Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 001
Minutes from Business Meeting
October 30, 2008
Belfast Public Library
Belfast, Maine

PRESENT: Jack Bussell, Peggy Akers, Carole Whelan, Rita Clement, Dan Avener (Chapter 003 President), Dan Ellis, Stan Lofchie, Richard Clement, Dud Hendrick, Michael Uhl, Robert Shetterly, Tom Sturtevant, Victor Skorapa, Rick Whelan, and Doug Rawlings

The meeting began at 7:12 pm.

Dud introduced Dan Avener and asked us to consider joint Chapter 001 and Chapter 003 business before proceeding with Chapter 001 business. Dan mentioned the Bangor Veterans Day parade beginning in Brewer that Chapter 003 will be involved in; he asked others from our chapter to join in. He mentioned that past experiences in the parade have been positive (the parade is sponsored by JROTC Program?). There are no speeches and the parade passes by a reviewing stand. It starts at 10:00 am (Dan will send specifics to Dud for dissemination among Chapter 001 members).

Discussion of the Bangor Parade led to discussion of Chapter 001’s plans for Veterans Day. Jack pointed out that we have been marching in Portland since 1992; there was some discussion about whether we should continue doing so and whether or not we should send a contingent down to Boston this year to support the Smedley Butler Chapter’s protest against being excluded in the Boston Veterans Day parade. Jack informed us of his usual persistent efforts to get our chapter appropriately placed in the parade — this year the American Legion once again denied us an opportunity to speak at the end of the parade; they at first placed us way in the back of the parade (by the go-karts), but at Jack’s insistence, they have now placed us further up in the line, following Miss Portland, but in the veterans’ “section.” Peggy announced her displeasure at the way we have been treated by the Portland people over the years (we all agreed with her), leading to a discussion of why we should participate in the first place. We are somewhat torn between wanting to put out the only peace message in the parade (i.e. continuing to participate) or quitting in disgust (sending out letters explaining why we’ve done that). After much discussion, we agreed to continue participating because we feel that our message does resonate with many observers and does have an impact; at Dud’s behest, we also agreed that it’s important to send a contingent to Boston in support of the Smedley Butler chapter (after all, they sent representatives up to our recent BIW demonstration). Peggy and Doug said that they’d be willing to go to Boston (we’ll travel via bus – anyone else interested in going should contact Doug at Over the years we have had between 50 and 100 participants in the Portland parade; as always, we’ll be carrying Jack’s banner again this year. More information about the parade will be forthcoming on the list-serve.

The discussion then got back to the 001 and 003 collaboration. We agreed that 003 members should be actively involved in the planning and implementation of the 2010 convention; we agreed that Chapter 001 should actively support Chapter 003’s rallies and demonstrations in Bangor; we agreed that all members of Chapter 003 should join Chapter 001 members at our annual retreat (end of January at the Chewonki Institute); and Jack raised the question of helping out the Eastern Maine Peace and Justice Center (to be addressed later in these minutes).

Chapter 001 Business Meeting Report:

The September 2008 Minutes were accepted (Bussell motion; Uhl second). The secretary will correct a few typos.

Treasurer’s Report: Tim Blanchette was absent, so Dud presented a brief report to the group. As of October 28, 2008, we have $6,369.78 in the treasury. Expenses since September included $87 for postage and copying of Symposium CD’s, $100 to Ruth Hill for music during the Blue Angels demonstration, $200 for petty cash disbursements (BIW demonstration, etc), $86 for room rentals and tabling costs, and $128 for an upgrade of our sound system – total expenses of $604.15. The Legal Defense Fund still sits at $1730 and the 2010 Conference Fund remains at $2,000. Income for the month was $360 ($150 from membership dues and $210 from donations). Dud mentioned that we have an outstanding debt of $906.00 to the Chewonki Foundation for last January’s retreat. As far as we knew, this was the first billing for that event. Tim informed us via e-mail that a $200 deposit had been put down. Dud will arrange payment of this debt immediately and will inquire if the $906.00 includes the deposit or not. Jack moved and Dan seconded that the Treasurer’s Report be accepted. It was.

Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that we have 188 members to date (155 veteran members and 33 associate members). 127 of these members are fully paid up. He reported that November is a “heavy” month for renewals – he’ll send out 36 notices at the beginning of the month. Stan asked if paying local dues automatically translates into paying national dues. It does not. Dud suggested that we once again ask members to call up “delinquent” members, encouraging them to pay their dues. Dan will provide us with a list at the next meeting of folks to call — Dud thought that out last efforts to clear up these payments were fruitful. We commended Dan for his excellent work keeping membership records and keeping the dues payment “cycle” functioning. His process is simple: Dan sends out membership renewal letters on a monthly basis via snail mail, based on when the particular member signed up, to remind us all when to pay our dues.

Nominating Committee: Tom reported that there has been no need for the committee to meet.

MaineShare: Tom reported that next Friday MaineShare will meet to discuss plans for the 20th anniversary celebration sometime in March or April. Each participating group (including VFP) has to participate, but how? Tom suggested hosting a film or two, with proceeds going to Maine Share. Michael suggested that Dud present his workshop on base closings to wider audiences. Dud responded that he will be presenting his work in Brunswick, Portland, and possibly Farmington early next year. During the conversation, Dud acknowledged the tremendous debt that we owe MaineShare for their support. We truly do need to support them in turn. Tom pointed out that our use of the MaineShare logo on the website and in all correspondences helps out considerably (kudos once again to Dan for posting the logo so prominently on our website). Dud mentioned that the internationally recognized artist in our midst (i.e., Rob Shetterly) should be asked to participate in some fund raising (and friend raising) activities. We agreed. So did he. Michael suggested that we begin considering other funding sources to complement MaineShare’s contributions. That prompted Stan to tell us about a recent encounter with a Namvet at the Bioneers Conference who has some very clever ideas about funding non-profits. Stan said he’d contact this person and explore future meetings with him. We agreed to discuss fundraising at our next retreat.

VFP Sound System: Dan reported that he was able to put together an effective sound system with less money than we allotted him at our last meeting. He purchased a Deep Cycle Marine battery for $98.65 and a meter for $29.38. Stan Lofchie donated a battery charger. The total cost for upgrading the sound system was $128.33. Dan reported that its first test run at the BIW demonstration was perfect. It looks like the system might be able to run for 7 hours without recharging. Dan was thanked by the group for his good work.

BIW Demonstration: Jack reported that 70 people attended the demonstration. We used $170 of the $200 allotted for the day. Channel 13 and the Brunswick Times Record covered the event. $100 was paid to Hannah Morris for singing and Carol Windham, who represented Granny D, was paid for her travel expenses. The police were cooperative, the sound system worked great, the speakers were excellent (especially Bruce Gagnon and Peter Woodruff from BIW), and the boat was a terrific prop (thanks to Peggy for her efforts). Dan will be posting material about the demonstration on our website. Tom was concerned about the empty buses passing by and asked if, perhaps, most attendees were getting in by another gate and if our demonstration should be moved. Jack said that he’d look into that.

2009 PTSD Symposium: Michael reported that we’re still looking for speakers to join Dr. Judith Herman (Doug will write her and ask about her presentation). Dud reported that Rob Pfeiffer couldn’t make our meeting, but he is still interested in pursuing his plan to expand his informal work with PTSD inflicted Iraq War veterans. He is still seeking $1,000 from the chapter to continue his work and is still very much interested in presenting a workshop at our next symposium. Michael shared his concerns about the wide range of current PTSD therapies and the disparities in quality that he has seen. This situation causes us a problem — what do we go with for the symposium? Whose analysis of the effectiveness of PTSD therapies do we trust? Once again, who is our intended audience? Michael also announced that he has been in touch with Meg Haskell from the Bangor daily News about ways to better enlist the media in advertising our symposia. He felt she might also be a good source for potential speakers. Rob thought that contacting IVAW and asking for their advice might also prove helpful. Dud mentioned that there are five cd’s from the last symposium available for distribution (although the video quality is not good — prompting us to see if Eric Hoerter might be available to film the next symposium [his earlier work is excellent]).

2010 Convention Update: Nothing new to report. Ideas kicked around — getting James Carroll as a speaker; having an art gallery display Rob Shetterly’s portraits. By the way, all proceeds from Shetterly’s postcards sold by VFP members go to VFP Chapter 001.

No Bases Conference: Dud and Michael reported that plans are still going forward for the conference to be held in Washington, DC in late February, early march. It will be supported by AFSC. Chapters close to DC are being approached to help support the conference, but our chapter should also step forward since the moving force for the conference is coming from our esteemed president and national board member. The search is on for plenary speakers and workshop leaders. Michael suggested that we should also integrate concerns and actions around the federalization of the National Guard and the Army Reserves, i.e., reinforcing the notion that “bases” include national as well as international facilities. The “Democracy not Empire” flyer was then circulated, emphasizing that the agreement to federalize these troops can be overturned at the state level; Michael suggested that we contact state legislators to see what we can do in Maine. Rick brought up a good point – what are the facts? What can we do? We should be clear about those issues before contacting legislators. Tom said that he’d contact Ben Manski (an advocate for this movement) to find out what’s out there. Rob said that he might be able to help at the state level as well. Stan suggested that we contact Hersch Sternlieb to see what his contacts are.

Annual Chapter Retreat: has confirmed that the retreat is still on for late January at Chewonki Institute. Topics to be focused on include pursuing alternate funding sources to complement MaineShare; strategies to pursue as we prepare for the 2010 convention and the 2009 PTSD Symposium; and possible collaborations with Chapter 003.

Dud and Greenland: Dud briefly gave us a summary of his work in Greenland recently (we had to ask him to stop speaking in the Inuit dialect). His work is based on outrage against the displacement of indigenous people as the American empire spreads (he has focused on the Inuit peoples in Greenland as well as islanders of Diego Garcia and the Marshall Islands). Dud will give later presentations on his Greenland trip (an experience that moved him to refer to the Inuit plight as a real “trail of tears.”). We anxiously await that moment.

Final Business: Stan reminded us that we were going to discuss financially supporting the Eastern Peace & Justice Center as well as the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. The first motion was to provide $100 to each group; Rita, however, rightfully pointed out that if we can grant singers $100 for a few songs, we should be willing to pay more in support of these groups. Michael moved and Jack seconded that we contribute $150 to each group. We will revisit this situation at future meetings. Dud will make the arrangements with Tim.

Jack has arranged to have a representative from Catholic Charities come to our next meeting to discuss supporting (not financially) the resettlement of 35 Iraqi people in Portland.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.