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Editor's Notebook

Cleaning Day Notes

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Well, it’s December and time to clear off the desk. So let’s get right to it:
Contributions to The One Fund, the industry relief effort supporting the families of NYC emergency workers killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, has to-date reached just over $36,000. Toyo Tires, Nitto Tires, Tire Treads Inc., TRIB, and ITRA all made donations, and we received personal donations from Steve Weinger, Robert Beers, Eric Sirko and a few unnamed Toyo employees. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know many dealers and organizations – far too many to mention in this space ®€“ have made donations, and continue to raise funds for the victim relief effort. If you haven’t, or if you’d like to make an additional donation, please consider The One Fund. Donations will be accepted through February, and can be made to: The One Fund, c/o Tire Review, P.O. Box 13916, Akron, OH 44334-3916.
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We strongly urge TANA and ITRA members to approve the proposed merger of the two associations. The time is right, and the benefits of one strong comprehensive trade group far outweigh any perceived downside. At the same time, many issues must be worked on and ironed out quickly, key of which is the matter of two trade shows. More on this in the near future.
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Since no one in Washington or on Wall Street wants to say it, let me be the first to reveal that the economy in 2001 was bad. And 2002 doesn’t look a lot better. Analysts, politicians and Greenspan have danced around this most obvious revelation for months, apparently thinking that if you don’t recognize it, it can’t be real.
The RMA recently said that the tire industry will ship 20 million fewer tires in 2001 vs. 2000 – a 6.1% decline from a record setting 321 million-tire year, and down 4.7% compared to 1999. RMA says 2002 won’t be much better, but it sees a 5.8% rebound in 2003.
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Hats off to Marv Bozarth, retiring executive director of the ITRA. Little is made of the strides the ITRA made under Marv’s stewardship, such as the tremendous growth and reach of its commercial tire technician training efforts. Well over 5,000 people have been trained under the program in recent years. As Marv moves on to other endeavors, the planned TANA/ITRA merger makes it likely his position will not be filled. Best wishes to Marv and his lovely bride, Donna.
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Justice has truly gone mad. Feeding greedy attorneys everywhere, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker, hereafter known as “Clueless,” granted class action status to anyone who ever bought/leased an Explorer or owned Firestone Wilderness AT, ATX or ATX II, Firehawk ATX or ATX 23Þ, or Widetrack Radial Baja tires over the last 10 years – even if they never suffered an accident, failure or inconvenience of any kind. Clueless’ brilliant ruling gives millions of people a shot at collecting bucks from either company on the basis of ®€œdiminished value®€ ®€“ their enjoyment of the product was marred by safety questions raised in the wake of recent tire recalls.
Huh? I knew justice was blind, but I didn’t know it could travel through time. The law is supposed to deal with facts, not presumptions. And it certainly shouldn’t compensate people for something that never happened. Lawsuit-happy America long ago traded its morals for moola. Now the justice system is feeding this greed.
For the purposes of full disclosure, I qualify as a member of this class action suit, having owned an Explorer in the early 1990s. I didn’t know any better then, and I apologize. It won’t happen again. Any compensation I receive in this sham will be donated to charity. Perhaps to the new “Common Sense for the Clueless” drive.
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Heard few complaints about attendance at the recent ITE/SEMA Show. In the face of air travel and economic concerns, no one was expecting the same attendance quantity of recent years. But most were impressed by the quality, and booths seemed pretty busy every day. Over at the AAPEX side, though, there has been some loud public jawing about attendance. I was over there a couple of times, and, frankly, I don’t know what the crying is all about.
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Thanks to all of you for a wonderful year. Here’s hoping that you and yours have a safe, enjoyable holiday season, and that we all experience the happiest of new years! 

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