Veterans for Peace, Chapter 001
Meeting Minutes
30 November 2006
Meeting held in Augusta

Dear all: My apologies for being so late with these minutes. Much has happened since, of course, but I thought you should see what we talked about in November. I think Bob Lezer has some notes from our retreat (as do I), so those should be forthcoming as well. Thanks for your patience. Doug

30 November 2006 minutes

Meeting began 7:04 pm. Ended 9:14 pm

MAINE SHARE: Doug Rawlings introduced Hilde Lipson, executive director of Maine Share. Hilde explained the role of Maine Share and its composition of 34 member non-profit organizations. Over 140 employees help support Maine Share through employee payroll deductions. Maine VFP has received $51, 961 since the founding. For organizations to be able to receive Maine Share funding, they must meet the following requirements: Volunteer 36 hours of work a year for Maine Share, file all appropriate documents and have one member from each organization attend the annual board meeting. Hilde said that membership in Maine Share is determined by the board. Agencies may apply every two years. To be eligible the agency must be a 501 3C organization and the mission of the applying organization must be aligned with the mission of Maine Share. Fifteen per cent of the money raised by Maine Share is used for administrative costs. In the 11 years that Hilde’s been with Maine Share the contributions to organizations have grown annually. Arthur Whitman suggested that Maine VFP make a concentrated effort to fill out comment cards suggesting that Maine Share be an option for employees to donate to at their work places.

Minutes of Oct. meeting were read and accepted,

Dues Letters: Two hundred eighty one letters reminding people that dues are due in Sept. were sent out by Bob Lezer. Doug noted that there were 2 donations received—one from Joe Sorios, who wrote a letter and donated $50 in memory of Norman Paradis, VFP was mentioned in the obituary. In addition we received a donation of $17.40 from Network for Good based in Bethesda, MD.

Treasurer’s Report: 170 responses received as a result of dues letter being sent. Approximately 1/2 are donations and 1/2 are memberships. There was $195 in tonight’s mail. We currently need to forward $125 to National for dues. Current check book balance $5,542.00. On or about Jan 1st we will receive a donation or payment from Maine Share of between $2500 and $3000.

Recap of November activities:

Veterans Day parade in Portland—over 90 members and supporters participated. VFP marched further up in the parade than before and was well received by onlookers. Jack handed out and explained the picture of the persons carrying the VFP banner. It was noted that VFP had access to the microphone 10 minutes after the completion of the formal Portland Veterans Day speeches. Doug and Jack gave brief speeches and presented a $100 check to a Portland Organization working for children’s rights. Herb Adams was the only Portland official to stay for VFP presentation.

Peter Buotte spoke at Voices in Wartime at the school of visual arts in NYC. He will donate part of his fee to VFP #0001.

Tom Sturtevant reported that over 200 VFP people were present at the School of America’s watch and participated in a 4 mile protest march.

Calendar project/ Fundraiser: The chapter is going to make a 18 months calendar—from August ‘07 to ’Dec. ’08. utilizing Rob Shetterly’s paintings. The calendars will cost $10. Doug is writing grants asking for $1500 from the AG Mustie Foundation and $3000 from the Resist Foundation. Dan Ellis, Dud, Bob Lezer, Kristine Wolffe, & Doug will be working on this project w/ assistance from Arthur. Great thanks to Rob Shetterly for the donation of his paintings. Doug is chairing this committee. It was suggested that perhaps we could sell these calendars thru VFP National.

January retreat: at Chewonki on Friday 1/19 & Sat. 1/20. There is a $25 charge for Friday night’s lodging. There’s a $276 charge for the meeting room. (moved by Doug, seconded by Jack) Folks that stay over will either be in yurts or in a dormitory style setting. There are private rooms for couples. VFP will be paying for the breakfast, lunch and snacks on Sat. the 20th. Friday eve at 6 there will be a potluck gathering for socialization, with other peace groups invited. On Sat we will watch the DVD “Why We Fight” and discuss. The chapter will also talk about organization, officers, structure and its vision. Tom & Arthur will develop a list of nominees for the various officer positions. It was suggested that there also be a Cuba Lives discussion. Victor thought it would be appropriate to address the military act. Organizations may set up literature tables at the retreat.

Stan Lofchie is recovering from knee surgery. It was voted to give Stan a bottle of wine.

No meeting is scheduled for December. January retreat. February meeting in Lewiston.

PTSD conference—–We discussed having a 2nd PTSD conference, this time in Portland. Last year Don Hardin did an excellent job and got the state to donate $3500 toward the project. It was suggested that perhaps the conference could delve into PTSD treatment , including depleted uranium and other costs of war. It was suggested that perhaps the conference be in May. (CEU’s could be granted to health professionals ). People who will work on this will be Bruce, Doug, Jack, and Peter. In Portland, the Glickman Hall is a possible site. Jack will check on other venues.

There was a brief discussion about non veterans being members of VFP. It was explained that only veterans can be full members of VFP and associate members cannot vote for offices or hold offices. This follows the standard set by National. It was noted that this same issue was raised at the National VFP convention. It was agreed by all that if someone is not a veteran, he or she should not pretend to be a veteran. We agreed that Maine VFP will continue to be an open organization that will accept members, both veteran and non-veteran, who wish to work to abolish war and will do so non-violently..

Sanctuary movement: Doug spoke about how many people are moving forward individually in this movement, but the chapter will not be actively involved because of possible legal issues. Chris Beam wondered if support for this movement would enhance our organization. Major questions were raised about ethical & political implication which would urge thorough review and discussion. Possible retreat topic.

Inside the active military there is a movement—an appeal for redress from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chris Beam brought up the subject of the draft that Charles Rangle of NY wants to reinstitute because the current system is disproportionately burdensome on lower income people. If more members of congress had children eligible for the draft there would be less chance of war. And there would be more public opposition, claims Chris. Many of the members present are opposed to the draft, some calling it repulsive. Further discussion of the draft might come up at future meetings. Bruce said let us plan on getting out of Iraq.

Maine VFP agreed to become involved in a conference organized by Peter Wilk — Physicians for Social Responsibility— achieving global energy on April 13th. Jack notes that Physicians for Social Responsibility have not spoken against war or against pre-emptive war. Doug asked –do we not get involved with groups we do not agree with 100%??

Other Comments:

  • Dud reported on the occupation of Sen. Snowe’s offices. Nancy Hill received 24 hours in jail as she would not accept community service. It is clear that the court system is upping the ante for protesters. Question? Does anyone know international law? Bruce said Francis Boyle of University of Illinois speaks on this issue. Dud will contact this gentleman. Tom said that John Olsen may be helpful.
  • Tom Whitney said that VFP is mentioned in the international socialist review and Perry O’Brien is mentioned.
  • Bruce reminded people that on 6 Jan from 12 to 3 —a meeting at O’Natural’s in Portland—impeachments, occupations, etc.
  • Dud said there will be an open forum in the Belfast area on 11 Jan. Our political leaders have been invited.
  • Jack reported that on 21 Dec at Portland High School there will be an opportunity to provide information on jobs to students.
  • Jack also reported that a church in Saco would like to hold a reading of the names in Jan. or Feb. Request the sound system.
  • Tom reported that at Brunswick High School, Bob Dale & Rosalee met with 3 groups of students.
  • Doug has a student who would like to be an intern for VFP.

Meeting adjourned at 9:12 pm