They don't just "express any interest". They are asked for their USHPA number, phone number, and an email address. They know very clearly that they are joining our club. Saying "anyone who has ever expressed any interest" is considered a member is misleading Ken ... and you know it. We do not charge membership fees because we have virtually no expenses and we're trying to grow the sport of hang gliding. We want to be able to invite members to monthly fly-ins and annual events like the Otto meets. We want to reach out and remove barriers to people being hang glider pilots. You can call that "a pretty meaningless way to define a member", but I'd call it exactly what the sport needs - camaraderie ... without a price tag. Furthermore, many people bump into hang gliding at a time in their lives when it may not be convenient or affordable to pursue properly. By keeping those people on our rolls, they get the monthly newsletters that remind them that it's something they've been wanting to do. Every month is another chance for them to take that step toward a lifetime of flying. I have no idea why USHPA would want to crush that, but apparently they do.Ken Andrews wrote:As you know, one of the concerns is over the definition of a member. Roughly speaking, I think the Torrey Hawks considers anyone who has ever expressed any interest to be a member, ...
So if it were up to me, I would have the Torrey Hawks have a thousand free members hearing about flying every month. But USHPA doesn't allow that, and we must bow to USHPA's 70% rule to remain a Chapter (and have any hope of getting site insurance so we can fly our site with some degree of independence from the Jebbs and Mariens). So we have done that. In our early years it wasn't a problem because we had very high USHPA membership (originally 100%). But over time, some of our pilots have dropped their USHPA membership. I think it was about a year or so ago when we began getting close to the 70% mark, and we had to address the problem. After some consideration, we decided that the best thing to do was create an inactive (and non-voting) membership class (similar to what USHPA has, by the way). We decided that we should give preference to our more senior members and put members in the inactive status in reverse order of their date of joining. So we go from the newest non-USHPA member and work our way backward until we are at the compliant 70%. This is reflected in our bylaw:
I should note that Sylmar (or any other club) could face a similar problem if you wanted to keep members in your club who might not continue to be USHPA members. If that group should ever grow larger than 30% you would be faced with a similar problem. I think our solution is a rational and fair response to USHPA's intrusive (and monopolistic) "70% USHPA" rule. But whether you like our system or not, there is no USHPA SOP against what we do. If there were, then we would abide by it and change our system. But there isn't. That's why I've asked numerous times for someone to cite a USHPA SOP or bylaw justifying USHPA failing to renew our Chapter status. So far, there has been no response (reminds me of my expulsion)."Expired USHPA members may be placed on inactive status as needed to maintain compliance with USHPA membership requirements."
Here's what the recent (March 2015) USHPA SOP's say about Chapters and USHPA membership:Ken Andrews wrote:USHPAâ€™s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have some requirements that USHPA chapters must meet. As I understand those requirements, the intent is that USHPA chapters should largely consist of USHPA members with a commitment to similar goals. Given how the Torrey Hawks defines â€œmemberâ€� and â€œvoting memberâ€�, I think it makes more sense to use the latter class when applying the USHPA SOPs.
We have remained compliant with those rules, and we have submitted paperwork every year (including 2016) showing that we have been compliant with those rules. There has been no violation of any USHPA Bylaw or SOP that justifies USHPA simply refusing to renew us this past spring.USHPA SOP 06-01.03 wrote:Requirements for chapter status:
A. Chapters must have at least five members.
B. At least 70% of the chapter members must be USHPA members. Chapters are required to
provide USHPA with a membership roster annually. The roster must include names and USHPA
membership numbers for USHPA members.
C. Not less than 60% of chapter officers must be USHPA members. Non-pilot chapter members may
serve as chapter officers provided they do not hold more than 40% of the elected officer
positions. The 40% limit does not apply to non-pilot officers who are USHPA members.
I should point out, that the USHPA SOP's only require that a club have 5 members to be a USHPA Chapter. No one questions that we have 5 USHPA members in the Torrey Hawks. So if we wanted to "play games" we could submit our roster with myself and any 4 of our hundred+ USHPA members and still be compliant.
I don't know. There's no requirement to maintain a list of voting members or to provide such a list to USHPA. We conduct our elections in much the same manner as they do at Fort Funston. I was there during a vote, and everyone who met the requirements voted and those who didn't meet the requirements didn't. It was largely self-regulated and based on the honor system. Those who were regular pilots had a pretty good sense of who had the required hours and who did not. That's pretty much what we do at our meetings as well. So when a vote comes up, we ask that only people who've flown a hang glider in the last 3 years at Torrey cast a vote. If there's ever a question it would be dealt with by a fact-finding at the time of the vote just like they do at Funston. So far, it's never come up.Ken Andrews wrote:How many â€œvoting membersâ€� does the Torrey Hawks have?
As I mentioned, the USHPA SOP requires 70% of a club's members to be USHPA members. It's not a requirement based on voting members. For the Torrey Hawks, it's just above 70% (as per our procedure noted above). USHPA has an on-line verification system which accepts a list of USHPA numbers and tells what percentage are USHPA members. I've used that system for years. We were always well above the 70% limit, but we've gotten closer, and this last year I had to implement our bylaw which requires removal of the newest members who are not USHPA members. The list that we submitted to USHPA this past spring with our renewal paperwork was accurate and above 70% USHPA members. I can send it to you or you could request it from USHPA.Ken Andrews wrote:What percentage of the Torrey Hawks â€œvoting members" are USHPA members? I wonâ€™t ask for a list now, but may need it eventually to support the Torrey Hawks.
Our bylaws state:Ken Andrews wrote:How do you solicit nominations for officers, and when are your annual elections? Iâ€™d welcome responses from any voting members of the Torrey Hawks about the annual election process, and whether the elections appear to be open and fair.
We have done that every year. It's always been at the September meeting which is the anniversary month of our USHPA Chapter status (which was September of 2007). This was the first year that we missed September and held the elections in October (last weekend). As club secretary, I usually send an email message to all members soliciting for candidates. As with many local clubs, it often involves asking (sometimes begging) people to fill otherwise vacant positions. In fact, in the nearly 10 years of the Torrey Hawks, we haven't had a single contested election. That makes it pretty easy. It also reflects a general satisfaction (or lack of severe dissatisfaction) by our members.The Torrey Hawks shall hold at least one annual meeting for the election of new officers.
Let me add one more comment about our members that's worth considering. We have a pretty diverse group. I personally know that we have members from various hang gliding "camps" who might not otherwise get along. People join the Torrey Hawks not because they "have to" in order to fly at Torrey. In fact, as I've mentioned, being a member has sometimes been more of a liability than a benefit there. So we don't hold members hostage so they can fly our site. Our members are our members because they believe in our purpose (as stated in Article II of our bylaws):
That's why people remain members of the Torrey Hawks. It's certainly not because of me. In fact, it might be more in spite of me. It's because they believe in that simple statement, and they believe that we're doing our best to carry it out. We've even had some pure PG pilots with no HG ratings be members because they believe we're a positive influence at the site.Article II wrote:The Torrey Hawks Hang Gliding Club is dedicated to promoting and protecting the sport of Hang Gliding at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.
Ken, there's no legitimate reason for USHPA to have not renewed the Torrey Hawks Hang Gliding Club's chapter status. I believe it was out of spite against me and to disadvantage our club in any efforts we might have in freeing Torrey Pines from the current concessionaire (or possibly some other favored bidder). I believe that many people will come to recognize this for what it is, and that will further damage USHPA's credibility, and unfortunately your own (since this happened entirely under your Directorship).
Despite what people say, it has never been my goal to damage anyone's credibility. I just ask for fairness, and people damage themselves by denying it or ducking it. If you decide to support our renewal, you will have to do more than quietly ask and be refused. Injustices aren't so easily reversed. You will have to believe you're doing the right thing and be willing to be vocal about it. Otherwise, they'll just ignore you and do what they want.
Moderation in pursuit of justice ... is no virtue.
Thanks for taking the time to look into this.