Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 1
Minutes from Business Meeting
February 24, 2011
Community Television Network, Ch. 5
Portland, Maine

Time begun: 7:16 P.M.
Time ended: 8:46 P.M.

Members Present: Bob Dale, Rita Clement, Richard Clement, Dave Crowley, Kristina Wolff, Tom Whitney, Dan Ellis, Tim Blanchette and Bob Lezer

Minutes of prior meeting at VFP retreat as posted on our website were accepted as distributed on our web site. Moved by Dan Ellis and seconded by Dave Crowley. Passed by acclimation.

Membership report: Dan stated we have 190 members (9 Honorary, 33 Associate and 148 Veterans). 70 persons have not paid this years dues. Dan asked about sending out letters to those in arrears. It was agreed that it is a good idea. Dan to communicate with Dud and Doug regarding the letter.

Kristina asked if Dan requires a fund advance for postage. Dan says no. Kristina also asks if the letter will mention National as well as local dues.

Bob Dale asks about the types of memberships and the numbers. Kristina states that there are about 3,990 National members of which about 90 are Associates of which the vast majority are female.The National membership is down from a high of around 8,000 (which was around 2002 – when Dave Cline was President). There have been issues in some Chapters and discussions at National regarding the role female and status of Associate members. The issue of Associate members is not reflected in our Chapter.

Kristina said she is on the National Membership Committee which is to address this issue and the disenfranchisement of Associate members. Kristina says that people are addressing this issue a little bit on her surveys and the majority feel that the VFP bylaws ought to stay as they are. Elliot, VFP National President, feels there should be no distinction in members. She agreed to be on the committee because most people feel there should be a distinction but that Associates shouldn’t be marginalized either. There’s been no follow-up since her initial discussion with Elliot.

There is a large disconnect between National and the Local Chapters and the issue of Associate member status.

Bob Dale has a person who wishes to become an Associate member. Bob Lezer gave Bob Dale some VFP #1 brochures which have a membership application in it.

Kristina knows of a W.W. II female veteran who has end stage cancer who wished to become a member. National referred her to a New York Chapter since she lives in Manhattan. Kristina paid for the woman’s membership. Why did National not do this???

Kristina is on the VFP National Sexual Trauma Committee. It is supposed to report monthly. This is a new thing that National asked for, that all committees send monthly reports. She believes there is a lot of resistance to doing this.

Kristina says her study will assist National and the chapter.

Co-sponsorship: The co-sponsorhip of Dr. Abualaish at USM on March 31 was tabled till March meeting.

PTSD Symposium: Kristina gave a brief update on the Symposium.

Dan Ellis will work on the PTSD Symposium brochure using the “Guernica” art on the cover the same as last years. He stressed that the committee / chapter needs to solidify the name of the symposium so promotional material can be made and sent out soon.

Pending the PTSD committee’s approval, Dan Ellis, Bob Lezer and Kristina Wolff will work on creating a 81/2 by 11″ poster to go along with the brochure. This will be something people can display and will have the keynote presenters’ images on it. Kristina said she’d notify the committee.

Bring Our War $$ Home: Tom Sturtevant has made arrangements for the Hall of Flags at the State House on Monday April 4 for an announcement of the campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home.

VFP #1 Website: Dan states that there is a lot of dated information on our web site and it needs to be cleaned up. Dan asks people to go through the Web site. Doug and Bob will spend a couple of hours with Dan on this project. Any others?

Dan says that Gearhost provides reports of pages and number of hits on each. (Since the meeting, Kristina has put the VFP account on Gearhost so individual members no longer have to pay the yearly fee and wait to get reimbursed)

National Peace Walk: Bob Dale says that if National wants to be more visible a coast to coast VFP sponsored Peace Walk would be of great benefit. Suggests starting on the West Coast and ending in Washington, D.C. Bob will talk to Bruce Gagnon, who is currently participating in a Peace Walk in Massachusetts, about drafting a letter to National.

Blue Angels: No discussion. Tabled

Membership recruitment: Dan has investigated Nicole’s idea of a facebook ad. There is no charge to set up a facebook ad. $50 is the “maximum daily budget” set by facebook for new advertisers. They charge per click on the ad. The average is $1.51 per click.

Noted that we do have a Maine VFP Facebook page and National does as well.

The purpose of the page would be to increase membership. Dave Crowley asks if the ad can be limited to Maine Veterans. Facebook presently has no mechanism to isolate that data.

This could become very expensive. No action taken.

VFP #1 Leadership Succession: This Summer or before one or all of our current leadership may choose to step down after wonderful service. The succession and possible leadership structures will be discussed at a subsequent meeting. Dud, Doug and Bob are working on this.

Courage to Resist: Richard Clement spoke about Bradley Manning. He moved the Chapter contribute $100 to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund. Tim amended the motion to $200. The motion was passed. Richard will send the check with a cover letter asking that the donation be used directly for legal costs and not for administrative costs to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund.

Richard also suggested that we send letters to the Base Commander and the Brig Commander regarding the treatment of Bradley Manning.

VFP Website: Dan stated that the CalendarWiz used on the web site is due to be renewed at a cost of $88. Moved by Kristina, Seconded by Bob Dale. After some discussion of the usefulness of this feature the motion was passed unopposed.

Members are reminded to send Dan VFP related events to be posted on the Calendar.

Women’s Issues: Tom Whitney asks if Kristina is looking for action by the Chapter on Women’s issues. Kristina asks us, the Chapter, to be more aware. Kristina feels that our Chapter is able to talk about these issues and that that is a magical thing. A future project might be to provide a list of books on this topic will be made available.

School of the Americas: Tom noted that on April 8th there will be a S.O.A. Watch in Washington, D.C. This will be an opportunity to lobby legislators. The S.O.A. now has International Law Enforcement training and is working on exporting the functions of the S.O.A. to other countries. An S.O.A. plane filled with contraband (drugs) and armaments was in a stand off with Argentinian officials at the Buenos Aires airport.

Lenten Vigil at BIW: There will be vigils from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Wednesday March 12 and on each Saturday until Easter.

There will also be vigil on April 1 from 3-5 P.M.

Next meeting in Brunswick. Bob has reserved the site at 85 Union Street. It is the McClellan building – we’re in a room that seats about 30 and is on the first floor. There is plenty of parking in the rear of the building. The building is owned by Bowdoin and is being provided free of charge. There will be a VFP sign on the appropriate entry door – either the first or second door to the left of the main entrance which is accessed from the back parking lot. – Map

Adjourned at 8:46 P.M.