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    Mario Miralles
    General Member

    Like 99% of our club, I’d rather just go flying and have a good day at AJX rather than get into the politics.


    Yesterday I was contacted by a Board member who asked me to remove any non-truths from my postings. I said I would, and have done so.  Thankfully I didn’t need to change a word, although, I am guilty of omitting more facts.


    For the five or seven people that actually bother to read this, I want to let you know what I have found out after speaking to almost the entire BOD and as many other people that know what is going on and don’t have an ax to grind.


    It has confounded me that our club has been led to believe that the Cross Country Ranch has somehow been holding back water so that they could swim in their pond, rather than keep our LZ green. This is completely untrue. The only time the ranch has stopped the water from flowing is when there has been a leak on the plumbing to the LZ (which is the Club’s responsibility) and the water in the pool got so low because of it that it threatened to ruin the pond lining. So what is going on?


    I can not tell you for sure all the motives involved with this upcoming ballot measure on whether we should buy water from the ranch or not, but I can tell you some things I’ve learned that most of you probably do not know, but should.


    -First, the last time the club voted on the water issue was in 2019 with only one vote against buying the water. That’s over 98% approval. For some reason this BOD does not want you to know this and if you question the Board, they will say there was no agreement. I will post the vote result and the pertinent part of the agreement.


    -The ballot that was approved by the general membership in October 2019 was:


    “The Crestline Soaring Society (CSS) agrees to pay the Cross Country Ranch (XCR) $1800 / month for access to the XCR and shared utilities. At any time during the term either party can elect to end the agreement with a 30 day notice.


    The CSS BoD has the authority to continue this agreement.”


    -The other thing I learned, is that this BOD unilaterally changed our Chapter standing with USHPA along with our RRRG insurance. One can argue, whether that was a good idea or not, but I would argue that that decision affects all of us in such a large way, that it should’ve been run by us. So now the ranch is no longer covered by the insurance that was provided along with our club.


    -The wording in this latest proposed ballot says that the ranch declined the insurance that the BOD bought on their own. The reality is that the ranch was advised by professionals that the new insurance gave them zero protection. When the CCRanch contacted the insurance company directly, they were told that they had no idea there was any Hang Gliding/Paragliding involved, and that the CCRanch would not be protected. That’s a big difference from what has been implied. BTW, the new cheap insurance is under the category of ‘adult education’….


    -So, if our club gets sued, we really do not have any big assets and we are a not profit, so we ‘may’ be fine. On the other hand, the Ranch has everything to lose. What would you do if you were the Ranch? It is completely misleading to say that the ranch declined the new insurance, in my opinion.


    -If there is a big lawsuit as there usually is every 5-10 years, what impact would that have on our standing with the DWR that we lease the land through?


    As I mentioned, it could be argued whether this new insurance arrangement is better or worse, but what is clear is that by doing this unilateral decision they have changed the relationship between the club and the ranch, and I personally think that was a big mistake. As the draft of the ballot measure lists, we get a lot more than water from the ranch :


    -Threat of CCR discontinuing provision of electricity at cost to CSS.

    -Threat of CCR discontinuing the provision of joint trash bin services at ½ cost to CSS.

    -Threat of CCR discontinuing the storage of Gracie (the front-end loader).

    -Threat of CCR revoking permission to overfly and land on CCR.


    Does anyone else have a problem with the use of the word “threat” before these benefits we had? I do.


    The ranch has only shown good faith over all these years and done many things to make this flying site better. As one member of our club stated, “the club is the cake, the ranch is the icing”. I cannot for the life of me understand why the effort isn’t into maintaining that relationship and taking advantage of having a grass LZ, the other listed services, and a great neighbor who wants this site to thrive.


    As a Hang glider pilot going back to the early 70s, I don’t really mind landing on dirt, but it sure is nice to land and break down on the grass and we are so fortunate to be able to make that happen with the help of the Ranch. I would think it’s even more important for the paragliders and the paragliding schools when they are kiting etc.


    I want to finish with something I have mentioned before, I have no personal animosity with anyone on the BoD. I was happy that some even reached out to me after seeing my posts and were willing to talk. I have seen how some of my friends on this BoD have volunteered for years to improve AJX. I also trust that they all believe they are doing what is best. I just happen to disagree with some of them.


    So as not to just complain, I would suggest removing the ballot measure completely, or just make it a simple 2 part vote. For buying services from CCR, or discontinuing buying these services.

    I am also up for renegotiating the terms of the agreement if needed, but I do not have confidence in this BOD to do that. I need more transparency than they seem to be comfortable with. That is why I recommend leaving it for the next BOD, which I hope will look like this:




    President –  Ed Wiggins
    Vice-President – Jana Pivkova
    Secretary – Jamie Shelden
    Treasurer – Jeff Bether
    Site Coordinator – Luke Berger
    Communications Director – Daniel Quick
    Events Coordinator – Linda Salamone
    Safety Director – Tom Evans

    David Hards
    General Member

    Mario, I agree 100% but I don’t agree with a BOD asking you to delete non-truths since that board member has no clue of what’s going on.


    Tim Ward
    General Member

    That the Ranch somehow tried to sabotage the grass a silly suggestion, because *I* primarily controlled the irrigation system, and I don’t own the Ranch.
    While the pond can provide a buffer, it simply isn’t sustainable to use more water each day than comes into the pond. If you use more today, you’ll have to use less at some point, or you won’t have the buffer anymore.

    I did do some accommodation: I watered in the evening instead of in the morning, so that there would be more time to refill. That let the pond be closer to full during the daytime when club members and their families liked to use it, and also so that the rubber membrane wouldn’t deteriorate due to sun exposure.

    Honestly, these are some really weak straws to be grasping at. “They tried to manage the pond in such a way that we could swim in it!” Oh, noes! Not that!

    Mario Miralles
    General Member

    Tim, you are definitely one of the greatest heroes of this club. Thank you for all you’ve done.

    Marc Deschenes
    General Member

    There are no MEETINGS AGENDAS AND MINUTES posted for years prior to 2020. Be nice to know why there was no follow through on the near unanimous 2019 membership vote to continue the ranch agreement. Why wasn’t it signed? I believe Dan was president back then. Can he or other 2019 board members please explain.

    David Webb
    General Member

    When we rebuilt the website, there was no digital version of any of the previous meeting agendas or minutes (at least, none that I knew about), so the ones posted began after the new site went up. If anyone has old agendas or minutes kicking around in their junk drawers, or any from other recent months that are missing, send them to info@crestlinesoaring.org and they can be added to the club library.

    Marc Deschenes
    General Member

    Thanks, David. Hopefully somebody will find the old agendas and minutes.

    That still leave this question. Why wasn’t the ranch agreement signed?

    2019 isn’t that long ago. You’d think president and board members would remember. Did the other 2019 board members believe the agreement was signed?

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