Guest opinion: Chamber president disputes recent column, argues that Chamber benefits community

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I address the OPED by Martin La Magra which has misinformation.

Here are corrections to misinformation published August 22nd in Paramount Journal (“Guest column: Local pollution crisis is not over,” by page 2, print edition, Paramount Journal, Thursday, Aug. 22, and online on Aug. 16, at

Author argues it is time to clean house on the Paramount City Council”):

• Businesses in Paramount generate 6+ million dollars in government tax revenues.

• Paramount Chamber does not endorse any political candidates.

• Writer claims: NO other California cities have 4 City Council members that are Chamber members. I only checked ONE city on the internet, I found 4 of 5 City Council were members of the Cerritos Regional Chamber. Check more, you would likely find it more common than not.

• The City contributes $40,000 annually towards office and facilities, not $60,000. Other funds are paid for ad space, event participation of staff and council. (City’s budget hearing from June 2019)

• The PUSD budgets funds to publish their own full color insert that is delivered with the Pulse Beat monthly, for less than half the postage alone would cost to do themselves.

• Direct line of communication with the City Manager and PUSD Superintendent, the Chamber can connect volunteers and sponsor directly into the community in record time and support with amazing speed and generosity.

• Chamber members have helped the Paramount Educational Partnership (PEP) raise OVER $1,000,000 for scholarships to Paramount students.

• When Hexavalent Chromium was detected through help of AQMD, LaMagra infers “close ties to corporate polluters”, there was effort to deceive. Truth: NONE of the members hid behind lawyers to evade, but immediately went to work with City and Government to find best solutions to the problem. Paramount was awarded recognition by AQMD and remain a model City.

• Metal companies (all combined) provide the Chamber less than 8% of our working budget. The largest employer in our chamber remains the PUSD first and Kindred Hospital second.

Anyone who reads an OP ED must realize that anyone can make statements with ZERO responsibility to prove or back them up. All information provided above is documented by public record.

Purpose of a Chamber is to promote economic growth. Coming together as an organization, businesses benefit with pooled resources and opportunities to network and develop meaningful business relationships. Attend our events and see who we are. We are an inclusive group that support the community. Come by the Chamber office and see what is going on. We are your direct connection to the business owners and community leaders. We have resources for members and NON-MEMBERS to help start and grow your business.

Ben Berg is president president of the Paramount Chamber of Commerce.