Dec 7, 2001
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A letter issued by sitting AMA Trustees Rick Gray (a lawyer), Dal Smilie and Jeff Smith (a former OEM employee) in support of running-for-re-election incumbents Carl Reynolds (a race promoter), Ron Widman (a Suzuki and Harley-Davidson dealer) and Ellis Robertson (a trophy company owner) accuses Take Back The AMA reform candidates Kevin Schwantz, Jeff Nash and John Ulrich of running for personal financial gain.<BR><BR>The letter, which was issued by Gray, Smilie and Smith over their names and AMA titles in what appears to be a violation of AMA bylaws, does not mention or defend the roles played by Reynolds and other trustees in the Edmondson vs. AMA lawsuit, which the AMA settled by paying Edmondson $3 million of members' money about six months ago.<BR><BR>The letter also implies that the three reform candidates have not done anything positive for motorcycling, despite the fact that the current Board voted to commend Ulrich for raising and donating $104,000 to the AMA for the purchase and deployment of Air Fence earlier this year; in doing so, Ulrich footed all administrative fees, including paying the percentage points deducted by credit card companies on chargecard donations.<BR><BR>The letter also ignores Ulrich's work fighting against proposed land closures in the 1970s and proposed ATV and sportbike restrictions in the 1980s.<BR><BR>The letter also seems to imply that Schwantz, Nash and Ulrich are not interested in non-racing facets of motorcycling, despite the fact that all three ride streetbikes and off-road bikes recreationally, and have committed to strengthening AMA's commitment in government relations, including aid to AMA districts fighting local land-use battles.<BR><BR>Asked to comment on the the letter, former 500cc World Champion Schwantz said: "Personal financial gain? I didn't think the spot paid anything. The reason I am doing it is to see if I can have a positive impact on how the AMA operates. I feel that with my racing background I have insight that the average person--or Trustee--doesn't. I should have known running for a position on the Board of Trustees that there would be some political BS happening. But by no means am I doing this for personal monetary gains."<BR><BR>Nash said, "The purpose of me running is to make the AMA better and more responsive to all members, and not just a few well-connected insiders or good old boys. They're making these claims because they're frightened of three stand-up guys and that's why they're saying that. They're scared to have somebody with knowledge--who will stand up and say what is going on--on the Board. There's no personal financial gain in this for me. Their letter is ridiculous."<BR><BR><BR>The text of the letter issued by Gray, Reynolds and Smith follows:<BR><BR><BR>To All AMA Members:<BR><BR>All AMA members in the Regions holding elections in December for AMA Directors should be put on notice that three of the candidates currently running for the AMA Board are part of an effort to take the AMA back thirty years; back to a time when corporate interests in professional racing were the only interests of the AMA; back to a time when there was no government relations division working to protect road and off-road riders; back to a time when all of the AMA Board was composed of only those with financial interests in the AMA with no representation of individual members.<BR><BR>This choice is yours. We urge you to exercise your right as an AMA member to direct the future of the AMA to represent all, not just some, motorcyclists by supporting Carl Reynolds in the Southeast, Ron Widman in the South Central and Ellis Robertson in the Southwest. All three have been involved in many facets of the AMA and support a truly representative Board. Their volunteer actions on behalf of motorcyclists show that their goals are not economically motivated. They do so for the love of motorcycling, and they are the type of people the AMA needs in positions of leadership. We further urge you to vote for the type of AMA you want; not an exclusive professional racing organization. If you believe that the AMA is there to represent us all, not just a small group interested in advancing their own economic interests, you must say so by voting.<BR><BR>The professional racing slate is running a well-funded professional campaign using strong, hurtful words with no factual basis other than their own opinion. They are wrong. We don't need our Association and the future of motorcycling to be in the hands of those who would stoop so low to attempt to gain control for their narrow goals. Though they mask their real agenda with some allusions to government relations and other AMA programs, none of this slate has ever been involved in the total AMA agenda. Read their positions, and contemplate whether these people think for themselves or are there other undisclosed agendas involved? Will they be positive influences in the Association?<BR><BR>We are the other three Directors elected by the membership. The current Board is composed of individuals who represent the many varied interests of the diverse organization that is the AMA. You must decide if road riders, amateur racers, off road riders and those interested in the broader issues involving government relations will be represented. We think they should be and so endorse, and encourage you to vote for, Carl Reynolds, Ron Widman and Ellis Robertson.<BR><BR>Thank you.<BR>Rick Gray<BR>Northeast Director<BR>Chair of the Board<BR><BR>Dal Smilie<BR>Northwest Director<BR>Vice Chair of the Board<BR><BR>Jeff Smith<BR>North Central Director<BR><BR>