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PAC up your troubles, AAHOA advises hoteliers

- Judy Maxwell (Assistant Editor)
From left, Pratik Patel, AAHOA treasurer; Suresh Patel, director of AAHOA's Northern California Region; Anand Jha, Consulate of India in San Francisco; AAHOA Chairman Alkesh Patel; Mehul Patel, vice chairman of AAHOA; and AAHOA secretary Jimmy Patel.

Northern California Regional promotes political involvement using body, mind and pocketbook…

AS RELENTLESS WINDS from the bay buffeted pedestrians, vehicles and buildings in South San Francisco, AAHOA’s board of directors met up with nearly 300 Asian American hoteliers in the West Coast city Tuesday, July 31, to share the organization’s sense of urgency that more members of the US lodging industry become more politically involved.

California, after all, is where fair-franchising legislation almost made it out committee and onto the assembly floor. It was a close vote, and although the proposal was squelched in committee, its supporters – including AAHOA officers who spent days in the state Capitol rallying for the measure – were nonetheless pleased that the proposal cleared one committee and came so close to getting a nod from a second committee. California hoteliers, franchisees and AAHOA expect to give the measure another push in 2013. Other states such as Massachusetts and Vermont also have fair-franchising proposals in their legislatures, and many proponents expect the issue to come before the US Congress in the not-too-distant future.

Meantime, constant changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act will continue to impact hoteliers’ profits and growth, as will small business issues such as government-guaranteed lending programs and taxation.

That is why AAHOA is stressing that its current and prospective members “think long-term” in regard to contributing to the association’s political action committee or PAC, said Scott King, AAHOA’s managing attorney for government affairs and PAC funds.

King spoke at AAHOA’s Northern California Regional at the South San Francisco Conference Center, letting the audience know about changes to the association’s plans to raise a $1 million in PAC funds. “This year, we are working on growing the PAC fund,” said King, “That way, people will know who AAHOA is.”

AAHOA’s PAC fund has less than $300,000. This year, King explained, each AAHOA regional body is charged with raising $9,000 in PAC funds. The average amount raised per region last year was $2,500.

AAHOA has created a new donation form that gives contributors an opportunity to belong to one of three PAC Clubs, depending on the size of their donations. Those who give $1,001 will be members of the President’s 1001 Club; $365 gets a membership to the Congressional 365 Club; and $101 leads to the Flag 101 Club.

To encourage hoteliers to think ahead, members can now authorize AAHOA to withdraw via the member’s credit card a pre-determined amount each year for five years, from 2013 through 2017.

The Northern California AAHOA Regional was held in conjunction with the California Hotel & Lodging Association, which will automatically receive 15 percent of the gift given by a California hotelier.

AAHOA Chairman Alkesh Patel reminded the dinner attendees that a group of AAHOA officers and members will travel to Washington, D.C., September 11 and 12 to meet with leaders on Congressional Hill. He encouraged the members – men and women – to join them.

Tina Komal Patel of Jay Maharaj Inc. of Eugene, OR, gave a passionate plea for women to join AAHOA’s Women in Hotel Leadership group and travel to Capitol Hill in September, reminding them that women hold leadership positions on Congressional Hill.

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