Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 1
Minutes from Business Meeting
March 25, 2010
Trinity Episcopal Church, Lewiston, Maine

PRESENT: Dud Hendrick, Tom Sturtevant, Rita Clement, Richard Clement, Dan Ellis, Bruce Gagnon, Stan Lofchie, Bob Lezer, Victor Skorapa, Tim Blanchette, and Doug Rawlings Guest: Kenny DeBoghossan (a member of Trinity Church who welcomed us).

The meeting began at 7:00pm.

  • Dud began the meeting with a moment of “mindfulness” as we wished Peggy Akers well as she heals from her surgery. Both Dan and Stan spoke of recent correspondence with Peggy’s friends; she said that she is doing well and appreciates our concern. Dud mentioned Kristina Wolff’s idea of contributing to a cancer relief fund in Peggy’s name. Tom suggested that we might want to contribute money to Preble Street in Peggy’s name. We finally came up with this motion: The William Ladd Chapter of VFP will donate $500 to a cause that Peggy Akers determines. (Rawlings motion, Lezer second). Approved.
  • Motion: The William Ladd Chapter donate $50 to the Trinity Church of Lewiston, Maine in thanks for letting us host our business meeting in their hall (Gagnon motion, Lofchie second). Approved.
  • Secretary’s Report: Motion to approve the February minutes (Ellis motion, Lofchie second). Approved.
  • Treasurer’s Report: In Kristina’s absence, Dud presented the budget she forwarded to him. The last reported budget summary (February 25, 2010) showed a balance of $6380.69 in operating funds. Income from February 25th to March 23rd totaled $705 ($260 from donations and $445 from dues). Expenses from February 25th to present totaled $1338 ($250 to support Michael Uhl’s trip to Vietnam as part of the VFP mission to study the effects of Agent Orange; $88 to renew calendar software; and $1,000 annual payment to Dan Ellis for website maintenance). As of March 23, 2010, we have a General Account balance of $5,747.69. Our 2010 Convention Account balance remains at $8,125.26. Our legal defense Fund remains at $1330.00. Our current total treasury: $15,202.95. Kristina noted the following: we have set aside $2,000 for entertainment in the convention budget. We have also decided to make calendars that will be ready by the convention (the costs for those could be close to $5,000).

    Discussion: Dud urged everybody to pay attention to our dues – please pay yours on time and help us get others to pay theirs. Dan thanked everyone for supporting his work on the website (we all agreed that it is money well spent). Dan also reminded us that we were going to look for grants to help pay for the calendars. RESIST, AJ Muste, Haymarket were all possibilities but someone has to move on them soon. Doug expressed concern about the dwindling funds in our budget and the looming calendar project. We have to be careful with our expenditures. Dud passed on Herb Hoffman’s suggestion that we ask Kristina to explore the option of putting our legal fund and convention fund into interest-bearing accounts.

  • MaineShare: Tom had nothing to report on the MaineShare activities. Dud had recently met with Hilde to discuss building MaineShare participation in the state. He urged all of us to look in our local areas for possible MaineShare participants (businesses that employee 20 or more people). He reminded us of our deep obligation to MaineShare (they are our major funder). Hilde has literature that we can use to pitch the group. Bob suggested that we approach the Holiday Inn; Tim mentioned Sunnyfield farms.
  • Membership Committee: Dan Ellis reported 176 members in our chapter (142 veteran members; 29 associate members; and 5 honorary members). Ninety-seven members are currently paid up in their dues. At the last meeting, seven people volunteered to call up members who haven’t paid their dues recently. Bruce and Herb have done so, garnering five members’ dues. We need to continue pursuing this process.
  • 2010 Convention: Dud reported that he thought we were making good progress on the planning. Dud, Michael Uhl, and Doug Rawlings have been meeting regularly and have been involved in a series of conference calls with the National to keep the planning process moving. Dud thanked chapter members for their much-appreciated help; Doug thanked Dud for his exceptional leadership in this process. Dud referred to the “dynamic” and sometimes “problematic” relationship with National members; for example, just considering who will get awards and when caused a bit of a “dust-up” that eventually settled down.
    • Dud mentioned our interest in hanging a large banner of Howard Zinn in the hotel lobby, using Rob Shetterly’s portrait. Bob Lezer suggested that the banner be hung across the stairs in the Holiday Inn lobby as people enter the convention registration area. Bob also suggested that the banner be about five feet by seven feet in size. He has discussed this possibility with Holiday Inn staff and found them agreeable to our plans (he’ll check with them again).
    • Victor suggested two more banners: one of Father Roy Bourgeois and one of Smedley Butler.
    • Bruce suggested that we set up an “art gallery” of sorts for Rob Shetterly’s paintings in the tabling area, which is huge and easily secured. Past conventions have proven that the tabling area is a very popular spot.
    • Bob Lezer will inventory the banners we currently have.
    • Bob Lezer, Tom Sturtevant, and Bruce Gagnon will take on the responsibility of arranging for the banners and the art gallery space. Dud pointed out that we should have at least three major banners: one to hang in the UU church during the Public Event on Thursday evening; one in the Holiday Inn lobby; and one as a possible “street banner.” Bob also mentioned that Flatbread Pizza Company would take a canvas, 3’ x 3’ banner if it’s appropriate. Tom will check into the cost of that. Tom said that he’d talk to Rob Shetterly about the Zinn banner, which will probably be a replication of the Zinn postcard portrait.
    • POETRY READING WEDS NIGHT: Bill Ehrhart and Jan Barry will be featured. Open mic to follow. Tom Sturtevant recommended asking Bob Chute to be there as well. Tim O’Brien’s name was brought up as a possible workshop presenter/reader. Doug will check into that.
    • OPENING CEREMONY THURSDAY MORNING: Dud would like to move Chris Hedges from this spot and feature him at the Saturday night banquet (Hedges has agreed to do that). Dud is waiting to hear back from Watermelon Slim (blues guitarist/singer/VFP member) to see if he’ll play a song at the Opening ceremony and then do a full set at the Lobster Bake on Friday night.
    • PUBLIC MEETING THURSDAY NIGHT: So far Bob Filner (Southern California congressman with progressive credentials and a former Freedom Rider of the 1960’s who currently chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee) is locked in; so is Charlie Clements (early member of VFP and active in Central American actions); Rachel Talbot-Ross from the NAACP is close to being locked in.
    • PLENARIES FRIDAY: So far it looks like the national Plenary being organized by Mike Ferner will feature the work of David Cobb, exploring the ramifications of the recent Supreme Court ruling giving corporations First Amendment rights. Our plenary, being organized by Bruce Gagnon, will feature Jo Comerford (National Priorities Project), Jose Vasquez (IVAW), and Michael McPhearson (the outgoing president of VFP).
    • WORKSHOPS THURSDAY AND FRIDAY: Doug reported that we have over 20 workshop proposals in already (May 1st is the deadline). Many of them are top-notch and look very interesting. The workshop committee will go through proposals in May, announcing final workshops by June 1st. Bruce hoped that there would be a proposal from the South Korean VFP chapter. Tom has contacted them.
    • RALLY AND MARCH SUNDAY MORNING: The Post Office Park in Portland’s Old Port District has been approved for our rally. Bruce is working with the Portland Police Dept to secure a permit for marching in the street (a lane of traffic has to be approved). We’ll need this space if we’re to use Bob Dale’s daughter’s mammoth puppets. Each puppet will need 2 or 3 people to carry it. Bruce will choose the puppets we’ll need. Peter Baldwin has been asked to bring his portable kettle drum as well.
    • FUNDRAISING FOR CONVENTION: Dud, Rob Shetterly, and Bob Lezer have been working on the “Voices for Peace” concert scheduled for June 12th. The problem is finding an inexpensive venue in Portland. The UU Church might be a possibility. Perhaps the King Middle School or Wayneflete School might be possibilities. Stan suggested the Reiche School and Bruce suggested contacting Bill Slavick about the Catholic Church. Dud also suggested a couple of singers from Portland to draw in a larger crowd: Becky McCall or Nancy Barker(?). Dan then began a discussion about the Shetterly calendar. The time frame for working on the calendar is quite tight – we need to start working on it now. We discussed the format of the calendar itself (should we put in a lot of historic information or leave the slots for the days open so that people can write in them?). We decided that we would aim for putting in eight significant dates a month and leave the other days blank. Dan needs to have the design and layout of the calendar completed by the end of April at the latest. Rob has sent a list of portraits to choose from, so that chore is completed. The next step is to identify the key dates to put in the calendar and to assign portraits for each month. Rob, Dan, and Kristina are working on that. Dud will start exploring grant possibilities (he needs an old calendar to use as an example for grants).
    • CHAPTER THREE PARTICIPATION IN CONVENTION: Members of Chapter Three have graciously volunteered their services to help with convention planning and implementation. Right now, they can best help us by seeking out ads and donors from the Bangor area. Dud will contact Dan and Al from Chapter Three about this.
    • T-SHIRTS FOR THE CONVENTION: Dan mentioned that our three color shirt will be expensive to print. We decided to just have Dan’s Convention logo on the back of the shirt with nothing on the front. We’ll ask Betsy from the National office to check out various printers, including Liberty Graphics from Maine.
    • CONVENTION PROGRAM COVER: We decided that we’ll use the cover design created by Rob Shetterly with the VFP logo on the left and right corners. Bruce mentioned the positive responses of many members, including Peggy, so we agreed that that should be the design (Note: both the t-shirt and the program cover designs have to be approved at the National level). Bruce will send the cover design to Nancy for a final graphic design set-up (note: Bruce said that Global Networks will pay for this). Bruce will contact Rob Shetterly about the design.
    • CONVENTION MOVIES: There will be three movies shown at the convention (one each on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights). Bruce advocated for the showing of the South Korean documentary on the No-Gun-Ri massacre during the Korean War. Hundreds of Korean civilians were slaughtered by the US Army’s 7th Cavalry over a three day period. This dark moment in our history has finally been acknowledged, and a peace park is being built as a monument. The documentary filming this process has been sent to Bruce. Since this is the 60th anniversary of the event and since our showing of the documentary will be the American premiere of the film, we concluded that it should be given “top billing.”
    • FILMING THE CONVENTION: Dan pointed out that Nate Goldshlag from the National office wants to set up a live video stream for those who can’t attend the convention. We’ll also need people to film the convention itself. Perhaps Joe Balther or Pete Sirois or Roger Leisner would pitch in to help with the filming of the convention (Martha Spies from Portland has agreed to film the convention with no charges except for food and cost of film).
    • ALTERNATIVE HOUSING AT THE CONVENTION: Tim is working on a letter to be sent to various peace groups asking for people to volunteer housing for VFP members attending the convention who can’t afford the hotel rates. He’ll take on the responsibility of setting up correspondence between convention attendees and host families. Dud and Doug shared the idea of our chapter reserving a room at the Holiday Inn to act as a “suite” for information and informal gathering. At least one of our chapter members would be given free board to stay in the room.
  • BRING THE WAR DOLLARS HOME CAMPAIGN: Bruce reported that 8,000 door hangers have been ordered and will be ready for distribution by April 10th.
  • HOPE FESTIVAL: April 24th (Saturday). VFP table staffed by: Richard and Rita will be there; so will Dan Ellis and Bruce Gagnon.
  • Tom Sturtevant informed us that he ordered 400 War Resister League “War Expenditures Wheels” for all Maine state legislators and handed them out.
  • Dud is coordinating correspondence between our VFP chapter and the Maine State Veterans Prisoners Group located at the Warren prison. They are asking VFP for resources. Dud asked Stan to correspond with the group.
  • We’ll discuss our chapter’s presence at the Memorial Day parade in Brunswick at our April meeting.
  • The Maine state Democrats will be holding their convention on May 21st and 22nd. We agreed that we should have a literature table there. Doug will contact the Dems to sort out logistics.
  • Dan Ellis purchased a mic stand for VFP use. He recently used our equipment at a demonstration in Portland and at the WILPF event in Brunswick.
  • Dud started a conversation about the Peace and Justice Environmental Network website. Apparently, Dud, Dan, and Bruce have been contacted multiple times about submitting some VFP information to the site. Bruce has agreed to take on the responsibility of maintaining contact with the site since it reaches at least 25 other groups and serves as a network for various peace groups. Doug will send Bruce on-line material about our convention for the site (including how to purchase ads in the program).
  • Dud will not be at the next meeting, so he has asked Herb Hoffman to facilitate it. A representative from the VA Vets Center Mobile van will be there to discuss a possible collaboration between us. Perhaps something could be set up for the convention?
  • Victor Skorapa led a discussion of the Maine Free Trade Movement. He mentioned that currently our government’s collusion with various corporations to control trade with third world countries results in many social justice issues that VFP should address. He distributed post cards and stamps for us to send Mike Michaud a note protesting our current trade policies. Victor then made a motion that our chapter pay $300 to Maine Free Trade as an annual dues payment (up from $200 last year). Tom Sturtevant seconded. Approved.