Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1974 03 12

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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In MeMOREiam America 's No. 1 Weekly Motor cycle Newspaper Spring grass and sunshine mark the passing of a cloudy moment. Shar on Clayt on : Publisher Thomas R. Culp; General Man ager Edn a Mewton : Secret ary to Publi ~h er Advertising Thomas R. Culp; N ational Dire ct or Wendy Blan ton ; A ssistant Trudi Culver ; A ssist ant Editorial . John D. Ulrich : Associate Edi to r J o hn H uerter : Fea ture Edi tor Lane Campbell : Calendar Editor Dan McCu e; Man aging Edit or Art & Production Catherine Lamp to n : Ar t Direc tor Na nc y G ray : A dve rtising A rt Director Hector Aguilera; Lab T ec hnicia n Mar ion Ha tas hita : T yp ogra ph er Melvin Phelps ; Assistan t Typograp he r Circulation Rh eba Smith; Man ager Pam Hobbs ; Assistant Cheryl Steinberg: Assist an t Accounting G aye Zaion z : Man ager Chris Kolber: As sist ant Twila Wheeler; Assis tant Rosemary Chandler: A ssistant Jim Squires ; Co llection Services & Support Mike Colik as Chri s Andre ws Randy Davis Bill Runyan Jeannie Dunivan : Re ce p tionist West P.O. Box 498. Long Bea ch , CA 90801 (213) 4 2 7·743 3 ; LA 636-8 844. Tele x No. 673-47 4. East-Dixie P.O. Bo x 8 05 T uc ker . Geor gia. (4 04 ) 934-785 0 Central P.O. Box 132 4 5 , A usti n. Te xas 7 87 11. (512) 444·75 48 . Subscription One year. second class mail, 5 12.5 0 2 years. sec ond class ma il, 522.50 3 years, sec ond class mail, 5 30 .0 0 Singl e co py price . 5 04 ~ ~ Published weekly except for the first and last week o f the ca lendar year by Cycle News, Inc. Post Office Box 498. Long Beach, Cali fornia. Second class postage paid at Long Beach . CA. Editorial stories, cartoons. ph o tos. etc . ar e we Ico me , Addressed, stamped enve lope assures return of editorial matter . Reprinting in wh ole o r pa rt only by p e nnissio n of the publishers. Advert isi n g rates and circulation in fo rmat ion wi1l be sent upon reques t. • 2 S.. S.R. D.S. Cop yright Cycle News. Inc.• 19 73 . All rights reserved. Russell Eugene Sanford 1928-1974 Star vation , overwork , neglect, jealousy and apathy f inally killed motorcy cli ng's self less Sa int , Russ Sanfo rd . But for six years, as CaI if ornia's lonely motorcycle lobby ist , he t urned back the t ide of dumb laws against bik ers and led us nearly to th e prom ised land . I do n't know w hy motorcycling is so lucky , or w hat we d id to deserve th e blessing t hat th e man Russ Sanford laid on us w itho ut asking anyth ing for himself . But I th ink we are a God damned ungrateful lot of cheap, stingy churls for wh at we did, or rather fai led to do for Russ Sanford whi le he was here on earth . A saint is single-heartedly dedicated to a religious task, usually w ith some miracle involved , and his li fe is an inst ructi on to us lesser mortals in' how we could be better than we are. Russ Sanford's life was not unsual unt il seven years ago happily married, two sons grown and two daughters coming up, a $20,OOO-a-year ci il service job , house and pool in the suburbs, a couple of bikes for a hobby - in short, a typ ical American middle-class man. Then one day Russ was taken to t he hospital suffering strange symptom s. Doctors d iagnosed a rare heart disease. Only a few cases were known to medical science, and all had proved fatal w it hi n a year. There was no cure. Russ was informed t hat he had onl y six months t o live. Sitting around the house, on ful l disab il ity pay, Sanford had t ime to thi nk, as a man wil l in those ci rcumstances, t hinking w hat he had done w ith his life, and of w hat he wou ld really li ke to do if some miracle could restore t he rest of his days to him . Before the sickness, Russ had enjoyed helping his cit y of Sacramento establish a place where motorcycli sts cou ld trail ride. Con fined to home, awaiti ng death, Sanford read and t hought a Jot . Against doctors' orders, he painted the house , so Dor is, his wi fe woul d not have t hat problem to worry about when he was gone. He read that motor cycling and riders were suff ering some terri ble injust ices at the hands of t he state legislature. It seemed certain t hat a helmet law would pass, th at all the land wo uld be closed to r iding , tha t motorcycles were being harrassed and banished from the t ra nspo rtat io n and recreati on scene. And nobody was doing much about it. Thi s was t he world Russ Sanford was leaving to his chi ldren and, dy ing, he knew, if he only had his life to live, what he really wanted to do: devote himself to help ing motorcycl ing save itself from the government. On one of his medical visits, the doctor offered a new drug for San fo rd to t ry. " It 's r isky, " explained the M.D. "W e don't know what effect it will have." "What t he hell harm can it do?" laughed the patient. Li ke some ki nd of storybook miracle, the drug instantly cured the f atal d isease. Russ San fo rd' s life had been handed back to him . True t o his resolve, the re-born Russ Sanford went back to college and t ook a certificate course in lobbyi ng (Legislative Advocacy) . His instr uctor was a wil y old Sacramento lobby ist w ho taught Sanford everyth ing he knew. "The main t hing he taught ," Russ on ce sa id, "was that · legislators depend on lobb y ists to inform them about all t he ifs, ands and buts of the bills th ey are considering. And to br ing up legislati on that the people want or need ." Armed w ith his learning, San ford registered as an offi cial lobbyist to the State Legislature, on behalf of the "motorcycle owners, riders and enthu siasts of Californ ia." (M.O.R.E.) A ctually, the only motorcy cle own ers, etc. Sanford represented at the t ime were himself, his famil y and a few dozen ri din g buddies. Russ had a st range serene opti mism, which I guess comes from living in th is wo rld on miracle ti me. He expected the money to support his new life of service would come fr om th e people for w hom he was lobbying - the motorcycle people. He was no businessman and Russ Sanf ord was not f or sale. Needless to sa y, he starved to death. But whi le he was wat ching over us, wh ile we rode o ur bikes and played o ur games and had our fun and made our mon; Russ Sa nford racked up a series of w ins for motorcycli ng that wo uld f ill all of the pages of th is newspaper. Just the highlights : Sanford beat down legislation that wou ld. have cost the average rider $2,000 a year in ext ra fees, special equip ment , ins uran ce, e t c . . an d more legislati on t hat wo uld have cost the ind ustry sixteen to th irt y mill ion dollars a year. He rewrote the registration laws to give off-r oad riders a land equity th at may yet assure the survival of dirt re cr eation in Cali fo rnia and quietl y k illed count less bills aimed at cri minalizi ng motorcycle riders. Year after yea r he explained the dangers of t he hel met law successfu IIy . Working withou t money , on borrowed credit cards and the charity of a few friends, he t ra veled throughout the state constantl y , putting on trail rides for government officials, speaking to city and county councils and seminars and schoo l boards. He did a million little services you never heard about . His last act was making sure the Los Angeles and Orange Co un ty su per v isors exempted motorcyc les from thei r recent gas rationing plan. Russ never asked much from the motorcycle people. A few letters to our congressmen, a few dolla r donations was all he ever got, and he spent it on postage, telephone and lobbying expenses. He borrowed against his life insurance until it lapsed. His I family went on welfare , his house I was foreclosed, his phone was cut off because he couldn't pay the b il l, the t y p ew r i t er was repossessed . Still he worked on, never failing. AMA offered him a job as their Wash ington D.C. lobbyist, but that wou ld have meant dropping California's problems, so he declined. The MIC paid him as a consultant for a few months, but he resigned, cit ing a possible confli ct between industry and consumer interests. He was dead honest. Now Russ Sanford is just plain dead, and it is our faul t. We, th e motorcycle ow ners, riders and enthus iasts of Californ ia let him down . We killed Russ Sanford as surely by our neg lect and our sti nginess as if we had squeezed his neck. Now we have nothi ng bu t our shame. Cont ribut ions to th e Russ Sanfor d MeMOR Eial may be sent to Mrs. Doris Sanfo rd, Box 26062 , Sacramento, Californ ia 95826. But it wo uld take anot her miracle to get you to send his family a few lousy do llars? Wouldn' t it ? - I I I Charles Clayton

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