National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee Meeting Minutes
Sunday, November 8, 2009 • Nehemiah Mission, Cleveland, OH

Present: Pam Allee, Oregon Community for WTRs, Portland; Beatrice Beguin, Tupper Lake, NY; Ruth Benn, NWTRCC Coordinator; Rick Bickhart, WRL Rep, Charlottesville, VA; Mike Butler, Albuquerque, NM; David Gross, Northern CA WTR, San Francisco; Rey and Glendarae Hernanadez, Michiana War Tax Refusers, South Bend, IN; Daniel Jenkins, Tupper Lake, NY;  Mary Loehr, Ithaca War Tax Resisters, NY; Juanita Nelson, Pioneer Valley WTR, Deerfield, MA;  Rod Nippert, OH; Bill Ramsey, St. Louis Covenant Communitiy of WTRs; Robert Randall, Brunswick, GA; Garland Robertson, Conscientious Objectors to Military Taxation, Austin, TX; Ginny Schneider, NH; Peter Smith, Michiana War Tax Refusers, South Bend, IN; Joffre Stewart, Chicago, IL; Jim Stockwell, Fools of Conscience, Micaville, NC; David Waters, Birmingham War Tax Objectors, AL; Erica Weiland, Seattle; Daniel Woodham, Franklinville, NC

I. Clerk Proposal

Reviving Fundraising Clerk Position and nominating Ginny Schneider to fill it

Ginny is concerned about the fact that she might not want to travel to meetings twice a year and is a little worried about the time involved in the job description for the Fundraising Clerk (2-3 hours per week).

Group sense was that it's important to have Fundraising Committee member presence at the meetings. Suggestion: We could adjust the clerk job description so that is creates the position without all the detail but assures a presence from that committee at each meeting. Suggestion: We have working groups, so let's call it a fundraising working group and not renew the Clerk position; budget to make sure some rep of the Fundraising Working Group gets to each meeting.

Consensus – Budget for and provide funding as necessary to get a member of Fundraising Working Group to each meeting. Ginny will continue to coordinate the group as she has.

Boycott Clerk – The one Clerk position that has been active in recent years. Bill Ramsey suggested that since the Boycott is not projected to be a big campaign in the coming years it is time to retire the Boycott Clerk position that he has been filling. His travel has been paid to meetings. Ending this position means the travel funds ($600/year) can be used for the Fundraising Working Group (above).

Consensus - Eliminate the position of War Tax Boycott Clerk.

THANKS BILL FOR ALL YOUR WORK ON THE BOYCOTT AND FOR NWTRCC!

II. Endorsement

Should NWTRCC endorse the statement from the International Planning Group – for Nuclear Abolition, Peace and Justice that is part of the organizing for the events around the Nonproliferation Treaty conference at the United Nations in May and calls on Obama to keep his pledge and phase out nuclear weapons within 5 years.  

Joffre objects to language of “political acts” and to “treaties” because they are related to states. Mike feels it’s important to be part of this. His groups is going to NY. This is a call for getting rid of nuclear weapons within 5 years — or having them forever.

Consensus to endorsement. Joffre stands aside with the caveat that Ruth will send Joffre's objections to the committee that produced the statement when the endorsement is delivered.

III. Consultant report (written)

One question as to whether there had been any requests through the speakers bureau. Thus far no, but we need to promote it more also.

IV. Ad Comm Nominees

Process begins for nominations to be presented at the May Coordinating Committee meeting. Ruth will put a notice in the newsletter, send to network list, and set deadlines.

We'll need 3 – Mike Butler (NM) and Don Kaufman (KS) are finishing their terms in May, and  Melissa Jameson (NY) is dropping off

Clare Hanrahan (NC) moves up to full member

David Gross (CA) and Erica Weiland (WA) are full members for another year.

Send nominations (with contact info) to Ruth and a letter will go to each with all the information and asking them if they will accept the nomination.

V. Finance Report (written)

Question re: boycott income - how does it come in?  - When someone sends in a Boycott form with a contribution, the money gets counted as Boycott income. We had one large donation of $500 last year, so that line bumped up.

Obviously money is tight. The crunch kind of snuck up in the late summer. Ruth is behind on pay. The November fund appeal should bring up the general and large donation lines before the fiscal year ends on November 30. We can hope to be not so in the red by then.

VI. Objectives (final list )

Generally AdComm is proposing no big additions this year and making Fundraising a priority. Boycott and other work are more at maintenance level and some dangling tasks could be cleared up.

Digital – what does promote Paypal mean? - Not to promote Paypal but to get donations. We use Paypal on the internet for online donations, along with Resist.

Sell scarves and other things on our website.

Changes: Under Meetings c) – change word “consider” to “offer” for skills training as part of at least one meeting each year. Agreed. Collect a list of skills that could be presented; call on local organizing group to find a presenter as needed. Some might be effective tabling outreach; media; personal outreach & speaking to other groups; facilitation.

Consensus on Objectives as adjusted (final list)

VII. New Budget (written)

AdComm went over the original proposed budget and made cuts in income and expenses before the Sunday meeting. The desire is to make a more realistic income budget, based more closely on what we have been bringing in the last few years. Cuts in expenses were also based on the current year figures and then a 10% cut was made on some lines, including postage, telephone, copies, office supplies. Aside for tightening up, we also need to get ahead so that we can build up our reserves again.

Questions re: going green - fewer mailing by mail. We do maintain an e-list for people who ask, but it's hard to fundraise from that list. People tend to be more responsive to fund appeals by mail, so it's hard to say what to do. Many people do get the newsletter announcement by email and can read it online.

Is cut in postage accurate – try to do lit orders earlier to save on postage, but cheaper mailing is unpredictable as to arrival time. Ruth asks that those who get the newsletter in bulk be sure to use them or ask to be dropped from that list. Those are expensive to send as they must go first class.

Proposal - that we cut the international travel in the current fiscal year and next ($500 each year). That means we send rep(s) who can go without funds from NWTRCC. Given the financial crunch the group agrees to this, but wants to be clear this is a one-time only decision effecting the Norway 2010 conference. The CC doesn't want to make this a permanent cut – meaning that only those who can afford it can go.

Cutting money for boycott campaign? – For 2010 we will be printing less but not dropping the campaign.

Consensus on budget (final budget)

VIII. Fundraising

Ginny reported on meeting – Matching funds from one donor are available in Asheville for other Asheville folks who give. Each affiliate find a matcher like this. Rick is going to see if WRL can increase their dues. Erica agreed to write some grants if we can think of appropriate groups to apply to. Maybe go after some well known artists to support WTR. Ginny will continue to make major donor calls; Jim and Rick also volunteered. We need to create a list of potential religious funders, and also maybe some performers and artists who have been sympathetic to WTR in the past. Mike Butler and Erica Weiland joined the Fundraising Committee. After the meeting, Ginny had an idea about getting a volunteer to work with individual WTRs and affiliates to encourage people to table on WTR locally.  This could help with scarf sales and improved outreach to new potential donors. The next meeting will be December 7 at 4:30 pm EST.  

Other ideas – BUY AND SELL SCARVES! We could sell the blank (un-embroidered scarves now in storage) at a reduced price if we sell out the embroidered ones. Get as many as we can to SOAW

THANKS TO THE FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE FOR THEIR WORK!

IX. SE Regional Gathering          

Robert reported on the Alternative New Year events in Georgia (new Jacksonville, FL) each year. Clare and Coleman in Asheville are working on a war tax resisters gathering as an additional day to this event. Jim S, David W, Robert R and others are part of the extended committee. The Alternative New Year includes an action at the King's Bay sub base, Dec. 31 - Jan 2; the WTR gathering will start Sat night Jan 2 thru Sunday Jan. 3. The last SE gathering was back in late 80s!

Thanks to Pioneer Valley WTR for the grant that helps to fund this.

X. Next Meeting

Usually 1st weekend of May = would be weekend of May 6-8 (which includes Mother's Day so we'll see if that becomes a conflict for local organizers).

There was a proposal to meet in NYC over the NPT/anti-nuke weekend. Some favored this for the outreach possibilities, but others felt it would be hard to hold our meetings, and there is concern about the crunch for space if a lot of folks are coming into the city. They will all be looking for the same places we would for accommodations, etc. In the end there are some strong objections to meeting in NYC and trying to do both a meeting and outreach. Seems that WTR will have a presence in NYC and those who will be there should promote WTR during course of the weekend.

Therefore, we will look for somewhere in the Southwest. Los Angeles said no already. Mike says Albuquerque could maybe host; will talk with Ruth within 2 weeks. Garland thinks Austin is possible and will also be in touch with Ruth. Ruth will ask about the Peace Farm in TX and other possibilities also.

Larry Dansinger has suggested that NWTRCC meet with the New England gathering in Boston in November 2010. Interest in this also.

Consensus - If it works to have it in Albuquerque we have it there or Austin. AdComm make the final decision.

XI. Evaluations

Great facility, good to be together, great to see everyone, food was fine, prefers staying in one place like this than here and there, prefers less program on other topics, great weather, seeing Cleveland, good presentations, excellent poetry session on Friday night – Joffre knew poet laureate of Cuyahoga County, change of pace with program Friday night – using the poetry and not a local reports go around, the tone the hosts brought to the meeting was good, less interaction with local group than if we do stay in people’s homes – more sharing that way, appreciated level of participation by local folks, glad to be here and see old friends and meet new, grateful to have come – wonderful support – nothing like face time, privilege to be here and for energy and passion, shower water temp quick change was a surprise, session on PTF was very useful, enjoyed opportunity to come and make contribution to spirit of the meeting with music, thanks for captive audience – draws energy from you expressed in the songs, always good to come to these meetings and meet radical / revolutionary people – like refusing taxes, 2 process things – decisions were well prepared for us – especially budget and international rep item – Admin on Friday with recommendations to CC is wise, enjoyed Mike from Vets for Peace here – not to talk about their issues but how they are seeing the peace movement and how we might collaborate with them in other ways; we could invite one of our non-active national affiliates to come and talk about how we can work in sync more; or another group we’d like to see as an affiliate and have time on agenda to talk about their work. It didn’t work to try to make a meeting for them to come to, but to bring them one by one to our meetings to talk about their agenda and ours is good.

Thanks to Maria Smith and Charlie Hurst for the Celeveland arrangements
and bringing in other local activists!

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