Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 001
August 23, 2007 Business Meeting Minutes
Brunswick Memorial Library


PRESENT: Bob Lezer, Kristina Wolff, Smitty Smith, Tim Blanchette, Doug Rawlings, Dan Ellis, Rita Clement, Richard Clement, Art Whitman, Marianne Whitman, Michael Uhl, Tom Sturtevant, Victor Skorapa, Guest: Paul Linet

President Lezer began the meeting at 7:09pm with a moment of silence in memory of Virginia Leonard.

The Secretary’s Report (minutes) for the June meeting were accepted with the following corrections: Kristina Wolff’s name was misspelled and corrected; Tom Sturtevant was indeed present contrary to what the minutes read – this was corrected. Wolff moves to accept; Uhl seconds. Accepted.

The Treasurer’s Report: Tim Blanchette reported
  • The Final PTSD Symposium figures: total income was $10,465 and total expenses were $9,396.91. Since our chapter’s contribution to the “income” side of the ledger was $2,000, the Symposium ended up costing us $931.91. We agreed that the success of the day made the symposium well worth the expense. Tim reported that there were no “surprises” in the expense column. He mentioned that the USM site was expensive but was a nice venue (total USM charges were $4,350).
  • General fund:
    • Revenue for months of July and August: $7001.50
    • Expenses for months of July and August: $12,162
    • Current Balance: $8,125.16 to date
  • Legal Defense Fund stands at $1490.00
Rawlings moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report and Lezer seconded. Accepted.

The Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that the chapter currently has 142 members who are paid up in their dues. This August, he sent out 57 letters to members who belong to the National but not to our local chapter asking them to consider paying their chapter dues; he also sent out 50 letters to Maine chapter members who are not currently paid up asking them to pay their dues. In November Dan plans on making a “big push” for a membership drive. Membership cards will be provided for members who have fully paid their local chapter dues. He has also put up a membership form on our website. Dan also reminded us that there aren’t many DD214’s on file, and we should try to get them to him if we haven’t already (Art has some on file that he’ll provide). Bob suggested that the group of people who belong to the National and not to the local might have inadvertently paid $25.00, thinking that the money covers both national and local dues. We need to clarify the dues paying process in our next membership letters. Tom Sturtevant commended Dan Ellis for his good work at keeping the membership rolls so effectively. Uhl moved and Whitman seconded that the membership report be accepted. Accepted.

PTSD Symposium for June, 2008: Michael Uhl announced that one prospective keynote speaker, Maxine Hong Kingston, could not attend. Michael suggested that we consider Raymond Scarfield, a speaker at the VFP National Convention who presented a workshop on PTSD (“Expanding the Circle of Healing”). He has had 25 years of experience working with PTSD clients in the VA system and has written three books on the subject. Kristina recommended that we consider hosting a Gold Star Family workshop facilitated by family members like one that she attended at the National Convention. Possible presenters of this workshop would be Elaine Johnson, whose son was killed in Iraq; Sarah Rich (Suzanne Swift’s mother – Suzanne went AWOL); and Melita Arandondo, whose son was killed in Iraq. The PTSD committee will meet again on September 8th. The committee is actively pursuing speakers and welcomes suggestions.

The Calendar Project: Kristina reported that we sold 37 calendars at the National Convention. So far we have sold 584 to date and have donated 54 to schools and given 6 as gifts. A little over 200 are on consignment (please let Kristina know if you have calendars in your possession). We have 1,000 calendars left to sell and donate (700 to sell and 300 to donate). Since we received the grant and have been making sales, we have already picked up $3,000 over expenses for the project. If we’d like to have another calendar series, we should plan on generating another $5,000 to cover expenses (sell at least another 175 calendars). We are counting on selling a fair amount of calendars at the Common Ground Fair, but we need to expand our range of sales. Please consider helping us sell and distribute these calendars. Contact Kristina if you can help out. A good flyer to use in distribution of the calendars can be found on our website (www.vfpmaine.org). And don’t forget Christmas gifts!! Kristina was commended for her good work on this project.

Kennebunkport Demonstration July 1, 2008: 1,800 people were there. VFP members acted as peacekeepers. There were lots of VFP members from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York there.

Full Circle Fair in Blue Hill: Bob Lezer and Richard Clement joined up with Chapter 003 members to help staff a VFP table. Sold 22 calendars; great speakers. We agreed to give Chapter 003 $4.00 for each calendar sold.

Brunswick Peace Fair: The William Ladd Chapter staffed a table at the fair, making good contacts and passing out membership brochures.

Kennebunkport August 25th: 7 members agreed to staff our table. Bob will be there at 7:00am. Bruce Gagnon is in charge of security and asking for VFP members to help out. VFP will lead the march behind a banner designed by Jack Bussell. Dennis Kucinich and Cindy Sheehan will be joining us. Expect 4,000 to 6,000 people at rally and march.

Blue Angels Demonstration: September 15th and 16th at the Brunswick Naval Station. We’ll start a vigil Friday night at 6:00pm led by Mary Beth Sullivan. We’ll gather at the gazebo in Brunswick at 8:00am on Saturday to start the march at 9:00am. VFP is responsible for security. Tom Sturtevant suggested that we reconsider distributing bottles of water since the action would be environmentally counter-intuitive. We agreed.

Common Ground Fair: September 21 to September 23rd. We will have the usual table(s)in the Social and Justice tent. We’re looking for volunteers to staff the table (preferably three people on the table each hour). There are 9 free passes available for staff members – if you’re willing to work at least two hours, please contact Bob Lezer for a pass. At this point, it looks like Bob, Richard, and Doug will be there on Friday for initial set-up. Michael Uhl will be available on Saturday. Other volunteers are needed! Please contact Bob.

Legal Defense Fund: As mentioned in the Treasurer’s Report, we have $1,240 in the account to date. Twenty-two donors have contributed $740.00 to the fund, and one distribution of $500.00 was made in support of a member in need of legal assistance.

National Convention: Bob Lezer, Kristina Wolff, and Michael Uhl reported the following:
  • Although the food wasn’t very good, the people were. There was good energy at the convention and many new contacts were made.
  • It was invigorating to see the Iraq Veterans Against the War and the Military Families Speak Out groups actively involved in the convention.
  • Next year’s convention will be in Minneapolis, and we’d like to see at least 6 members from our chapter attend.
  • Michael reported two issues from the National Board meeting: a). we need younger members to join; Michael proposed that VFP offer all Iraq Veterans Against the War free membership for a year. b). Although we’re fine financially, the renewal rate for VFP is very low. Our membership stands at a little over 7,000 with some concern over the ratio of veteran members to associate members. And the national has the same concern as we do about retaining active, dues-paying members. Ken Mayers, from the Santa Fe chapter and serving on the national board, reported that their chapter puts on ten public events a year. Our one major public event – the PTSD Symposium – should be added to if we can to bring our message to a wider public.

Chapter 003 Support: Al Larsen sent us a letter detailing what Chapter 003 from Bangor has done in the past year and requesting supplemental support from us of $500.00. Art moved that we accept this request and Doug seconded. Approved.

Other Business:
  • Michael Uhl is now sitting on the “No U.S. Bases” committee. Therev are over 700 U.S. military installations around the world. His committee would like to see this number dwindle by encouraging countries to limit the growth of the U.S. military on their soil and, many times, to close down existing bases. This is an international campaign that will encourage American and other countries’ activists to join together for an extended period of time, even beyond the “hot” wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. This is an important issue that VFP should remain involved in. It was moved (Doug) and seconded (Tim) that Michael be our Maine representative on the committee.
  • Richard Clement announced that his son, Brian, has had his case opposing deployment to Iraq reconsidered, and Brian’s request has been approved. Brian will be discharged from the military. Richard thanked VFP for its continued support of Brian, Rita, and himself during this ordeal. Cheers and applause rose up around the table.
  • Kristina Wolff announced that on August 31st a group of five women from Farmington will present a petition to Senator Collins demanding that she halt funding for the Iraq War. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” will be the “theme” of the petition with special emphasis on the plight of Iraqi and American women during this war.
  • Bangor: September 29th march against the war beginning at 1:00pm in Paul Bunyan Park. Check out our website (www.vfpmaine.org) for more information.
  • Bath: October 6th demonstration at Bath Iron Works. Check out our website (www.vfpmaine.org) for more information.
  • Freeport: September 9th: annual MaineShare Bike and Ride. VFP members need to be there to support the cause. They’re looking for volunteers and food. The event will take place at Bradbury Mountain State Park. There will be 25K, 50K, and 100K bike trips. Pledges in support of the event can be sent to Tom Sturtevant. Money raised from the event goes to support the administrative expenses of Maine Share.
  • Paul Linet, our guest for the evening, spoke to us about the work of Mike Gravel, presidential candidate. Among certain highlights of Gravel’s political career, Paul mentioned Gravel’s filibuster against the draft in 1971, during which he read the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record. Paul said that Gravel would come to Maine if invited.
  • Art Whitman has VFP hats and t-shirts and buttons for sale, which he brings with him to every meeting. Contact Art if you’re interested in purchasing some VFP wares.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10pm.

NEXT MEETING: SEPTEMBER 27, 2007 AT 7:00PM AT THE PP&J CENTER ON CONGRESS STREET IN PORTLAND




Address:
Veterans For Peace
William Ladd Chapter
PO Box 274
Freeport, Maine 04032-0274


e-mail:
boblezervfp@suscom-maine.net


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