Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
January 17, 2013
McClellan Multipurpose Room, McClellan Building
Attending: Nicole Moreau, Dud Hendrick, Bud Buzzell, Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Dan Ellis, Dovey Balsam, Clarence Smith, Peggy Akers, Peter Woodruff, Bruce Gagnon, Doug Rawlings, Dave Crowley, Tom Whitney, Julie Pease, Bob Lezer, Anni Cooper, Susan Chandel, Crystal Zevon, Denise Valdes, Jerry Provencher, Rosalie Paul, Bob Dale, Diane Messer
(1) Tom Whitney passed around an action alert about Colombian political prisoner David Ravelo. Colombia’s prison population has increased by 30% during the current presidency of Juan Manuel Santos. David Ravelo is one of 10,000 political prisoners and is a leading human rights activist. The internal state of siege within which Ravelo is a victim is largely directed at clearing rural areas for exploitation of natural resources and industrial-scale agriculture, projects funded by foreign investment. Tom invited us to add our names to a letter in support of Ravelo’s release from prison. Contact Tom directly to add your name firstname.lastname@example.org
(2) The newly created Maine Alliance for the Common Good will meet again on Saturday, Feb 9 in Augusta from noon-3:30 pm. Meetings are held at Mediation center on King Street. Bring your lunch. All are invited. See recent Portland Phoenix article about the Alliance here
Reading: Richard read a quote from Howard Zinn about hope…..it’s not romantic….history also recalls compassion and kindness.
Crystal Zevon: Special guests Crystal and Denise Valdes spoke about their current national tour to find out “What has become of the Occupy movement?”. They were both at Freedom Plaza in Washington and decided to go out and find the stories, the humanity, and film occupy activists who are now involved in a myriad of activities across the country. The chapter made a donation toward their trip. Check their blog at http://www.searchingforoccupy.com/
Meeting Minutes: Minutes from the last meeting were approved. The can be found online at our web site https://vfpmaine.org
Treasurer Report: Recent Maine Share contribution will be reflected in next monthly report. Dovey reported that she has found two banks that meet our requirements – Franklin Savings and Camden National. She also requested another VFP officer be listed as signer on checks since she is currently the only one. Was agreed that who ever is president of the chapter at any time should also become a check signer along with Treasurer. All agreed that Dovey should proceed to open new account with which ever of the two banks she felt worked best.
Membership Report: Dan reported that we currently have 159 members – 89 of them are currently paid-up. VFP member Eric Herndon passed away in December. His wife sent a donation and said he was always proud of his membership.
Education Committee: No report
Media Committee: Dud reported that the news release announcing this meeting, and our special guests, was printed in the Times Record.
Outreach Committee: Bruce reported that the Kids Shooting Kids video story in Brunswick led him to write a letter to Steve Levesque who runs the Brunswick Landing (former Navy base) and is lead organizer of the annual air shows. Levesque had a good quote in the local article about the violent filmmakers using public property (including the former Navy base) to shoot the videos. Levesque said, “We have to deal with this…Guns were one thing, but we have an issue in our society where we are desensitizing our youth to violence such as this. That’s a concern that I have personally.” Bruce asked Levesque, “Have you ever stopped to wonder if your promotion of war and violence at these air shows does in fact directly contribute to this ‘desensitizing our youth to violence’?” Levesque immediately wrote back to Bruce and responded, “I personally believe that there is a clear distinction between the promotion of youth gun violence for the sport of it and military activities to defend our country. For the record, Napalm was not used at the airshow.” The chapter has already agreed to organize a protest next summer when the Navy Blue Angels will return to Brunswick. Members have volunteered to work on a committee that will begin meeting in the spring. Bruce urged that the chapter make some kind of public statement about the Kids Shooting Kids video, in particular because it has been shown by Brunswick High School teachers in classrooms. He suggested a letter to the Times Record from our president.
Chapter Retreat: The Arboretum in Augusta was the choice of the membership for our chapter retreat. Rental cost would be $150 for one day. February 23 was the date chosen. Plan would be to begin at 9:00am and finish by 4:00pm. Committee of Peggy, Diane and Doug will work out details. Peggy’s suggestion of inviting Portland Occupy facilitator Rachel Rumson to do some part of the meeting was accepted. Peggy also suggested we invite Mary Sturtevant and family.
PTSD Symposium: Doug reported that key speakers and meeting space are locked in for the May 18 event. The committee will begin cranking soon. Will need help especially with promotion.
Agent Orange/Vietnam trip: Russ Christensen might need our support for his trip to Vietnam. No other details are available.
9/11 Truth Event Winter Harbor: Richard Cate wants our name as a supporter of his event to show new film called 9/11: Explosive Evidence Experts Speak Out. Doug spoke up in support of Richard Cate and VFP backing more education around the 9/11 issue. Group agreed. See the trailer of the video at http://911expertsspeakout.org/the_trailer.html
The Golden Rule Project: Richard reported that the chapter received a request from VFP Chapter 22 in California for help with their project to restore the anti-nuclear sailing vessel called The Golden Rule. During the 1960’s the boat was used by peace activists to interrupt nuclear testing in the Pacific. Once repaired it will be used to promote VFP up and down the east and west coasts and interior waters of the US. It was agreed to send $125 toward the restoration project.
National Board Meeting/Protest: Doug is going to St Louis for the national board meetingon Feb 25. (He will give an update at our retreat about current internal workings of national which he feels very good about.) Just prior to the national board meeting they will join with local VFP chapter and environmentalists to protest against Peabody Coal which has HQ in St Louis. Doug said it is likely that more protests will be held, in cooperation with local chapters, prior to future national board meetings.