Friday, February 11, 2011

OHV Hearing Victory in Sacramento - Thank You!

HQ has been in involved in OHV politics for over 20 years and has seen almost every kind of gamesmanship played in various venues. However, the game that ensued yesterday will go down in the OHV history books as the “Day OHV Stood Up and Fought Back.”

I testified before the committee that as a member of the negotiating team for SB 742 (the current OHV program) that met almost every weekend over the summer of 2007 --- I was stunned that I only found out about hearing’s assault on the OHV program at 6 p.m. the night before. And, I had to ask for their understanding if my letter had a few typos because I had to stay up until midnight reviewing online documents and then get up at 3:30 a.m. to write a letter to the committee members and send out an OHV alert.

I also told them that the attempt to reclassify most of the OHV Trust Funds as fungible (i.e. we can spend it on anything we want) was in conflict with the tightly crafted statutory requirements of SB 742. So that between the Governor “sweeping” the $26 million dollar OHV reserve fund on Tuesday, proposing to take $5 million dollars for bogus ranger patrols in closed parks, and calling our funds “fungible” – they would basically destroy the OHV program as enacted by SB 742.

HQ was proud of all the OHV representatives that showed up and gave factual and professional presentations. Also, state park executive staff defended the program and challenged many committee staff assumptions and recommendations.

HQ wants to thank all of you who took action yesterday when we sent out our CODE RED “Broken Arrow” Alert. HQ got calls on its cell phone from riders up and down the state who sent letters and/or made phone calls to their elected officials.

The quote of the day was when Chairman Richard Gordon said – after hearing all the testimony - he was pulling the OHV agenda items because …”there is something going on here that is way above my pay grade.” HQ believes he was right. There was something going on and it was a clear attempt by anti-OHV political forces to gut the OHV program.

Yesterday was a victory for responsible OHV recreationists. But as all of you know, there will be other battles to be fought in Sacramento and elsewhere. The OHV War saga never ends. HQ is thankful the OHV community has grown stronger over the last few years and is up to the task. Stay tuned for the next update on activities under the Dome in Sacramento.

*Funny side note: For those of you who watched the hearing on the video feed, you missed the strong odor of bacon frying during the discussion of the High Speed Rail Authority. The smell of pork was so strong that it made several people hungry enough to go eat a second breakfast. On the other hand, it made a large number of people sick when they heard about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being flushed down the toilet on this pie in the sky project.

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