Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 1
Minutes from Business Meeting
April 28, 2011
Buker School, Augusta

PRESENT: Dud Hendrick, Nicole Moreau, Bruce Gagnon, Kristina Wolff, Doug Rawlings, Dovey Balsam, Rita Clement, Richard Clement, Tom Sturtevant, Bob Lezer, Clarence Smith, Dan Ellis, and Ed McCarthy

  • President Dud Hendrick began the meeting with the announcement that Victor Skorapa is recuperating at home and that Dud will send along Victor’s home address if you wish to contact him. Dud then read an inspirational piece from the HARPER’S May 2011 issue entitled “Why I Am A Pacifist.” It was suggested by Seth Berner.
  • LAST MEETING MINUTES: Not completed yet. Will be posted soon.
    • Dud thought that the symposium was a success. There was good VFP participation at the event.
    • Discussion for improvement: perhaps we have saturated the Portland area, and we need to find another venue farther north? We should get our initial advertising out 6 months ahead of time (i.e., in November at the latest). We shouldn’t hold it on a holiday weekend. We need to reach out to different organizations. We should reach out to all UMaine campuses and give special student rates. Publicity could have been more widespread; we need to send out a generic brochure at an earlier date. We should start lining up speakers by September and October. Staff from the vet center and Togus should be involved in the planning process.
    • Richly deserved praise: Camilo’s presentation was especially appreciated by Richard and Rita because it touched on their son Brian’s experiences in Iraq; Dud reported that both Peggy’s and Kristina’s workshops were very good; Dud thought that the planning committee did a good job.
    • Kristina provided a summary of Symposium evaluations highlighted by overall satisfaction with the symposium (29/32 evaluations) and with the diversity and quality of keynote speakers. Suggestions for change include providing more time for workshops, providing Q&A sessions after each keynote speaker, focusing more on modalities, and providing more widespread and advanced notice of the symposium.
    • Chapter membership is at 192 (151 veteran members, 32 associate members, and 9 Honorary members). Of this membership, 98 are current dues-paying members.
    • Dan reported that he, Bob Lezer, and Doug Rawlings met recently to review the website and to make suggested changes, but also to discuss a membership renewal letter. This ad hoc committee suggested that a brief letter go out with a brochure and a SASE. The wording should reflect our need to update our database, to encourage people to support the chapter financially if they can, and to join our chapter list-serve. Dan estimated that the cost for such a mailing would be about $75.00. Bruce pointed out that some of these ”lapsed” members might not have ready access to e-mail; also he pointed out that we should be sending out something in print format on a quarterly basis so that all members get something from the chapter other than “billing notices.” Bruce also suggested that we use physical, print mailings to announce major chapter events (like the Symposium). His past experience has shown that print mailings increase membership. Many of us agreed that sending out a print announcement would prove to be beneficial (and dan thought it wouldn’t be that difficult to do). Ed suggested that we don’t lose sight of the purpose – to get more dues to flow in. Richard Clement moved that we use chapter monies to send a funding letter and that we leave the composition of the letter to Dan’s discretion with feedback from his committee. Bruce seconded the motion. Motion passed.
  • NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPORT: Tom Sturtevant, chair of the committee, will meet with Dan, Doug, and Dud to discuss an approach to replace transitioning officers before our next chapter business meeting.
    • Kristina reported on testifying before the legislature on LD150 and LD 605, two bills that dealt with testing Medicare clients for drug usage. Both bills are unconstitutional, according to the MCLU. In her presentation she mentioned VFP, our PTSD Symposium, and our outreach efforts. She didn’t think the bills would get out of committee. She also attended a UNH student panel on PTSD and MST.
    • Bruce nominated Peter Woodruff as an honorary member of VFP Chapter 001. Bruce submitted a statement to be entered into the minutes, which is summarized here: as a BIW worker, Peter has put his job and reputation on the line many times with his insistence on following peaceful means of conflict resolution. He has brought some of his fellow workers into conversations about economic conversion who might not have entered into the discussion without his leadership. He has stood side by side with VFP members in our vigils and demonstrations outside of BIW for years. Bruce moved that Peter Woodruff be inducted into our chapter as an Honorary member. Bob Lezer seconded the motion. Unanimous approval of the motion followed. Bob will design a plaque to present to Peter at the next Brunswick meeting. Note: since Peter is now an “official” member of VFP, he should be notified and encouraged to attend all of our events.
    • BRING OUR WAR DOLLARS HOME: Bruce reported that national Code Pink has picked up on this idea, mainly because of Lisa Savage’s tireless efforts. In fact, at the next meeting of mayors from all 30,000+ cities, the mayor from Los Angeles will the city resolution to conference attendees. Chellie Pingree seems to have adopted the idea as well. The next planning meeting for BOW$H will be Saturday, June 4th in Augusta at the Arboretum (noon to 3:00pm). All are encouraged to attend.
    • Dud reported on Larry Dansinger’s “penny poll.” He’s asked people to show up at public places throughout April and May with 10 jars and pennies as a graphic way to demonstrate the inequities of our budgetary priorities. So far campaigns are taking place in Brunswick, Farmington, and Deer Isle, to name a few.
    • Dan reported that he, Bob, and Doug spent a few hours recommending streamlining strategies for the VFP website. Dan will be working on this project periodically – the goal is to “unclutter” the site. Feedback is appreciated.
    • Nothing new to report on the national Peace Walk idea.
    • Tom reported on the Blue Angels action. A leaflet is near completion. He shared the graphics with the group. The action will take place August 27th and 28th. Emphasis will be on fuel waste. Tom, Nicole, Bob Dale, Richard, and Bob Lezer are on the planning committee.
    • Bob Lezer will be tabling at the Crosby and Nash concert on May 21st.
    • Richard, Rita, Bob, and Bruce will be at the Hope Festival.
    • Bruce moved and Kristina seconded the motion that a letter be sent to Obama regarding McCrystal’s appointment.
    • Dud led a discussion of Herb’s resolution dealing with non-citizens and the U.S. military. We agreed that the letter sounds like a “recruiting tool,” so we tabled discussion until next meeting.
    • Dan presented the “Welcome Home Project” DVD idea (which is being shown at the national VFP conference). He provided a link to the trailer of the film on our listserv. He found it to be a powerful indictment of how American soldiers are reintegrated back into society. We’ll consider purchasing the DVD for showing around the state at our next meeting.
    • PAM Dinner May 7th: Loukie will be honored. Members are encouraged to attend the dinner and also send Loukie a letter of congratulations. Medea Benjamin will be the keynote speaker. Dud will staff a VFP literature table at the dinner if possible.
    • Aegis launch May 7th: 8:30am to 10:30am at BIW. Dud will be a speaker at this demonstration. Potluck lunch at Bruce and Mary Beth’s house afterwards.
    • Brunswick memorial Day Parade: We decided not to have a formal VFP entry but to join PeaceWorks as they participate in the parade. VFP members are encouraged to wear “their gear.” The parade will take place on May 30th.
    • Dud announced that Noam Chomsky will be speaking at North Conway, New Hampshire on July 26th. Tickets are $15.00. If anyone is interested in going, contact him.
    • National VFP is mounting a major demonstration in October in Washington, DC. Participants will include representatives from labor, education, health professionals, etc. There will probably be some form of civil disobedience. Dud reiterated the importance of nonviolent resistance.
    • Doug announced that VFP honorary member Rob Shetterly will be receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Maine at UMF on May 14th graduation ceremonies.
    • Kristina announced that Dovey and Nicole will be presenting their research during UMF’s Symposium Day on May 4th.
    • Bruce noted that labor council meetings in Lewiston and South Portland generated some strong discussion about war and peace issues. Rosalie Paul was involved in promoting this perspective.
    • Ed McCarthy reported on his Middle East working group: he’ll be in Washington on may 24th to lobby legislators about the Israel/Palestine issue.
    • Dud acknowledged Dan’s good work on the recent VFP National newsletter.

The meeting adjourned at 9:13 pm