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ltougas 03-16-2010 12:15 PM

AMA District X Special Election
Today I announce my intention of becoming the AMA District X Vice President. As many of you know I was a candidate in last year’s District X election. Jim Giffin and I campaigned for the office. After all 23,000 members of District X had an opportunity to vote the election came down to 34 votes. Jim prevailed by those 34 votes in a 51%-49% split.

Sadly Jim passed away 1 month into his term. AMA by-laws require that a special election be held when a Vice President leaves office before the end of their term. This special election will be held in the October/November time frame concurrent with the National Election for AMA President.

I believe my background in modeling, aviation, and business makes me the best candidate for the office. My top 3 issues for District X are;

1) Helping clubs find and keep their fields.
2) Bring District X to the internet
3) Build an AMA Western United States Flying site

Any club that is on public land, rents their land from a third party, or is near a population that may object to their field needs to be proactive in protecting their field. Building strong relationships with your elected officials, landlord, and community are essential in protecting the long term use of your field. Clubs need to market themselves, and it is essential that this take place before your field is at risk. I have some specific ideas on how clubs can do this and will do everything in my power to protect our right to fly.

Our District X website is not up to snuff. It has little information on it and it almost never is updated. We can and will do better under my leadership. We will harness the power of the internet to keep our members well informed. We will share news of our events, tips for construction, and flying of our models. We will also collect historical information about the clubs, and modelers that make District X great.

I believe that the time has come for the AMA to build a western United States flying site. AMA West will be a place we can hold large contests of every type, R/C, C/L, and F/F. We would be able to host a portion of the Nats with the dedicated support of our members. This will be a place for us to gather and enjoy the fellowship of the modeling community. We could hold large fun flys like the Joe Nall event on the east coast. We are only limited by our imagination.

I need your help to achieve these goals. You can help by talking to your modeling friends and let them know about my ideas. You can help by having your club officially endorse me. You can help by contributing to my campaign.

As an airline employee I am able to get around our large district. I would like to start mapping out appearances at large gatherings of modelers. If you are planning an event and would like me to attend please contact me, I can’t promise to make it to every event but I will make my best effort. This weekend I will be at the RCX show in Pomona, California. If you would like to meet me please send me an email and we will coordinate.

I have a blog that I started for last year’s election and will be updating. It is at


My email address is;

[email protected]

Last year while running for office, I met some wonderful people, and received a lot of support for my campaign. I look forward to meeting more modelers, and will need all of your support to become the AMA District X Vice President.

Lawrence Tougas
AMA 232

ltougas 03-17-2010 08:14 AM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
I am humbled by the amount of emails I received supporting me. Thank you to all who sent them. If there are any questions you would like to ask please feel free I'll do my best answer them.

Lawrence Tougas
Candidate for AMA District X Vice President

[email protected]


combatpigg 03-17-2010 11:54 AM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
Good luck, Lawrence.

I think a western AMA flying site would be nice if you could show how it could pay for itself or at least be economically feasible. Without knowing what you have in mind it sounds like it would end up being a money sucking pork barrel project. What would a site like you propose cost to establish and cost to maintain?
A western site would only serve a select few...from where I sit the difference between going to Muncie or going to Central California for a fly-in isn't much in terms of convenience.
In the meantime, the cost of yet another site to the membership would be hard to justify unless you can demonstrate how it would be an asset in terms of dollars and cents..

ltougas 03-17-2010 02:28 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
I don’t except the premise that an AMA flying site needs to pay for itself. The Muncie site is under no such requirement. As far as the money required to operate it remember that the money comes from our membership. Currently $1.5 million per year in dues comes from District X. I estimated that based on total dues and the proportion of membership in D10, it may be somewhat higher or lower but it is in the ballpark. Of the $1.5 million only $17,000 is allotted for District 10 for the expenses of the VP and AVP’s travel and other incidentals. That’s just over 1% of the money paid in dues being spent directly on the membership in the district that provided the funds. I think we can do better.

I took a look at the driving times between Arlington, WA. and Visalia, CA. (the location of the last proposed flying site) versus Muncie, IN. The driving times are 16 and 38 hours respectively. Assuming 8 hour driving days its 2 days to Visalia, and 5 to Muncie. Figuring in the round trip that’s 6 extra days on the road to drive to Muncie. This site could be used to host a portion of the Nats, or a Joe Nall style fly-in (which based on the fees charged and attendance must make some money).

You asked (fairly) how it would be an asset. Now discounting all of the uses we would benefit from, and the goodwill it would provide the membership, and looking at in dollars and cents, it would be a capital asset and would be subject to depreciation providing a tax benefit. In addition property values are at a low point so hopefully it would appreciate and become even more valuable over time adding to the AMA’s balance sheet. In addition some of the property could be leased out for agriculture providing an income stream.

The bottom line is that I spent a lot of time meeting modelers in District X last year and talking about my ideas. The subject of a flying site for D10 was virtually uniformly greeted with support. I think it is important to listen to the membership and respond with benefits they can point to a see what their dues provides them.

Anyway that’s how I see it, you may disagree and I understand that, but I appreciate your question.

Lawrence Tougas
Candidate for District X Vice President
AMA 232

Crash-RCU 03-17-2010 02:48 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
Lawrence, I wish you the best of luck in your bid to become district X VP. I would love to see a Western US flying site. It might not completly pay for itself but I thing it could be setup to pay a pretty good chunk of the cost to run, with camping and events and volenteer caretakers ect. I can drive 16 hours standing on my head, oh can't do that, have to watch the road. Good luck

combatpigg 03-17-2010 04:51 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
If we apply your logic to the national organization, then all the districts should feel entitled to having their own AMA sponsored sites.

Is that realistic?

You already have 1 White Elephant flying site called Muncie..so what's the big deal about having 1 more? Is that what I hear?

Is this the time to think about expanding the AMA's liabilities?

If you have a bonafide business plan that is in no way speculative and can only be seen as a guaranteed success, then congratulations.....

JohnBuckner 03-17-2010 05:51 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
A long way from making a decison as to how I will vote and of course a lot depends upon what I can find out about who else will be running.

As to the your ideas on a Western United States flying site, what you really mean is a central california AMA funded flying site. I would just as soon it was in Guam which you also would represent of course if elected along with Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah which historically are ignored concerning all things AMA.

One gets rather sick of the big push from californians to move everything there They got the big AMA show now you want another hugh financial hit from the AMA coffers for your back yard.

The old traveling nats worked back when and could work agine and for me the nats ceased to exist when that system was abandoned.

I am for and supported the National Flying site, Museum and Headquarter but dumping another one in your back yard, no sir that will not garner my vote and I do vote every time.


combatpigg 03-17-2010 10:22 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
ONLY $17,000 for travel and incidentals? :D OINK!!

ira d 03-17-2010 10:49 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
I think the AMA should link up with clubs in most if not every state to form something on the line of the AMA site in Muncie and maybe have the eventsthat happen
on yearly basis in Muncie rotate from site to site from time to time.

KidEpoxy 03-18-2010 12:29 AM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
I got just one word:

Vegas, baby.

K-Bob 03-18-2010 06:49 AM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
Heck yea. On second thought ............ maybe not. With all the RC types inVegas it would dry up the supply of babes on the strip for the other visitors and partiers.

KidEpoxy 03-18-2010 10:05 AM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
As for the looking at the money side-
Vegas is full of tourists looking to spend their money on entertainment, and with just 'local' marketing the AMA regional site could pull folks/family wanting to watch RC airshow events... a lot more of those folks in Vegas than in Rexburg Id or Muncie or just north of Taft CA.

It could expose a lot of Non-RC folks to watch and get interested,
rather than pulling just a bunch of RC guys out to Lodi/Lovelock/BFE-in-the-BLM and exposing guys already into RC to the world of RC. Lets preach to the parish rather than the choir... and I mean like the cool young guitar playin preacher

y2k6vette 03-18-2010 10:49 AM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
My vote goes to Las Vegas....remember the HUGE crowds at QSAA and TOC? Bring back the golden days and watch the attendance and interest flourish! Vegas has a great capacity to draw people from all over the country; and it's high time it gets going again. Vegas, baby!

804 03-18-2010 02:29 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
I've always felt guilty about having the national flying site in my backyard, so, I say go for it.;)

combatpigg 03-18-2010 04:33 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
You can't call it the National Flying Site until COMBATPIGG makes the scene there....and for that to happen I need the AMA to surrender "appearance money" to cover my travel and incidentals......[8D]
What WE demand is only a fraction of what the Division X VPs want to cover their goodwill tours, while on their errands of mercy.

The Juice 03-18-2010 05:11 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
Maybe I am reading to much into it but with you being from California and your mention of the last proposed site being in California I assume you will push for this new site in California as well? As was stated before, district X is more than California so I would consider moving it further east which would be more centrally located. Maybe I'm wrong though since I see 9 of the 13 associate vice presidents are from California.

Also with no intention of taking a stab at you, I noticed the very few posts you have are pretty much all related to this topic. I hope that if you did win you would not disappear again but stayed involved here or on other forums where you were easily accessible and quick to answer questions.

combatpigg 03-18-2010 05:35 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
How do the DVPs or AVPs enrich your enjoyment of the hobby or in other words make a "hill of beans" difference as to how you participate in this sport.?

Once you have answered that question, keep that thought in mind as you decide how much importance they have or how much money WE should be spending on them.

I'm mildly disgusted with wastefull spending and the "easy come, easy go" attitudes that go along with it.

Learn to identify between wants and needs, people.

Silent-AV8R 03-18-2010 06:48 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election

Maybe I'm wrong though since I see 9 of the 13 associate vice presidents are from California.

District X is comprised of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. District X is very large geographically (especially when you include Hawaii and Guam) and the largest number of clubs (303) and AMA members (23,000). Not surprisingly California is the most populous state in the District and the country.

The VP breakdown goes like this:

Arizona - 2
California - 8
Hawaii - 1
Nevada - 1
Utah -1

In addition, Betty Bliss who is more of an Executive Assistant to the VP, lives in California. She does things like maintain the calendar and such.

As far as a District Flying Site goes, it was tried and ended up dying due to environmental issues at the last minute. A large group of people worked very hard for a long time and all their efforts were done in at the last minute by the California Department of Fish and Game. Seems they decreed that the tractor depressions on the land were potential habitat for a fish that has never been seen outside the Sierra about 75 miles away. That was the end of that.

While I understand the logic behind this campaign point, I think it also ignores the reality of the situation. It is extremely unlikely that the rest of the EC will go along with the idea which means that it would end up having to be done on the District level. Assuming that the funds could be raised to buy the land and complete all the EIR and such that needs to be done then the question of construction costs, operation and maintenance costs, personnel for upkeep and so on comes into play. I think this is one of those things that "sounds" great until you take a look at the details. Given the amount of time and effort it would take I feel that the DVP could better use the time to represent the District on the EC and focus on other things like flying site retention and acquisition as well as other normal AMA business matters that will already require a big time commitment.

One thing that has not been mentioned when talking about the web site is the fact that there is a new District X newsletter that is being done by Mike Brown, who is the acting VP and is also running for the DVP office. I think this is a very positive change and use of the website. But like anything it requires input. So I encourage all D10 people to send in stories, photos and so on. The same with the web site itself. It is one thing to say it needs to be more dynamic, but that take content and so far this is the main issue. I ran into the same problem when I was the webmaster years ago. Getting people to send in content was worse than getting blood from a stone.

ltougas 03-19-2010 09:35 AM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
I definitely do not begrudge the AMA from establishing our Headquarters in Muncie. I've been there and its a jewel. I spent most of a day in the museum. If you ever get a chance to go there you should. My issue is that it does not serve District X members well due to the long distances involved. I'm sure that is the case for other Districts too. I feel that there is not enough of our dues spent directly in our District. This is one way to address that. As far as where to locate it I am open to all suggestions, I am on the record from last year with the following,

"I would leave that (location of flying site) to a work group of District X members to consider the issue. That being said I would imagine that factors such as the geographic, and population centers of the district along with the price of land, and proximity of commercial air service, and accommodations would all be factors."

Finally to address the comment that it was tried before and failed. I just don't understand the thinking behind that. It was a good idea then and its still a good idea. What if every large goal was abandoned after one failure. What would the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, and Neil Armstrong's place in history be if they listened to those who told them its been tried before and didn't work. I think we should have a healthy disregard for the impossible. Its the only way great things occur.

Lawrence Tougas
AMA 232
Candidate for AMA District X Vice President


Silent-AV8R 03-19-2010 12:24 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election

ORIGINAL: ltougas
Finally to address the comment that it was tried before and failed. I just don't understand the thinking behind that. It was a good idea then and its still a good idea. What if every large goal was abandoned after one failure. What would the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, and Neil Armstrong's place in history be if they listened to those who told them its been tried before and didn't work. I think we should have a healthy disregard for the impossible. Its the only way great things occur.
First, comparing the acquisition of a model airplane flying site to the Wright Brothers or the Moon Landing is a bit over the top. But allow me to expand on my remark. My thinking is that the first time this came up it was no cake walk and many painful lessons were learned. It required an enormous amount of time and money and almost became a reality. But it was also met with intense opposition and was in the end seen by many as a waste of time and money.

My point is that we should learn for the past to determine what is, and is not, a good idea. And having done that the next step is to go beyond arm waving generalities and talk about the details. Which you have not done and which makes me wonder if you have really thought this campaign point through.

Where do you expect to get funding?
How do you intend to move the project forward?
Will it be done under the direction of the EC or do you see it as a local (District X) effort?
Who will operate and maintain the field?
Who and how will the ongoing costs be paid?
Who will coordinate and operate the events to be held there?

And finally, or more properly firstly, what process have you used to determine that a District flying site is needed, desired, or will be a benefit?

Basically how far past the "Hey, I've got a good idea" stage have you gone?? I ask this because you seem to dismiss the previous effort and apparently feel that they dropped the ball. You said as much at your campaign stop at the El Toro field late last year when you said that the previous people should have "just kept going and tired harder".

I suggested before, and will do so again, that you contact Gary Hover, I believe he is back in Visalia, to chat with him about what this really takes to get done.

combatpigg 03-19-2010 12:37 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
What I see here so far is...."If you elect me, I'll see to it that the AMA spends more money on us."

Pork barrel politics 101.

JohnBuckner 03-19-2010 02:08 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election

ORIGINAL: ltougas

I don’t except the premise that an AMA flying site needs to pay for itself. The Muncie site is under no such requirement. .

That statement seems clear enough to me and is a clear statement as to what you would be wasting your time on if elected, instead of representing the entire district. A second fully or partially AMA funded national flying site for your sandbox is a completely unacceptable premise.


Voting member district X

HighPlains 03-19-2010 04:22 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
Las Vegas would make to most sense, as all the travel and lodging would be easy to take care of.

It would be nice to have the Nats held somewhere warm in the winter, and where the humidity is not 95% or higher.

GIJon 03-19-2010 05:36 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
Personally, I'm voting for Mike Brown. Mike is a straight up guy and a modeler's modeler. He has held national level positions other than D-X VP, written articles, reviews, and is extremely knowledeable about AMA and District X. He has not been in the position long, but has already made some very nice positive changes. He was helping the district and AMA from behind the scenes for a very long. His passion for the hobby is above reproach and others could only hope to emulate his ideas and actions.

Mike does not have 'Pie in the Sky' ideas that have little substance. He just wants to travel the district to meet and fly with club members, hear their concerns and help them and the AVPs with issues that arise. Let's don't forget Mike's District X newsletter that the AMA President gave our district major kudos for developing and literally thousands of members have asked for it to continue. It is an AMA first.

That is my personal opinion, however his excellent reputation stands on its own. Actions are much louder than words.

This is a free country and I spent many years in the military to help preserve the right to vote for your choice of candidate.

No matter who you choose as your candidate........PLEASE VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE!

Silent-AV8R 03-19-2010 05:37 PM

RE: AMA District X Special Election
The last time around Vegas, and other locations with 100 degree plus heat, were eliminated from consideration. During the normal NATS time, July, the heat in Vegas would make it very difficult to hold an event. I've been the CD of numerous events in Vegas, and flown in many more and attended a fair number of the TOC events. At best Vegas is an impractical location due to weather. Not only does it have rather severe heat many months it is also legend for its winds. Even the TOC was hobbled by winds more than once.

But if I were a betting man, I'd bet that the odds of the EC supporting this idea are Slim and None, and Slim just left town.

Once again, the Devil is in the details, which is why I ask how detailed the thought process has been relative to this idea.

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