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Central Region Candidate
To USPA Members:
Even though this is two years old and from the last BOD election, I consider most of it to be as relevent as when I first wrote it:
Gary Peek's USPA BOD year 2000 election information, via the internet newsgroup rec.skydiving.
1. Please elect Michael Mullins as National Director by your write-in vote, (and please follow the directions on the ballot to insure that it counts.)
This is the single most important issue in this election. There are those currently on the BOD who do not wish to have Mike Mullins on the BOD and have managed to make it more difficult for him to win this position. However, USPA members should be the ones making this decision.
2. Please contact the National Director candidates and ask them more than what their election statements in Parachutist tell you. Those statements are OK, but you can really learn a lot from a phone call.
For example, be sure that the candidate really intends to represent you. This may seem obvious when we consider an elected official's responsibility but...
During one of my earlier BOD meetings a former BOD member, when asked about representing skydivers said (paraphrased) "... oh, no, we can't do what our members want us to do, because they don't know what is best, and we need to make those decisions for them ..." Another BOD member sat nearby nodding their head in agreement.
3. Please do not be concerned about voting for drop zone owners/managers for the BOD out of fear that they will do things that favor drop zones and disfavor skydivers.
One thing I have learned over the last few years is just how much we all need to support our local drop zones. (For example, in my area, one drop zone did not reopen this year, and another had so many problems when changing ownership that its existance appeared to be in jepardy.)
DZ's need to make money to survive just like any business, and our organization has done numerous things to make this more difficult. It is perfectly reasonable for the drop zones to want to be represented, and it does not appear that anything besides being on the BOD will allow a DZO to do that.
4. USPA and its BOD is definitely an "old boys club" with its accompanying status quo. Our organization would be well served by your electing "a number" of new Directors.
(Of course, there are women on the BOD, but you understand the expression.)
5. Unless a new Director is particularly outspoken they will not be very effective at representing the members for a long time while they are learning the politics of the organization (old boy's club), as was my case. Our organization would be well served by your electing very outspoken Directors that you think will represent you.
6. And last but not least: If you are able to cast your regional vote in USPA's Central Region, please vote for me for Regional Director even though no one else is on the ballot.
This will show support for the Central Region, which is important, since there are special interest groups that sometimes manage to convince the BOD to do things that affect the midwestern regions.
My statement in Parachutist says basically what I want to say about myself, with the addition of the following:
I am basically a "less government" kind of guy and try to represent skydivers and to make my decisions based on that. I prefer as few programs and as few rules as we can make work and still have safe and fun skydiving.
All of our governments, including organizations like USPA, over the years have continued to create "program" after program, and "rule" after rule, until they have begun to stifle innovation, inconvenience us, and cause us more expense than necessary.
To USPA Members:
As of 7/1/02 this is what I plan to have published in Parachutist, although it is possible that it could change:
I'm an active Static Line, AFF, and Tandem Instructor/Examiner, Master Parachute Rigger, jump pilot, parachute researcher, and all-around jumper active in many types of skydiving.
I've been a load organizer locally and at the World Freefall Convention for 11 years. I contribute to parachute, skydiving, and aviation technical research and publications.
In the coming years I plan to continue to do this work for the skydiving community as I always have.
However, I am very concerned about the direction that skydiving and our organization are taking. The industry of skydiving, as well as special interest groups, continues to influence USPA's BOD and has encouraged changes to our programs that many skydivers neither want nor need.
In particular I have noticed the disregard our organization has developed for the non-commercial skydiving clubs, who have always provided to their members and students a safe and fun atmosphere, without the need for complex, inflexible, and expensive programs.
I have heard from many of you that are concerned about the effects these changes are having on our sport. The solution to this problem is your vote, and to elect only those persons to the BOD who are willing to listen to those of you who feel this way.
I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions about this election and what you can do to help.Gary Peek
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