Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter
Business Meeting Minutes
June 28, 2007 - Lewiston, ME


PRESENT: Bob Lezer, President; Kristina Wolfe, Vice-President; Tim Blanchette, Treasurer; Clarence Smith; Victor Skorapa; Peggy Akers; Jim Nesbitt; Dud Hendrick; Bill Leonard; Bob Dale; Doug Rawlings; Art Whitman; Marianne Whitman; Alan Whitman; Richard Clement; Rita Clement; Guests: Tom Naibor; Kirby Eilhorn; Justin Costan; Jacqueline Bronsheels; and Neil Harrington

The meeting began at 7:00pm.
  • The Secretaryís Report from the May meeting was accepted as written (Akers motion; Hendrick second)

  • The Treasurerís Report was approved (Leonard motion; Dale second):
    • We have a balance of $13,286.01 as of June 28, 2007
    • Outstanding bills include the USM bill for the June PTSD Symposium
    • Outstanding receipts include the $3,500 donation from the Maine HHS for the symposium

  • The Archivistís Report was presented by Smitty. He encourages us to look at his services as those of an historian, charged with gathering anything related to Maine VFP. If youíre submitting material to him, please include dates. Smitty will laminate everything submitted to him and will store information in three-ring binders. Peggy has provided Smitty with material gathered so far. Thanks Smitty for doing this!

  • Doug Rawlings was appointed Chapter Secretary by the assembled members.

  • PTSD Symposium Report: By many accounts (attendance, evaluations, side conversations during the day), the Symposium was a success. There were 178 people in attendance, with over half being health care professionals. When all the dust settles (i.e., bills paid and receipts collected), weíre confident that the chapter will have at least broken even on the day. Tim will present a final accounting report of the symposium at our next meeting. The Symposium Committee (Bob Lezer, Michael Uhl, Kristina Wolff, Don Harden, Jack Bussell, and Doug Rawlings) will submit a final report at the next meeting. The committee has already met to begin planning our next symposium and, with the groupís permission, we have decided on holding the symposium at USM again and looking toward a date of June 7, 2008. We also discussed the possibility of helping the Bangor Chapter hold a PTSD Symposium in the Bangor area this coming year. We agreed to provide them with some organizing support and possibly some financial support when their plans are developed further.

  • Calendar Project Report: Kristina Wolff reported that we have received a $3,000 grant from RESIST to help pay for the printing expenses and dissemination expenses. We have decided to set aside 300 calendars from the original print run for donations to schools around the stae. At this date, 306 calendars have been sold and 118 are out on consignment (i.e., members have them and are selling them). 12 have already been donated to schools. Anyone wishing to sell calendars (or, better yet, to buy them) should contact Kristina (see our website for ordering www.vfpmaine.org). We are now at the enviable point of having to decide whether to print more calendars or not. Since we have sold over 300 and 300 will be set aside for schools, we have about 200 left to get us through the summer and fall. We project sales at the Full Circle Fair, at the August 25th march, at the Blue Angels demo, and, most importantly, at the Common Ground Fair. Given the level of anticipated sales, we decided that we should order another 750 calendars (costing us about $4,000). Although there were suggestions made to improve the format of the calendar (binder instead of saddle stitch; a heavier weight of paper; glossy?), we decided not to make any changes in this yearís calendar. If we decide to come up with another calendar for next year, then we could make possible changes.

  • Memorial Day Parade Report: Bob Lezer reported that there was some editorial letter furor in the Brunswick Times Record about an alleged incident involving a VFP member who reportedly told a young soldier on his way to Iraq that she hoped his cross wouldnít be on next yearís float. Apparently, this whole alleged incident got blown out of proportion by the sonís father, who has been an opponent of VFPís participation in the parade for a long time. Bob read the letters. We concluded that Bobís response and Mary Beth Sullivanís response and Gretchen Kís response to the accuser were more than sufficient and nothing else should be done. Note: the woman who made the remark has admitted to doing so. She is not a member of Veterans for Peace. This whole incident caused Peggy to remark about how she was upset by people intruding into our contingent during the parade and how some people were not acting appropriately. Your humble secretary agreed. We should make sure that our contingent in future parades remains ours. If a meeting with the Brunswick accusers is necessary, we agreed that Richard, Rita, Mary Beth, and Gretchen should be there.

  • Kennebunkport Action on July 1st: Dud is in charge of peacekeepers and requested volunteers to help out. The plan is to hold a rally and then to march to as close to Walker Point Compound as we can. Dud would like to have 20 peacekeepers available. We would request that marchers not commit CD (civil disobedience) during the march out of respect for others involved in the march and to adhere to agreements made with town police. We decided to sell calendars at the march. The William Ladd Chapter of VFP agreed to be named on the liability form for the march (liability insurance for $2 million). As a result of some confusion about our chapterís status in the state as a501©3, President Lezer agreed to meet with lawyers to straighten out the matter. Finally, it was suggested that we take out liability insurance for officers and board members for future actions. Bob will look into this.

  • Blue Angels Demonstration Report: We will hold an all-night vigil on Friday, September 14th in front of the gates of the Brunswick Naval Station. On Saturday, September 15th, the march will begin at 9:00am in Brunswick and head to the BNAS gates, where a rally will be held (speakers and music). Vice-president Wolff suggested that we purchase water to distribute to marchers with stickers and decals attached to the bottles (ďReal Angels Donít Drop BombsĒ and the number of soldiers killed in Iraq to date; any other ideas, let Kristina know). Bruce Gagnon will provide more information as the date nears. Jim Nesbitt raised an objection to demonstrating against the Blue Angels. He feels that their presence is not really an advocacy for war but a demonstration of technological expertise. He thinks that our presence in protest will hurt the organization more than help it because weíll be sending out a confusing message. Others disagreed, noting that the air show is really a recruiting tool that encourages violence and glorifies war.

  • Membership Issue: Currently our chapter has about 150 members with half belonging to just the local chapter, some belonging to just the national, and some belonging to both the local chapter and the national organization. There has been some communication with the national office that implies that a person cannot be a member of the local chapter without also being a member of the national. Most of us disagree with that assumption Ė we feel that a person can indeed be a member of VFP by just belonging to the local chapter. Dan Ellis (our membership chair) and President Lezer have crafted two letters to send out to our members: one urging members who belong just to the national to consider also belonging to the local and one encouraging members who just belong to the local chapter to consider joining the national as well. Dan and Bob will send out a letter in September informing members of their membership status.

  • Common Ground Fair Report: The fair will take place September 21st through September 23rd. We agreed to carry a ľ page ad in the program, costing us $325. Tom Sturtevant suggested that we use the ad to make a connection between war and agriculture. The ad has to be at the CGC headquarters by July 13th.

  • Legal Defense Fund Report: Dud gave a vote of confidence in support of the fundís concept (to provide financial support for members who have incurred costs in actions opposed to war that are supported by the membership). The Legal Defense Fund Committee (Bob Lezer, Art Whitman, and Doug Rawlings) will deal with requests for funding and will report back to the chapter on a monthly basis. We agreed to begin the fund with a $1,000 commitment, with the funds available upon request starting July 1, 2007. Tim will set up a sub-account. Bob agreed to draft a letter to the membership explaining the fundís purpose and asking for donations to support it.

  • Letterhead Report: President Lezer provided us with three versions: (1). Captain William Ladd, Maine Chapter 001; (2). Maine Chapter 001; and (3). William Ladd Chapter, Maine 001 with a list of officers board members with a MaineShare logo. We agreed to call ourselves the William Ladd Chapter of Veterans for Peace. The name change should be on all future brochures and business cards, and the web site should be changed to reflect our new name.

  • Special Member Recognition: The newly named William Ladd Chapter recognized Bill Leonard for his exemplary service to the organization. Art Whitman read an official statement of Billís contributions, including being a charter member of the organization, becoming an early lifetime member of the organization (donating $1,000 to a fledgling group), leading negotiations during the Children of War project, serving as president of our young chapter, and putting out the national newsletter. Not to mention countless hours put in at demonstrations, marches, and rallies. Bill was presented with an official VFP belt buckle.

  • New Business:

    • We agreed to provide Michael Uhl with $250 to defray his costs for attending the National Convention in August. Michael is on the national board and is editor of the national newsletter.
    • We agreed to have a table at the August 4th Brunswick Peace fair (last year we had the Hugh Thompson display there).
    • We recognized member Russ Christiansen who is walking 700 miles from Chicago to the convention to protest the war. We agreed that Russ can represent the William Ladd Chapter during this march.

  • Guest Speakers: Members of the Iraq Summer Campaign of American Against Escalation in Iraq spoke to us about employing field organizers throughout the state to put pressure on the current administration to stop the war. They are planning on organizing press conferences and rallies and setting up letter writing campaigns. We agreed to support their efforts as individual veterans who are members of veterans for peace if we choose to, but members should not speak as representatives of the organization unless sanctioned to do so by the membership.

  • Dud Hendrick urged us to pressure Tom Allen to support the Impeachment campaign.
The meeting adjourned at 9:38 pm.

NEXT MEETING: AUGUST 23RD IN BRUNSWICK (Bob will try to reserve a space at the public library).




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


e-mail:
boblezervfp@suscom-maine.net


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