Veterans for Peace, Chapter 001
May 24, 2007 Business Meeting
Augusta, Maine

PRESENT: Bob Lezer, Tim Blanchette, Jack Bussell, Rita Clement, Richard Clement, Dud Hendrick, Peggy Akers, Kristina Wolff, Dan Ellis, Doug Rawlings, Smitty Smith, Tom Whitney, Victor Skorapa, Tom Sturtevant, Art Whitman, and Marianne Whitman

The meeting began at 7:03 pm.

  • Secretary’s Report for the April Business Meeting was read and approved as written (Bussell moved, Hendrick seconded)
  • Treasurer’s Report was read and accepted as written (Bussell moved and Akers seconded):
    • We currently have a balance of $5731
    • To date we had spent $1550 on the symposium and taken in $2230 from registrations
    • To date we had spent $4,229 for printing the calendar and taken in $2,455 on pre-orders and donations
    • We reserved a table at the National Convention for $60.00
    • It was suggested that the treasurer submit a written report at each meeting.
    • Our current treasurer, Tim Blanchette, has officially started as our full-time treasurer with Art Whitman continuing to keep the books for the Impeachment Campaign (which are separate from the chapter books).
  • Membership Director’s Report: Dan Ellis reported that we currently have 134 members in Chapter 001 who have paid this year’s chapter dues. There are 290 people currently kept on our mailing list. We discussed when people should be notified to pay their dues; currently we send out a fall letter to all members, but Dan is considering sending out notices on an individual basis according to when a member has paid her/his dues in the past. Dan is incorporating National dues status into the data base.
  • PTSD SYMPOSIUM: Scheduled for June 2, 2007
    • Jack has a display in the Portland Library advertising the symposium.
    • We decided to commit to 175 participants and will inform USM of that decision (Akers moved, Hendrick seconded), with the contingency that Jack could change these numbers if needed.
  • CALENDAR PROJECT: Dan Ellis passed out copies of the calendar. Vice-President Wolff will be in charge of distributing the calendars and collecting funds. Dan’s narrative: this project took over a year to complete. Franklin Printing in Farmington, Maine did the print job, where “everything is done electronically….” We contracted for 750 calendars at a cost of $4,028. They delivered 880 calendars because, we think, they support our project and will not charge us for over-runs. Peggy will write a formal thank-you note to the printers on our behalf. The calendar is printed on 30% recycled paper. Kristina is responsible for choosing the information provided on the calendar (which she got from a “Peace Buttons” website). We agreed to provide free calendars to all people (or their estates) appearing in the calendar, as well as donating at least 250 to Maine teachers. We will need to sell 300 calendars to make up our printing costs and another 67 calendars to pay back Nancy Prince for her initial investment ($1,000) in the project. We then discussed dissemination of calendars: Kristina will be the “gate-keeper”; we will allow postage-free shipping until July 1st on all pre-orders; we decided not to distribute the calendars through bookstores because of the complexity of doing so. Rather, we’ll distribute through individual members and at various events (like the upcoming symposium, the Common Ground Fair, etc). We’ll also post advertisements in the National VFP website and Rob Shetterly’s website. In the event that we sell out the calendars, we can have a re-print done in ten days. Members wishing to sell calendars in their areas can sign out groups of calendars from Kristina. At this meeting, 32 calendars were sold. Dan told us (and Art reinforced this) that we’ll have to pay state sales tax on the calendars at the end of the year.
  • Arlington East planned for mid-July in Maine has been postponed until either fall or next spring. We’d put the display up in Portland as agreed upon earlier.
  • GI Rights Hotline postponed until a later date due to the unusually high commitment needed to train for the service and to implement it. Doug pledges to continue working on this idea.
  • African Heritage Festival: Bob staffed a table at the festival and passed out 18 brochures and sold 2 copies of ADDICTED TO WAR. He also distributed about 75 brochures announcing the PTSD symposium into the Somali community. We agreed to provide registration fee waivers to the symposium for those who need them.
  • BIW Demonstration: Jack noted for the record that the Bath police were excessively aggressive and that he, Bruce, Maria Holt, Mary Beth, and Karen Wainwright will meet with the police chief on June 15th to discuss the matter. About 40 people were at the demonstration.
  • President Lezer presented outgoing officers Peggy Akers, Art Whitman, and Doug Rawlings with flowers and official VFP belt buckles to commemorate their service to the chapter.
  • Memorial Day Parade: Eric Herter represented our chapter at the Brunswick planning meeting this evening. We agreed to use the Clements’ trailer of crosses as our “float” again this year, with the True Cost of War banner. We will gather at the Mt Ararat school parking lot dressed in black.
  • Bob Lezer reminded us that the National Convention will take place in St. Louis August 15th through 19th. We agreed to cover the costs of President Lezer and Vice-President Wolff to attend the convention (including transportation and lodging and meals). We encouraged Bob to propose Portland, ME as the site for the 2010 convention, VFP’s 25th anniversary.
  • Blue Angels Demonstration: We will have a demonstration similar to the one we held two years ago when the Blue Angels will be at the Brunswick Naval Base September 15th to September 16th. Bruce will lead a committee to plan for the demonstration. Tom Sturtevant’s letter to the TIMES RECORD encouraging them to cancel the Blue Angels was printed. We agreed to have Tom Nielson sing at the rally (cost of $100 for travel). Clement moved to accept and Tim Blanchette said “what the hell” (we took this as a second). Mary Beth Sullivan will organize the Friday night vigil. We’ll march from the village green in Brunswick to the gates of the naval base on Saturday.
  • Common Ground Fair: September 21st to 23rd. We reserved a table and 9 passes. The check for the fair has been sent to the Common Ground organizing committee.
  • Maine Chapter 001 VFP Letterhead: Bob Lezer has been working on two models. Art suggested that we incorporate Captain William Ladd’s name into our chapter title. Peggy suggested that changing a name is a big deal and we should not take it on without some thought and further input from chapter members. Bob suggested that we send this out as a topic via the list-serve and for consideration at our next meeting.
  • Art asked that we discuss providing another $500 to the Bangor chapter as we have done in the past. We should request a report from them indicating how they spent the $500 last year and their plans for this year.
  • Legal Defense Fund: Bob suggested that we develop a legal defense fund for chapter members who incur legal costs while acting on the behalf of the chapter for the cause of world peace. One suggestion is that we take 10% of our dues and commit that to the fund. Art proposed that we ask for special donations for the fund and not take a portion of the dues. A committee was formed to continue discussion of the fund (Art, Bob, and Doug). Of immediate concern is helping Richard and Rita with the legal costs of helping out Brian, their son. Bob promised an on-line discussion by the committee and a full report at the next meeting.
  • Impeachment: Dud thanked Art for keeping the books on the Impeachment fund. To date 12,000 signatures had been gathered, which will be presented to the state legislature on Tuesday, May 29th at the State House. Dud urged all members to attend the rally in support of the legislation.


The meeting adjourned at 9:07 pm.