Attention California Riders

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Posted February 15, 2002 - 05:20 PM


Several of us attended the California State Off-Highway Vehicle Commission meeting this week in Sacramento. It was quite an eye opening experience. If you want to continue to enjoy off-roading and racing on State, Forest Service, or BLM land then you better get involved in trying to protect your sport! NOW! Let me give you some background on the Commission, it is made up of seven members, three are appointed by the Governor, two are appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, and two are appointed by the Senate Rules Committee. In addition to supporting the state OHV parks this Commission provides the Forest Service and BLM with millions of dollars each year (green sticker and gas tax money) to maintain OHV areas on Federal land (90% of your riding area).
The funds are provided to these agencies through a series of Grants. The Forest Service and BLM appear before the Commission yearly and must jump through any hoops and abide by any restrictions the Commission places on this grant money.
You would think that an OHV Commission would want to promote and support OHV activities, but think again. The current make-up of the California Commission seems to be split, with three OHV friendly Commissioners (this may be wishful thinking on my part), and three anti-OHV Commisioners, and one open vacancy. For example, one of the Commissioners is Mr. Paul J. Spitler. Mr. Spitler also happen to be the Executive Director of the California Wilderness Coalition.
I urge you to check out their web site, specifically the article titled ROAD TO RUIN. The web site is:
The California Wilderness Coalition, with Mr. Spitler, and two other enviornmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service last week over OHV activities in the El Dorado National Forest specifically at Rock Creek near Georgetown.
Two days after filing a lawsuit against the Forrest Service, Mr. Spitler sat on the OHV Commission and voted (NO) on a Grant request from the Forest Service for El Dorado National Forest. (The Grant was tabled for 30 days because of a 3 to 3 vote).
It is not only on outrage, but a slap in the face of the OHV community to have this guy on the OHV Commission. Mr. Spitler clearly has a conflict of interest and should not be allowed to vote on grant funds for the El Dorado Forest District at the same time he is involved in a lawsuit against that district.

What can you do?? Well...

Not only is there one empty position currently on the commission, but two Commissioners terms have expired and they can be replaced or renewed at any time. Two of these positions are the Governors to appoint, and one belongs to the Speaker of the Assembly. If one more anti-OHV Commissioner is appointed things could get real ugly. The Commission can, and I believe has, dictated that more money be directed toward Law Enforcement issues, (This could be one reasons we are faced with the noise issue and sound checks these days?)

This is what I think we MUST do:

1. You MUST contact you State Senator, your Assemblyman and the Governor's your outrage over this blatant conflict of interest concerning Mr. Spitler...demand that something be done.
2. At the same time, DEMAND that the current vacancies on the OHV Commission be filled
by persons from the OHV community or industry.
This is critical!!! We can not allow another environmental extremist on the commission!!!
3. You MUST contact the major MC manufactures
and tell them what is going on here in California
and demand that they get involved. They have a financial stake in OHV activities, they have the money and they MUST band together, become active, join the fight, and develop some muscle in Sacramento.
If we have no place to ride, we won't need their
bikes!! (or Snowmobiles!!)
4. Contact your local motorcycle dealers, they
also need to band together and get involved. They should make the same contacts mentioned above, AND they also need to contact their local (city and county) representatives. These local governments need the tax dollars generated by these dealers. They
will listen!! And these local governments do have influence at the State Capital. If a dealer doesn't want to get involved then don't do business with them...find a dealer that will...
we should only support businesses that support us!
5. If you are not a member, then join the AMA. Contact them, find out if there is a "community support" groups in your area, if not, start one. The AMA will help, but you have contact them.

If you want to know how bad things are, check this out, it's a resolution Mr. Spitler pushed
through the OHV Commission. You won't find it
posted on the OHV Department Web site, but you will find it on the California Wilderness Coalition Web site, that should tell you who Mr. Spitler really works for and what his current and future intentions are!!


All of this may sound like a lot of work or seem a little intimidating but it is not as bad has you may think. Start with the phone call to the
Governor's Office(see links below). Ask to speak to one of the Governor's aids, they will more then likely take your name and number and call you back. When they call back just remain calm and explain that you VERY unhappy with what is taking place with the OHV Commission, specifically with Mr. Spitler and the conflict of interest he is involved in. Tell them you want something done about it, you want to be kept informed and you want a follow up call informing you of what actions they intend to take. Also mention future appointments (see above).
Then do the same thing with your State Senator and Assemblyman.
Don't forget, these people work for us!
Post what actions we've taken and how it went,
this might encourage others to begin helping out. Also if you have other ideas feel free to let us know. Join the fight or lose the war, it's up to you....


(you should be able to determine you Senator or Assemblyman from the web sites above, if not call any number you find and ask, they'll help you out)

......and......please register to vote today!! Republican... NO on PROP 45 on March 5th...

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: WMcGrath ]


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