Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 001
Minutes from Business Meeting
May 22, 2008
Buker School
Augusta, Maine

PRESENT: Tom Sturtevant, Robin Spencer, Rita Clement, Richard Clement, Bob Lezer, Dud Hendrick, Dan Ellis, Kristina Wolff, Jack Bussell, Bruce Gagnon, Pete Cavanaugh, Victor Skorapa, and Doug Rawlings

Prior to the Business Meeting, members met at the Augusta Circle to join in the weekly vigil against the war from 5:00pm to 6:00pm. At 6:30pm some members attended a planning meeting for the upcoming PTSD Symposium

At 7:15pm, our monthly Business meeting began.

The April 2008 Minutes were accepted as read (Wolff motion; Bussell second).

Gifts: Rawlings motion (Lezer second) to support Dud Hendrick’s suggestion that the chapter donate $100 to Art Whitman for expenses incurred during his recent illness. Dud will call Art’s son, Alan, to make arrangements.

Treasurer’s Report: Dud Hendrick presented the report in Tim Blanchette’s absence. We had a balance of $8,229.64 as of April 21st. The current balance (as of May 21st) is $7393.35. Expenses incurred during the month between meetings were $1129.29 (postage, Democratic Party Convention booklet, donations to Gillis family, symposium brochure printing, down payment on Common Ground fair booth, and late payment of sales tax). The Legal defense fund is $1730 (no activity) and the 2010 Convention Account is $2000 (no activity).

Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that we currently have 174 members on the rolls (140 veteran members and 34 associate members). Of that number, 122 are fully paid up in dues. All 52 members who have not paid their dues have been contacted by e-mail. The following members agreed to call members who owe dues: Victor, Bob, Rob, Peggy, Tom, Jack, Dud, and Doug. We agreed to ask them to join an event and also to pay their dues if they can.

Maineshare: Tom reported that the scheduled June 28th event has been cancelled.

Memorial Day Parade: Bob Lezer reported on the status of the parade. We agreed that we’d be joining MFSO and Peaceworks in the parade (the original intent was to keep us separated). We’ll be between the Pest Control vehicle and the Army Reserve (no comment). There will be no VFP float this year; we’ll hand out 1,000 PTSD brochures (Dan Ellis will get them printed up). We discussed having a banner with the number of reservists killed. We also plan on asking the director of the parade to announce our PTSD Symposium. We should be at Mt Ararat before 8:00am.

Amnesty International Tour of Guantanamo Cell: Pete Cavanaugh reported that the cell will be on display at Monument Square in Portland from June 5th to June 7th. VFP Chapter 001 joined various other groups in sponsoring events occurring during the cell’s presence in Maine. Jack Bussell will be giving his remarks on torture on June 5th at 11:30am.

Maine Democratic Convention: Bob Lezer is coordinating this table. We’ll have a set-up at the convention from May 30th to June 1st. Richard, Bob, Tom, Dan, Robin, Jack, and Doug agreed to staff the table. In addition to our usual handouts, we’ll also be advertising the PTSD Symposium. Kristina agreed to make up a poster.

Maine Principals’ Conference: Tom Sturtevant reported that George Baggett and Carl Stoddard helped staff the table. He reported that many vendors had left by 1:00pm and that there wasn’t much action around the table (“the whole thing fizzled”). Tom suggested that we might want to focus on the Maine Guidance Counselors’ convention instead of this one next year.

National Convention 2008 Report: This year’s convention in August will be attended by Dud and Kristina. Jack did not think it was necessary for him to attend.

National Convention 2010 Report: Many agreed that the Eastland Hotel appeared to be too expensive for the convention, so a search for a different venue has been opened up. Jack reported that he was uncomfortable with the Eastland Hotel contract’s $20,000 liability clause. Wolff moved (Gagnon second) that we break the contract with the Eastland. Other possible sites for the convention were discussed: UNE in Biddeford (with shuttles run back and forth to Portland)? Woodfords Church in Portland? Dud, Jack, Bruce, Tom and Doug agreed to be on the search committee.

BIW Actions: Jack reported that 30 people attended the recent demonstration (with very little media coverage). There is an upcoming September/October “christening” coming up that we should plan to demonstrate against. Bruce suggested that we focus on BIW instead of the Blue Angels this September. A discussion ensued and a committee was formed (jack, Bruce, and Doug) to carry the conversation forward.

Maine Greens Convention: Stan reported that it was not very well attended although our table did garner a new membership. Bruce informed us that Cynthia McKinney’s website is a good source for policy issues.

New Business:

  • Dud is going to contact Tom Whitney about supporting the “Bus to Cuba” event.
  • Dud is “touring” the state of Maine with the “Stealing A Nation” film by John Pilger that highlights the tragedy in the Mauritius Islands (particularly Diego Garcia). He hopes to raise $2100 in funds to help support the islanders as they make their plea to the House of Lords in London for repatriation (Maine Chapter 001 has already provided $800.00 to support this cause). If anyone would like to contribute more funds, please contact Dud.
  • Peace Action Maine’s website features an excellent voters’ guide that members should check out.
  • Bruce Gagnon will begin a hunger strike to support Jan Tomas from the Czech Republic who has started an open-ended hunger strike protesting American military bases in Europe and the proposed missile defense system our military is imposing on our European “allies.” Bruce will start on Saturday morning and will have a public presence in Brunswick every day from 12:30 to 1:30pm.

The meeting closed at 8:45pm.