REPORT: My OHV Lobby day meeting with my Congressman - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum  

Go Back   Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum > Land Use and Trails > Land Use Issues
Notices

Reply
 
Share Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-15-2012, 01:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
Team 4554
 
Kurtuleas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Member # 23188
Location: Discovery Bay, CA
Posts: 8,407
Blog Entries: 1
REPORT: My OHV Lobby day meeting with my Congressman

Yesterday for OHV “Lobby” day, I met with my Congressman, Jerry McNerney, and two of his staffers to talk about the possible expansion of 29 Palms Marine Corps base into Johnson Valley.

I am going to post all this up in the hopes that it will encourage other people to also meet with your congressmen AND it will give you some talking points when it comes to saving Johnson Valley. I gotta tell everyone, it was seriously FUN for me as well. (sorry for the super long post though)

I really did my homework before hand. One of the first things that I did is that I looked up as much info as possible on the guy that I could use in the meeting. I found out that he has several renewable energy companies, (who sell to the Military) that he lives in Pleasanton CA where I lived for a time and that his son is in the Airforce.

I download the JV info packet from ORBA, I printed it out in color so it looked good. Then I basically laid out everything I was going to say in bullet points to kind of organize my thinking and make sure that I did not miss any points that I wanted to make. For each bullet point, I had either a hand-out for the Congressman or some other visual aid or backing… Basically evidence to back up what I said.

Here’s what I brought in with me (and left with him):

A sheet with all my bullet points of everything I wanted to cover

The ORBA JV packet

I printed out the 90 page OHV report by the Forest Service which lists how many OHV’ers are in the US and in each state including CA

A handout I made about OHV use in his district. (It listed all the 4x4 clubs in his district that I know about, several OHV “notables” in his district and OHV areas that are in his area or within reasonable driving distance)

A document about the history of the MEB and how the Marines have used it.

A clip from one of Commandant Amo’s speeches where he tells a story about Marines being fiscally responsible.

Several news articles on possible Military cut backs because of the new DOD budget. (I made ALL of these Air Force specific because of his son)

A handout I made about public outcry of the expansion. (Talked about the Pirate virtual rally and the 22,000 personal letters we sent in, plus several facts like OHMVR disagreeing with the expansion)

A list of the “negatives” if JV is closed to OHV use. (public safety, less than 1% of the desert open to OHV use, possible illegal OHV use from it, etc.)

A Marine Corps press release about Operation Mojave Viper and an article from a paper where the Marines tell about how dangerous it is when there is a live fire drill if you accidently find yourself on the base.

The current CRAWL magazine with the KOH coverage.

Before the meeting, I thought to myself that I really needed to “Paint a picture” for him about how important OHV recreation is for our crowd. I kept that thought in my head the entire time.

Also, before I start, this needs to be said: I know listening to his constituents is his job, but Congressman McNerney hung on my EVERY WORD. He took in every detail. I don’t think that I have ever been listened to that closely before in my life. I KNOW he heard every word and was paying careful attention, because many times in the meeting he would repeat back things to me that I said, usually way later on in the conversation.

I arrived about 15 minutes early and only had to wait about 5 minutes…so we started early. In the room was the Congressman and two of his staffers, who by the way were taking notes like crazy as a spoke. Seemed like they wrote down every single word I said.

We began with just a little small talk about Pleasanton. I told him that my father-in-law used to have a store downtown until the economy took a dump. We also talked a little about me being a teacher and the area that I live in.

After that, right off the bat I told him what I wanted him to do. I didn’t want to beat around the bush so I got right to the point. “In the near future you will be asked to approve the expansion of the 29 Palms Marines Corps base in Southern California. I am asking you to vote “No” and today I am going to tell you why.”

Then I gave him a little background about myself and about how for many OHV folks like myself, this is a LIFESTYLE, it’s what we live for, it’s something our entire family does.

Growing up in Yosemite Valley, I saw many people trying to experience nature by camping in a normal campground. You would get 500 people all camping on top of each other. That’s not getting back to nature. My father would load me and my mom up in his Jeep Wagoneer, take us down some 4x4 trail and camp in the middle of nowhere, with no one around. THAT is one critical part of wheeling that many forget. It’s not just about wheeling, It’s experiencing the outdoors with your family. It’s how I want my children to grow up. But if we don’t have the access, that will not happen. I made that clear to him.

I also made an analogy to golf, how golf consumes many people’s lives and how it’s a lifestyle and almost a religion for people that golf. (This he agreed with)

Then I showed him the FS report and the handout on 4x4 clubs, people and OHV areas in his district. My reasoning was to show that there are a massive amount OHV folks in his district. He did seem interested in the numbers in the FS report…and his staffers looked over the numbers also.

I then bought up Johnson Valley which I described as the “Mecca” of 4x4’s. And how people make the pilgrimage there every year, especially for events like the King of the Hammers, which I described as our 4x4 “Superbowl or “World Cup” I showed pictures of KOH from the ORBA packet and out of the magazine and told him that the BLM estimated about 35,000 people were this year in only it’s 5th year. (I also talked about the growth of KOH)

I brought up that KOH thrived even during a period of serious economic issues in the USA, and that the event helped to keep the OHV industry above water.

Keeping with the Golf analogy, I then went on to explain the importance of Johnson Valley to our community. I told him to for our community to lose Johnson Valley and the King of the Hammers would be like golf losing Augusta and the Master’s tournament.

Then I began to address the problem. I started explain the Marine’s role as a “Spearhead” force, but he kinda cut in and explained it back to me. He knows the Marine’s role.

I told him that in 2004, the Marines were fighting in OEF, and that instead of a middle-weight, spearhead force, they were being used as a 2nd Army. (which the Commandant explained as a “two-fer) The Marines were fighting like the Army, which they CAN do, but it’s not their “job” I added that the Marines DO NOT want to do this because if they are doing someone else’s job, they may be cut back by congress. They need to have their “nitch” (why do we need 2 land armies?)

So in 2004 a USMC document explained the need to expand 29 Palms so the Marines could “Train as they fight” using 3 MEB’s training simultaneously. I also explained to him that this would make 29 larger that the Army’s training area Ft. Irwin. I asked him, “Why would the middle weight force need more room than the regular Army? Since they will not be fighting as a 2nd Army anymore, why do they still need all this space to train?"

At this point I pointed him to the document on the history of the MEB. The Marines never used to have standing MEB’s. They only formed when they needed them. Through most of the latter half of the 20th century, standing MEB’s were the exception, not the rule. From 85-92 they experimented with permanent MEB HQ’s but, when downsizing and budget reductions required force restructuring, the Marine Corps eliminated the standing MEB HQs and discontinued use of the MEB as a distinct Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Instead, fighting was discussed in MEF slices, and the lead echelon of the MEF became the MEF Forward.

At this point I talked about how the Marines are returning to their original role as the fast response middle-weight force with the new task force review. I talked about how the Commandant has said several times over that they will be fighting in smaller conflicts in the “Arc of instability” in the littorals and doing more things to avoid war instead of fighting wars.

At this point I began talking about the new DOD budget, the Marine’s Task Force review which will down-size them and all the $$ issues with the Military. I showed him the articles on possible base cuts telling him that these are just a few of the hundreds of news articles online about looming cuts. Why are we spending money to needlessly expand 29 Palms when other bases are having serious cut-backs?

I then began talking about the negative impacts of closing JV. I should have focused on the $$ figures here more, I dropped the ball on that, but they seemed more interested in the public safety issues. I told him that the Marines are taking a popular area that has been open to the public since about 1980 for OHV use, and that area WILL NOT be fenced in. What happens if someone unknowingly wanders into it during a live fire drill? It’s happened before at 29 (I pointed out the article about the guy who ran out of gas in his ATV in 29) At this point I showed him the USMC press release that was sent out about KOH and Mojave Viper and the article written quoting the marines about the dangers of being 100 yards away from one of their shells they shoot during training.

Finally, I talked about the Pirate4x4.com virtual rally, the 22,000 letters we wrote, (Which I made clear were PERSONAL letters, not form letters) the fundraisers that we have had, etc.etc. And I pointed out how the California OHMVR division unanimously voted against the expansion. I wanted to show that many people, while we support our military, are against this expansion.

He told me that he will not only read over all the documents that I have provided, but that he would speak about this with other Congressmen and the House Armed Services committee about this. (I informed him that Jeff Knoll had spoke with Buck McKeon) He also said that he needs to hear the other side, which I agree with, and that he would NEVER do anything to endanger our troops. (Which was nice to hear, and I agree with)

He also told me that he can sense the passion in my voice and he understands how much this means to not only myself, but to my family and my community. (That may have just been BS, but it was nice to hear.)

Now here’s the cool part…

At the very end of the meeting (or what we thought was the end), he said something along the lines of: “Look. I gotta tell you. I am a huge environmentalist and it would be amiss if I did not ask you about the 4x4 community and the environment”

VOLLEY FAWKIN SERVE!

I think he was surprised at the huge smile that appeared on my face. LOL! Time to brag!

Quite frankly, I went off talking so fast that I don’t remember everything I said..

I talked about having to stay on the trail
I talked about spill kits
I talked about wag bags
I talked about water quality issues on the Rubicon
I talked about peer pressure by people on the trail and on boards like Pirate.
I talked about the work of FOTR, FOF, FOE, FOTHL, FOJV, Cal4, 4x4 clubs like TDO and the Zombies.
I talked about the Cantina and other events
I talked about the Master Pull 4405 "land-use" team.
I talked about recycling at KOH.
I talked about the CRAWL trail foundation and Cal4’s grants
I talked about clubs adopting trails.
I made the point that WE are the environmentalists because we don’t want our trails and areas thrashed, that more damage comes from Joe Public that don’t respect our public lands because they don’t use them as much.


I talked about even more than what I have listed here:

But the BEST part was at the end when I pointed to an aerial picture of Hammertown from this year. I said, “See this picture of King of the Hammers? With all those RV’s and 4x4’s and 35,000 something people? A week later, you could not even tell we were there. We left the desert cleaner than we found it. I doubt the Marines will be as nice to that lakebed.”

He was speechless. It was clear he did not know the OHV community did all that stuff.

I then invited to take him on the Rubicon this summer to show him in person what we do. He did not immediately say yes, but he did say he would interested in maybe doing that. Just today I contacted his scheduler about it and she said to contact her when the time comes.

I don’t know if I have really changed his mind about anything, but at least I have made him more aware.

The man DID earn my respect because of what I said at the beginning of this post, I am positive he listened to and processed every single word I said. He was completely focused. It was refreshing to know that my Congressman REALLY cared about what I had to say. He listened.
__________________
4554 OCD Racing

Our partners: Falken Tire, Vegas 4x4, CRAWL Magazine, Reid Racing, Metal Cloak, MJ Motorsports, Jessie Haines Fabrication, SFS Industries, Susanville Transmission, Pacific Fabrication, Raceline Wheels, Outlaw Grafix, The Kyburz Krawlerz, and Keith's credit card.

Last edited by Kurtuleas; 03-15-2012 at 02:49 PM.
Kurtuleas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2012, 01:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
MotorsportsSolutions
 
Jeff Knoll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Member # 13974
Location: Chaos
Posts: 4,722
Another Home run. We are getting tons of reports that are identical to this story. Although we did not have the entire OHV community participating in our national OHV Lobby days we had a strong passionate group that got results. It reminds me of the OG13, and I expect we will build on this much like we did KOH.

Bravo!
__________________
Northern Nevada's Newest Week-long 4WD Festival,Yes Jeff is back in the Event Business!

Carrera Performance Group, LLC Off Road Solutions, from Marketing to Management
Jeff Knoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 03-15-2012, 02:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Member # 96634
Location: Oakley
Posts: 417
Darn good show and report!

I salute you!

Don
cuttenkid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2012, 02:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
Zeus of the Sluice
 
BEAR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Member # 1746
Location: Flathead Lake MT
Posts: 3,785
You are awesome Kurt! Thanks for all you do...
__________________
Still Politically Uncorrect
BEAR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2012, 03:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
Prospector
 
88bigvan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Member # 10770
Location: Georgetown & Fairfield
Posts: 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurtuleas View Post
........
The man DID earn my respect because of what I said at the beginning of this post, I am positive he listened to and processed every single word I said. He was completely focused. It was refreshing to know that my Congressman REALLY cared about what I had to say. He listened.
to you kurt
__________________
Bryan

Public Lands For the People
88bigvan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2012, 04:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
IDIot!
 
MT4Runner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Member # 44480
Location: Kalispell, MT
Posts: 18,104
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtuleas View Post
at the very end of the meeting (or what we thought was the end), he said something along the lines of: “look. I gotta tell you. I am a huge environmentalist and it would be amiss if i did not ask you about the 4x4 community and the environment”

volley fawkin serve!

I think he was surprised at the huge smile that appeared on my face. Lol! Time to brag!

Quite frankly, i went off talking so fast that i don’t remember everything i said..
bad ass!!!

:coors light:
MT4Runner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2012, 07:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
Registered User
 
JunkyTJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Member # 64554
Posts: 175
awesome Kurt. Thank you so much. I hope to get to visit JV some day AND be able to wheel down the trail away from the hustle and bustle.
__________________
Tellico rally post 441
JunkyTJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2012, 07:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Member # 166763
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 173
Awesome work! Thanks for all you do.
SurfnSnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2012, 07:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
Team 4554
 
Kurtuleas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Member # 23188
Location: Discovery Bay, CA
Posts: 8,407
Blog Entries: 1
Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkyTJ View Post
awesome Kurt. Thank you so much. I hope to get to visit JV some day AND be able to wheel down the trail away from the hustle and bustle.
Yeah. Actually, maybe one day I will actually be able to wheel in Johnson Valley too. LOL!

I have never wheeled there.
__________________
4554 OCD Racing

Our partners: Falken Tire, Vegas 4x4, CRAWL Magazine, Reid Racing, Metal Cloak, MJ Motorsports, Jessie Haines Fabrication, SFS Industries, Susanville Transmission, Pacific Fabrication, Raceline Wheels, Outlaw Grafix, The Kyburz Krawlerz, and Keith's credit card.
Kurtuleas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2012, 10:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
MotorsportsSolutions
 
Jeff Knoll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Member # 13974
Location: Chaos
Posts: 4,722
That's your own fault, just like its my fault I have never been on the Rubicon.

50 feet in on a full dress Harley don't count, but I did enjoy a cold beer at Toms Cabin or what ever its called and those damn strong drinks down in town. So it looks like we are even Kurt.
__________________
Northern Nevada's Newest Week-long 4WD Festival,Yes Jeff is back in the Event Business!

Carrera Performance Group, LLC Off Road Solutions, from Marketing to Management
Jeff Knoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2012, 10:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Member # 159101
Location: Too far from Rescue, CA
Posts: 445
You my friend, are the man! Thanks for all you do in regards to OHV use and access. I know your work and effort greatly influences me to get active. Hell, Im 19 years old, well almost, still just a kid. What I am trying to say is that your generations efforts to maintain OHV recreation will hopefully, and I believe it is, influence my generation, us youngins, too be as active and informed as you. When this happens there will be a great future ahead for the offroad community for years to come. Thanks again.
__________________
Livin' the Dream

[B][COLOR="Red"]-RIP Fish-[/COLOR][/B]
1966Scout800 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2012, 10:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
Zeus of the Sluice
 
Krusty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Member # 906
Location: Tin Benderland-- Ridgecrest, Ca.
Posts: 4,594
K & J ---
i have wheeled both the Con and JV- thanks to folks like you, i may be able to do it again !!!


maybe someday, i'll be able to visit Panamint City - again

thank you
__________________
Krusty, aka. Krustoy
Official Tin Bender.
older than dirt/before rocks were invented!
*Cancer survivor since 02-06*
Grand Marshall -KOH 2012
"Dad' to some of the greatest kids EVER
I was around when Pearl Harbor was bombed !
Krusty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2012, 10:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
Team 4554
 
Kurtuleas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Member # 23188
Location: Discovery Bay, CA
Posts: 8,407
Blog Entries: 1
Just an update...

I got a call from McNerney's office yesterday keeping me posted on Johnson Valley and they fully briefed me on the Bartlett Admendment. (Which I am pretty well informed on, but it was cool to hear the staffer explain it all...so i just let him talk)

I was also told that McNerney was "On top of it"

Talking to our reps in person IS having an solid effect folks!

It does not have to be OHV lobby day for you to make an appointment with your congressman! DO IT!
__________________
4554 OCD Racing

Our partners: Falken Tire, Vegas 4x4, CRAWL Magazine, Reid Racing, Metal Cloak, MJ Motorsports, Jessie Haines Fabrication, SFS Industries, Susanville Transmission, Pacific Fabrication, Raceline Wheels, Outlaw Grafix, The Kyburz Krawlerz, and Keith's credit card.
Kurtuleas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2012, 03:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
Wheeler
 
Reid Racing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Member # 20872
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Posts: 415
Kurt - YOU ROCK!!!

__________________
Join the fight to keep public lands open to the public!
Manufacturers of Dana 60, 44, 30, 10-Bolt & JK knuckles and Turbo400 & Powerglide transmission cases.
(925) 935-3025 M-F 8-6pm PST
race.mail@reidracing.biz
http://www.reidracing.biz
Built by racers for racers!
Made in the USA!
Reid Racing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2012, 09:34 AM   #15 (permalink)
MotorsportsSolutions
 
Jeff Knoll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Member # 13974
Location: Chaos
Posts: 4,722
It works folks, and its never too late to meet your local legislator. Poison Spyder took the challenge back in March, made an appointment, and started building a friendship with Mary Bono Mack. They are talking one on one with the Congresswoman now and she is visiting them regularly.
__________________
Northern Nevada's Newest Week-long 4WD Festival,Yes Jeff is back in the Event Business!

Carrera Performance Group, LLC Off Road Solutions, from Marketing to Management
Jeff Knoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.