The Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the city of Modesto have been prominently featured by The Bee in recent days for the upcoming State of the City event sponsored by the chamber.
In the fall, the chamber held a State of the Region event. Four mayors from Stanislaus County's largest communities participated. Eighty percent of attendees completed an evaluation and offered topics for future events. The No. 1 suggestion was to hear from the mayor on the state of the city. Consequently, the chamber invited Mayor Jim Ridenour to speak at a chamber-sponsored event about the state of the city. The invitation was accepted.
Modesto's State of the City address over the years has been held at various locations. Unfortunately, attendance usually has been low with very few citizens present. The chamber offered to gather the business community and anyone else interested in attending to hear from Ridenour, so the city's priorities could be presented to hundreds of people.
Most other chambers of commerce throughout our region, including Turlock, Oakdale, Stockton, Lodi and Fresno, invite their mayor to deliver the State of the City at an event similar to the Modesto Chamber's luncheon. The Bee this week reported on Turlock Mayor John Lazar's State of the City speech to a $30 breakfast crowd sponsored by the Turlock Chamber, but didn't object or comment on the price.
Such events are the norm, not the exception. Stockton is in the 12th year of its event, which is co-hosted by the city of Stockton.
Unlike many similar events, the Modesto Chamber State of the City luncheon will also feature an economist to present a forecast of what is expected for Modesto.
No one at the city of Modesto or the Modesto Chamber of Commerce desires to limit public access to the event. For those interested only in the mayor's speech, free public seating is available. For those interested in lunch, tickets are available to anyone, not just chamber members. To ensure a spot, contact the chamber at 577-5757.
In addition, the mayor's address will be recorded and televised on Comcast cable and the city's Web site on the same day as the speech is delivered. Free copies of the written speech will be available at the mayor's office and at the event. Copies will also be provided to our public libraries.
Next year, we will be seeking a live broadcast sponsor so that the speech will be available to those interested on television, radio and Internet as it is delivered.
We hope this clarifies any misunderstanding, and that this format will allow Modesto citizens across the board to hear about the challenges facing the city.
Halsey is chairwoman of the board of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.