OOIDA members find better way to fight city council: get elected

| 11/6/2009

A year ago, when Los Angeles County officials started targeting truckers for parking their rigs at their residences, two OOIDA members decided to run for a seat on the Littlerock Town Council to protect their livelihoods – and won. 

A year later, three new council members and one alternate will be joining the OOIDA members in their fight to continue parking their trucks on their property in the high desert community of Littlerock.

OOIDA Member Tom Fidger said he decided to run for a council seat a year ago because he couldn’t just sit idly by watching others make “ill-informed decisions” that could have devastating effects on his trucking business.

“I found out that when you start squeaking, people start listening,” he told Land Line on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

OOIDA Life Member David Cleveland now heads the town council’s committee that is currently reviewing and revising the Community Standards Development regulations on the truck parking issue.

Newly elected council member is Bill Guild, a member of the Antelope Valley Truckers Organization, which was formed to fight the ban on trucks in the Littlerock. Guild is also the former town council president. He has been working with Cleveland’s committee to revise the CSDs, and also with Fidger, who serves as the council’s liaison for code enforcement issues to LA County. 

Also elected was Jeffrey Hillinger, another AVTO member, who also serves on Cleveland’s committee to develop a workable CSD for truck parking.

“I absolutely hate politics, but I believe that you can’t finger-point or whine about something and then not speak up,” Hillinger told Land Line. “I feel this position will allow me to be a voice for the people of Littlerock.”

Wendy Lentz and Dennis Tetu, another former council president, were re-elected to the council,. Cleta Smith, the wife of OOIDA member Jeff Smith, will be first alternate to the council.

And in Trinity, NC, OOIDA Member Ed Lohr went door-to-door campaigning for mayoral candidate Carlton Boyles, a pro-trucker candidate. Boyles ended up defeating the incumbent mayor Fran Andrews, who was opposed to trucks parking on private property within city limits. Lohr said Boyles is against the truck-banning ordinance, which the council put on hold until after the election. 

OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz said the election results in both Littlerock, CA, and in Trinity, NC, are victories for truckers who have been fighting to protect their livelihoods.

“For those who think every issue truckers face is not solvable and that getting involved politically is unrealistic, these OOIDA members have shown the value in perseverance,” Rajkovacz said.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer

Reed Black contributed to this report.