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An e-mail issued by Rob Rasor, AMA President:
First of all, I apologize for replying to your messages as a group. As many of you know, I customarily answer e-mails and letters individually, but I need to balance my wish to reply personally with my other responsibilities and travel commitments. I appreciate your understanding, and I'll do my best to address your concerns.
To those of you who are AMA members, my sincere thanks to you for your support. Your active participation in the AMA represents the strength of this or any other membership organization. You can be certain that I consider your opinions seriously.
Like virtually all membership associations, the AMA is governed by a Code of Regulations, which has been established by our Board of Directors, composed of six directors elected by the individual members of the Association and six elected by the AMA's corporate membership. Recently, an amendment was proposed to the AMA's Code of Regulations that would govern eligibility for candidates seeking any of the six positions chosen by the individual members. Specifically, it would clarify the distinction between eligibility for a corporate Board position and eligibility for an individual Board position.
There are two important things you should know about this amendment. First, it would have no effect on the results of the election for three of the individual-member posts that concluded in January. Those three new Board members will be seated at the Board's meeting on February 16. And second, contrary to some reports that have been circulated, the intent of this amendment is not to increase the power of the AMA's corporate membership. In fact, the amendment is specifically designed to limit the influence of the companies that are part of the AMA's corporate membership by ensuring that employees of those companies are prevented from serving as directors elected by the AMA's 270,000 individual members.
That amendment has been approved by the AMA Board, and as provided by our Code, the changes would become effective only after approval by those attending the annual meeting of AMA Corporate Members. We'll report the outcome in American Motorcyclist magazine.
I believe that this amendment will help continue the tradition of having an AMA Board that truly represents the broad range of interests and diversity of our membership and the motorcycling community. I'm also confident that the new Board members, who will be seated next week, will work effectively to best protect the interests of the AMA.
Some of you have expressed concerns related to AMA Pro Racing, including track safety and the future of AMA Supercross. AMA Pro Racing is a affiliated corporation; it operates separately, with its own management, Board of Directors, and revenue. Clearly, this is a transitional time for Supercross in America as we define the ongoing relationship between the riders, teams, sponsors, promoters, sanctioning body and fans who support the sport.
AMA Pro Racing is confident about the future of this style of professional motorcycle competition. During this transitional period, though, neither I nor representatives of AMA Pro Racing will engage in unbounded speculation about the shape of that future, beyond our public statements. We will not discuss the content or substance of negotiations until we have announcements to make. And while that may not satisfy everyone's natural curiosity, it's just good business.
Finally, I am aware that there are some who choose to view statements from the AMA and AMA Pro Racing with skepticism. I believe skepticism is a good thing, because it makes us stop, think, and ask questions -- in short, it's a good defense against being fooled.
I won't ask you to avoid skepticism regarding the AMA, but I'd urge you to apply that same skepticism to outside statements you read and hear about the AMA. Remember that independence is no guarantee of objectivity, and unfounded opinions often masquerade as facts.
Armed with that, you still may not agree with me, and that's fine. But at least you'll have the knowledge that you manufactured your own opinions, instead of merely borrowing someone else's.
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to share your questions, concerns, and comments with me.
Robert Rasor, President
American Motorcyclist Association
(614) 856 - 1910, Extension 1226
And now a reponse to that e-mail from John Ulrich, newly-elected AMA Director, from the South Western Region:
That's a great answer, Rob, but the amendment doesn't say "corporate members", it says "eligible to be corporate members", which reduces the decision on eligibility to a judgement call made by who, the incumbents who wish to retain the status quo? If it refered to "corporate members" only, and if it didn't use undefined words like eligible and substantial, which is relative, I'd have no problem with it. As it is, it restricts the democratic process and reduces the choices available to the membership, and restricts access to the other half of the board to people who are members of or sanctioned by the good-old-boy's club that consists of 23 corporate members. At the same time, it exempts from those restrictions motorcycle dealers like the incumbent Jeff Nash just beat 2.7:1, and race promoters like the incumbent Kevin Schwantz just beat 3.5:1. Those exemptions make this piece of new language, proposed in the middle of the campaign for the Board seats Schwantz, Nash and I just won, look suspiciously political in nature.
Democracy is a great thing. Allowing the membership to elect whomever they wish to elect is the right thing to do.
As for Supercross, we'll know soon enough who was right about that.