Veterans for PeacePRESENT: Kristina Wolff (acting facilitator), Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Tom Whitney, Smitty Smith, Jack Bussell, Stan Lofchie, Dan Ellis, Al Norton, Norm Rasulis, Peggy Akers, Tom Sturtevant, Doug Rawlings, Tim Blanchette, Stephen Potts (IVAW), Lora Somlyo, Sam Dinning (guest from Bowdoin College), and Rita Kissen (guest).
William Ladd Chapter 001
September 27, 2007
Business Meeting Minutes
Peace and Justice Center
President Lezer could not attend the meeting since he was in Ohio for family matters.
The meeting began at 7:00pm with a discussion led by guest Rita Kissen of The Refuser Solidarity Network (please note: the secretary was late to the meeting and missed this discussion. I would appreciate anything you'd like to add as an amendment to the minutes. Please send additional commentary to firstname.lastname@example.org). Stan moved and Smitty seconded to send $100 to the Refusers Solidarity Network. All agreed.
The Secretary's Report (minutes) for the August meeting were accepted. Tom moved and Dan seconded.
The Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that the chapter currently has 159 members ( we added 13 "new" members this past month because Dan sent out letters to members who had not kept up their local chapter dues). Of the 159 members, 123 are veterans and 36 are associate members. Dan will start our membership drive (renewal of dues, etc) in November.
The Calendar Project: Kristina reported that we have sold 603 calendars to date. We have also donated 309 (that means we have made our "mark" -- i.e., our promise to donate 300 calendars to schools, which was a stipulation in our RESIST grant). She feels that word-of-mouth advertising is working best among teachers. However, we still need to sell most of the remaining calendars to develop "seed" money for future calendar projects and to bolster our operating funds. Smitty will get the word out to Portland area members. Rita Kissen volunteered to get word out to USM faculty. Richard suggested that at some point we ask teachers for feedback on how the calendars have been received at their schools and for suggested changes in format. Rita asked if there had been any mention of trouble with school administrations. Kristina mentioned that some teachers are concerned and that some librarians are a little uneasy with the calendars. Tim mentioned that his wife received complaints for e-mailing the calendars within her school.
The Treasurer's Report: Tim reported a balance of $7733.87 as of September 27, 2007. Revenue includes $157 from calendar sales, $1079.60 from the Common Ground Fair, $305 from donations, and $305 from dues. Expenditures from the past month include $79 for business cards, $200 donation for the MaineShare Bike and Hike, $500 from MaineShare funds to Chapter 003 (Bangor, Maine Chapter), $400 for Common Ground Fair set-up, and $85 paid out to Rob Shetterly from sales of his postcards at the fair.
The Legal Defense Fund is showing a balance of $1710, with $220 coming in as donations this past month and no expenditures reported.
Tim made a small correction to last month's report on the PTSD Symposium. He had mistakenly subtracted our USM room deposit twice. So our final "cost" to the William Ladd Chapter for the symposium is $662.41.
2008 PTSD Symposium Planning Report: Jack reported that the USM site has been reserved (the Abromson Center, which we used this year). Doug reported that Michael UHL is pursuing three different speakers and will report back his findings.
Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Occupation: Kristina reported that five women from Farmington's Women in Black group occupied Senator Collins's office in Portland on September 14th. Although there was no press coverage and no arrests made, Kristina reported good meetings with Collins's office aides. The women presented the aide with petitions calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq; reports on the effects of PTSD on women in Iraq; reports on sexual abuse within the military; and a report from Lee Sharkey, a participant who attended the International Women in Black meeting at Valencia, Spain this summer. Over 40 supporters outside Collins's office passed out leaflets and brought flowers into the office in support of the five women. The women left Collins's office at 9:00pm.
MaineShare Hike and Bike Event: Tom Sturtevant reported that the September 9th event attracted 60 bikers despite the inclement weather. Over $15,000 was raised at the event, which will go towards paying administrative salaries. Tom thanked the chapter and individual members for their support. He reminded us that MaineShare is the major financial contributor to Maine VFP.
Blue Angels Demonstration: September 15th and 16th at the Brunswick Naval Station. The Friday night vigil started with about 15 people and by midnight there were three who decided to vigil throughout the night. Since the vigil was held at the gate of the Navy Base, there were more negative remarks directed at vigilers than at other demonstrations. The night passed uneventfully. Fifty people marched with us on Saturday despite a heavy downpour throughout the morning. Linda and Sandy from MFSO spoke eloquently about the status of their children who are in the military and Betty Burke from WILPF spoke beautifully about her wishes for world peace. The demonstration was facilitated by Bruce Gagnon and Marybeth Sullivan. VFP members provided security.
Common Ground Fair: September 21 to September 23rd. Our participation in the fair was announced to be a success, not only financially but also in terms of outreach to veterans, veterans' families, and children. Tom was officially commended for the excellent ad that he created for the fair newsletter, and Rita drew a round of applause from the membership when she suggested that we praise President Bob Lezer for his great work in setting up the display and also in staffing it throughout the fair. It was noted that we need to set up a more definite schedule of staffers for the table earlier next year.
Portland and Bangor Office Occupations: VFP members were involved in both demonstrations calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. See the web site for more details.
National Convention 2010: We agreed that we should apply for the 2010 VFP National convention to be held in Portland. This will mark the 25th anniversary of the organization, which started here in Portland lo so many years ago. Jack Bussell was officially nominated as the Convention Chairperson Kristina motion; Stan second). He recommended James Carroll as a major keynote speaker. Jack also announced that USM residence halls would not be available for the convention although their meeting facilities (the Abramson Center) could be. Jack recommends the Eastland Hotel as the main site. Discussion ensued: perhaps the Holiday Inn by the Bay might be a better venue? Jack will pursue possible sites. We agreed that we should hold the convention over the weekend of August 19th (Th, Fri, Sat, and Sun) 2010. Doug passed convention guidelines on to Jack.
Carlos Arredondo Incident: Kristina reminded us of the attack on Carlos at the latest Washington, DC demonstration. He is pressing charges and currently living at the Code Pink House in Washington. A request for support has gone out. We agreed to send Carlos a card of support and a check for $250 to help defray his expenses. Kristina will send the card. Doug motion, Stan second. We also talked about making Carlos and Melida honorary members of the William Ladd Chapter.
NEXT MEETING: OCTOBER 25, 2007 AT 7:00PM IN AUGUSTA (PLACE TBA)