National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Coordinating Committee Meeting Minutes

Milwaukee, Wisconsin • Sunday, May 3, 2015


Present: Anne Barron (San Diego), Ruth Benn (NWTRCC Coordinator, Brooklyn), Rick Bickhart (Treasurer, Ridgway, CO), Carol Caffrey (Milwaukee), Jerry Chernow (Madison Area WTR), Cathy Deppe (AdComm, Los Angeles), Gary Erb (Rocky Mountain P & J Center, Boulder), Bill Glassmire (Corvallis), Jacob Glickman (Milwaukee), Ed Kale (LaPointe, WI), John Klotz (Des Moines), Colleen O'Conor (Milwaukee), Jack Payden-Travers (National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, DC), Bill Ramsey (CMTC-EA), Robert Randall (Brunswick, GA), Lincoln Rice (Milwaukee WTR, Casa Maria), Ari Rosenberg (AdComm, Phildelphia), Joffre Stewart (Chicago), Rachel Soltis (AdComm, Phoenix), Alex Walker (Los Angeles), Erica Weiland (Social Media Consultant, Seattle)

Virtual Attendess: Elizabeth Boardman (AdComm, Santa Rosa, CA), Dave Gross (San Luis Obispo, CA), Ed Hedemann (Brooklyn, NY), Peter Smith (Michiana WTR, South Bend, IN)

Ad Comm Nominees
We choose new Administrative Committee members at this meeting. While we solicit nominees months in advance, there is also an allowance in our process for volunteers at the meeting. Bill Glassmire and Rick Bickhart offer, and we will come back to this later in the meeting.

Decision-making Process
Ari Rosenberg facilitating, gave an overview of the meeting’s decision-making process. AdComm had a consensus process training by conference call with Joanne Sheehan, WRL New England. A flow chart from CT Butler’s work plus a list of tips that Joanne wrote up will be our guidelines. At this meeting we are testing using a thumb up for agreement with a proposal, thumb down for no (use sparingly), and thumb sideways to show standing aside, to be clearer about responses to proposals. If this works ok we will probably recommend it for future meetings. Decisions must be reached within the time frames on the agenda unless there is agreement to extend the time. If a decision has not been made the flow chart shows other options, such as bringing back to the next meeting. Erica will monitor the thumb situation of remote participants.

1. Consultant Reports (written)

Erica has just completed her 3rd tax year as a consultant with NWTRCC. Her report is written and there were no questions.
Ruth noted that last year was tough, but during the summer of 2014 things kind of settled down, and she expects to continue with NWTRCC
A question was asked about the costs of the Social Forum, which was $200 for 10 people to go to San Jose and Philadelphia. We have about 6 signed up now, 4 for San Jose and 2 for Philly. Let us know if you want to volunteer.

2. Consultant Review (written)

Reviews are done every other year, and we added Erica to the process since she has been paid for more than two years now. Rachel and Cathy solicited comments on a questionnaire by both email and mail, though it seems the return on the mailed questionnaires may have been better. A number of people commented that receiving in the mail would be better, so we will see that the reviews are done by mail next time.

Rachel and Cathy tallied the responses and had a hand out for each consultant.

• Most ratings were outstanding or competent at minimum
• The people solicited are on the Network List of counselors, affiliates, alternative funds (questions came up about how to be on the network list).
• Cathy points out the positive response for Ruth – especially that some said they like coming to meetings; newsletter is very popular – thanks for doing newsletter
• Cathy for Erica – many people don’t get into social media so they don’t know exactly what Erica is doing or how to rate her work.
• Maybe regular paid assistants in the office would be good for Ruth
• Bill G – thinks Consultant are doing a great job; more for AdComm and governance in general: we should all participate in more networking and more fundraising activity
• Lincoln – noted that if the questionnaire came in mail he might have responded but he didn’t have more to say or questions about the work so responding was not a high priority.
• Anne – great job. Loves the meetings. Gets good response from the office. No response does indicate everyone is pretty happy.

General hoorah for Erica and Ruth.

3. Proposals (written)

1) Advertising Campaign
Erica presented the proposal, adding that AdComm suggests that the list skews to older so we would try to find publications that skew younger; include websites; have a committee that helps to create the effort and review messaging.
Robert – Could we use ads that we’ve created in the past? Rick will help!
Bill R – is there a process in mind for evaluating the effectiveness of these ads? — Dave says that we could alter the addresses or contact info that will show where it came from. Lincoln suggests watching for any increase on Facebook, links to website, calls to office, etc. Peter says when people contact NWTRCC we should also ask them how they heard about us.
Joffre asked about the budget. $2,100 is rounded up from the cheapest option for each publication in the proposal. Jack notes that we need to look into the numbers of how many people are reached by various publications (print or online).
Bill R – done ad work before and never had the sense of how effective it was; the more frequent the better seems to help. There’s also a judgement call in choosing the publications, evaluating which ones you want to support. Suggestion:  skip the well-heeled one if there’s a choice – consider the political question of making choices of who to support.
Alex asks about the cost of online ads. There’s one sample but more research is needed.
Are there volunteers for an ad committee? They will have to make some of these choices, within the budget.
Committee volunteers – Ann B, Cathy, Rick, Alex (others reading minutes can volunteer to Erica.)

Consensus on the $$ for the Ad Campaign with the thumbs up. Proposal Passes

2) Budget Adjustments (written)
Ruth walked people through what the budget will look like if we add the changes in this proposal, along with one added by the AdComm: adding $1,500 to the Temporary Help line, which is occasional office help for Ruth.
The new bottom line is $58,270 in and out by increasing the transfers from reserves, unless we raise the money to cover the changes.
Passed by consensus

3) Handbook updates
Some had read the proposed changes but many had not and there’s a lot of text, so each section changes were presented but Ruth suggested we make a final decision at the November meeting after edits are offered today or between now and November.
Robert expressed concern that the “Other Pail Positions” section implies permanence and should not, given our uncertain finances beyond craigslist grants. Ari points out that the last paragraph calls for annual review of the position. Ruth will look at this section and rewrite as needed.
Literature Section: needs an update to reflect the electronic age. This is a draft, although there were no serious questions and some felt is does a good job of covering the territory. Let Ruth know if you have any edits, and this will come back for final approval in November. Bill Glassmire says a diversity of opinion should be included in all materials.
Final decisions to be made in November.

One key thing is to revive a Literature Working Group.  Volunteers: Peter Smith, David Gross, Bill Ramsey, and Ruth will seek a few others for the sake of diversity.

Proposal Not Presented
Joffre Stewart had submitted a proposal “No Taxes for Deception,” that the Administrative Committee decided could not be presented “as is.”
Joffre wrote a reply, which he handed out at the meeting. He doesn’t know what else to say on the topic. Ad Comm member Jason Rawn made an offer to work with Joffre on the proposal and bring it back in November maybe. Joffre says he might work with Jason but not sure that he could say anything else or change anything.
Robert felt that the AdComm overstepped its authority by deciding that there is a proposal he could not look at.
Ari said AdComm talked about posting a proposal format and suggesting criteria such as “proposals must be in line with mission of organization.”
Ruth’s comment on putting thing on the website that anyone in the world could see; hearing comments from people in our network who are very uncomfortable with Joffre’s flyers
Elizabeth  (virtual connection) noted that proposals that reflect the mission of the organization cannot be anti-semetic, which is how certain parts of the proposal or its presentation can be interpreted. [Joffre’s reply is in regards to the accusation of anti-Semitism.]
Erica said that the symbology is uncomfortable and creates problems, though she agrees with much of what Joffre writes about.
Alex – we are an org with an important mission; I am not worried about censorship; we are a national org with an important mission and don’t need to be associated with far out ideas; he does feel that the lit is anti semitic. Nazi symbols inside the star of david is offensive [Joffre objects that he does not do that]
At this point the topic was put to rest with a note about the possibility of Jason working with Joffre on the proposal for November. Anyone who wants copies of the proposal (which Joffre handed out at Earlham) or Joffre’s reply, please contact Ruth and she will mail it out.

Break. Cathy and Rachel take over facilitation

4. Finances & Fundraising Reports (written)

A few comments/questions:
Bill G – fundraising committee needs help and ideas
Rick – fund appeal trends chart shows low return on the May appeal. Maybe we should drop that appeal? Watch the next one and evaluate in coming months.
We need a stronger appeal to non-WTRs to contribute to NWTRCC
General comment that we could not support the current budget and 2 paid people without the craigslist grant. Question about our goal in fundraising? Response that the grant line shows a goal. The more we raise the slower we use up the craigslist grant money in reserves. Bill R suggests that we budget the money in reserves over a 10-year period or whatever to manage it over time. Bill G responds part of the idea is to ramp up work now that might increase our fundraising efforts.
Ongoing question of online fundraising and how to increase that.
Affiliate fees – yes groups pay but they are getting smaller and don’t have $$ and income is going down but most have been giving us something.

No volunteers for fundraising committee – people reading this please consider and contact the office if you could help. Meetings are by conference call.

5. Objectives (written)

This is an overview of particular items, plus any questions on other items:

6e - Coordinated actions 2016 – Bill R presented the idea from a Saturday workshop to build toward tax day by holding press conferences locally on MLK’s birthday, Friday, January 15. To announce and ramp up our “counseling service” and announce resistance for redirection, building to tax day, April 15, and local public announcements on redirections.
If affiliates begin to implement we could use a good model from one group to show how it would work. Present some tax day best practices, but this is not a concentrated action for tax day except for more public redirections.
A large part of conversation was connecting with groups in our communities that connect with the other issues that are going on; launch not our own action but as part of the actions that are going on.
Carol asks about style of our counseling; more people don’t have long distance costs so pushing the 800 number doesn’t matter. Jerry notes that he tries to meeting face-to-face with new people; important to meet in person if possible. Jason Rawn’s comments to CC – networking opportunities; global marshall plan, might fit in with this.

Committee of Volunteers to develop this proposal to send out to the network. It could also be built toward larger actions in 2017. Bill G, Carol, Anne B, Ed K, Ruth, ask Jason – Anne will coordinate.

1 - Social Forum – We plan to be present in San Jose and Philadelphia with at least lit tables and hopefully workshops. Erica note the deadline was put off to May 23 with other changes as far as now not needing a second group to co-sponsor workshops. Cathy, Alex, Anne, Erica will be in San Jose. Paula says she may be out there about that time if she is doing interviews. Ruth and Ari will cover at least some of Philly and will look for others planning to be there. Joffre asked about Jackson, MS, but it seems that venue has not worked out. There may be something in Houston. Clare and Coleman were interested in Jackson but haven’t heard if they are planning to go elsewhere.

7c - Website work. It is being updated to mobile-friendly. Alex volunteers to draft a page on militarization of police. Ruth showed the latest draft.

10b - Penalty Fund
– Has been successful thus far in collecting $$ and giving to those who had applied. Robert says joining the fund should be a part of redirecting taxes in any coordinated counseling plan. Main need is to find people who need help; please let us know about anyone who needs money.

10a - Support cards – passing them around to get signed. Not many this time.

6. Ad Comm Members (written)

Elizabeth Boardman and Ari Rosenberg (PA) are completing their terms this weekend. Only Coleman Smith (NC) responded positively to nomination and filled out the form. Others were asked but refused including Mary Loehr, Erica’s friend Anthony, Shannon at Gandhi Institute, and a couple others escaping memory at the moment.
Current members are Jason Rawn (Maine, final year), Rachel (AZ) and Cathy (CA) move to full members for 2 years. We need 1 full member for vacated seat and 2 alternates.
AdComm asked Ari to stay on another year and she said yes.
Bill Glassmire (OR)  and Rick Bickhart (CO) volunteered to be considered.
Some did not know Coleman but he has attended meetings before and helped host the Asheville meeting a couple years ago; he sounds busy, maybe overcommitted, can be difficult to work with, "he's energetic." Robert points out that Rick as Treasurer would be a conflict according to our Handbook which says the AdComm supervises the Treasurer. Rick withdraws. We have not met diversity goals well, except mainly by geography and we do have a mix of ages.

Final Proposal – Ari stay on full member 1 more year; Bill G and Coleman as Alternates
Consensus reached with no blocks 3 stand asides

7. Next meeting location

We do not have anything set for November at this point and no offers. We will work on: Northwest – Seattle & Eugene; New Orleans – Mary Loehr is working on it; Las Vegas – cheaper to fly there; CW is a good host; Sometime we could meet at the Voluntown Peace Trust in Connecticut; we could get some discount on the standard fees probably.

The map of recent meeting locations can be viewed by clicking here.

8. Evaluation

Paula – thanks to Lincoln and everyone at CW for all the help and wonderful hosting; great to have online option

Jack – great food, great people

Erica – good to try out virtual meeting; today went well. Room for improvement; great to have people who couldn’t come be online. Will keep working on it

Robert – great to stay together; tour at archive was nice; sorry we didn’t do an action Encourage people to get online and get the materials in advance to make the meeting go smoother. Thanks to facilitators. Glad to be back again.

Ed K – great to be here again. Hadn’t met one of the candidates so hard to be part of a decision

Ari – enjoyed the fundraiser Friday night; was nice to see so many people in this community interested in a peace movement and seeing stuff happening here. Good to have the online option.

Rachel – thanks for hospitality everyone offered me. Her first national gathering. Everyone has been patient and loving and gathering. On a personal level inspiring and encouraging and to meet the beautiful spirits and hearts.

Cathy – at our last meeting I said we should have more music so happy that we did that. This community is wonderful to be part of. Hospitality was amazing.

Lincoln – good experience for me and thanks to Paula, Jerry, Colleen & Don as the team who worked on this gathering. Thanks to all for the help. Social media stuff is great. Bring to future meetings. Thanks to Ruth.

Anne – social media was amazing. Appreciated having that facility at this meeting. Meeting local activists and Casa Maria story. Gives hope. 3rd meeting but still puzzled by how NWTRCC works. Needs a workshop the day before about how NWTRCC works.

Alex – 3rd gathering. Enjoys very much. Enjoys fellowship of like minded people, not shy about expressing thoughts. So against violence & hatred and war and so against intolerance and hate. Apologize for speaking plainly. Feel we should not repeat mistakes we made in the 60s of making weird ideas equal to other ideas. Cathy & I are going to Japan in July for international conference on nuke weapons for 70th anniversary and carry blessings & wishes and values with us.

Colleen – had a good meeting. Appreciate the welcoming and sitting in on WTR 101 was really helpful. Really learned the basics.

Joffre – appreciated Robert’s remark about censorship. Appreciated Afghan Peace Volunteers presentation. We didn’t discuss Jason’s comments. Like the food. Noticed contrast at archive with Ammon Hennacy being all out against war and Black Elk’s daughter and son in army uniforms. Expected more community people at the Saturday night panel at St. Michael’s.

Rick – thanks much for hosting. Lots of the same comments as others.

Jerry – enjoyed being back in Milwaukee & back at Casa. Likes meeting in neighborhood setting. Some of meeting space was difficult – tripping over each other. Food prep needs improvement – could have been better if we had given it more time and thought

Bill R – hospitality and neighborhood great. Assigned to do the 101 and was very appreciative that 5 people new to WTR showed up and shared reservations and questions. Helpful and enjoyed doing it with them. Need consideration of having adequate space for larger sessions. This space was a small with people behind us etc. Need larger space.

From online – David G – Thanks for making virtual connection available; would have liked to listen in on advanced WTR and a couple other session. Ed agrees. Peter says same. Ruth says to communicate about privacy issues related to the WTR workshops as we felt unsure about making them available online – would people be less open with their questions and comments? Something to consider and would like feedback on that.

The End.

Thanks so much to Lincoln, Don, Roberta, Colleen and everyone else in at the Casa Maria Community in Milwaukee for hosting! And to Paula and Jerry for their work on the planning committee


Click here for minutes from November meeting

Click here for Milwaukee photos and blog report.

For more information please contact NWTRCC at nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org or (800) 269‒7464.