Monday, February 16, 2009

Open Letter to President Obama re “Car Czar task force”

Dear President Obama,

I was disappointed to learn that you have decided not to appoint a single “car czar” to oversee the reorganization of our domestic auto manufacturers, but to appoint a “task force”.

You have my application for “car czar” and just in case it was misplaced, I’m enclosing another copy below. Please consider this as my new application for a member of your task force operating under Treasury Secretary Geithner and White House Economic Advisor, Lawrence Summers.

I can understand why you might be shy about making another major appointment after what you’ve been through with Timothy Geithner, Bill Richardson, Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer, and Judd Gregg. However, rest assured there are no skeletons in my closet and I welcome a thorough vetting.


Application for Auto Czar Task Force Position
Open Letter to Barrack Obama
Cc: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
Cc: Economic Advisor Lawrence Summers

Dear Mr. President [Written while still President-elect],

I just read that U.S. House Rep. Barney Franks was sponsoring a bill to address the auto crisis which would call for an “Auto Czar” to facilitate the recovery of the American auto industry. I’m applying for this position and explaining why I may be qualified for this important task.

Rather than attempt to call or write you on this subject, I’ve chosen my blog, www.EarlStewartOnCars.com as the means of communicating this message. This is because I understand that you must be overwhelmed with requests for positions in your administration. Secondly, I believe that the Internet is a powerful tool that you recognize and accept a major one for communications in the 21st century. As you know, it was instrumental in the fund raising for your successful election…something that had never before occurred in a Presidential election.

Below I list a brief summary of my qualifications. Your staff can “Google me” for more information and, of course, I will furnish them with all additional information that they require.

(1) I’m 68 years old and have been an automobile dealer since 1968. I’ve been a dealer for Pontiac, Mazda, Peugeot, Lancia, Fiat, Checker, and Toyota. I’ve also owned and operated rental companies and independent used car lots. I’ve all my dealerships except for my Toyota which I’ve owned and operated since 1975.
(2) I’m in good health [had a bout with colon cancer in 2005 but am 100% cancer free now] and currently very active in my business which has grown to become one of the largest Toyota dealerships in the USA.
(3) I graduated from the University of Florida in 1963 with a BS, majoring in physics with a minor in mathematics. I earned my Masters of Science degree in Industrial Administration from the Krannert School at Purdue in 1964.
(4) In recent years I’ve assumed the role of a consumer advocate for car-buyers in Florida and nationwide. As you know, the image of the car dealer has not been exemplary [tarnished much as that of politicians and lawyers] and I’ve taken on the mission to “clean up our act”. I host a local weekly radio talk show and write a weekly column for a local newspaper advocating these positions. I also regularly speak at public libraries, civic groups, condominium associations, schools, retirement clubs, etc. on this subject.
(5) I have no “skeletons in my closet” and welcome a thorough vetting of my past.
(6) My only motive is to help our country with our economic crisis. I agree to serve at zero monetary compensation and aspire to no further political office.
(7) I understand and support our nation’s need for energy independence and for our global need to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. My Toyota dealership is the largest retailer of hybrid vehicles in the USA except for California. Last year we ranked #12. I accomplished this by selling my hybrid vehicles at lower prices even when demand exceeded supply and afforded many dealers the opportunity to charge premium prices.

(7) My business is a family one including my three sons who are ready, willing, and able to run my business if you select me as your Auto Czar. As a matter of fact, my three sons voted for you. However I must confess that my wife, Nancy and I voted for John McCain. I only mention this because our family believes in freedom of expression and choice even within the confines of our own family. One of my favorite quotations is that of F. Scott Fitzgerald who said, “The test of a great mind is the ability to hold two opposed ideas at the same time and still retain the ability to function”. I think you agree with this because of the way you are welcoming suggestions from both sides of the aisle, the only qualification being “will it work?”

In summary, I have a unique perspective over those who may be considered for the position of Auto Czar. My primary concern is for our country’s car buyers followed by the car dealers and manufacturers. All three concerns are very important, but it’s the American citizen who relies on his automotive that will drive the future success of the manufacturers and dealers.

Respectfully yours,

Earl Stewart

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