Veterans for PeacePRESENT: Bob Lezer, Victor Skorapa, Stan Lofchie, Bruce Gagnon, Dud Hendrick, Clarence Smith, Jack Bussell, Rita Clement, Richard Clement, Dan Ellis, Doug Rawlings, Robin Spencer, Tom Sturtevant and two guests: Sam Dinning from Bowdoin College and David Lester from IVAW and the Summer Project to End the War in Iraq
William Ladd Chapter 001
October 25, 2007
Business Meeting Minutes
President Lezer began the meeting at 7:04pm
The Secretary's Report (minutes) for the September meeting were accepted. Jack moved and Dud seconded.
The Treasurer's Report: In Tim's absence, Bob reported that we have a balance of $7,407.87. Total month's revenue for the past month is $569.00; total expenditures: $805.00. The Legal Defense Fund has a balance of $1,710 with no expenditures reported for the last month.
The Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that the chapter currently has 161 members. Dan will start our membership drive (renewal of dues, etc) in November. Dan will provide Stan with phone numbers of members whose membership has expired. Stan will call to find out if there's anything we can do to help them re-enlist.
Archivist Report: No Report. Smitty is just collecting material.
The Calendar Project: In Kristina's absence, Doug and Bob reported that Kristina sent Carlos and Melida a check to help them defray their legal costs along with a card thanking them for their actions. Calendar sales = 606 sold ; donations = 320 distributed to schools; 14 given as gifts; 77 are still out on consignment; and 613 remain in inventory.
SECRETARY'S NOTE: PLEASE, PLEASE ENCOURAGE FRIENDS AND FAMILIES TO BUY THESE CALENDARS AS CHRISTMAS GIFTS.
2008 PTSD Symposium Planning Report: No new developments since last month's report.
Bangor Action: September 29th: Dud reported that the primary speaker (a Gold Star Mother for Peace) was excellent; there were very good visuals about the cost of war; following the rally there were caskets commemorating the dead and the Statue of Liberty rising display was unfurled once again; 350 people were in attendance with good representation from younger people and an outstanding presence of our brothers and sisters from the Bangor chapter of VFP (who read the names of the Maine soldiers killed in Iraq).
BIW Action: October 6th: Jack reported that there were 35 people in attendance from 11:30am to 12:30pm.
National Convention 2010: Jack has estimates from the Eastland Hotel and the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. We're still waiting for word from the National to okay the Portland site as our next National Convention venue. The committee okayed the dates of August 19th through August 24th 2010 as the timeframe for the convention. Stan moved (Doug second) that we set aside $2,500 each year for the years 2008, 2009, and 2010 to go towards funding the convention. Jack suggested that we pursue James Carroll, Amy Goodman, and Jerry Genesio as keynote speakers for the convention. This is just a partial list. Jack will draft a letter to the national formally requesting the convention site be located in Portland. Doug will send along some material on our PTSD symposia as evidence that we can handle an event of this magnitude.
*Veterans Day March: We are to gather at Longfellow Square at 9:30am on Sunday, the 11th. We will have a street-wide banner that reads: Veterans for Peace. No other signage is allowed. We'll have VFP flags and American flags. Members are encouraged to wear black. The request for a speaker was denied. Jack will send in a request in November of this year for a speaker at next year's march.
*Dave Cline Memorial Gift: After much discussion about how best to recognize the presence and service of Dave Cline to VFP, most members accepted Bruce Gagnon's suggestion that we make a donation to IVAW in Dave's memory. Dave was instrumental in guiding the creation and development of IVAW. Guest Dave Lester thought that there were five or six IVAW members in Maine right now, with another 5 or 6 around the state. We decided to wait until contact is made with the national IVAW office to see where the gift can be sent. No amount was determined.
*Dave Lester (IVAW): Dave spoke about the GI Coffeehouse at Ft. Drum in upstate New York and how he thought something like that in the Portland/Brunswick area might be feasible. Dave is interested in encouraging joint meetings between Maine VFP and Maine IVAW; perhaps there could be a New England chapter, bringing in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont members. Dave was at our meeting to advocate for the Iraq Summer Group's "Cost of War" campaign (note: subsequent to the meeting, Dave sent us a note that he has quit the Summer Group for political reasons and reasons of personal integrity. He's still active with IVAW). The tour would also involve the "Eyes Wide Open" display. Dave's plan was to have the tour go throughout Maine, with churches and schools hosting it. Note: Jason Duffy has replaced Dave as field coordinator for the Iraq Summer Group. He marched with us on Veterans' Day and wants to get us involved in this tour. We need to discuss this at the next meeting.
*Stan Lofchie: Stan (who served for 50 years as a clinical psychologist) shared an article in the Nation about PTSD and how the VA is mis-diagnosing Iraq and Afghan War veterans with "pre-existing personality disorders" in order to avoid dealing with the real issue of PTSD (and to avoid paying the soldiers' medical benefits). Stan posed this question to VFP: to what extent do we want to work with VFW, the American Legion, and IVAW to make this a universal veterans' issue? Bruce suggested that Bob draft a letter on VFP stationery to be mailed to these organizations along with the NATION article requesting that we meet to discuss this issue and what we can do about it. Dud suggested that the author of the article would be a good candidate for a speaker at our next PTSD Symposium.
*Bob Lezer's Reminder: We cannot support or oppose any political candidate as an organization. We can address issues. And we can report on the position various candidates take on issues. We also can oppose and support candidates as individuals; we can identify ourselves as members of Veterans for Peace if we state explicitly that we do so for identification purposes only and that our position is not a position of the organization. (This statement comes from our national Treasurer, Ken Mayers)
*Sam Dinning (Bowdoin Student): Sam is attending meetings to do research on us. He is also a representative of Bowdoin's Students for Peace. He reports that the group has good intentions but needs help structuring their energy. He thinks that outreach from VFP would help. They meet every Tuesday on campus. We can contact Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org if we have any questions. Bruce suggested that Bob meet with the students to discuss developing a working relationship between the student group and VFP.
*January Retreat: We agreed that a January retreat would be a good thing. Bob, Bruce, and Doug will form a planning committee to set up the retreat, possibly for the last weekend in January at the Chewonki Institute.
*Democrat and Republican Conventions: Bob suggested that we set up tables at each convention similar to what we did at the Democrat convention a few years ago.
*Victor Skorapa: Victor suggested that we get involved at the local level petitioning against a war with Iran. Bruce volunteered to work in bath and Stan to work in Brunswick. Interested members should contact Selma Sternlieb if interested in participating in their local communities.
*Dud Hendrick and Cluster Bombs: Dud encouraged us to sign on to Rich MacDowell's and Mary Towne's petition letter calling on the Senate to condemn cluster bombs. We as a group can pass on material, get the word out, and post information on our list-serve. On November 5th there will be a national call-in to encourage senators to act.
The meeting adjourned at 8:50 pm.
NEXT MEETING: NOVEMBER 29TH IN LEWISTON, MAINE. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN WITH A 5:30PM SHOWING OF THE FILM "VIETNAM LONG TIME COMING" HIGHLIGHTING VFP MEMBER DUD HENDRICK'S BICYCLE JOURNEY FROM HANOI TO HO CHI MINH CITY.