Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 001
Minutes from Business Meeting
September 27, 2008
Curtis Memorial Library
Brunswick, Maine

PRESENT: Dan Ellis, Jack Bussell, Michael Uhl, Kristina Wolff, Peggy Akers, Tim Blanchette, Tom Sturtevant, Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Susan Connery, Stan Lofchie, Jim Fecteau, Rob Pfeiffer, Bob Lezer, Victor Skorapa, Carl and Doug Rawlings

The meeting began at 7:00 pm. Vice-president Kristina Wolff presided over the meeting in Dud Hendrick’s absence (Dud was in Greenland).

The July 2008 Minutes were accepted as presented on-line (Lezer motion; Bussell second).

Treasurer’s Report: Tim Blanchette provided us with an oral report (no written report available). As of September 27, 2008, we have $6,613.93 in the treasury. Expenses since July included $325 for MOGFA registration(Common Ground Fair), a $200 donation to PeaceActionMaine, and $175 for Common Ground Fair table merchandise. Income for the time period included $722.89 from the Common Ground Fair. The Legal Defense Fund still sits at $1730 and the 2010 Conference Fund remains at $2,000. Tim updated us on the IRS $1760 penalty for filing late (there has been some confusion about our chapter’s official name and the actual timeframe for our fiscal year). The penalty was waived due to the diligence of Tim and HR Block (we paid $300 for their services). Our name was officially listed as the “William Ladd” Chapter. Our fiscal year is now officially the calendar year (January to January). We should also use the EIN number 22-2917816. We sent $50 of flowers to the HR Block staff member who helped us out. Members present officially thanked Tim for getting us through this mess (most of which was caused by miscommunications from the national office). We will receive our next MaineShare check in January, 2009. Bussell moved and Uhl seconded that the treasurer’s report be accepted.

Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that we have 186 members to date (154 veteran members and 32 associate members). 157 of these members are fully paid up. We gained 5 new members at the MOGFA Common Ground Fair. 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.

MaineShare: Tom reported that MaineShare bike ride on August 19th from the Augusta Arboretum to Gardiner and back (about 15 miles) was a success. This replaces the annual Hike and Bike traditionally held in Freeport. Veterans for Peace brought in $330, which will be used for their Development Fund. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of MaineShare (Jack, Tom, and Bob were all founding members). There will be a celebration in April(possible fundraiser) to recognize MaineShare’s contributions to living the good life in Maine.

Blue Angels Demonstration: 74 people attended. TIMES RECORD ran an article on the event and the Portland Press Herald printed Jack’s OpEd piece. Ruth Hill was paid $100 for her services. On a related issue, since the sound system went down during the Blue Angels action, we asked Bob Lezer and Dan Ellis to research a new system. Dan reported that we should consider purchasing a 27B Battery from Brunswick Marine ($104.95) as well as a battery charger ($64.95). Doug moved and Peggy seconded that we should provide Dan Ellis with $200 to purchase the equipment needed to upgrade our sound system.

Brunswick Peace Fair and Related PTSD Discussion: Richard reported that it wasn’t that well attended, but it is well worth having a presence there. Dan reported on an intense and moving dialogue with a family suffering through PTSD. His “vision” was that we should set up a resource for PTSD families and a referral service for people who need help. Michael mentioned that there is one such pilot project being launched through VFP in Chicago. (a vet-to-vet counseling model).

Rob Pfeiffer (a charter member of VFP and the first president of the Sam Shaw Chapter) was inspired by Ed Tick’s presentation to continue his work with veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the coast. He serves as a therapist at the Know clinic and is currently working with 8 National Guard veterans on an informal basis. He wants some VFP chapter financial support to continue his work and expand it. He explained to us that the VA primarily offers drug therapy, and he wants to offer more personal therapies. We discussed the insurance implications of sponsoring such work and other issues. Michael suggested that we move this to a smaller committee for discussion – one was formed consisting of Michael, Dan, Kristina, Doug, Stan, Bob, and possibly Dan Harden. Wee recommended that Rob write up a one page grant proposal for his project to be submitted to the committee before our next meeting.

2009 PTSD Symposium: Dr. Judith Herman has agreed to be one of our keynote speakers. Michael is still trying to see if Jonathan Shay would also like to speak. No toehr progress reported.

2010 Convention Update: Jack reported that the contract with the Eastland Hotel must be signed by the end of September. As the contract stands, we would be liable for 5% of the estimated revenue if we cancelled the convention up to January, 2009. Jack was concerned that, as signer of the contract, he may be held personally liable for the penalty if things don’t work out. Michael pointed out that the national will cover those kind of expenses (he read from the 2007 Convention notes: “the budget proposed for that convention was $70,000, based on 350 registrations. 250 actually showed up, costing the national $55,000. There ended up being a surplus of about $17,000. Note: the hosting chapter shares in the ‘profits’ of the convention, but not in its losses. All expenses are assumed by the national. Since the 2010 convention has already been approved by the national, our chapter is now the official “agent” for the national. Jack suggested that we make an effort to make the 2010 convention “sustainable,” using organic and locally grown produce and supplies whenever possible.

National Convention 2008: Kristina and Michael reported that the workshops were good. Dud will submit his report at a later date. Kristina mentioned that there were incidents of “in-fighting” and that sexism as well as racism and classism remain issues that we have to deal with inside of VFP. She felt that many people were excluded from discussions and at least one woman was told to “shut up.” She recommended that when we set up our convention that we remain conscious of these issues. Stan mentioned that AFSC and IVAW are both facing problems with sexism and racism in their memberships. Susan thought that these issues must be brought to the national’s attention; Stan agreed. Kristina volunteered to draft a letter to the national board that raises the issues we discussed. The draft would be distributed among chapter members for discussion before being sent off. Kristina took voluminous notes on the logistics of the convention for us to use when we begin planning our own 2010 convention.

Common Ground Fair: Bob Lezer reported that the fair was a success for VFP. We pretty much broke even financially, we recruited new members, and we engaged in some meaningful conversations with young and old alike.

BIW Demonstration: Jack reported that Granny D will be joining us on October 18th. It should be a bigger demonstration than in the past. We will be christening our own “ship” – the USS Granny D, which Peggy has designed and which will be carried from Bath to BIW. Jack was confident that we had enough money in the $500 Blue Angels and BIW fund to cover this demonstration’s expenses (Granny D will not be charging us anything for her presence).

Veterans Day: We decided to participate in the Portland, Maine parade but also send a delegation to Boston to participate in their attempts to gain access to the Boston parade. Jack agreed to resurrect our 14 foot banner. We’ll discuss particulars at our October meeting, but we should decide who’s going to which parade. Members are encouraged to contact Jack with their decision.

Dan Ellis suggested that we continue our tradition of donating $50.00 to Curtis memorial Library in Brunswick for the use of their conference room for our meeting. Jack seconded.

Tim Blanchette told us of Nora and her father (from the No More Victims Campaign). Nora’s father wants to speak with us if he can. Perhaps the next time we meet in the Portland area we can arrange a meeting with him prior to our business meeting.

Peggy asked about Art Whitman. Susan saw his daughter at the Common Ground Fair and remarked that he’s doing fine.

Michael mentioned that the No Bases Campaign is still organizing a national conference in Washington, DC in February, 2009 at American University. He also remarked on how successful Dud’s presentation was at the national. Dud, Michael, and Bruce are major organizers for the upcoming conference and would like our chapter’s participation as much as possible.

The meeting closed at 9:05 pm.