VFP meeting, Sept. 26th,2019, Portland

Meeting opened at 7PM by President Doug Rawlings

Attendees: Bob Lezer, Sally Chappell, Jonathan Chappell, Bud Buzzell and Josie, Peggy Akers, Doug Rawlings, David Larsen, Richard Clement, Robin Spencer, Martha Morrison, Peter Morgan, Don Kimball, Bill Laidley, Dave Crowley, Dan Ellis, Peter Woodruff, Rita Clement, John Morris.

Inspirational messages by Doug and Robin.

Minutes of August meeting accepted as read.

Bank balance as of 9/26/2019 is $2,237.60

Membership: 99 total, 54 paid-up members

USM Vet Center food bank: they accept non-perishable food items. Don K. will ask if they will also accept dollar donations.

The meeting agenda included a letter from Tarak Kauff to the VFP National Board in which he agreed to participate in a mediated conference call to resolve the issues between him and certain members of the Board and in which he also resigned as the editor of the National newspaper Peace in Our Times. He also indicated that he would no longer have any involvement with VFP National but would continue his relationship with chapters in New York and Maine. We welcome his decision to remain an ally of VFP Chapter 001. The trial for Tarak and Ken Mayer on charges resulting from their attempt to board a US military plane at Shannon Airport (to verify the presence of war materiel in violation of Irish neutrality) has been moved to Dublin and they are currently attempting to have their passports returned to them in order that they may return to the US until the trial is held, which may be a considerable period of time. Don Kimball has written to former Senator George Mitchell concerning the case but the senator has declined to be involved.

Peggy reported that Clarence Smith (Smitty to us) is recovering well from his recent hospitalization and sends thanks for all the cards he has received.

Our booth at this year’s Common Ground Fair was well received by fairgoers and resulted in donations of almost $700. The cost of the booth was $145 and $35 is due Rob Shetterly for his share of donations for his Americans Who Tell the Truth cards.The button machine was, as always, a big hit and all members who staffed the booth reported having meaningful interactions with visitors. The sign on the Tom Sturdevant tree was found broken and the chapter will pay for materials for a new one. In addition to helping at the booth, Doug was a featured speaker at the poetry tent on Saturday.

Peter Morgan reported on the following Moms Demand Action items of interest: 

October has been designated No Domestic Violence Month

Peter will represent VFP at a symposium at the Holocaust Center in Augusta on Oct. 10th.

None of the domestic violence bills supported by MDA were passed by the Maine Legislature in the current session.

A protest against war and militarism will be held at Bath Iron Works on Saturday,Oct. 5th. Civil disobedience may (or may not) take place as part of the protest.

Richard reported on developments at Maine Share. It experienced a large deficit in 2018 and has projected a similar one for 2019 and as a result is assessing  each member group a fee of 25%-30% of its 2019 distribution amount in order to reduce the debt and maintain ongoing fiscal health. Three options for payment were offered and a motion was made,seconded and passed to have our fee deducted from the second distribution in December. For us this would be an amount of $1200-$1500 but tolerable since Maine Share is our largest single source of revenue.

Doug brought up the idea of a Chapter Legal Fund which could be used for payment of members’ legal fees and bail money as a result of civil disobedience actions. Discussion was held and Doug agreed to come up with a plan to be considered by the membership.

Don Kimball reported on several things he has been involved with:

Dan Ellis was the guest on one of his recent WMPG radio shows (the interview can be heard by accessing the archives on the WMPG web site).Don’s show “Friendly Fire: A Voice For Veterans” can be heard every Wednesday from 1:00-1:30 PM (90.9 on your radio dial)

The WMPG Begathon ( fundraiser ) is currently underway and donations are always appreciated.

Took part in another anti-drone protest at Creech AFB in Nevada

Will be going to California for an “animal planet” event (parrots and vets)

Writing to Reality Winner (imprisoned by the federal government for releasing unauthorized material). Peter Morgan reported that his letter to Reality was returned to him with no reason given.

Peggy reported that Morgana Warner-Evans will be meeting with local high school officials regarding opt-in or opt out possibilities in connection with the release of student information to military authorities which could then be used for recruitment purposes.

Dave Crowley reported that no action has been taken on the Brunswick War Memorial under the auspices of the American Legion.Doug will send them a letter of support for the project.

Dan Ellis reported on the following:

He requests the email address of all members so that they will receive information that is published on the listserv.

He indicated that he will continue as the Chapter Treasurer but not as Membership Chairman or manager of the listserv or the website. Don and Doug volunteered to take over Membership duties and the website will be outsourced as soon as a new manager can be found.

Sally and Jonathan Chappell reported that they passed out BIW conversion flyers at a recent “Climate Friday” event in Bridgton.

Meeting adjourned at 8:54 PM. Next meeting Oct. 31 in Brunswick.