Home Forums Events & Projects A NEW DIRECTION (BOD Issues & Election)

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    Following the most recent BOD meeting some members of CSS have requested that I make a statement to help provide some clarity for those who could not attend.  Rather than make a very long post here I would highly encourage everyone to watch the videos Jana uploaded of the meeting on March 18th. You can watch the videos here (link).  Please carefully watch and listen to all of the statements and suggestions made by the concerned Members who were in attendance.

    Next, I believe its imperative that every CSS member go the CSS Member Directory and read EVERY WORD of the biographies for Lifetime Members Jaunita Jackson and then Rob & Dianne MacKenzie (click here).  Following that, take a look at the pictures and names of the Lifetime Members in the next row – they don’t have biographies linked because these are incredibly HUMBLE people who have never boasted or desired public recognition, but I can promise you their contributions to this club were no small gestures.  I am making this statement to encourage all of you, when deciding on the future direction of this club and who will lead us there, to recognize the extraordinary effort and equally remarkable sacrifices all of these people have made to found this club, improve it, and preserve it.


    Now back the recent BOD meeting and the pressing issues that we face. It has become clear that it’s just a handful of members who wish to end the relationship CSS has with the Cross Country Ranch (XCR).  The resounding majority of the pilots who were present at the meeting were appropriately appalled when they were made aware of Saturday’s agenda item/proposal to “end the relationship with the XCR.” These Pilot/Members made their statements and offered suggestions that you see recorded in Jana’s documentary video.

    According to the current CSS Board, there have been complaints about the state of the grass in the LZ and pilots have been questioning why we are paying the XCR when the grass is dying.  What everyone needs to understand is that first, water is provided by the XCR as a courtesy to the club based on the relationship the owners of the XCR have with CSS.  But, more importantly, ending the arrangement with the XCR, including the payment of $1,800/month would mean the loss of several other benefits that are critical to the LZ and to the club.

    Site Preservation – in the hands of owners that are not friendly to hang gliding and paragliding, we would loose our ability to do landing approaches over the XCR land.  “Airspace” is open to us generally, but the area immediately above private land is NOT free and available to us.  Without the XCR land, our approach options are extremely limited.  Bottom line is that our LZ would shrink significantly and all of the PG approaches would have to be only over the LZ itself, or to the east using the HG approach.
    Storage for CSS assets – club equipment like Gracie, Sandy Vans and Gene’s Rangers, etc. are all stored on XCR property and without the agreement, they would have to live in the parking lot, taking up parking space and exposed to vandalism and/or theft.
    Access to recreational areas – The Pond, the Hike & Fly road to the 750 launch
    Electricity & WiFi for the LZ
    Potable water for the LZ kitchen
    Use of the XCR shower for pilots camping in the LZ


    The BOD members who made the motion or vocally supported the motion to end the relationship with the XCR have not been clear about their intentions or seem to be aware of the very real risks. More importantly, the current CSS leadership has absolutely no plan whatsoever for getting these benefits by other methods.  The “idea” being thrown around is to replace the LZ grass with artificial turf, but the quotes being offered are for a cost of over $1,000,000!!  Even “used” artificial turf, installed by club member labor, would cost in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Aside from the cost, the idea of having turf cover the LZ is terrible if anyone stops to think about safety aspects of landing on turf and how that turf is going to feel in 100 degree heat. We have studies in hand from Penn State that show artificial turf temps reach 50 degrees higher than ambient temp, so I would fully expect the LZ to be at least 150 degrees in the summer. Does that sound safe to anyone?

    Also, reports from at least one CSS member to SB County Code Enforcement is the reason there will no longer be horses on the XCR land or their caretaker Gene, who provides an important service driving PG pilots to/from various launches and has done the Lion’s share of Heavy Equipment Operator work along with Tim Ward to develop the site.  Is this how we thank him for his sweat and heart, by making him homeless? Forcing the horses off the XCR property also incurs additional expense on the Ranch owners; is this how we thank them for their efforts to protect the club from the encroachment of developers?


    The important thing to know is that there are alternatives on the ballot this year.  As a nominee, if elected, my goal is to revitalize the grass and set it up to be green and healthy year round.  Linda’s goal is not only to fulfill her position duties by throwing a couple of rad parties, but to keep the membership abreast of plans the BOD develops  that have been a conspicuously absent function of the current BOD. We feel that Jeff Bether & Daniel Quick have been the voices of reason on the current BOD and recommend they be re-elected to their current positions.  Myself, Linda, Jamie, Ed Wiggins (write-in for president), Jana and Tom Evans (write-in for Safety Director) promise to work together across HGs, PGs, and non-pilots to be transparent and forthcoming in our plans to keep this club what it has been nationally known for, one of the BEST developed free-flight sites in the world.

    I’m pretty sure most level-headed adults in the club would agree with me, we DO NOT want this club to be at the same risk experienced by Point of the Mountain and Sylmar/Kagel (Developers are threatening those sites).  We also DO NOT want the BOD to be like a HOA.  We DO NOT want issues in this club being addressed by rumors, emotions, & conspiracy theories.  Help us right the ship!

    In closing, please consider the issues at hand, review the documentary statements from concerned pilots, and please vote for the recommended team listed above. Thank you!



    Dan DeWeese
    General Member
    CSS Instructor


    Your dream team needs a name.

    The Yes Men? The Aquarians?

    Sorry couldnt resist.

    Tim Ward
    General Member

    I’d like to point out that those wishing to go away from the status quo have not presented a comprehensive alternative plan.

    The big feature seems to be: We’ll stop spending this money.
    If that’s all that happens, the LZ goes back to rocks. That is pretty much guaranteed.

    There’s a bit of handwaving about artificial turf fabric being available for some nominal amount per square foot.

    The price I got for artificial turf, installed by a local company, to cover the 3 acres of LZ, was $1.4 million. Even dividing that down several times for factors of “That’s a high quote”, and “We’re not going to cover the whole LZ” and possibly even “we’ll put it in a little at a time” it’s still going to be a chunk of money.

    Who is going to install this inexpensive artificial turf fabric, and on what timetable? What do the advocates believe is necessary for installation? Just rolling it out as we have next to the shade structure is not proper installation.

    The argument against natural grass seems to be that we don’t have the volunteer labor to maintain it to their standards. It seems to me they’re going to need volunteer labor to prepare the LZ surface and install it, or they’re going to have to pay someone else to do it. Either way could work, but what’s the actual plan? And if the actual plan is for volunteer labor, is that volunteer labor already lined up and committed?

    I’d also like to point out that even artificial turf companies don’t try to sell artificial turf as no maintenance. “Less” maintenance is as far as they go. Is there a candidate for site coordinator lined up that wants to acquire the skills to maintain it?

    Then there’s the potable water, electricity, and trash to be considered.
    There are, of course, solutions for all of these.
    We can put in a tank and truck water in. Granted it’s a one-time cost for the tank and plumbing, but what is it going to cost, and who is going to do it, how soon, and what do we do in the interim?
    The same with going off-grid for electricity. Again, it’s a one time cost, but what exactly is that cost, who is going to do it, and how soon will the lights be back on?

    I’m not saying the status quo needs to be maintained at any cost, but those who want to abandon it should present a more detailed plan.

    John Benario
    General Member

    As  former board member maybe I have some insight.  I do know that on a decision that could ruin the landing field forever the education time, ie., the time to think about what we are doing, should be at least 6 months.  Frequently having time to mull over a problem allows one greater clarity in the solution.  The vote as proposed by our current president of 4 choices is obvious to anyone who has experience in polling is designed to produce a negative result, and has the effect that 25% of the club can destroy the LZ forever for the remaining members of the club.  Whenever there is a vote with more than two choices if there is no winner with more than 50% of the vote the top two choices are taken and then there is another vote. That is the proper way that multiple choice votes are handled.  Why has our president not stated that this is the way the election will be held?

    To allow 25% of the membership, who may have an agenda, to decide for the remaining 75% of the members is wrong and does not pass any sort of common sense test.  I commented to our current president that Tim was elected as site coordinator.  If Tim says that we need to continue the water that should be the end of the discussion.  We voted him in to make decisions for us for the direction of the LZ.  The fact that our current president seemingly wants to override our elected site coordinator is more of an indication of the president trying to be a dictator, rather than any form of good governance.

    There was a vote in 2019 to pay the CCR for the site access and water.  While it was not long term inclusive, for the current president and VP to state that there never was a vote by the membership on the CCR arrangement is not true.  This vote was forgotten about by everyone at the recent meeting, but once it was remembered why has the board not put out the information that the statement that “there never was a vote by the membership on paying the CCR” is not true and the current situation is more nuanced and maybe deserves some more long term thought, rather than rushing through a vote that is designed to produce a desired result.

    Obviously stopping the water without having plan to replace the water is a ludicrous.  No rational person would do that.  I think Luke and Tim are the voices of reason here and  their advice should be heeded.  I will be do so.


    Screenshot 2023-03-25 at 8.38.37 PM



    John, your estimate of 25% of the membership being FOR dissolution of the agreement is WAY HIGH. My estimate is more like 1%. That’s not a typo. I have heard only 4 voices in favor. Stan’s might not count because he seems to bend whichever way the wind is blowing that day. So really just 3.

    Mario Miralles
    General Member

    One thing that wasn’t made clear about the water agreement between the XC Ranch and CSS is that it was decided by the club, not the Ranch, to pay $1800 for the water back in 2010!!

    That’s right, we are paying the same for our water as we did 13 years ago.
    How do we say thanks?


    I haven’t been involved long enough at CSS to follow the political spin on the current situation, so I thought I might add my experience and professional knowledge to the discussion and remain politically neutral. I work for one of the largest commercial landscape contractors in CA, so I know a little something about synthetic turf. If I tendered a bid for the installation of low-grade product to cover the 3-acre LZ, it wouldn’t be the $1.4M mentioned earlier, but it would push 7 figures. The idea of using “used turf” would save on those significant costs, but couple used turf with installation prep from inexperienced “free labor”, and it would likely last a season. Temperatures, wind, poor site prep and used turf would quickly expose the many seams of this DIY installation and these 3 acres of turf would be found in the AJX parking lot after the first big wind event. And don’t believe there is no maintenance in synthetic turf, especially with the weather we experience at the LZ. At best, this “used turf” scenario would be a short-lived solution to the problem. I’ll leave it there – not rumor, third-party information or hearsay – this is what my company does everyday. Won’t work here. Sorry.

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