For several years I have been watching, as others, and have concluded we need some changes within the AMA. We need to change the approach used within our own organization so that it serves the hobby rather than the hobby serves it. Currently we seem to have an insurance problem because as a group we have failed to install accident prevention activities as a priority. As
AMA members we have seen dues go up significantly due to the increase in insurance costs but not seen any recommendations from the AMA as to moves we could take to prevent future cost increases.
The AMA was founded to foster competition and yet today, as a group, most modelers do not compete. Since the goals of the membership have changed, it is clear we need to adjust the goals and directions of the AMA. Some changes in the goals and possibly the by-laws of the organization are being discussed now and we need effective representation to help the hobby grow
with the AMA. District VIII represents enough modelers that we should be part of that process and yet it seems to be behind closed doors to most of us. To my way of thinking and doing business that means we need to have improved two way communications between the membership and the elected leaders rather than strictly leader driven communications. Good ideas are
not the property of a few, but grow when there is free and open communication between respected parties. There is evidence that open communications still do not exist in District VIII.
Not to long ago many of us thought Sandy Frank was going to take a breath of fresh air to the AMA for those of us in District VII, but that seems to have turned out to be a vain hope. Horrace Cain was nominated and returned the favor to two of his friends. Sandy Frank was nominated and HE nominated Bill Lee and Doug Powell for the job. There were seven nominations made and
the AMA Nominations Committee was forced to put three poor choices on the ballot.
In February I decided that I was having too much fun being a modeler and flying with my friends all over the district to bother running against Sandy. I even discussed that specific decision and the reasoning behind it with Bill Lee and other friends as I have crossed swords (or horns if you prefer) with Sandy frequently. What has happen since should not be allowed to continue.
The AMA ballot process starts with nominations and ends when the Nominating Committee selects no more than the three best qualified candidates for the ballot. What has happened in District VIII is that two candidates tried to provide nominees to fill the ballot slots to force the Nominating Committee to make choices. The incumbent is assured a slot unless 3/4 of the Committee (which EXCLUDES the President and the ED) vote to refuse, however the incumbent does have a vote.
Now what happened.
HC provided enough nominees to allow someone to force voting SF off the ballot since there would be more nominees than slots on the ballot. SF provided enough nominees to prevent many lesser qualified but well known folks from getting on the ballot. using the same mechanism. Unfortunately for both (but NOT us) their nominees had higher moral standards than they did and all 'tainted' candidates withdrew in one manner or another. The time it took for the addendum to be adopted was a big wave in the process because the Nominating Committee wanted to be fair to all who really wanted to be on the ballot. Some of Mike's paperwork was almost not timely enough.
Would either have taken that action had they been aware of an additional strong candidate? Your guess is as good as mine, but I don't want folks who demonstrate low ethics trying to tell us what to do.
I feel that the leadership of a $10 million dollar organization should have significantly higher ethics than was demonstrated by two of the candidates who are on the ballot have shown. I made that opinion known to more than one person on the Nominating Committee before the meeting on 12 July. I was embarrassed for the AMA EC who were among the victims of this low moral activity when the ballot was set and took action accordingly. The Nominating Committee hands were tied and they acted within the confines and scope of the rules in place now. I suspect that those rules may change based on the actions of most of the candidates in District VIII.
My write in campaign is an attempt to move the AMA from a few who seem to feel they own the organization to something more resembling a democracy. One of the two folks who has tried to corrupt the nomination process hides from the public and has yet to even try to explain his action and it is clear he expects to be elected since he is the incumbent. Meanwhile the other brags about how he tried to use the system to improve HIS situation rather than discuss how his immoral action would have helped the AMA.
Sorry folks, neither individual represents the morality we need running the AMA. I have expressed this opinion everywhere I can and have yet to find other AMA members who disagree with me on that point.
If you agree, please write my name and AMA number in on your District VIII AMA ballot.
Jim Branaum AMA 1428
Oh, you can see the campaign statements of the "Official AMA Candidates" at:Thanks for your time.