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In hindsight ...

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:49 pm

It's been a few years since I was banned from the Funston forum by Steve Rodrigues for asserting that Urs Kellenberger either lied or was ignorant of the facts. It's worth noting that since that time we've elected a new President of the United States who's used "the L word" quite frequently in his campaign (and since).

The "L word" (lie) has become taboo in "polite circles" and I find that a shame. The truth is important, and people who are not truthful deserve to be outed. I am glad that Donald Trump hasn't been afraid to use that word, and I make no apologies for using it myself. But people may differ on issues of politics and strategy. There's nothing wrong with that, and we probably won't resolve these differences on this forum (or anywhere else).

But this topic isn't about whether my post was politically wise or not. This topic is about censorship on the Funston forum, and I'd like to draw attention to Steve's quote of the Funston rules:

Steve Rodrigues wrote:"Pilots must fly safely and courteously, clearing all turns and maneuvers and observing International Ridge Soaring Rules. Harassment, intimidation, or any conduct that could reasonably be expected to create conflicts with other pilots, flying related or otherwise, are prohibited at Fort Funston and club events."


We were at a Funston flying event having a conversation about open voting by the USHPA Board. That might be a gray area already, but the Funston club has never prohibited those kinds of political discussions. I'd be surprised if anyone's ever been kicked out for those kinds of discussions (and it may even violate federal freedom of speech protections on public land). Urs Kellenberger had no reply as to why USHPA shouldn't have open voting. So instead of having a rational conversation on the merits of the topic, he resorted to a personal attack saying something to the effect of "You were kicked out of the Torrey Hawks". I said I was not, and he modified it to say that I was kicked off the Torrey Hawks Executive Committee. I again denied it and said that I've never been kicked out of the Torrey Hawks and that I'd been on their board as either President or Secretary since the club was formed. I cited the USHPA club renewal documents, but Urs refused to concede (no surprise if you know Urs).

So that's where it stood. Urs Kellenberger had lied ("told a falsehood" for those who don't like the "L word") at a club event. His statement was clearly intended to make me look bad and to undermine my credibility in the otherwise reasonable discussion about open voting by the USHPA Board. I had no way to bring up the club renewal documents because they weren't handy at the time. If anyone had violated the Club's rules, it was Urs Kellenberger for (a) lying, and (b) using a personal attack in an otherwise academic discussion about open voting. But to the observers, we were at a stand off. They couldn't tell who was lying or who was telling the truth.

So that night I went back to my hotel room and I dug up the actual documents and I posted them on the Funston forum. My title (as duly noted by Scott above) was less than diplomatic "Urs Kellenberger ... Liar or Just Plain Ignorant?".

Steve Rodrigues contacted me, and I appreciated Steve's attempt to resolve the matter and I reflected that in our conversation (see above). But in retrospect, I think Steve was fishing for a justification to expel me from the forum. I sensed that at the time, and that's why I asked Steve (2014/08/19 at 1:29pm) for the "minimal set of changes that would be compliant with your request". I followed that up with another message (2014/08/19 at 1:56pm) including this:

Bob Kuczewski wrote:As I wrote below, if you can tell me what I am allowed to say on your board, I will comply.


But Steve wasn't looking for me to be compliant. He was looking for me to give him an excuse to ban me from the forum and protect his buddy Urs. I didn't give it to him, but he banned me just the same. Even worse, he deleted the entire topic from the Funston forum leaving no trace for anyone who might have wondered who was right. That's the topic here, and it reflects poorly upon Steve Rodrigues to this day.

As for Urs Kellenberger, less than a year later (spring of 2015) his "prediction" came true in USHPA's "kangaroo court" expulsion. It's interesting to reflect on my expulsion from USHPA in light of his earlier threat:

Urs Kellenberger on Aug 16, 2014 wrote:liar

remove this post or there will be trouble and lawyers involved.
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Rick Masters » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:55 pm

My eyes glaze over at all the details. This is the muck the pugalists must wade into. Not me.
Ignorant does not mean "stupid." It means one was not aware of the facts.
It is not an accusation. It is an invitation to higher discourse.
When BobK presented his facts, two pathways remained for his counterpart.
Essentially: Put up or shut up.
BobK is found doing this kind of thing all the time.
Some find it irritating.
I find it magnificent.

When Bob believes he is right, he does not back down.
People should pay attention to this.
In a world awash with PC bullcrap, we need heros who stand their ground and say what they think.
In all walks of life, these people are rare.
They are precious. They make us think. They make us question the status quo.
The status quo seems dedicated to grinding them down and the herd is expected to follow.
You will notice the U.S. Hawks is composed largely of strays from the herd.
We are suspicious of the status quo.
There is something wrong with it.
Bob is the tip of our spear.

Lately I have become fond of the teachings of Jordon Peterson.
Perhaps the most profound idea he presents is that of the future self directing the present self toward excellence.
To some, this will seem unbearably metaphysical. I understand. But the concept remains, at the least, entertaining.
The present self, in those few who will dare, strives to create a better future self.
And all the while, the future self reaches back into its past to pull the present self toward excellence.
But excellence can be a bitch.
Minute by minute, hour by hour, we struggle to transcend our present selves by creating a slightly improved future self.
We are driven by the vision of a goal: the glorious future self revealed; stunningly correct and triumphant.
The most stubborn of these protagonists, like our BobK, may seem quite irritating at times.
But they are also correct.
Discussion: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-do-life/201802/whats-jordan-peterson
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:52 pm

Rick Masters, I have to say that you write masterfully well.

Your comments here are humbling to me. But I also think you've tapped into one of my core values. I try to live my life as if I would end up watching every second of it in a big screen theater filled with every valued friend I've ever had. I try (and not with perfect success) to live it to maximize the amount of time that I'd be watching with some degree of pride, and to minimize the amount of time that I'd be watching with shame or embarrassment. To use your metaphor, I try to live in a way that would make my future self smile ... because second by second I am becoming that future self and I can enjoy the view given to me by my past self. When I come to a fork in the road I ask myself which one do I want to look backward on and see myself having taken. The choice is often painful, but clear.

I have to say that the people I've found in this hang gliding adventure have been a great reward for me. I am proud to be among men such as yourself (and so many others on this forum) who can see the world so clearly and thoughtfully and fairly. As you said, we are all strays from the herd. We are all independent spirits and that's what makes us hawks (translation: U.S. Hawks). ;)

Thanks Rick. You have been a special find along this journey.

With regard to Urs Kellenberger, he made a claim that he couldn't back up. I called him on it. If he'd been big enough to admit it, there would be no issue. But like so many at USHPA he doubled down on his mistake and now he owns it. Now he's trapped and his only way out is to make Steve Rodrigues an accomplice. One rotten apple spoils the next, and 40 years of mostly responsible hang gliding becomes an uninsurable mess.

It may take some time, but we can do better. And we will.
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby wingspan33 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:22 am

It is sad to consider the title of this topic. But oddly the real story is about how Urs Kellenberger refused to censor his own incorrect, negative and harassing comments - as directed at Bob K - while Bob was otherwise having a friendly and amiable conversation with some fellow hang glider pilots after a great flying day at Fort Funston.

The actual censorship - that shouldn't have taken place - happened on the Fellow Feathers forum site. Had no censorship happened there then perhaps Urs may have felt compelled to explain that a trusted friend had given him the wrong information about Bob, and that Urs had found out the friend was wrong - and APOLOGIZED to Bob. Or Urs could have simply apologized for breaking club rules by intentionally slandering Bob in front of a group of his peers. But neither of those things happened.

What did happen is that back in August of 2014 a series of events took place that made me think that the Fellow Feathers Hang Gliding Club included members that I would want nothing to do with. Urs Kellenberger's conduct, as well as that of Steve Rodrigues, impressed me as the actions of a couple of a** holes. Both being in positions of leadership made me wonder about the (good?) character of the rest of the group.

Since I live closer to the east coast than the west, my impressions didn't matter much. But in May of 2016 I drove out to Portland, OR to visit a brother, then drove south to LA for the annual Otto Lilienthal meet. I had the opportunity to stop at Fort Funston on the way, but I did not. I can't say my decision was based specifically on my bad impressions of certain Fort Funston pilots but that was in the back of my mind.

I would really like to see the old situation made better by the new pilots in control tell Bob that he is once again welcome at Funston - and allowed back on the Fellow Feathers forum site. That would change my impression of Fort Funston and the Fellow Feathers Club from negative to much more positive. I really hope things can move in that kind of positive direction.
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby reluctantsparrow » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:00 pm

As I read these comments the term "retrograde" came to mind."

"Retrograde" is used to explain the motion of a planet that appears to be moving in a direction contrary to the society of planets it is in orbit with.
When I looked up the "noun" definition of "retrograde" it was defined as "a person who is degenerate". That is a very poor definition in my opinion.
What if the general "society" a person is in orbit with is degenerate? Wouldn't a person moving in "retrograde" to such a society be moving towards increasing honesty, integrity, and truthfulness?
I am very proud to be a part of this group of "retrogrades".
May the force be with us. 8-)
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:24 am

Jim wrote:What if the general "society" a person is in orbit with is degenerate? Wouldn't a person moving in "retrograde" to such a society be moving towards increasing honesty, integrity, and truthfulness?

The math looks right to me.   :thumbup:

wingspan33 wrote:The actual censorship - that shouldn't have taken place - happened on the Fellow Feathers forum site. Had no censorship happened there then perhaps Urs may have felt compelled to explain that a trusted friend had given him the wrong information about Bob, and that Urs had found out the friend was wrong - and APOLOGIZED to Bob.

That's what USHPA's leadership has never been able to figure out. If you make a mistake, the best (and quickest) way out is to admit it as soon as possible and as loudly as possible. Then it becomes a non-issue. But USHPA insiders like to fly their mistakes all the way into the ground ... crash/ouch.

By the way, there's been a bit of a "dust up" on hanggliding.org between Mike Jefferson and the current Funston president Rob Johnson:

http://forum.hanggliding.org/viewtopic. ... 4&start=20

I've spoken to both, and they've both seemed very reasonable. I think Rob is friends with both Urs Kellenberger and Steve Rodrigues, so he will have a natural inclination to side with them (as I would too with my own friends). It will be interesting to see if he puts his friendship with them above doing the right thing on the ban. That will tell us a lot about him.

  "Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst."
                 - a good motto for this situation
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby wingspan33 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:19 pm

In the thread you linked to Bob, is the following by SlopeSkimmer (Mike Jefferson) -

Mike J wrote:Work with the parks to generate rules like these new rules from our new Ed Levin park permit.

#14 A permittee shall not require, as a condition of flight, paragliding or hang gliding, that an individual first join or become a member of an organization, club or other entity.

#15 A permittee shall not deny access to the park or any location with in the park, shall not deny anyone the ability to access any point of flight or departure point within the park and shall not exclude individuals from using any hang gliding or paragliding location, for any reason, regardless of a persons affiliation or lack of affiliation with permittee or permittee's organization...

These rules will be coming to your public park soon. Try to be nice to each other and share our public parks with all 103 pilots.


Sure sounds like Ed Levin Park is about to do a "Dockweiler". :clap: :thumbup: Only better!

Perhaps Fort Funston will be next.
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Rick Masters » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:09 pm

Very encouraging!     :salute:
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby magentabluesky » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:05 pm

Ft. Funston is the first domino.

National Park Service Letter to Steve Rodrgues PDF

GGNRA-NPS Jessica Carter wrote: Establishing a hang gliding segment under the GGNRA CUA (Commercial Use Authorization) program would threaten Fellow Feather’s exclusive use of Fort Funston as a hang gliding site. Per NPS regulations and policy, the National Park Service cannot limit the number of entities issued CUAs for an approved commercial activity with competition. An unlimited number of CUAs could have an impact on recreational hang gliding activity on site if competition increased for access to the finite area for launching and landing.


The central question at hand: is the insurance requirement by USHPA controlled sites the exercise of an exclusive right per 49 U.S. Code § 40103(e)? Although the USHPA is a non-profit organization (the principle owner of the RRRG) the insurance company is not non-profit. It would therefore follow that there could be no exclusive rights with regard to any insurance requirements to fly a federal government site as that is a commercial transaction.

In Jessica Carter’s letter to Steve Rodrigues it is clear Ms. Carter understands the regulation. If in fact there is an insurance requirement by the GGNRA any insurance should be accepted for an individual or tandem pilot to fly at Ft. Funston due to the non exclusive clause for commercial activity (the insurance).

Note: The Tandem Pilot would be non commercial by exemption through the FAA.
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby SamKellner » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:11 pm

wingspan33 wrote: Sure sounds like Ed Levin Park is about to do a "Dockweiler". :clap: :thumbup: Only better!


:clap: :thumbup: :clap: :thumbup: :clap: :thumbup: ;) 8-)

GREAT !

:wave:
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