annual Luncheon on July 16. Ted Simons of PBS 8 will deliver the keynote speech.

To learn more about joining this or our other committees, visit our committee page or email info@tempechamber.org.

Tempe Leadership Names Janeen Rohovit 2015-2016 President

Posted on | July 13, 2015 | No Comments

Janeen Rohovit

Janeen Rohovit

Janeen Rohovit has been named the new President of Tempe Leadership, a program of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. Janeen works in State and Local Government Relations with SRP. Tempe Leadership trains emerging leaders and fosters their leadership skills through education and experiences with exposure and service to the community of Tempe and beyond.


∙ Facilitate involvement in the Tempe community to sustain qualified citizens, employees and leaders to keep our community strong and vibrant.

∙ Educate Tempe citizens on programs, services, businesses and government agencies available in the Tempe community.

∙ Develop long-lasting service to the Tempe community through yearly projects benefiting the citizens and visitors of Tempe.

You can meet Janeen, the other committee chairs and Tempe Chamber Board of Directors at the Annual Luncheon on July 16. Ted Simons of PBS 8 will deliver the keynote speech.

To learn more about joining this or our other committees, visit our committee page or email info@tempechamber.org.


Government Relations and Transportation Committee Names 2015-2016 Chair

Posted on | July 13, 2015 | No Comments

Nigel Brooks

Nigel Brooks

Nigel Brooks is returning as the Chair of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s Government Relations and Transportation Committee. He is the principal at TechKnow Partners. The Government Relations and Transportation Committee makes a bottom-line impact for members by advocating for a favorable business climate through interactive public policy engagement, and providing ongoing representation and information in government at local, state and federal levels.


  • Analyze and develop a public policy agenda on issues that affect members of the business community based on member input.
  • Lobby elected and appointed officials on Chamber issues.
  • Maintain and enhance the Chamber’s presence at the Arizona Legislature.
  • Host issue forums and candidate debates throughout the year with City, County, State, and Federal elected and appointed officials.
  • Meet with and develop relationships with Tempe congressional representatives.
  • Work with other business organizations on common priority issues.
  • Disseminate information through the Monday Morning Update and the Business and Government section of The Business Advocate.
  • As needed, utilize an ad-hoc local government subcommittee to research local issues and/or create local position statements.
  • Represent the business community as an advocate for multi-modal transportation.
  • Working collaboratively with other chambers in the East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance

You can meet Niel, the other committee chairs and Tempe Chamber Board of Directors at the Annual Luncheon on July 16. Ted Simons of PBS 8 will deliver the keynote speech.

To learn more about joining this or our other committees, visit our committee page or email info@tempechamber.org.

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