Should local leaders shop local?

July 31, 2009 3:59:17 PM PDT
There's a campaign in Raleigh dedicated to getting citizens to shop local, so when Raleigh mayoral candidate Mark Enloe got an invite for a Raleigh Chamber of Commerce reception in Pinehurst, he was miffed."Raleigh has been trying to bring business to Raleigh and the City of Raleigh itself and its contracted economic development agency are then going to Pinehurst," he said.

Enloe is calling on the Chamber to change its venue - and bring their two day conference to Raleigh next month.

"I think appearances do matter and we need to lead by example," he said.

Chamber CEO Harvey Schmitt isn't budging.

"Our experience over 25 years of hosting our annual planning conference is that getting the troops a little bit outside of the primary line of doing business really does help attention and focus on the task at hand," he offered.

"I think if they're dedicated to the purpose of bringing some business to Raleigh, they can turn off their cell phones for a few minutes like I just did," Enloe countered.

Schmitt spoke to Eyewitness News at the convention center where they're hosting a large conference.

"Hosting about 950 people from all over the United States and a number of foreign countries over the last several days, I think, has done a great deal to attract attention to downtown," he said.

Eyewitness News spoke with Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker about all the controversy. He told us he usually doesn't attend such events and says the Raleigh Chamber of commerce is a private organization - and has the right to hold conferences where it wants. But he says if there were public money involved, he would definitely have something to say about it.

Schmitt says the conference is paid for by member fees.


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