Veterans for Peace
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
William Ladd Chapter
Business Meeting Minutes
June 28, 2007 - Lewiston, ME
The meeting began at 7:00pm.
The meeting adjourned at 9:38 pm.
- 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
- 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
NEXT MEETING: AUGUST 23RD IN BRUNSWICK (Bob will try to reserve a
space at the public library).
Veterans For Peace
William Ladd Chapter
PO Box 274
Freeport, Maine 04032-0274