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USPA election candidate opinions

 

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Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Nov 14, 2002, 9:57 AM
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USPA election candidate opinions Can't Post

In another thread, Narcimund posted that he would not be voting in the USPA elections since he didn't know the candidates well. I thought that some third party opinions might help people get a better idea of who to vote for. I'm going to post my opinions on the people I know below; anyone else who would like to post opinions of candidates they know personally, feel free. As always, please try to keep it civil.

Regional director, Western:

Both Harry Leischer and Scott Smith are running. Both are excellent candidates, I think - both represent fun jumpers first and foremost. Harry is a pilot, and brings a lot of flying and demo experience to the position, as well as many years of experience in the sport. Scott is a world class skysurfer and jumps a _lot_, and thus has the perspective of a very active RW/freefly jumper. It was a tough decision for me. Sorta the opposite of most political campaigns - you have to decide between two very qualified candidates instead of choosing the lesser of two evils.

National directors:

I've known Jan Meyer for years, and I think she'd make a good national director. She has put a lot of effort into making the sport safer (check out her website at www.makeithappen.com) and regularly volunteers her time organizing for low timers at Perris. She has organized several record big-way skydives and puts in long hours to make them successful. She's not a very good politician but this isn't a minus in my book. We have enough politicians in the world.

John DeSantis has been our regional director for a long time, and has a lot of experience in USPA politics. (Of course, this has both pluses and minuses, but I think with him it's mainly pluses.) He is still a fairly active fun jumper, and I think that's an issue when it comes to national directors.

I've worked with Buzz Fink for years, and I know him to be a very smart, fair and capable guy. He believes in letting drop zones set their own policies on gear, and thus I can't see his much-attacked 'cypres only' policy at his own DZ being much of a factor. I think he would bring a lot of good business experience to the board, and from running a school, has a very good handle on what needs to be done in terms of safety and training. His view of the skydiving world comes more from that of a DZO than from a fun jumper, so voters will have to decide what's important to them there.

The people who know Winsor are all pretty excited that he's running for the board. I've worked with him for the past five years organizing at Quincy, and he is a perfect choice for board candidate. He actually likes doing research and talking subjects to death, and he is a very active fun jumper/organizer/pilot who understands the sport inside and out. He feels pretty strongly about things he finds important (like low-timer canopy training) and is always willing to drop everything to teach someone to pack or to land.


livendive  (D 21415)

Nov 14, 2002, 2:43 PM
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Re: [billvon] USPA election candidate opinions [In reply to] Can't Post

OK, I'll add my two cents:

National Director candidates:
Chris Welker: Runs Mullins' Tennessee dropzone. Opposed to the group membership program. Interested mostly in student training. Likely (in my opinion) to side with Mullins on most issues. Willing to stand up against the status quo. I voted for him.

Danny Page: Was on the BOD preceeding the current one and took 9th place in the voting, less than 100 votes behind Larry Hill. Seems interested in competition and somewhat open-minded, and says he believes USPA membership should be voluntary rather than "required". Fairly well spoken and seems pretty relaxed. The only reason I didn't vote for him was a nagging feeling that he'd be more of the same, i.e. "the good ol' boy's club".

Jan Meyer: Would probably be an asset to the BOD, as she's more than willing to do her homework, take a logical approach to things, and regularly interacts with the jumping membership. Still, I didn't vote for her due to my concern that her ego may play a role in why she wants a slot as well as a concern that she may get too caught up in the details surrounding issues and thus miss the forest for the trees. I could be off-base here, and those who know her better than I may have different opinions.

Mike Mullins (incumbent): If he's not the best National director candidate on the ballot, he's at least 2nd or 3rd. Intelligent, dedicated to USPA being an organization for the jumpers, generally a thorn in the side of the good ol' boy club. He was the only (national) incumbent I voted for and I can't think of a single good reason why any jumper shouldn't give him a vote.

Glenn Bangs (incumbent): I can't find where he's answered a single "Monday's with the BOD" question that I've asked him, out of 66 chances, including one that I specifically asked him (by name) to answer. USPA got into bed with the FAA to get formal recognition in the regs and INCREASE regulation of skydiving during Glenn's watch as Director of S&T (IIRC, he had to resign that position of employment to run for a slot on the BOD, but was instantly made a contractor operating in the same capacity). I most certainly did not vote for him.

Madolyn Murdock (incumbent): Had a big hand in excluding Mike Mullins from the last election ballot, essentially saying he was less qualified than someone who made the ballot with 850 jumps and 4 years in sport. I did not vote for her.

John DeSantis (incumbent): I've jumped with John and talked with him a little bit, but am a far cry from knowing him personally. I voted for John in the last election because I trusted the opinion of others in the absence of personal knowledge. Now that I've had a couple years to see him in action, giving documents he wasn't supposed to have to the attorneys for a family sueing a DZ (granted a REALLY BAD DZ), and ignoring every question I've asked him, I didn't vote for him.

B.J. Worth (incumbent): The epitome of the good ol' boy club, in my opinion. He's a smart guy and really knows his way around the sport. Still, I want to see improvement in the way USPA treats it's membership and I don't think BJ will be an agent for the kind of change I want to see. For the most part, I voted "out with the old", and I don't think getting BJ off the BOD would constitute throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Larry Hill (incumbent): DZO of Eloy, barely made the cut in the last election. Seems to me to be on the BOD strictly to benefit himself/his business. Took legal action against another BOD member over the name of his dropzone. Certainly would not vote for him.

Buzz Fink: Group Member DZO. Seems pretty smart, and we share similar opinions on several issues, however I didn't vote for him primarily because of his mandatory CYPRES rule.

Winsor Naugler: Pure fun jumper. Smart, articulate, great sense of humor, always willing to help, plenty of experience with skydiving and with project management (a skill that readily transfers to many arenas). He got one of my votes and I can't imagine why any other jumper wouldn't vote for him.

Don "Treetop" Jardine: Pure fun jumper. His online demeanor throws many people off, but his intentions and "can-do" attitude are great. He's willing to work hard and does his homework, and my offline interactions with him have shown me that he's a person of integrity. I'm positive he will represent jumpers very well (as opposed to special interests), and will provide a "most excellent" alternative perspective on issues. I voted for him and strongly encourage others to.

Max Cohn (write-in): A late entry, and his intentions seem good, but I haven't had enough time to form a solid opinion, so I (admittedly unfairly), judged him by my impressions of BOD presence of the last "famous" freeflyer, Mike Ortiz, and didn't vote for him.

Regional Director candidates:
The kind of detail given above would make this already too long post absurd, so I'll be brief and just judge them on a scale of 1-5, where 5=very strongly support, 1=very strongly oppose, and 3=don't know or don't have much of an opinion either way. I'm sure I'll miss the majority of write-in candidates.

Central
Gary Peek (incumbent) - 5
Any write-in's - 1 (we need Gary back on the BOD)

Eastern
Mike Perry (incumbent) - 4

Gulf
Don Ellisor - 3

Mid-Atlantic
Tony Thacker - 2

Mideastern
Sherry Butcher ("appointed" incumbent) - 2

Mountain
DJan Stewart - 4
Marty Jones (incumbent, but possibly not running) - 2

North Central
John Goswitz (incumbent) - 4

Northeast
Marylou Laughlin (incumbent) - 2

Northwest
Pete Hill (write-in) - 5
Rob Herndon (write-in) - 4
Jessie Farrington (write-in incumbent) - 2


Pacific
Craig Stapleton (write-in) - 4
Jess Rodriguez (incumbent) - 2
Bill Dause (not running, but I'd love to see it!) - 5

Southeast
Frank Arenas (write-in) - 5
Richard Schachner (write-in) - 3
Barry Chase (incumbent) - 2

Southern
Larry Stapleton (incumbent) - 5

Southwest
Lee Schlichtemeier (incumbent) - 2

Western
Harry Leicher - 3
Scott Smith - 3


AggieDave  (D License)

Nov 14, 2002, 2:46 PM
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Re: [livendive] USPA election candidate opinions [In reply to] Can't Post

Allen Flynn is running as a write in for the Gulf Region. He was in Parachutist last month or the month before, all in all a great guy. On your scale he gets a 5 from me.


Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
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Nov 14, 2002, 3:31 PM
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Re: [livendive] USPA election candidate opinions [In reply to] Can't Post

Nicely summed and very close to how my votes came down also. After reading some of the Mondays with the BOD and other posts on rec. I'm giving one person my vote that your not... but I hope they can see beyond themselves and their personal and professional interests to help make a change.

I'm extremely pleased Windsor is running!


(This post was edited by PhreeZone on Nov 14, 2002, 6:24 PM)


Premier faulknerwn  (D 17441)
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Nov 14, 2002, 6:06 PM
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I'll definitely second the HIGH recommendations for Gary Peek. If you're in his regions, he's one of the best directors out there.

I also highly recommend Mike Mullins. He understands what fun jumpers want, and is willing to stand up to the good ol' boys.

Winsor Naugler I also highly recommend. Extremely intelligent, very willing to work hard for the fun jumpers in the sport.

I also voted for Jan Meyer. She's put a lot of good information out on the web, and seems to have a great desire to educate. Plus her technical knowledge of computers and websites would be an asset to the board.


ramon  (D 26115)

Nov 14, 2002, 7:55 PM
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Re: [billvon] USPA election candidate opinions [In reply to] Can't Post

You're not voting for treetop?
LaughLaughLaugh


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Nov 14, 2002, 8:27 PM
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>You're not voting for treetop?

While he would be colorful, and is certainly a fun jumper as opposed to a professional skydiver or DZO, I can't see electing someone who enjoys offending and misleading people as much as he does. That seems to be the wrong attitude to take to the BOD.

And rather than argue about what he's like, I'd encourage people to look at what he has posted in the past. His 'thesis statement' seems to be here.


(This post was edited by billvon on Nov 14, 2002, 8:57 PM)


livendive  (D 21415)

Nov 15, 2002, 8:53 AM
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If Treetop is elected, I think you'll be pleasantly surprized by the difference between his online and offline demeanors. There have been numerous people on the newsgroup over the years who made a point of being misleading. Most of the time it was funny, once in awhile it was mean-spirited. I think that those people who haven't gotten to know Don will, if given the chance, find that the "mean" portion of his personality is reserved for those people and actions that negatively affect himself, his friends, or our (skydivers') ability to do what we want. I understand the people who are offended by his online personality, but that ain't all of his personality. He's one of the good guys.


diverdriver  (D 19012)

Nov 15, 2002, 9:04 AM
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You only get one chance to make a first impression. He failed misserably with me. No thanks. I don't want someone like that on the BOD. Voting him in as National Director would only condone his childish behaviour.

Don has made his way over here to post before. Why doesn't he post on this topic and try to convince us otherwise? Because to be honest, there's nothing you can say Dave to convince me. It will have to come from him.

Chris Schindler


tombuch  (D 8514)

Nov 15, 2002, 9:47 AM
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I'll chime in for Max Cohen as a write-in candidate. He's a freefly coach at The Ranch where I'm the S&TA. He doesn't have ratings as an instructor, but he does have a good attitude and tons of training experience. Perhaps the lack of formal ratings will help him to see the USPA instruction program in a different light. In any event, he understands freefly and is interested in improving safety in that area as well as canopy control. He works with our newer jumpers all the time and understands their perspective. He has clear opinions, but is always willing to listen to an alternative and say "...hummm," then reframe his own thoughts. So, Max Cohen got one of my votes as a write in.

I avoided Don "Treetop" because he is such an offensive and hostile person on wreck-dot. He has debased the group to the point that it hardly functions anymore, and I've been part of that community since 1995.

I stayed away from Mike Mullins and any other candidates that oppose the Group Member program. Mike is great, but his opposition to a national certification program for DZ's is bad for jumpers, and especially bad for students---our future members. I really think it is critical that USPA have self regulatory control over most of the DZ's. As I researched a recent book project I had a chance to speak with many state aviation governing bodies, and they all stay out of our business because USPA has it's own program. Eliminate that program and I'm sure we'll face piece meal regulation at the state level. It's an interesting issue that should be covered in greater depth in another thread, but for now, I am using it as a litmus test...oppose the group membership program and loose my vote.

Tom Buchanan


Topcat  (D 23405)

Nov 15, 2002, 9:48 AM
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My .02 cents to what Bill posted:

I want to urge all the fun-jumpers out there to vote for Winsor Naugler. If you have not had the priveledge to jump with him I hope you get the chance. I met him at a Mullins boogie in Tennessee a while ago (when he was still living in Alabama) when I was an inexperienced jumper - still at that stage where I was afraid to jump with anyone because I didn't want to ruin their skydive.

Winsor is completely non-judgemental about the people he jumps with. All he asks for on a skydive is everyone to be safe. He's always been great to me and my friends and I basically decided that I wanted to be Winsor when I grew up (in the skydiving sense).

He has always struck me as a man of his word, and he will represent the fun-jumper if elected.

Also - Looks like Larry Stapleton is running unopposed - but if you're in the Southern region, vote for him. He is quite accessible and he's a good guy and will do what he can to help if you ask.

-Sandy


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Nov 15, 2002, 9:48 AM
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Re: [livendive] USPA election candidate opinions [In reply to] Can't Post

>I think that those people who haven't gotten to know Don will, if
> given the chance, find that the "mean" portion of his personality is
> reserved for those people and actions that negatively affect himself,
> his friends, or our (skydivers') ability to do what we want.

Unfortunately, occasionally the BOD will have to deal with groups that wish to negatively affect skydiving, like the FAA. I would not want the FAA to have to deal with the "mean" portion of his personality, as you mention above. The likely result will be greater restrictions for the sport, as the FAA learns they cannot deal reasonably with USPA.


Jimbo  (D License)

Nov 15, 2002, 4:03 PM
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Re: [tombuch] USPA election candidate opinions [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Quote:
but his opposition to a national certification program for DZ's is bad for jumpers, and especially bad for students---our future members.

National certification program my ass. :)

A DZ should be able to stand soley on it's safety record, and they don't need the USPA for that. I can think of at least on non-GM DZ with an EXCELLENT safety record, a record that some GM DZs would like to have.

It's not the USPA that makes a DZ safe, it's the people. Simply joining the GM program speaks nothing to me.

-
Jim


Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
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Nov 15, 2002, 4:10 PM
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>national certification program

What? Sign a paper that says you'll follow the BSR's makes it a certified DZ? If there were annual inspections and things you had to actually do to get certified.. that would be one thing. But paying your annual fee and instantly becoming certified does'nt hold weight in my opinion.

Name one thing you have to do differently to get Group Membership then file the paperwork and send in the money... no one is actually looking to see if the studnet gear is current, see if the DZ is large enough for students... nothing.


tombuch  (D 8514)

Nov 15, 2002, 5:00 PM
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In reply to:
Name one thing you have to do differently to get Group Membership then file the paperwork and send in the money... no one is actually looking to see if the studnet gear is current, see if the DZ is large enough for students... nothing.

I see your point, to a degree. I would like the USPA Drop zone affiliation standards to be much higher, but DZO's will not let that happen, so we are stuck with weak standards. But at least it is a standard, and a common collection of basic promises made to the student.

A first jump student has no way of knowing if a DZ is safe or not, and an isolated fatality record by itself means nothing. You and I can evaluate all the parameters of safety, but a first jump student can't. An agreement to follow a national standard is about all students have.

I should also point out that there have been DZ's dropped from the program, and others that have been denied affiliation because of a refusal to follow basic safety regulations. I'd like that to be a lot tougher, but again, at least it is something.

Likewise, the government (Federal and State) rely on the commitments of the group member program, and that keeps regulations away. Without the group member program we would absolutely have tougher state regulation...I have talked to state aviation divisions all over the country about that. And, I also think we would have tougher Federal regs if we eliminated the very simple promises of group affiliation.

-tb


Cloudseeder

Nov 15, 2002, 7:40 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Name one thing you have to do differently to get Group Membership then file the paperwork and send in the money... no one is actually looking to see if the studnet gear is current, see if the DZ is large enough for students... nothing.

I see your point, to a degree. I would like the USPA Drop zone affiliation standards to be much higher, but DZO's will not let that happen, so we are stuck with weak standards. But at least it is a standard, and a common collection of basic promises made to the student.

A first jump student has no way of knowing if a DZ is safe or not, and an isolated fatality record by itself means nothing. You and I can evaluate all the parameters of safety, but a first jump student can't. An agreement to follow a national standard is about all students have.

I should also point out that there have been DZ's dropped from the program, and others that have been denied affiliation because of a refusal to follow basic safety regulations. I'd like that to be a lot tougher, but again, at least it is something.

Likewise, the government (Federal and State) rely on the commitments of the group member program, and that keeps regulations away. Without the group member program we would absolutely have tougher state regulation...I have talked to state aviation divisions all over the country about that. And, I also think we would have tougher Federal regs if we eliminated the very simple promises of group affiliation.

-

LOL!
OK Mr. Buchanan,
I've recieved numerous e-maisl asking me to post over here and the first thing I came across was your "spin" on the GM program.
The fact is Mr. Buchanan, that a GM designation doesn't prove at all that any DZ is any safer than any other DZ.
As a matter of fact all that USPA requires for a Group Member designation is a "pledge " to follow the BSRs and a valid bank check.
There is no folow up to ensure that the group member is actually abiding by their pledge.
Although USPA has spent considerable amount of dollars developing a DZ Inspection criteria and an evaluation process for hiring DZ Inspectors, The current DZO BOD haven't made this inspection mandatory for DZ Group member status .
It has been left as a voluntary "service"!

So far only one Group Member DZ has been inspected by the USPAs inspector.

Why Mr. Buchanan, has the DropZone which employs you not requested an inspection?

How do we know by the GM designation alone that your DZ is abiding by the BSRs?

Hey Mr. Buchanan,
here is a question I cant resist;
Do you recieve any income from the Ranch?

"Treetop" ,
The FunJumpersCandidate


Cloudseeder

Nov 15, 2002, 7:54 PM
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[reply
And rather than argue about what he's like, I'd encourage people to look at what he has posted in the past. His 'thesis statement' seems to be here.
What? and My disclaimer is somehow a bad thing?
LOFL!
Yeah, I tell you not to believe anything I may post on the rec. or anything you read or hear without first confiming it with at least two other known credible sources and then consider it in your own mind!!

MY GOD!!!! I'M ASKING PEOPLE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES!!!!

"Treetop", how could you?!!!


indyz  (D 28525)

Nov 15, 2002, 9:43 PM
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In reply to:
What? and My disclaimer is somehow a bad thing?
LOFL!
Yeah, I tell you not to believe anything I may post on the rec. or anything you read or hear without first confiming it with at least two other known credible sources and then consider it in your own mind!!

MY GOD!!!! I'M ASKING PEOPLE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES!!!!

"Treetop", how could you?!!!

Don,

I assure you, I can think for myself, as can a vast majority of the other posters on these forums. The problem is that you haven't given us much of anything to think about. I know for a fact that you haven't stated your platform on this site because I have read all of your posts, and if you mentioned it on rec.skydiving, I must have missed it.

99% of the people who are eligble to vote for you have only what you have said on rec.skydiving and these forums to base their decision on. Surely you can see how making it difficult for people to determine your true stance on the issues negatively affects your campaign.

If you want me and the many other USPA members on this site to seriously consider you as a candidate, you need to tell us why we should vote for you.


Cloudseeder

Nov 15, 2002, 11:22 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:

Don,

I assure you, I can think for myself, as can a vast majority of the other posters on these forums. The problem is that you haven't given us much of anything to think about. I know for a fact that you haven't stated your platform on this site because I have read all of your posts, and if you mentioned it on rec.skydiving, I must have missed it.
________________________________________________

Mr Indys,
of all the candidates running for National Director ,how many have posted here or on rec?

Have you recieved a copy of the November issue of Parachutist?
If so you have acces to my candidates statement even if it was edited at least 27 times against the rules of Our Governance Manual, but that's a whole 'nuther topic.
Look,
read my statement.You'll find that unlike other candidates I present my views as opposed to stating that I am all this and have done all that.

Listen,
I'm not here begging for anyones vote and I really could care less if I'm elected or not.
I don't "want" to be on the Board.

I'm volunteering to represent the Fun Jumpers .Simple as that.
If I'm elected the BOD will lose a Member but the Fun Jumpers will gain a Representative.

"Treetop"


indyz  (D 28525)

Nov 15, 2002, 11:40 PM
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I just found your statement on USPA's website. I would be interested in seeing the unedited version if you have it around.

I also have a couple of questions:
-What specific changes would you make to the GM program?
-How do you plan on convincing the FAA to lengthen the repack cycle?


AggieDave  (D License)

Nov 16, 2002, 12:30 AM
Post #21 of 303 (4862 views)
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Quote:
I'm not here begging for anyones vote and I really could care less if I'm elected or not.
I don't "want" to be on the Board

If you were actually motivated to represent the fun jumpers, then I would have hoped that you would care if you were elected or not. Hopefully you, as a voice of the fun jumper, would make it a priority to push for your platform and care very much if you were elected or not. I understand the point you were trying to make, the 'farmer turned president turned farmer' attitude that was previlant in the Federalist party in the late 1700's; however, that attitude is lost here, I would like to believe that the persons running for BOD would work as hard as possible to push for their election. If anything, just to show that they fully believe in their platform and to demonstrate their work ethic and how it would most likely apply to their job on the BOD.

You sir, do not have my vote.


Premier sangiro
Head Honcho
Nov 16, 2002, 4:28 AM
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Quote:
I'm not here begging for anyones vote and I really could care less if I'm elected or not.
I don't "want" to be on the Board.
Your wish is my command.


tombuch  (D 8514)

Nov 16, 2002, 4:55 AM
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In reply to:
Although USPA has spent considerable amount of dollars developing a DZ Inspection criteria and an evaluation process for hiring DZ Inspectors, The current DZO BOD haven't made this inspection mandatory for DZ Group member status .
It has been left as a voluntary "service"!
So far only one Group Member DZ has been inspected by the USPAs inspector.
Why Mr. Buchanan, has the DropZone which employs you not requested an inspection?
How do we know by the GM designation alone that your DZ is abiding by the BSRs?

Hey Mr. Buchanan,
here is a question I cant resist;
Do you recieve any income from the Ranch?

"Treetop" ,
The FunJumpersCandidate

Treetop---Nice improvement in tone, now, please bring it down even one notch further. I'll answer your last question first because it was a bit antagonistic: No, I do not receive any income from The Ranch. I was on staff as an instructor for many years but no longer am. Now, I pay for my jumps, just like everybody else. I serve as S&TA in an unpaid position because I think somebody should do that, and after 20 years in the sport it is my way to give back. I'm not an evil doer in the pocket of the DZO. Really. Honestly.

Onward...You are correct that there is a DZ inspection program in place and only one DZ has been inspected. The program is expensive to participate in, and it doesn't offer much marketing power to a DZO because it is pretty much unknown to jumpers and student customers. It is a much better standard than group membership alone, but without adequate promotion it won't fly. Should it be mandatory? Probably not. I like the idea of two standards, one mandatory for group members, the other voluntary, like a gold seal program. I would like to see more DZ's participate, and I would like more promotion for the program. So, if you make it to the BOD, how about pushing the voluntary inspection program so our group members have a higher standard to shoot for? Would you be willing to offer FREE inspections to the first few participants to get the program rolling?

As for my DZ? Well, I don't think it is the safest, nor does it target a consumer looking for a safe program. My DZ generates income in the tandem marketplace where customers shop around for the best price. My DZ competes on price, not safety. We also compete on reputation, but that's a really illusive and subjective element that a student or beginner can't easily evaluate. I would love it if one of our competitors participated in the voluntary inspection program and then added that to their marketing in a prominent place. (Sky's The Limit, Skydive Long Island, CPI, listen up) It would be great if a customer called our school after talking to an "inspected" dropzone and asked if we met the same standard. That would cost us business, but I would love it because it would pressure the dropzone to improve from the consumer level. I would like dropzones to compete based on safety, not price, especially in the student area. If you are elected to the BOD, why not encourage participation in the program by giving favorable listings to DZ's that have been inspected, or cutting their membership fees by the cost of the inspection?

You ask how we know by group membership alone that a DZ "is abiding by the BSRs?" We don't, but the pledge to follow the BSR's is better than no pledge at all. Enforcement is up to us, the jumpers who are on the DZ, and the USPA Directors. If we make compliance matter, and drop non-compliant DZ's from the program, it will make it stronger. I agree that we need more than a "promise" to follow the BSR's and FAR's. I think our members need to identify non-compliant dropzones to the regional directors, and the regional directors need to drop those DZ's from the program. If you are elected to the board, I hope you will focus on identifying weak dropzones that do not follow the BSR's and remove them from the group member program, rather than remove the program itself.

As consumers we (and more importantly, students) need a meaningful standard to help us evaluate and select a safe drop zone. The Group member Program is all we have. Let's not eliminate it, let's make it stronger.

-Tom Buchanan


Jimbo  (D License)

Nov 16, 2002, 5:32 AM
Post #24 of 303 (4838 views)
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Re: [tombuch] USPA election candidate opinions [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Tom, we're talking ultimately about making skydiving as safe as is reasonably possible for everyone right?

Quote:
I like the idea of two standards, one mandatory for group members, the other voluntary, like a gold seal program. I would like to see more DZ's participate, and I would like more promotion for the program. So, if you make it to the BOD, how about pushing the voluntary inspection program so our group members have a higher standard to shoot for?

If that's the case, then why support two certification programs, again, you're suggesting that a GM certified DZ is safer than a non-GM DZ and this just isn't necessarily the case. You seem to be still stuck on the idea that a GM DZ is a better DZ. Why?

Quote:
If you are elected to the board, I hope you will focus on identifying weak dropzones that do not follow the BSR's and remove them from the group member program, rather than remove the program itself.

Why not remove the GM program and create a voluntary certification program, the Gold Seal you mentioned earlier?

Quote:
The Group member Program is all we have.

It's all who has? DZOs or Fun Jumpers?

-
Jim


tombuch  (D 8514)

Nov 16, 2002, 6:35 AM
Post #25 of 303 (4834 views)
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Re: [Jimbo] USPA election candidate opinions [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
If that's the case, then why support two certification programs, again, you're suggesting that a GM certified DZ is safer than a non-GM DZ and this just isn't necessarily the case. You seem to be still stuck on the idea that a GM DZ is a better DZ. Why?

Quote:
If you are elected to the board, I hope you will focus on identifying weak dropzones that do not follow the BSR's and remove them from the group member program, rather than remove the program itself.

Why not remove the GM program and create a voluntary certification program, the Gold Seal you mentioned earlier?

Quote:
The Group member Program is all we have.

It's all who has? DZOs or Fun Jumpers?

Neither. The group member program is all the general public has. The FAA and state agencies are charged with protecting the general public, in our case that is students. They (students, with the government as surrogate) need a basic standard of safety. That's the group program. It tells the general public and the government that we have an established standard and that we effectively self regulate. That self regulation is what keeps the DZO's and fun jumpers free of government interference.

At some level, some part of the BOD needs to advocate on behalf of the public, that's the students, the 275,000 people that make their first skydive in this country each year. We shouldn't forget their interests while looking at the needs of the 34,000 individual members, and the 275 group members.

One of the key interests of the students and government is a simple way of evaluating a DZ and assuring that some nationally recognized standard is being followed. The issue is complicated because there are a few non-member DZ's that are actually really solid, and perhaps better than a few member DZ's. I wish our standard was higher, but it's not, and right now DZO's aren't willing to support anything more.

Is the group member program perfect? Nope. But there are some really bad DZ's that have lost that basic certification, and I think the (admittedly weak) threat of loosing the USPA label at least keeps others somewhat honest.

I don't think we can effectively move from a weak program (current) to a higher standard such as the voluntary inspection program quickly. It will take some time. Right now there is only one inspected DZ. I will consider the program successful when 20 percent of DZ's have been inspected, and I would consider eliminating the group member program if more than half of the DZ's follow a higher standard. That won't happen for a long time. Two standards isn't the perfect solution, but it is a solid way to transition to a single better standard, and the "inspected" program may drive improvements from the consumer side.

I'm concerned by a position I keep hearing articulated that says the current standard stinks, so let's eliminate it. I'd rather acknowledge that the current standard isn't very good, but is necessary, and it should be improved.

Let's fix the program because it's important, not eliminate it because it's broken.


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