Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 001
Minutes from Business Meeting
March 27, 2008
Portland Public Library
Portland, Maine

PRESENT: Jack Bussell, Bill Slavick, Bruce Gagnon, Dan Ellis, Doug Rawlings, Stan Lofchie, Clarence Smith, Michael Uhl, Rita Clement, Peggy Akers, Richard Clement, Tim Blanchette, Dud Hendrick, Dona Somlyo, and Bob Lezer

Prior to the meeting Tom Ledue, Democratic candidate for the Senate, spoke about issues of concern for the coming elections.

The official Business Meeting commenced at 7:10pm. President Dud Hendrick presiding.

The February 2008 Minutes were accepted as read.

The 2008 Symposium on PTSD scheduled for June of this year at the USM Abromson Center was discussed. Concerns about the upcoming symposium included a lack of strong speakers, a perceived inability to offer CEU’s for health professionals. After much discussion, planning for the symposium was turned back to the Symposium Committee. Secretary’s Note: since the last meeting there has been much progress concerning the symposium: i.e., good speakers lined up and the CEU issue resolved.

The Treasurer’s Report was presented by Tim Blanchette. Our current balance is $10,266.10 as of March 26th. Expenses for the past month ($3429) included sponsoring the Portland Public Forum ($150), the No Bases tour ($400), and the Dahr Jamail tour ($100); reserving a table at the Aserala celebration ($150); expenses for the website ($129); and setting aside funds for the 2010 convention ($2500). Income included membership dues paid ($120); donations ($120); sales of calendars ($235); and a Public Forum refund ($7.80). There was no activity in the legal fund (remains at $1730). The House Party for the IVAW Winter Soldier hearings garnered $1625. Tim mentioned that he is currently working on our 990 form (using the services of H&R Block from Falmouth, which is charging us $300). He is using the EIN number that the National Office recommended using. He is also filling out the annual report for the Maine Secretary of State.

Membership Report was presented by Dan Ellis. We currently have 170 members (33 associate members and 137 veteran members), of which 115 have fully paid up this year’s dues. All members who have not paid their current dues have been notified by mail.

Website Report was presented by Dan Ellis. He is continuing to update the page on a regular basis. There is a new banner up on the page. Dan is beginning to archive old material, using his own discretion. New software purchased this past month has proven to be very helpful.

National Convention 2010 Report presented by Jack Bussell. The National Board has approved our application for the 2010, so it’s official: the 2010 will be in Portland on the 25th anniversary of the founding of VFP. Michael Uhl reported that the proposal received unanimous support from the national board. Jack is planning on booking the Eastland Hotel as our site.

March 11th Forum Report presented by Jack Bussell. 150 people attended the event with excellent response from the audience. Total cost was $643.80, paid for by VFP and the Global Network.

Hope Festival Report presented by Dud Hendrick. We had agreed to provide $50.00 for co-sponsorship with the Bangor Chapter 003. Richard Clement, Bob Lezer, and Dan Ellis agreed to help staff the table.

IVAW Winter Soldier Report presented by Doug Rawlings and Peggy Akers. Doug attended the Saturday session of the 4-day hearings in Washington, DC. Although the United States mainstream press was barely represented, independent presses were there (including Democracy Now! and the NATION) and the international press showed up. Doug pointed out that Mary Beth Sullivan and Becky Farley were there for all four days and should be asked for their impressions. He was very moved and energized by the words and actions of our IVAW brothers and sisters. Peggy spoke of the vigil held in Portland on Saturday and the teach-in that included a speech by Michael Brennan, a call-in from Becky Farley, and her own moving and inspirational words (Jack pointed that out). Peggy reported a very real bond between IVAW and VFP. Again, media coverage was slight, but Channel 8 had the wisdom to interview Peggy. Bruce Gagnon mentioned how proud we should be of Becky Farley, who served as a Navy lieutenant in the Iraq War and has been radicalized by her experience firing Tomahawk missiles into Iraq. Although Becky did not testify in the panel sessions of the Winter Soldier Hearings, she did provide written testimony and then organized at the hearings to capture the written testimony of other veterans who didn’t have a chance to sit on a panel. We would like to encourage Becky to organize a Maine chapter of IVAW that would, undoubtedly, be supported by our VFP chapter.

No Base Tour Report presented by Dud Hendrick and Michael Uhl. The tour will probably cost us about $600.00. There will be two East Coast tours (one on April 6th, 7th, and 8th in Maine – hosted by Peace Action Maine in Portland and another presentation in Damariscotta). Bruce suggested that Michael contact Richard Rames in Biddeford to get the sessions out on cable television (his program is entitled “Out in Left Field”). The other tour will feature a speaker from Diego Garcia and another from the Czech Republic (April 13th and 14th). PEACEWORKS, WILPF, and AFSC will sponsor the talk in Brunswick on the 14th. Bob Lezer volunteered to help transport the speakers back and forth to the airport. Stan Lofchie agreed to introduce the speakers on the 14th.

Tabling report presented by Bob Lezer. We will have a table at the Democratic Convention at the Augusta Civic Center May 30th through June 1st (cost is $250). Lezer moved; Ellis seconded. Approved. Members who want to help staff the table should contact Bob Lezer as soon as possible. Bob also spoke to the Republican Convention folks but to no avail – at first they said “yes,” then they said that, after discussion, they “were afraid” what VFP might do at the convention; finally, Bob called back to assuage their fears, but there has been no response since. Astute members around the table this night decided that the Republicans probably don’t want us there.

Dud reported in Kristina’s absence that there are now 15 members on the FaceBook site.

Dud reported that Dahr Jamail’s presentation this past Sunday was outstanding (there were 150 people present). He delivered a scathing attack on the mainstream media’s coverage of the Iraq War.

NEW Business Reports include:


  • A Christening at BIW of another warship on May 10th (Saturday) from 9:00am until noon. VFP will have a presence there.
  • We agreed to have a “full disclosure” table at the Maine Principals’ Association Conference on May 1st. Tom Sturtevant will be taking care of details.
  • Dud reported that Larry Dansinger’s Tax Funds for Life group is seeking an outlet for $500 to help stop the war. We suggested that Dud ask Larry for a donation towards our PTSD Symposium.
  • Dud asked if we’d be interested in supporting Amnesty International’s “tour” of a GITMO Cell (an exact replica of the concrete cells used in QUANTANAMO that held an Australian prisoner) It’s currently touring the U.S. (Los Angeles, Crawford, Tx, and possibly Portland, Maine). Stan moved that we become a co-sponsor of the tour here in Maine; Jack seconded. Approved. Stan will act as the liaison between us and the touring group. It looks like it could be at USM at the same time as our PTSD Symposium!
  • We agreed to reserve 8 seats at the ASERELA dinner ($150) to support this Sudanese relief organization. The date is April 5th at 5:30pm in the Guild Hall in Portland. Contact Jack Bussell for tickets.
  • Dr. Judith Herman will be speaking at the University of Maine at Farmington on April 10th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. The event is presented by UMF’s Rehab Club and is co-sponsored by the William Ladd Chapter of VFP as part of our efforts to bring Dr. Herman to Maine.
  • Memorial Day Parade in Brunswick: Bob Lezer has not received an application form yet. Stan will pursue this matter.
  • Stan presented VFRP member Russ Christianson’s article on the agreement between Canada and the U.S. to share military forces in the event of a martial law “crisis” in either country. Stan wondered if we shouldn’t make common cause with our compatriots in Canada to see if we can mount a comprehensive protest against this act.
  • Bob Lezer passed out update business cards and membership brochures to be used at our various tabling events (very nicely done).