Friday, October 12, 2007

ABATE Blunder

Recently, on October 7, I participated in an annual poker run put on by none other than the Chrome Divas, Tallahassee Chapter. This event raises money to fund breast cancer victims. Each year dozens of Tallahassee merchants contribute a considerable amount to this very worthy event.

A large number of Chrome Diva members, dressed in bright pink T-shirts, hustled through set-up, registration and the sale of raffle tickets in a smooth and efficient manner. The Director of this chapter worked long and hard, along with dozens of volunteers, to make this happen. Bikers from all over come out to this event. All in the name of breast cancer victims. Kudos to all.

In spite of being deathly ill the two days before, I went out to help with this event also. There were over 200 bikes registered that morning. Everything looked to be running smoothly with no lines at the registration table and lots of people with smiles on their faces.

ABATE makes an appearance

While mingling with the crowd and chatting with my good friend, RC, a tall man approached us and addressed RC. He had on a rider's vest emblazoned with ABATE of Florida patches and all manner of pins and such. My first impression was of surprise, since I rarely see ABATE members flying colors at any event, so if they attend anything, they surely don't advertise. However, it became apparent after a moment that he was simply there to solicit. I'll explain that in a moment.

He asked RC to print something on his blog,
Big Bend Bikers For Freedom, and since I was not addressed directly I didn't catch what specifically he wanted printed. I later asked RC just who this person was, for just moments after he was there, I turned around and he was gone. I hoped to meet up later with this person [I had questions, you see] and went off to the last stop of the poker run to collect photos (see them here). I waited, but I never saw him come through.

The end point of this poker run is held at The Moon, a large dance club in Tallahassee. A good portion of the netted donation to Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare comes from the silent auction displayed at The moon. All the food offered to participants was donated by local merchants as well. (WingStop on Mahan (RT 90) donated 500 wings for this event! Mmmmm). With live music and good camaraderie, I was looking forward to it.

So, when I arrived at The Moon, I went looking for this ABATE person. I figured I'd just missed him at the last stop and would find him somewhere there. Not so apparently, and not substantiated as factual, but it appears that this ABATE representative was merely there to gain ABATE recruits and didn't ride or register or donate.

Now, as a woman, this poker run is near and dear to my heart, in more ways than one [two?] and I feel even more warm and fuzzy toward ABATE of Florida now. NOT!

So he came to the registration gathering for this event to solicit members but couldn't bother to fork up $15 to register? Someone needs to educate this man on the fine art of diplomacy. Do I even want to reconsider joining ABATE of Florida now?

Secret machinations of ABATE

Currently, the president of ABATE of Florida is claiming to have 'killed' a bill that would, if passed, allow Florida law enforcement to permanently confiscate your motorcycle, AND suspend your endorsement (10 years!) for exceeding the speed limit by 30 mph (just motorcycles, mind you, not all vehicles - hello? discrimination here folks).

Since I don't ever plan to exceed the speed limit by 30 mph, my main concern for this bill is the outright discriminatory implication of its existence. And, in light of the current pitiful penalties for failure to yield-the-right of way and killing a biker, and the blatant refusal of our lawmakers to rectify that, this bill is indeed a slap in the face. Apparently it is justifiable (to one politician at least) to severely penalize the act of motorcycle speeding, and not cagers speeding or even killing through negligence or traffic violations.

And even more disturbing, word has it that this bill is still very much ALIVE, not dead as the President of ABATE states (see RC's blog
here). A call this morning, October 12, CONFIRMS that this bill is NOT DEAD. So who is misleading whom here?

Not only that, the information broadcasted loud and clear to ALL motorcyclists of Florida (not just some ABATE members) is to cease and desist with calls to government officials about this bill. No real or accurate information on what is really going on has been published anywhere that I know of, and certainly not on ABATE of Florida's website.

Excuse me folks, I didn't know that ABATE was a law enforcement agency. Who are they to tell me what I can and can't do? They are not the only freedom fighters in Florida, but it would seem to me that the President of ABATE would have politicians believe HE is the final word on what I, as a biker in Florida, want. That is so far from the truth it makes me laugh hysterically. And believe me, you don't want to hear that laugh.

I informed someone I know about this directive to cease and desist from the president of ABATE. She IS a member of ABATE of Florida, and she had received no communication whatsoever on this directive. OK, so now I'm truly laughing. My view of ABATE's president [Napoleonic dick-tator] becomes more descriptive by the minute.

And why is it that this so-called president doesn't deem it important to notify all ABATE members, or even update them on what is obviously a serious issue? Never mind the website. At this moment, there is NO accurate information on what this president is doing. Why is that, I ask. What is he hiding?

ABATE makes a social and political blunder

So I ask you, if the above confusion over the bill at hand (that is an obvious slur against all bikers), and the secretive machinations of the ABATE president were not in the obvious forefront, would I want to donate my money (join) to ABATE of Florida? Not on your life! Especially after seeing ABATE solicitation at a charity event and seeing no reciprocation/participation. How crass.

Now, there may have been other members of ABATE attending this poker run, but I didn't see any of them flying ABATE colors, so I wouldn't know. Maybe they don't want me to know either. (Sounds like a trend, doesn't it?)

This event was for a charity that affects all women, including women bikers, your daughters, mothers and grandmothers, and some men too, in a very personal way. I didn't see anyone else soliciting. It would have been a social blunder to do so. And, in my view it certainly was for ABATE to do so.

Thanks to local bikers for your support

The total donation collected for this Breast Cancer Poker Run is not in yet (will post later), but it will be substantial I'm sure. I would be negligent in my blogging not to thank all who participated and supported the Chrome Divas of Tallahassee in this event. Your good will does not go unnoticed by them or me.

Message to ABATE of Florida

If you want me to support ABATE, come forth in the open, tell me how you are going to rein in your president and force him to work for what ALL bikers in Florida want. Show me you aren't just a bunch of sheep blindly following a dictatorship. Only then will I consider supporting an organization that has sadly been misled down a path far from its original Grassroots intention.

And, although I am a friend of RC, I have read all the history myself, and come to my own conclusions. I do not blindly adopt the opinions of others without substantiation. Don't even imply that I do.

If you want me to support your president and his actions, get them out in the open so I, and others, can make an informed decision. Don't ask me to blindly join the flock. I have too much respect for myself and other bikers to do that.

So far, I've only voiced my opinion on Doc's secretive ways, but if he makes another compromise on a bill that goes against the majority, it will be all out war. Hell hath no fury....

Message to ALL Bikers of Florida

Ride free, live free, write or speak to whomever you wish. The United States Constitution gives you that right. Now get the flock outa here and ride!

Disclaimer: The views of this blog post are solely my own and not those of any other member of the Chrome Divas of Tallahassee, or of said organization as a whole.

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