Veterans for Peace, Chapter 001
Meeting Minutes
28 September 2006
Brunswick Library

Meeting started 7:06 pm. Twenty members in attendance.

Viewed film “Impeachment” from 7:10—7:40. Dud would like to see each town and city pass its own impeachment resolutions. Deer Isle has begun the process. For each town one must gather signatures from 10% of voters in last election. There is no need for a special town meeting. If a town meeting is already scheduled, this issue must be put on the agenda or at the annual town meeting. Deer Isle’s annual meeting will be in March 2007. Dud said a source of information is the website “Impeachment.Org.” Dud said he has approached Michaud who felt the time was not correct and politicians would be more interested after the Nov. elections. Community education is the key.

Jack Bussell said that on Nov. 15th there will be a forum held on impeachment in the State of Maine Room in Portland City Hall at 7pm. Ethan Strimling is supportive. Vermont, Illinois and California already have pending or passed resolutions calling for impeachment.

Jack requests $320 to place 5000 inserts in the Portland Press Herald the Monday 11/13, before Nov.15. This was moved by Bruce, seconded by Christine and approved unanimously. Stan wondered if national was supporting an impeachment effort. Doug indicated they are.

Secretary’s report was accepted. Moved by Jack, seconded by Dud. All in favor.

Treasurer’s report. Doug reported newsletters will go out next week. We grossed $818.35 at Common Ground Fair. Last year we grossed $500—$600. The sale of Rob Shetterly’s cards “Americans Who Tell the Truth” and the My Lai helicopter display helped draw people to our booth. VFP made $100 from the play “Songbird” shown in Brunswick in September.

September activities:

Ten day fast for peace was held in Brunswick. Bruce, Bob, Mary Beth & Eric fasted for 10 days and many others fasted for part of the time. The fast was accompanied by an hour vigil each day and over 900 pieces of literature were distributed. The vigil was covered by the Times Record, whose initial article referred to the demonstration as being held by “gray haired veterans holding flimsy signs.” There was an op-ed in today’s Times Record critical of the initial article.

BIW demonstration—9/16. Sixty people were present. It appears that awareness about the illegality of the Iraq war is seeping into the public consciousness. The demonstration was covered by the channel 13 in NH and NPR radio. The Falmouth Forecaster had a collage with a picture of the many empty seats at the launching and a picture showing demonstrators holding signs saying “Good People, Bad Product” and another sign saying “Peaceful Productions.

Christina reported that a BIW employee spoke with her about dissatisfaction inside BIW.

Doug thanked all who helped at Common Ground Fair Fri., Sat & Sun.

Tom said Hike & Bike held on Sept 17 was a success. The total amount of money raised is unknown at this time as money is still coming in. Bill and Ginny and Art were there. Tom wishes more VFP members would ride. Colby, UM, and Bowdoin were involved. Hildie Lipson, from MaineShare, might like to attend our next November meeting in Augusta. Stan and Tom helped out at the MaineShare booth at the Common Ground fair.

The VFP ad about the cost of the Iraq war is airing on Air America and sounds good . . . actually it sounds great.

Doug would like to discuss structure, officers and board members at our next meeting. He feels it is perhaps time for change, and he would like to have a serious discussion on this issue when we next meet. Everyone please give this issue some thought prior to the next meeting. Doug would also like to hold a retreat in January, a time that we could use to put our re-structuring plans into effect.

Coming up on 30 Sept in Bangor from 1-3pm. VFP will lead a march from the waterfront to Sen. Snow’s office. Doug is the keynote speaker. Richard is bringing the trailer with the crosses. Dud will be dressed in drag as Senator Snow. Members of the Bangor chapter will help pull/ push the crosses. NOTE: Approximately 1500 people attended the rally and march.

Veterans Day in Portland.

VFP’s donation of $100 for a US flag in the memory of a one month old child killed in Iraq was accepted by the Portland American Legion and subsequently rejected. The check was returned. Apparently the American Legion chaplain was so upset they decided not to accept the donation. Two weeks ago the American Legion notified Jack Bussell that VFP would not be welcome in this year’s Veterans Day Parade because of “past actions” by VFP. Actions were not specified. Seth Bernier has indicated that he felt the American Legion could do this because it is a private parade. After much discussion, including these major points being made—1-VFP has participated for 15 years, sets precedent. 2—Although cited as a private parade the city of Portland does use the city police and public maintenance before and during the parade, thus making it a taxpayers’ expense. 3—the legal aspects should be explored due to the precedent set at the Brunswick Memorial Day Parade a few years ago. (Jack to speak with Seth, Michael to speak with Phil Warden, Stan to speak with Christine Detroy’s son about legal advice).

4—It was decided a multi-pronged approach would be best following this time line—1st-Doug to write a letter to American Legion requesting reinstatement into the Veterans Day Parade and stating reasons why such action is appropriate. (focusing on 15 years’ participation in parade that we have as much or more right than Shriners, Gym-Dandies, or cheerleaders, etc to be in parade) 2nd.. Jack and others to meet with Senator Ethan Strimling. 3rd. Members prepare letters to the editors of their local papers, particularly in the Portland area. 4th. Legal council advice garnered.

Treasurer’s report: Arthur reports we have $3197 in the bank, prior to any expenses being reimbursed this evening. Members reminded that chapter dues of $15 and national dues of $25 are due to be paid. Send chapter dues to Arthur and national dues to national. Michael reported that we sent flowers to Gabriel, a staff member at National who is recovering from surgery.

Doug stated that Rob Shetterly has agreed that we can use some of his work on a school calendar. Everyone encouraged to look at Rob’s pictures to decide which pics to use for which months. We would like to get the calendars in the hands of teachers August 2007. Christine indicated she has info about calendars and Stan said he was sure Rob Shetterly did as well.

It was moved and seconded that we spend up to $150 to replace the megaphone lost at the Kennebunkport march. Approved by all.

National Guard Adventure program was in the paper and VFP have been called “fruit-loops” for questioning this National Guard program. Jack has sent 88 letters to school principals and has received 7 replies. Doug read one positive letter received from a high school guidance councilor who quit over the issue. Tom, Peggy & Christina volunteered to write a policy regarding the National Guard Adventure program. This will be placed on the web-site for folks to use when completed. Tom suggested someone go to a school and see what is going on, what choices are being given, are they tuned into the 7th grade level, are the National Guards trained in drug prevention, do they have the appropriate health care training etc.

Doug reported a 19 year old college student has refused to register for the draft. He was threatened with a $250,000 or 5 years in jail if he fails to register for the draft. Rita said that Ben received similar letters prior to his deciding to join.

Other business: Stan said that he and 3 other people are sending out letters to organizations to see if they want to see the movie “Loose Change” and sponsor discussions. It would be nice to have the “Loose Change” creators appear on college campuses. VFP may be asked to co-sponsor, not financially. Lisa Sullivan, coordinator of the School of Americas Watch is speaking in Maine Oct. 11-15 (see our website for details).

Adjourned 9:19 pm

Next meeting in Portland on October 26th.