Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 1
Minutes from Business Meeting
April 29, 2010
Addams-Melman House, Bath, Maine

PRESENT: Dud PRESENT: Bob Lezer, Richard Clement, Kristina Wolff (presiding in Dud’s absence), Clarence Smith, Dan Ellis, Peggy Akers, Victor Skorapa, David Crowley, Tom Sturtevant, Doug Rawlings, Tom Whitney, Tim Blanchette, Michael Uhl, Mary Beth Sullivan, and Rita Clement. Guest: Lenny Richards from the Vet Center

The meeting began at 7:00pm (the secretary got there at 7:15pm).

  • The meeting began with a presentation from Lenny Richards of the Vets Center. He discussed readjustment issues and explained the Vets Center’s operations. There are 300 Vets Centers nationally with 50 mobile vans. Lenny emphasized that the Vets Center are not connected to the VA. They are opening up to considering alternative therapies. He’d like to have the mobile van spend a day at the national convention this August. We all agreed that this would be a good idea.
    Doug will include the van visit as a “workshop proposal” to get it onto the convention agenda.
  • Peggy thanked all members for their cards, their thoughts, their flowers, and their prayers. She wishes to donate $400 of the $500 Chapter One has promised her in recognition of Breast Cancer Research to the Tom Sturtevant Scholarship for Convention Assistance.
  • No report from the Finance Committee.
  • MaineShare: Tom reminded us that another check will be coming in at the end of June. He also encouraged us to seek out local businesses to contribute to MaineShare.
  • Membership: Dan reported that we currently have 175 members (5 honorary; 29 associates; and 141 veteran members). One hundred and six are current dues-paying members. Dan will send out April reminders to members whose dues come up in April.
  • The March minutes were accepted as written (Uhl motion; Lezer second).
  • Treasurer’s Report:
    Total Income for the month was $315.00 ($200 in donations and $115 in dues). As of April 29th, the General Account balance was $6045.09. However, the January Retreat has not been paid for yet; nor has Peggy’s $500 donation been deducted; and the $300 donation to Free Trade had not been deducted to date. The Convention Account of $8,125.26 has not been tapped yet. The Legal Defense Fund is still at $1330.00. The Total Current Treasury stands at $15,500.35. Kristina’s Note: we voted previously to set aside $2,000 of the convention funds for entertainment at the convention. We estimate that it’ll cost us $5,000 to print the new VFP calendars. One suggestion has been made that we use the Legal defense Fund to help make this payment, assuming that we’ll reimburse the fund from calendar sales. Discussion of this proposal was tabled. Rawlings moved that the Treasurer’s Report be accepted. Lezer second. Approved.
  • Convention Reports:
    Michael Uhl reported on the most recent conference call from the National Board (there are 12 members on the board). He gave the board a brief report of the convention planning status. The most contentious issue involved their refusal to accept our proposed program cover (Rob Shetterly’s sketch). We agreed to contest this decision. Michael will submit Rob’s new sketch to the board for their further consideration after Dan and Bob get it scanned into digital format.

    Bob Lezer reported that he, Richard, and Tom Sturtevant approached 38 downtown businesses about submitting advertisements in our convention program. So far, only one business has agreed to do so. Bob recognized that follow-up is necessary. The Flatbread Pizza Restaurant has tentatively agreed to have a VFP night some Tuesday in July (we’ll get a percentage of their food sales). Dan reported that we have raised $1,125 in Ad sales from Maine Companies so far. Victor Skorapa promised that Maine Fair Trade would have an ad in the program. We still need to do some work on this. We agreed that Betsy from national needs to help us promote this fundraising as well.

    We agreed that the T-Shirt design should be: an ecru colored shirt (off white) with a small pocket logo on the front of the shirt and Dan’s Maine logo on the back. We also agreed that the shirts should be printed at Liberty Graphics here in Maine.

    Tim reported that the quest for alternative housing is going slowly. He got one host to sign up at the Peace Action Maine dinner; seven people have signed on as hosts but they live a distance from the hotel (will require transportation). There are motels within three miles of the hotel charging less than $100 per night. Brian Willson will stay with Tim. Tim will continue seeking out alternative housing through Portland Quakers, Bill Slavick (Pax Christi), and Don Harden (Catholic Charities of Maine).

    Dan reported on the status of the calendar project: he and Rob have met to design the cover (a portrait of Howard Zinn). The layout of the calendar will remain the same as last ones, but colors will be different. Since we’ll be selling this nationally, reference to Maine that was on the last calendar will be left off, but Chapter One information will be included on the inside cover. The back of the calendar will remain the same as last ones with Rob Shetterly information displayed. Both Dan and Kristina reminded us that our original intent is to have this as an educational tool not necessarily as a fundraiser. We have to keep in mind that we’ll be distributing these free to schools as well as selling them. Kristina will include an insert with important dates listed to accompany each calendar. Dan has not sought our printing costs quotes yet. We agreed to start out with a run of 1,000 copies. The calendar will start in August, 2010.

    If we can get a 90% occupancy of the hotel rooms, then we’ll get the rest of our rooms for no charge at the Holiday Inn.

    Dan announced that Watermelon Slim will be unavailable to play at the convention. He led a further discussion of entertainment at the convention. We decided not to have entertainment at the Lobster bake, but that we should have an open mike opportunity for veterans to play. We decided to have a room open for jamming in the evenings as movies are being shown. Time limit of eight minutes should be held to for performers at the session. Other possible slots for entertainers: sometime during the business meeting to break it up; Thursday night at the Public Ceremony; and opening at the Banquet.
    Peggy suggested that we have a quiet room available for people to take a break. She and Katiya were discussing how to make the room relaxing.

    The June 12th fundraiser for the convention featuring Voices for Peace and Rob Shetterly will cost us $250 for rental of the UU Church in Portland. Peggy will emcee the event. We’ll ask for a $10 donation at the door.

    There will be three movies showing as far as we know at this time: the No-Gun-Ri movie about the Korean massacre; “Atomic Mom” which captures the stories of an American woman exposed to radiation during testing and a woman who survived the Hiroshima bombing; and a movie about Agent Orange.

    We agreed that the t-shirt should be printed at Liberty Graphics here in Maine. It should have Dan’s state of Maine logo on the back and a small VFP pocket logo on the front. We’ll need to find out how much that will cost us.

    Opening Ceremony: to date will include Jerry Genesio, Maja (Sarajevo survivor), possibly Ed Asner, Charlie Clements, perhaps Terry Tempest Williams, recognition of charter members, and recognition of international veterans; and a few words from Mike Ferner.

    The banquet will feature Chris Hedges, Noel Paul Stookey, and perhaps Terry Tempest Williams.

  • Hope Festival: Dan reported that Chapter Three did a good job; but they didn’t have a VFP brochure nor any Convention material. Their poetry project is very nice. Chapter Three also has a high school senior at Bangor High School who acts as an advocate for Veterans for Peace, making sure that recruiters are met by counter-recruiters.
  • AFSC will hold a model United Nations session in May. Tom will put up a sign asking high school seniors to represent VFP in their schools.
  • We agreed to buy a table at the Maine Democratic Convention for $350. Bob Lezer, Doug, Dud, Michael, and Kristina agreed to staff the table; others are welcome to join. Doug will do the paperwork and send it to Kristina, who will send the check to the Maine Democratic Convention committee. Bob Lezer will set up the table for us.
  • We agreed not to march in this year’s Memorial Day Parade in Brunswick. Interest has waned somewhat and we’re all busy planning for other events. Kristina will inform Dud and Herb about our decision.
  • Michael spoke briefly about his recent visit to Vietnam to explore the ravages of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese people. He and other VFP members were hosted by the AO Commission. A presentation is being created; legislation is to be written and presented to Bob Filner.
  • Dan was approached by a veteran who reported his dissatisfaction with the veterans Administration at Togus. He wants to teach boat building. People around the room made some suggestions: perhaps ask Dud to help contact editor of Wooden Boat Magazine; Peggy would talk to her husband; Michael recommended contacting Reverend Bobby Ives (coastal boat building) in Bristol.
  • Kristina unveiled her research project involving VFP. She’ll bring two students to the convention to help fill out surveys about why members have joined VFP, etc etc. They’ll also interview women members to find out about their experiences.
  • Peace Action Maine event went very well with largest crowd ever. Chomsky was a huge hit. VFP members were there as “escorts” for Chomsky. Tom reported that Roger Leisner videotaped the event. Bruce and the Bring the War $ Home group were very active.
  • Dan suggested that we not lend out VFP’s sound system so cavalierly. It can easily be damaged. He proposes that we create a form for borrowers to complete that would stipulate repair policies and liabilities. Perhaps a security deposit could be requested. Kristina and Dan agreed to create such a form.

The meeting adjourned at 9:25pm.