Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 1
Minutes from Business Meeting
February 25, 2010
Holiday Inn By The Bay, Portland, Maine

Time begun:7:00 PM ish
Time ended: 9:20 PM

(Note: With apologies to scribe extraordinaire who was unable to attend. Following a joint effort by Bob Lezer, Peggy Akers, Dud Hendrick.)

Prior to the meeting many of us toured the Convention and meeting spaces at the hotel led by Melissa Bailey, Senior Convention Coordinator at the Holiday Inn.

Bruce Gagnon, Clarence Smith, Peggy Akers, Herb Hoffman, Michael Uhl, Dud Hendrick, Tom Sturtevant, Mary Sturdevant, Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Victor Skorapa, Dan Ellis, Bob Lezer

Dan Ellis showed a video of Watermelon Slim, a blues singer that we are considering for the Convention in August. Very good.

Dud Hendrick spoke about the solidarity of our Chapter even as we go about the task of organizing a national VFP Convention. As we each bring our interests and strengths to bear on this endeavor as well as for the Chapter.

Minutes of the January meeting:

The minutes of the January meeting and retreat were distributed by e-mail and posted on our web site. Great job of Minute taking by Doug Rawlings. Thank you.
Motion to approve: Herb Hoffman, 2nd: Dan Ellis, Approved by acclamation.

Treasurers report:
The treasurers report , 25 Feb. 2010, was distributed. Starting balance in the General acct: $8,240.69 and an ending balance of $6,380.69. The 2010 Convention Fund has a balance of $8,125.26 and the legal Defense fund has a balance of $1,330. Total Treasury $15,835.95.

Note that we did receive our $500.00 deposit back from the Eastland hotel we also transferred $1,500 from the General account to the Convention Account and that we have earmarked $2,000.00 from the Convention fund for entertainment. In addition we will have as yet unknown expenses for the production of an “Americans Who tell The Truth” calendar.

Michael Uhl moved to accept the treasurer’s report, seconded by Bruce Gagnon. Approved by acclamation.

Dan noted that the Calendar on our web site (CalendarWiz) needs to be renewed at a cost of $88.00 (an annual fee). Approved by acclamation.

Herb Hoffman noted that we ought to consider placing the Legal Defense fund and the Convention account into interest bearing instruments.

Tom Sturtevant reported that the necessary paper work, required by MaineShare, a budget, and 990 form were being prepared by Dud and Kristina.

Tom said we need to think about how we use or would use $50 to $200 as examples of the importance of MaineShare funds.

Dud has met with Hildie Lipson, the Executive Director of MaineShare, and both report the mutual respect that each organization has for the other.

Hildie offered Dud ideas on fund raising.
Many thanks to Tom for being our most able MaineShare chapter Representative.
Peggy wondered if the MaineShare funding was diminished in this economic period. Tom indicated donations were lower.
If anyone knows of progressive employers or employees who might be interested in MaineShare please contact Tom. Suggestions were LL beans, Hannafords as well as banks.

Nominating Committee: No report.

Membership committee: Dan reports that we have 179 members (145 regular, 29 Associate, 5 honorary) of which 96 are current with their dues. That means 83 members have not paid dues.
Dud mentioned the use of a calling tree to remind non payers to renew. Dan said this had not been successful in the past. It was agreed to try again. Herb, Victor, Michael, Bruce, Smitty, Dud and Tom agreed to do this. The dues are $15. Suggested that the callers emphasize the upcoming Convention costs. Dan will distribute lists to those who volunteered.
Herb asks how many of the people in arrears have been so for more than a year?

Ongoing business:

Convention: Michael reports that the Chapter Convention planning Committee (Michael, Dud, Doug) has had conference calls with the National Convention Planning Committee members Gary Hosey, Patrick McCann, Mike Ferner, Dennis Lane (new Executive Director), and Betsy Reznicek and have developed a working budget of $65,258 for the convention using historical data over the last three conventions. Note that any budgetary shortfalls are to be covered by National.

Registration fees are developed by dividing the estimated cost of the event by the estimated number of attendees. Michael said the intent was to hold the cost registration fee at $200 for the convention.

Note that this is a work in progress and has the ability to be flexible. It is up to this Chapter to come up with extra funds for the convention per Michael.

Peggy stated that VFP buses would charge $300 for two round trips between the hotel and the Casco Bay line terminal.

Dud noted that there may well be a temporary leadership vacuum at National as the new Executive Director adjusts to that position. President Mike Ferner is also very busy. Dud, Doug and Michael continue to press for responsibilities of the Chapter. The dynamics may change. Michael would like to get Tim Wise involved.

Herb asks if there is an income projection and Michael responds that the $200 registration fee plus the fees for partial registrations, lobster bake fees, vendor fees and advertising fees will be our main revenue.

Dud begins going through the agenda for the Convention.

Wednesday the 25th of August.
Reception– Michael suggests Entertainment, (background music), hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The planning committee ought to plan the menu. Discussion regarding Entertainment and Entertainment cost followed. Dan noted that Noel Stookey will require transportation and housing only. Same for Watermelon Slim.

Peggy volunteered to join the entertainment Committee with Dan, Rob Pfeiffer and Rob Shetterly.

Poetry Event: Michael and Doug. Plans for this event are in good shape. There will be a formal part with invited poets and then an open mic. Tom asked how we would spread the word to the poetry community so they will come and contribute. Gary Lawless has been contacted.

Opening Ceremony Doug….Drummers from the Penobscot community may be coming. Perhaps Watermelon Slim could give a short presentation of what we have to look forward to later in the weekend programs. Charlie Clements is an invited speaker and it is unclear where he will be speaking at this point.

A discussion came about regarding whether presenters who are veterans and are doing workshops need to pay to attend. The group felt that if someone was invited to present or perform then we would pay for everything…but if they were doing a workshop that they requested to do then they would be responsible for the entire registration fee. There may be gray areas and we certainly can be flexible and accommodating.

Workshops: Doug is getting lots of interest in workshops. It will probably be policy to require or at least encourage “panel” presentations in order to accommodate more applicants.

Public Meeting will be 7-9 on Thursday night. Inanna will be performing and Michael will check with them to be sure they have a sound system.

Presenters that evening will include Michael Brennan and hopefully Rachel Talbot Ross (Peggy has called her at work and left a message and will continue to pursue her) Perry O’Brien probably will not be able to participate. Other names that came up were Betsy Smith of Equality Maine and Wampanoag, Gkisedtanamoogk, with whom Dud will speak.

A conversation about whether we should have tabling at this event and the general consensus was that probably it would not be a good event to have tables. Bruce G suggested a flyer for the public go out advertising this event and the March on Sunday. He and Dud will work on this.

Plenary: We again recognized Tom Sturtevant for his wonderful theme idea….LIFTING THE FOG OF WAR VFP 25 YEARS WORKING FOR PEACE (1985-2010) It was suggested that Michael McPherson be added to the speakers at the Plenary. Bruce suggested that a small honorarium of 200 dollars (plus room and transportation) be given to Jo Comerford. Music during this event would be provided by a local artist who Dan and his committee will contact and arrange for. Dan has many ideas.

Should there be a second plenary? This would be organized around VFP developmental and organizational issues (mostly coming from the national), but if this was not to happen there could be many more workshops.

Lobster Bake: The issue of getting folks from the Holiday Inn to Casco Bay Lines in a timely fashion was discussed (the boat does not wait) VIP (bus company) would charge $300 to do two trips round-trip to carry folks from Holiday Inn to the Bay Lines. If it is raining or folks are pooped after a long day this is going to be important.

Tickets for the boat will be purchased ahead of time and volunteers will meet the folks at the Bay Lines and help get them to the boat. We will not be getting a separate boat.

Watermelon Slim may be performing during this event and Dan and his team will work to make sure that it is done right.

Alcohol. There were two options regarding this….Holiday Inn will send out staff….a full bar (must guarantee 500 dollars business) for about $200 fee. Or Hannigan’s the local store would provide beer and wine and juice and soda stored in big ice tubs and we could have folks buy tickets and get what they want. It would be more work but considerably less money and definitely more island friendly…We do not have to decide tonight but we do have options.

Saturday….who knows we might have Michael Moore…but plans for Saturday events are going well

Sunday is the March….we will march to Tommy’s Park and Bruce suggested that we find some speakers as things happen during the convention….see what folks are saying and who in VFP has voice that needs to be heard. Herb will check on getting the Seacoast Peace Dove…Everyone should bring their local VFP banners and signs.

Fund raising Ideas: Kristina, Bob Lezer, and Rob Shetterly are working on Americans Who Tell the Truth cards. A new 18 month Maine VFP/Americans Who Tell the Truth calendar is being developed by Rob S, Dan and Kristina.

Bob and Rob Shetterly are working on the Americans Who Tell the Truth—Voices of Peace concert presentation to be held in Portland in June. Voices for Peace have indicated their willingness to participate.

Dud spoke of raising money through solicitation of contributions from members, organizations, general P&J community in Maine, chapters to support specific needs—i.e. speakers, entertainers, VFP member attendance. Hildie Lipson of MaineShare has suggested that we may want to develop a “Tom Sturtevant” campaign—that is, using Tom’s reputation and name to generate state-wide interest and support. Dud asked us all to be considering other fund-raising options.

Program: we need a conference logo
Bruce will talk with a designer to help make a cover for our program

Michael Uhl is going to Vietnam with VFP delegation to meet with Agent Orange victim advocates and to assess the continuing legacy. The chapter approved $250 to support this trip.

Next meeting is in Lewiston March 25th.

Bruce noted that on that day participants in the Peace Walk calling for a Nuclear Free Future and for conversion to a peace economy will be walking from Norway to Lewiston ending at the Trinity Episcopal Church (247 Bates St in downtown Lewiston next to Kennedy Park). Bruce and Dud will discuss how we can somehow combine this meeting with the Peace Walk that is going on at the same time. (Note: Bruce has since secured space at the church for our meeting. VFP members are encouraged to join the walk which will be departing from the UU Church in Norway at 8:30 am. Look for further information as the date nears, but try to join for at least part of the walk.)

Meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:20 pm.