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Who’s to blame? August 9, 2011

Posted by Roger Rickard in Advocacy.
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The following has been sent to USA Today, Wall Street Journal and the Sacramento Bee newspapers as a Letter to the Editor:

Who’s to blame?

Due to the recent debacle in Washington over the debt-ceiling, American’s are asking “Who’s to blame?”

Most would like to blame the incompetent members of Congress, incapable of patriotic compromise over scoring political points for the upcoming election. They are an easy target with the constant pandering to the media with tongue lashing partisan political attacks aimed at the opposition. The President and Congress both share an equally fair amount of the American wrath.

It’s time to look in the mirror. Blame simply goes to the American electorate, who have usurped their role in our republic buy forfeiting there voice to elected officials and divisively partisan political parties. We as individual citizens must participate in the process. We must use our voice to advocate. We must call, write, attend town halls, or any other opportunity to share our thoughts and desires with those we have entrusted to serve. It is not shame on them, the elected, it us shame on us the citizen. This is our fault if we don’t participate in the process of governing. Don’t shrug your shoulders and claim that ‘the elected’ don’t listen even if we the citizen try. If the elected don’t listen, then you must do the one thing that you can control – VOTE. We have the power to hire and fire with every single election, but rarely do we exercise our full rights.

If you are looking for someone to blame – look in the mirror!

Sincerely – a concerned citizen,

Roger Rickard

Rocklin, CA

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Meetings Industry shows it’s economic muscle February 17, 2011

Posted by Roger Rickard in Advocacy, Meetings.
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I was privileged to be at the live press conference today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC reveiling the results of The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy. It was wonderful to see the key industry partners together promoting the value of meetings.  The numbers don’t lie, we (the meetings industry) are a powerful industry and the time has come to act like one.  Look for my upcoming series on: The 7 Actions of Highly Effective Advocates.

For more information regarding the data from The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy go to: www.meetingsmeanbusiness.com

ASAE asks for our help! Let your voice be heard. February 10, 2011

Posted by Roger Rickard in Advocacy.
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To Association Leaders:

Empower your voice to heard.  I have asked audiences to do just that for more than 15 years of promoting advocacy involvement.  Many have learned from my 7 Actions of Highly Effective Advocates. The 3rd action is, Get on the Record – write to elected officials. Here is a great opportunity, to help influence Congress and support small business in America by simply adding your name to the letter, as you will see below. 

What if you’re not an association leader but would like to voice your support? You can do so by contacting your congressional office directly and asking asking them to support the complete repeal of the new 1099 provision. Not sure how to do this? Contact me at roger@reventllc.com and I will forward you a step-by-step guide to communicating with Congress.

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the ASAE Public Policy Department.

Momentum is building in Congress to repeal the 1099 provision.  The Senate has passed an amendment to do just that and the House reportedly will soon pass its own version.  Both chambers expect some form of repeal to be on the President’s desk within weeks.

But the situation is still fluid, so associations need to take action now and push Congress to repeal the new 1099 requirement.

In November, ASAE sent a sign-on letter to Congress urging a repeal of the 1099 provisions.  We are again going to send that letter to the Hill, to show Congress how widespread the support for repealing the new 1099 requirements is within the association community.  Our letter with signatures can be seen here.  If your name is not on the letter and you would like it to be, please complete this form and return it to ASAE by February 14.  If you have signed this letter and would like your signature modified or removed, please send an email to rhay@asaenet.org.  If you want to stay on the letter, do nothing; your name will be among our over 600 going to the Hill!

The association community needs to stand up and be heard: the 1099 expansion hurts productivity, costs unnecessary time and money, and is a major burden on the association community.  Associations support a complete repeal of the new 1099 requirement.

Please contact the Public Policy Department at 202.626.2703 or publicpolicy@asaenet.org with questions or concerns.

US SENATE PASSES COMMON SENSE SOLUTION FOR BUSINESS OWNERS February 4, 2011

Posted by Roger Rickard in Advocacy.
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SENATE PASSES 1099 REPEAL AMENDMENT IN FAA BILL: The Senate on February 2 adopted an amendment to legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repealing the new Form 1099 reporting requirements enacted as part of the health care law.

The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), completely repeals the expanded 1099 reporting requirement in the new health care law and pays for the repeal with unspent appropriated funds, or already appropriated money from various federal agencies, as directed by the Office of Management and Budget. The amendment passed 81-17 with unanimous Republican support and 34 Democrats voting in favor. The bipartisan nature of the vote was in stark contrast to the amendment that would have repealed the entire health care bill, offered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), which failed on a party-line vote.

“Today we provided a common-sense solution for business owners so they can focus on creating jobs, not filling out paperwork for the IRS,” Stabenow said after the vote. “Since last year, I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this problem. If left unchecked, 40 million small businesses would see their IRS 1099 paperwork increase 2,000 percent.”

Work on the overall FAA bill is expected to continue into next week. Because revenue measures must originate in the House, the fate of the amendment is unknown. House Republicans have made 1099 repeal one of their top priorities, but it is unknown if the Stabenow “pay-for” is acceptable to the majority or if the Republican vehicle for passage could also pass the Senate.

Walls of unity June 30, 2010

Posted by Roger Rickard in Advocacy.
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Below is my reply to an article written by Katie Morell for Meetings Focus entitled, Should Groups Boycott Destinations?

One has a right and obligation to voice their opinions and concerns about any and all types of legislation proposed and passed by elected officials, including the cause and effect of their actions. I respect that voice, however – I am deeply concerned about the reactionary tactic used.

Whether one perceives the merits of Arizona SB 1070 as good or bad, one should not prompt a cause of action against the hospitality industry. I am not taking a position on the merits of the law – my only position is that again our industry is chosen as the whipping boy for all political recourse.  The constant reaction of organizations to first prompt a boycott rather than first seek other solutions is bothersome to me.  What will be the next issue that moves organizations to boycott a state or region for their cause?  Where will the boycott come from? Where will the boycott take place? How long and divisive will it be? One never knows. Our industry didn’t take a position one way or another, for or against this legislation, nor were we asked to be a part of the debate; but again the attacks begin with our industry.  We must build walls of unity against any travel industry boycott – or stand by watching as the walls of our industry slowly erode.  

What we do in the meetings industry benefits society. When people meet they solve problems, they collaborate on breakthroughs, they change cultures, they tear down walls, and they form bonds that move us to a better tomorrow. I am proud of what we do and I make no apologies for it.

Our industry is the highest institution for enabling education, collaboration and change, and we must invest our time and energy to protect this – our institution. 

                We’re not brain surgeons – we bring them face-to-face.

                We’re not rocket scientists – we bring them face-to-face.

                We’re not world leaders – we bring them face-to-face.

We bring the world together – let’s not find ways to tear us apart.

One only needs to remember the attacks on meetings and conventions by federal representatives last year to realize that we have to be vigilant in our position that meetings mean business, that meetings deliver and that face time matters.  We have a voice – let’s use it together.

Bravo for Baseball! May 17, 2010

Posted by Roger Rickard in Advocacy, Uncategorized.
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In news report from the Phoenix Business Journal last week, Mayor League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig brushed off calls to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix because of Arizona’s new immigration law.

Coalitions of major Arizona Business Groups have written the Commissioner asking to keep the 2011 All Star game in Phoenix. “We understand the MLB is facing pressure to reconsider Phoenix as the site of next year’s All-Star Game; however, a relocation decision will equate to lost jobs for innocent citizens, including our Hispanic community,” the letter states. “Arizona has a proven track record in executing safe, enjoyable and successful major events.”

Read more: Selig has no plans to move All-Star Game from Phoenix – Phoenix Business Journal:

The Los Angeles City Council voted yesterday to boycott Arizona businesses.  The National Basketball Association Western Conference Playoff Finals pits the Los Angeles Lakers against the Phoenix Suns.  Do you think the Lakers will boycott the playoff games being played in Arizona?  Thus forfeiting the very games they worked all year to play in.  I think not. 

An economic boycott affects both those boycotting as well as the party they boycotted.  The 50 plus years of United States government economic boycotts to Cuba have not worked to topple the Castro regime.  The United Nations and United States government sanctions against Iraq didn’t change the political climate in that country. 

Oh, the boycotts will hurt.  They will hurt workers and small businesses. They will hurt 200,000 plus people who work directly in the hospitality industry. They will not hurt the state legislature. I believe we should have a serious debate in this country regarding immigration reform  –  maybe, just maybe, Arizona has stirred the debate pot enough to let it boil onto the national legislative radar.  Let’s all hope so.

My 2 cents on the AZ meeting boycott April 28, 2010

Posted by Roger Rickard in Advocacy, Uncategorized.
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Whether one perceives the merits of Arizona SB 1070 as good or bad, one should not prompt a cause of action against the hospitality industry. I am not taking a position on the merits of the law – my only position is that again our industry is chosen as the whipping boy for all political recourse. The travel industry didn’t take a position one way or another, for or against this legislation; but again the attacks begin with an industry that has historically embraced the involvement of foreigners.  

Congressman Raul Grijalva’s, D – AZ (AZ – 7th District), is simply out of bounds in his call for a boycott, it can only add fuel to the economic fire of an industry already in economic chaos. The tourism and hospitality industry provides great opportunities both in economic and job growth.  Check out the Arizona 7th Congressional District map http://bit.ly/bhw3oL  and you will see that his call for a boycott of meetings and conventions will not have an impact on the people of his district. This district encompasses the southwest region of Arizona, has one of the largest geographic areas for US Air Force fighter jet training and is the home of seven Native American sovereign nations. To be clear, this district is not the hot bed of meeting and convention activity.

One only needs to remember the attacks on meetings and conventions by federal representatives last year to realize that we have to be vigilant in our position that meetings mean business.  We have a voice and we need to begin speaking up to protect ourselves. This boycott has ramifications across the business travel industry.