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Building Political Capital
SAN Members Have Opportunity to Play Vital Role in Upcoming Elections
Every time you tune into the nightly news or look at the front page of the newspaper, you know that election day is just around the corner. Whether it’s the nation’s capitol, your state or provincial government capitals, or just down the road at City Hall, getting involved in the political process is the best way you, an enthusiast, can help keep the automotive hobby in the minds of candidates.
Constituents are an elected official’s number-one priority. Without you and your vote of support, they would not be in office. SEMA by itself can only do so much. One letter from our office in Washington, D.C., is not nearly as powerful as hundreds of letters from politically active SAN members who live in a representative’s district.
Legislators, especially those at the local, state or provincial level, don’t have the time nor the resources to become experts on each of bills that they are expected to cast a vote on during the legislative session. SAN members can take advantage of this opportunity by educating lawmakers on the issues that directly impact our hobby. Furthermore, when you respond to a SAN e-mail alert and contact your legislator to support or oppose pending legislation, you are exerting a great impact on this process.
Given that most legislatures are adjourned for the year, it is important to use this time to develop relationships with your elected officials. Provide them an opportunity to see that your club, council or association is a large, influential and important part of their constituency. Developing this positive relationship will play a key role when legislation is introduced that impacts us.
Enthusiasts in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania have the opportunity to impact their lawmakers because their state legislatures are still in session. Each one of these states is considering multiple bills that have a direct influence on our hobby. SAN members in these states should visit www.semasan.com to view legislative action alerts, which provide the necessary information to convey to their officials. Regardless if you are a street rodder, a classic car restorer or an off-roader, it’s vital that we unite together in support of these bills.
Finally, all SAN members need to exercise their right to vote and support pro-hobby candidates. If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to register to vote before it’s too late. When election day rolls around, get out there and make a difference for the future of this hobby!
SAN Director Appointed to Off-Road Business Association Board
Jason Tolleson, director of the SEMA Action Network, has been selected to serve on the board of directors of the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA). The organization is composed of hundreds of businesses nationwide involved in the off-highway vehicle (OHV) industry whose common goal is to work to keep public lands open to responsible recreational access.
“I welcome this opportunity to further advocate on off-road issues,” said Tolleson. “Backed by the support of OHV enthusiasts from across the country, we will continue to engage and educate policy makers on the political strength of the OHV community.”
With over 20 wilderness bills pending before Congress and the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management reviewing their OHV management plans and other pending land access issues on the national and state levels, enthusiasts are faced with a challenging task in trying to keep these areas open for responsible OHV use. In working with ORBA, Tolleson will continue to advocate on behalf of hobbyists in support of land-use decisions that allow increased participation from the OHV community.
Fred Wiley, executive director of ORBA, stated, “We look forward to working with Jason and taking advantage of his vast experience.”
Each month Driving Force will feature members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The SEMA-supported caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles.
Here is its newest member:
California State Senator Dave Cogdill
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
Hawaii Exhaust Noise: The SAN defeated a Hawaii bill to ban vehicles equipped with an exhaust system “that has been modified to make more noise or sound than the vehicle made when manufactured.” The measure would have allowed law enforcement officers to seize and impound a vehicle upon making a subjective determination that the vehicle was in violation. To provide lawmakers with an alternative, SEMA has produced model legislation that provides for the testing of vehicle exhaust noise to a standard adopted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) with an established noise limit of 95 decibels (SAE J1169). Under this procedure, a calibrated sound meter (meeting industry standards) is placed 20 inches from the exhaust outlet at a 45-degree angle, the vehicle engine is revved to three-quarters of the maximum-rated horsepower, and then the highest decibel reading is recorded.
Hawaii Greenhouse Gas Emissions: SAN members defeated two Hawaii bills that sought to tax vehicle owners in an attempt to reduce motor-vehicle emissions. The first bill would have imposed a new-car surcharge tax, which would have escalated based on carbon emissions. Depending on the vehicle purchased, this surcharge could have required owners to pay up to $2,500 more for the vehicle. The second bill would have established a progressive fee for state motor vehicles based on engine size. These fees would be collected by the state at the time of initial vehicle registration and at subsequent renewals of registration. These fees would be in addition to fees and taxes normally required for registration or renewal. The SAN supports a national solution to greenhouse gas emissions control. A patchwork of state rules would significantly increase the complexity and cost of compliance for the industry.
Vermont Scrappage Program: Enthusiasts defeated a bill in the Vermont State Senate that would have implemented a vehicle scrappage program and financed it with a progressive purchase and use tax and higher registration fees for some new motor vehicles based on fuel-efficiency ratings. Funds collected under the SAN-opposed proposal would have been used to dismantle vehicles deemed by the state to be “clunkers,” regardless of their historical value or collector interest. If this effort had been successful, purchasing the vehicle of choice could have been significantly more costly. Further, this proposed scrappage program could have denied hobbyists the availability of vintage cars and parts for restoration projects.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
“How Would You Like to Have an Old Car?”
1955 Pontiac 2-Door Hardtop
Owner: Rob Riley
Back in 2000, I was working for my father as a semi truck and trailer mechanic. One day a customer asked to have the wood floor of a moving trailer sealed. When I finished the job and handed him the bill, he looked at me and asked, “How would you like to have an old car?”
At the time, my wife and I were expecting our third child, and I didn’t have time or money to restore the car. However, he convinced me to take look at it so I could see what I might be passing up. I got to his house and there sat a ’55 Pontiac 2-door hardtop under a tree. The engine fired up, but the transmission would not shift out of low gear. The interior was a little rough, but the body and frame were solid. So after a little thinking and figuring that it wouldn’t take much to make it a decent drive, I hauled the car home.
Once I got under the hood all I had to do was adjust the throttle pressure linkage to allow it to shift though all four gears (it’s a hydromatic four-speed)—a simple fix. I put new brakes on it, flushed the fuel tank and lines and installed a new fuel pump. The tires were pretty much shot, and I didn’t want to drive anywhere on them. My dad bought me a set of American Racing chrome smoothie wheels and a new set of radial tires for my birthday. I added the bullet center caps to the wheels.
I buffed out the original paint and although it is worn through to the bare metal in some spots, it still looked pretty good. The worn look gave it a little character. It made for a great weekend driver, and I drove it occasionally for five or six years. A few years ago, I decided that the car needed something different done to the engine. I bought and installed a new Rochester two-barrel carburetor and a dual two-barrel adapter from Vintage Speed. The adapter bolts to the stock two-barrel intake, and lets you bolt twin two barrels on top of it.
I really didn’t restore the car, I just cleaned up it up a little. I do plan on re-doing the interior one of these days and maybe repainting in. However, I love the car just the way it is right now.
Have your car or truck featured in a future issue of Driving Force.
Submit your high resolution photos online at www.semasan.com
Hot Rods 101: Automotive Students Get Their Hands Dirty to Finish Project Before Car Show
What happens when you get a bunch of college students, an old pickup and a challenge to have it restored in time for a major event? While it may seem more like a story line for a new reality TV show, that’s exactly what the students of the Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) were up against when they heard that the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour was coming to town.
The students, all enrolled in the RCTC Automotive Technician program, are also members of the RCTC Auto Club. Founded in 2004 and under the guidance of RCTC instructor Dave MacLeod, the club focuses on community giving and automotive projects. Past community activities have included “Lights on for Safety,” which checks and replaces light bulbs for community members, food drives for the local food shelves and similar events. Last fall the RCTC Auto Club repaired and donated a van to a large family who had lost all their vehicles in a local flood. Their latest project, a ’50 Ford F-1 truck, would put their skills to the test.
The truck was purchased in 1977 by a fellow RCTC instructor Max Gernand who saw it parked near some trees on a farm in South Dakota. Twenty-five years of work on the farm caused rust and rot to destroy the metal and wooden bed, but the body and frame were still intact. After towing the vehicle back to Minnesota, it was returned to running condition. A flatbed box was fabricated, and Max drove it until 1986 when the interest and obligations of raising a young family caused the truck to once again be parked for awhile.
In 2006, Max donated the truck to the Auto Club. The first goal was to return it to running condition, which occurred about a year later.
The following year Hot Rod magazine announced that its annual Power Tour was going to stop in Rochester, Minnesota, in June 2008. The news caused a lot of excitement for club members. After a visit to RCTC by the magazine staff, the club was challenged to have the truck ready to take center stage when the Power Tour rolled in town.
After an incredible effort, long hours and donations by local parts businesses and a Rochester antique car club, the Auto Club got the restored truck completed just hours before the event. All the bodywork, wiring and mechanical work were done by RCTC auto students. This is extremely impressive considering RCTC does not teach body repair and painting.
Dave and Max are very proud of their students and the Auto Club. In summing up the purpose of the program, Max commented that “we try to teach the students to be good auto mechanics, but more importantly, great people who will contribute both to their employers and to the community.”
More Than Just Cool Corvettes
In December 1958, approximately 25 Corvette enthusiasts got together and formed the Corvette Club of Delaware Valley (CCDV). Early club members were heavily into racing and frequently visited tracks, such as Pocono, Langhorne or the Vineland Speedway in New Jersey.
In 1971, the club hosted the first-ever Cavalcade of Corvettes at Bryner Chevrolet in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. By 1980, the show became so popular that a larger facility was needed and the event was moved to the Willow Grove Naval Air Station.
Since then, the club and the show have continued to grow. As the Cavalcade reached its 25th year, the club decided to form the Corvette Enthusiasts Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds solely for the good of the community.
The main recipients of the proceeds over the last several years, from both the club and the foundation, have been the Sunshine Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Big Brothers of America, Naval Military Welfare & Recreation, Chip Miller Charitable Foundation, the National Corvette Museum and many other well-deserving charitable organizations. In all, the organizations have donated more than $300,000 to several worthy causes.
As the club prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it is one of the largest Corvette clubs in the country with more than 500 members. The Cavalcade of Corvettes remains one of the largest all-Corvette shows on the East Coast.
For more information on the club, visit www.ccdv.com.
Staying Tuned, Taking Action!
Quick Response of SAN Members Stop Lawmaker’s Attempt to Sneak by Harmful Legislation
The closing days of a legislative session could be best described as controlled chaos. Bills are negotiated, compromises are made and laws are passed. While most legislators use this opportunity to finish the people’s business, others have taken advantage of this confusing time to avoid scrutiny that would have otherwise prevented a bill from being approved. SAN members in California recently experienced such an occurrence and rose to the occasion. Their vigilance and quick response ensured that such actions would not go unnoticed.
The story played out like this.
A lawmaker introduced a bill regarding court procedures in divorce cases. The bill went through the legislative process, was passed by the California Assembly and moved onto the Senate floor where it was days from final approval. In the closing moments of the session, the lawmaker changed this bill, took out the existing text and replaced it with changes to the State’s smog-check program. Better yet, it was the exact language that hobbyists defeated just a year ago that would have required all vehicles 15 years old and older to undergo yearly smog-check inspections.
The SAN discovered this change and mobilized its membership. An e-mail action alert was sent out immediately, and within moments the phones in Sacramento began ringing off the hook. Legislators were made aware of the underhanded approached taken by the lawmaker and a few of them ensured SAN members that the bill would not receive consideration.
We don’t report on this to infuriate you. We don’t share this to make you avoid working with lawmakers. There are many legislators who love and appreciate this hobby. You are introduced to them each month in the “Caucus Corner” portion of this newsletter. However, it is clear that there are some out there who do not understand our hobby or attempt to use it as a scapegoat in dealing with other issues. This fact just requires us to remain vigilant and use every opportunity to educate lawmakers on our hobby and way of life.
“I would like to thank SAN members throughout California for their quick and powerful response to this harmful bill,” said SAN Director Jason Tolleson. “While our office may provide the support and vital information about these proposals, it is through their actions that we are truly successful in preserving this hobby.”
Attention Car Clubs, Event Organizers and Enthusiasts!
Put SAN on Your Mailing List!
We’d like to know what’s going on with SEMA Action Network clubs and enthusiasts across the country; what charity events you’re involved in; when and where the rod runs, car shows, trail rides, rallies and tech meetings are held; and what legislative and regulatory issues concern club members and individual enthusiasts.
One of the best ways to keep us abreast of what’s going on and what’s important to the vehicle hobbies nationwide is for us to receive your club newsletters and updates. Please consider placing SEMA on your mailing list. Send correspondence to: Ethan Landesman, SEMA, 1317 F Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20004-1105. Or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.