National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee Meeting Minutes
May 7, 2017 – St. Louis
Present: Ruth Benn, NWTRCC Coordinator (Brooklyn, NY), Sam Koplinka-Loehr, NWTRCC Field Organizer (Philadelphia, PA), Erica Weiland, NWTRCC Social Media Consultant (Seattle, WA), Susan Van Haitsma (Austin, TX), Kima Garrison, OR Community of WTRs (Portland), Cathy Deppe, So Cal WTR + AdComm (Los Angeles), Coleman Smith, New South Network of War Resisters + AdComm (Asheville, NC), Anne Baron, Peace Resource Center San Diego (CA), Jason Rawn (Maine), Robert Randall (Brunswick, GA), Peter Smith, Michiana War Tax Refusers (South Bend, IN), Bill Glassmire, AdComm (Corvallis, OR), Jim Stockwell, Fools of Conscience (Burnsville, NC), Clare Hanrahan, New South Network of War Resisters (Asheville, NC), Susan Miller, Heartland Peace Tax Fund (Hesston, KS), Chrissy Kirchhoefer, AdComm (St. Louis, MO), Sarah Weber (Topeka, KS)
Online – Bre Reiber, Fundraising Committee (Charlotte, NC), Ginny Schneider, Maine WTR Resource Center (Portland, ME), Rick Bickhart, co-Treasurer (Ridgeway, CO), Rachel Soltis, AdComm (Phoenix, AZ)
Peter explains the meeting process. People not at CC meeting have had the opportunity to make input, especially via Loomio. AdComm included all those comments in their discussions.
1 – Consultant Reports
Ruth’s report (PDF) – No questions noted. Ruth told the group that she is thinking that May 2018 might be her last meeting so we should have discussions over the next few months and toward the November meeting as to whether there should be any changes in consultant configurations, realigning tasks or whatever. It is possible that Ruth would be interested in keeping a few discreet tasks but time is coming to pass it on. May 2018 is 15 years. Whew!
Sam’s report (PDF – 4 pgs Nov-May) – They noted that this report starts in Feb. as we had an AdComm call then and Sam didn’t realize this report should be 6 months. Between Nov. and Feb. Sam worked on the workshop in Philly that included co-sponsoring with 2 groups and is a good model, and following that led some house meetings with friends who invited them to talk to a group about WTR; reaching out to congregations with fund appeals and got $600 from a fellowship in Ithaca so far – please tell Sam if your church or religious group gives donations and they’ll follow up; spoke at the People’s Tribunal on Iraq War and made some connections that helped shape the redirection.
Questions for Sam: house meetings is a great idea, especially to grow from a workshop by asking people at workshop to invite a presenter to their home to meet with their friends and contacts.
Clare asked about outreach to other regions: Sam has talked to most on the contacts/counselors list. Open question as to getting invites. Was working on the middle west and going to Chicago and South Bend after this meeting but other places could not get anything together. Some say don’t bother coming. Sees these two parts of the job: outreaching to younger people, like in Philly and supporting older WTRs in general.
How do you see the year going and planning things out? Come to NE Gathering and come up to Maine and we’ll make something happen. Lots of folks say “yes we’re interested” – but locally you do need to do some work on it. Will be talking with many of you and others to arrange plans ahead of time for summer and fall. Coleman has offered to host.
Erica’s report (PDF) – She took questions:
Advertising in Nat’l Catholic Reporter, how was that chosen? – had done some online ads with NCR and other pubs and NCRs returns were the best. There is an Advertising Committee who got the plan and no one objected. Has spent about $300 in Twitter and FB.
Anne – struggling with Social Media in SD. Is there time for a training? Yes! Ginny has asked also. Will do a social media webinar. Sam & Erica will get that set up in the near future.
Is Twitter better than FB? At first Twitter was better but now FB has picked up. Our content lends better to FB. Twitter and FB have different ways of sending posts to people who are signed on. FB uses algorithms and some people get left out. When you pay for ads on Twitter and FB do they show how the ad pays off, how it’s done because the Penalty Fund ran an ad with the Mennonites but can’t tell how it produces? With online ads, you do get update of stats, how many saw it, how many clicked, shared, etc. Hard to tell what it means – what they really do. How many become WTRs? We don’t know.
Ginny – asked about boosting on FB? Yes Erica does that with money spent to reach out further. Also, the more friends the more outreach on FB. Look for “Erica Leigh” on FB – she has a war tax resister profile picture — and friend her. She does share other links.
2 – Consultant Reviews
Cathy presented the Biannual evaluation process. She and Rachel and Coleman shared this task. They sent out questionnaire and then compiled results and tallies. There were more comments for Ruth because people know her better. Less for Erica because they don’t know exactly what she’s doing on Social Media. Sam got enthusiastic reviews but new so people want to see more. Only 13 people replied so it is limited, and many of those didn’t respond to all the categories.
Anne did find it hard to evaluate if she didn’t know something so she skipped those categories and didn’t always like using the number scale system.
Bill G – A data summary of how social media is performing would be helpful
We talked a little about the process and how to get more response, or to consider a different process in the future if people think something else would get more response.
Sam noted that theirs could go to people that they have worked with even if not on our network list – like where they travel or presents workshops. Might be good to do workshop evaluations.
Susan Van H – appreciates the positive nature of the communication that we get. Thanks to all 3 for that.
Everyone said thanks to the consultants. Pleased with their work.
3 – AdComm Nominees
Ruth noted that about 5 or 6 other people were nominated but declined, mostly due to being too busy. We came to this meeting with 2 nominees for 3 seats: Justin Becker, who has been working with Ruth in the office and filled out the questionnaire; and Anne Baron was also nominated and was at the meeting. Justin was very excited to be nominated; he’s in NYC and finishing college next January so he could be elsewhere in the coming years. Anne was very busy with tax day and then went to Creech; she’s interested in putting time into WeCopWatch in San Diego but feels she can do this starting as an Alternate.
Looking for another person for the 3rd seat; Cathy Deppe volunteered to stay on for another 2-year term.
Consensus: Justin Becker (NYC) and Anne Barron (San Diego) as alternates. Cathy Deppe (Los Angeles) for the full seat (which was left vacant when we hired Sam).
Other AdComm members: Bill Glassmire (OR) and Coleman Smith (NC) – one more year
Chrissy Kirchhoefer (St. Louis) and Cathy will have 2 more years.
We’ll be looking for 2 alternates again next year so think ahead about nominations!
4 – Finances and Fundraising (written)
Ruth explains the sheet and that we got craigslist money so she made an adjustment on the grant line to shift things around but the bottom line stayed the same. There is a Fundraising Committee (Erica, Ruth, Bre, Rick, Bill G, Jim S, Sam when he can, sometimes Jason) – volunteers welcome.
In Kind – like that it was added and are the expenses down in printing? Yes, the balancing expense amount is on the printing line since this is just about Lakeside Press at this point.
How does craigslist work? Do we know if it’s coming? They just decide and send a check but they don’t tell you. Can’t count on it, though Ruth may write them this fall to ask. Ginny says great job and it shows that consultants are doing good work.
Ruth on FR – Café press is set up to sell stuff; Bre is helping to market. Won’t be a big fundraiser – more for outreach. We’ll see if it catches on.
Why resist would not fund us – has to do with organization led by people who are affected by the issues – like budget cuts etc. Needing to diversify our leadership if we want to try for grants from them and probably a number of other “peace movement funders”.
5 – Proposals
(1) – Maine request for $750 (written)
AdComm says yes.
Jason – it’s a small amount of money for a lot of work that’s getting done approve and then go on to Proposal 2
Ginny asked about the “cease to operate” and anticipation for next year. She continues fundraising and is working to build more sources.
Clare agrees with Jason and we need to support people who are doing great work on the ground.
Consensus on Proposal 1, funding for Maine WTR Resource Center
Online: Rick stand aside, Bre and Rachel support
Ginny says Thank you for the support
(2) – Affiliate Support Fund (written)
AdComm noted the confusion of paragraph 1 about the $2,000 and will reword to clarify that we would accept proposals up to $2,000 if we have it. We will allocate the total amount at our November meeting. It all depends on the budget and could be $10,000 one year and $500 the next. The wording in the proposal was not clear on this point.
Generally felt to prioritize local/regional over national.
Ginny offered some ideas: give to WTR groups that are forming and would eventually affiliate with NWTRCC. Add language that favors seed funding.
Robert – likes the proposal. It meets the concerns there were express about policy. Thinks we should leave it broad so we don’t tie our hands.
Amendment: Strike “generally funds will not be awarded in consecutive years” because it is unnecessarily restrictive. We’re smart people and can figure out what to do with our money. Don’t add all the other specifications. Go with case by case basis.
CONSENSUS on the amendment
Rick – NWTRCC has not been a funding organization and should not become one. Getting craigslist now but the only reason we can consider this question and we can’t count on that money.
Robert – asking clarifying question – is it an affiliate proposal or not
Peter – add “per affiliate”
Susan Miller notes to Rick that she feels there are many safety things about the budget and not funding if we don’t have the $$ etc.
Rick – not support, not block; Bre has to step out
Consensus on Proposal 2 as amended.
(3) Related to Consultants (written – 3 parts)
(A) – Extend Field Organizer job to end of 2017
Ad Comm – yes to end of 2017
Consensus to end of 2017 – YES, including online people
Rick says better use of our money than Prop 2
(B) – Raise the rate for Field Organizer position
AdComm talked about all aspects of this in and out and up and down and ends up recommending to make the raise halfway to equal with Ruth and Erica, which is about $17 per hour with the intent is to equalize at end of year if we continue the position.
Anne – fight for 15!
Why did AdComm go interim?
Jim – always in favor of equal pay for equal work but in our network sometimes it does have to do with individuals and how they do their WTR and whether they want that level of pay or not.
Sam – taxable income is not a concern but they do think about the longevity of the organization and thinking that that’s an important concern. The jump from $14 to $20 seemed like a big jump for our budget but does want to respect the goal of keeping the position.
Cathy – there are other ways to stay below taxable level than pay decrease. Can work fewer hours.
Susan Miller – NYC and Seattle are expensive places to live. We should look at individual cost of living. Is Sam paid for expenses? Guesses that hours go up and down with travel and such? Sam response to Susan – yes paid for expense and hours are flexible
Consensus – YES, including online
(C) – COLA
AdComm sort of recommends (there was some concern that we might not be able to do this every year). If proposal passes Ruth would put this in the budget automatically based on the government calculation of the annual COLA.
Cathy says COLA is standard procedure for any reputable organization. It just means your keeping that employee at the level they were before. It’s not a raise, but it’s not a pay cut. If you don’t give a COLA you are cutting someone’s pay.
Robert – appreciates Cathy’s intent and the motivation behind it. It is important to keep up with the realities of life. Current policy is that we review the compensation every year and take into account the needs of our current consultants. Doesn’t agree with COLA set by the government and COLA’s vary from place to place. There are always budget considerations. Doesn’t want to bind our hands and tell future Coordinating Committees what they have to do.
Erica – as someone who has had to sit through AdComm and we discuss every year and not a good use of our time. There are other ways to adjust the budget respecting the desire for a COLA. Can reduce hours as needed. Budgets always have to be done in some way so we acknowledge that we have to adjust the budget in any way.
Ginny – Disagrees with Robert and says that consultants haven’t gotten raise in some time [note that this is not really true; we got raises for 2016]
Robert – clarifying. Asking about is it 3% but to use COLA determined by Feds every year.
Rick – is there another resource for those stats?
Ruth/Bill R – we will look for other options and don’t have to settle on the fed number. Will ask around before doing next budget. Default is government set but we’ll look around.
Ginny agrees with Bill’s suggestion; Rachel wants more in proposal about COLA assumed unless there are budget problems.
Rachel suggested amendment – add language that COLA is assumed unless there are budget constraints in which case the AdComm will bring to Coordinating Committee for discussion.
Cathy doesn’t think we need the amendment.
Robert will stand aside if the amendment is put in and will block proposal if the amendment is not put in.
Sam – hears what Robert says and thinks that Robert is being too particular but this amendment is pretty much what we do anyway. Flips the norm – some feel it puts COLA on the line in particular but really everything is on the line.
Bill R – process note. Consensus means “it’s the best thing we can do at this moment” so Robert’s standing aside with amended proposal is an example of “the best decision we can make at this point.”
Jim – speaking of consensus, seeing stand asides if people are confused one thing, but if enough concerns then we should table the proposal til further notice.
Rachel – trying to clarify that her amendment was knowing that we talk about all budget priorities not just COLA.
Ginny opposes tabling.
Coleman – supports this and if we don’t have the money we won’t and that’s the way it goes. Supports proposal with amendment.
Cathy will stand aside. There are other places in the budget.
Amendment: The COLA reflects the values of NWTRCC which would be assumed unless there are budget constraints in which case the AdComm brings to the CC for discussing budget priorities.
Amendment: Approved by consensus with 2 or 3 stand asides
Consensus on COLA Proposal as amended with 1 stand aside.
6 – Objectives Review (written)
Many objectives have come up already.
Comic – Erica – approved a year ago; storyboard in November; more comments; but not much energy to move it forward; Rick, David are on committee; found an illustrator; she’s feeling less motivated and not feeling much from committee; should Erica spend time on this – she is not feeling inspired. We’ll see if others jump in to keep it going or not. Erica is not expected to carry it.
Thoreau – Hopefully Dave G will write an article for newsletter. Ruth report on effort to find graphic as approved at last gathering. Hope to have for June/July newsletter. Passed around a graphic by Mary Lynn Sheetz – get comments to Ruth, who also has asked Raul at WRL to submit something.
Creating a Nonviolent World through WTR brochure has been updated by Carol Moore.
7 – Next Gatherings
Yes, Amherst, MA, November 3-5, 2017 – Sam on committee with NE WTR and others
Suggestions for May 2018 – Cathy Deppe is considering offering Los Angeles (the most certain option at this point). Other ideas: Albuquerque, Tucson, Northwest
Ginny – invites us to Maine for fall 2018 but no decision on that
New Orleans is on the list always; Coleman has some SOA contacts there to ask
8 – Endorsements
5 ideas that came outside our group (sign on statement, resist with 1040, online petition, W-4 outreach, Tax Strike 100), and small group discussion Saturday afternoon brought up a few more ideas. Not really looking for specific endorsement but a stronger sense of what to do with these various ideas. In AdComm and the small group Saturday afternoon, the sign-on statements/letters didn’t seem to grab a lot of interest or feel like a major thing for NWTRCC to do. Support is fine.
W-4 seems great to some, and not so much to others because they have not found this a big issue for the people they talk to. NWTRCC will do some new materials on this and encourage locals to use them and hear what No Cal is doing with it, etc.
Online petition is an easy thing to do; Andrew a good person to cultivate.
Tax Strike 100 – mostly about trump’s taxes but Wiley Goodman (the main person behind that idea) seems to have some energy and knows about WTR. Worked with Ithaca folks on the redirection. NWTRCC wouldn’t endorse as it is now.
Do more about asking orgs to officially support WTRs & co-host more events/workshops.
Coleman had a presentation on how to make a banner by projecting an image and tracing.
Robert – agrees with AdComm. Agrees with David Gross’s comments on the sign on letters – 1040, petitions, not excited about the “get a million people to sign on”. Agrees that those individuals are people to cultivate. Put in not a lot of time and effort but “support.” We’ll help you with a link and such. Let them find out how it goes and they’ll be ready to do another thing. Wondered about Tax Strike 100 and who the person was; agrees that W-4 campaign is something we should put some energy into, especially for younger people, new workers. Specific, simple – it has been our forte all along in that the technical stuff is what we do well.
Erica – there’s a lot of potential for tax day 2018. Developing ideas for national campaign framing, ways to put our network to work in one way or another, grow our network for 2018 we have time to think about it. Would love to see multiple proposals in November. Actions at local level that we can build on nationally. Wants NWTRCC to be ready to support affiliates and realizing the potential.
Jason – some new interest in community escrow accounts/cty development funds appeals to them. Will draw on Bill Ramsey and others to look at how to start funds. Update our materials. More relevant and exciting materials. Develop a demo for this.
Erica – yes, was excited to hear this new interest and
Bill R – yes, Michael McPherson had an interest in this and Bill seconds that we should tap into this new energy.
9 – Evaluations
Food great, bed hard, talk awesome.
Anne – finds this meeting time hard (Sunday a.m., tired etc). Why not have CC on Friday night. WeCopWatch training was great and getting her motivated.
Jason – thanks to Chrissy who gets a mug. Made some new connections,
Robert – made some touchstones with other activists. Thanks to AdCom for all their work and stuff that we don’t see.
Peter – thanks for housing with Chrissy. Appreciates chance to go on parade. Build in active presence in the community.
Bill G – thanks thanks. All fine. Told this weekend that love is one of the most important parts of a group and thinks that NWTRCC gatherings are an example of that. Met 3 people he would not have met otherwise and hopes to stay in contact.
Jim S. – traveling is part of the process but glad to be here in St. Louis. WTR can be lonely endeavor even though the support locally is there but not at the level when I come here. Knowing NWTRCC is here and need all the support I can get. Really good to have WeCopWatch come in. Taking away renewed friendships and a long ride home. First tine coming without Daniel and misses him.
Clare – first tie in St. Lois and lovely places we were put up. Quaker meeting a superb location. Concurs with Peter about action option. Meetings get to be dull. Too much emphasis on sitting on our butts. Build in action at each meeting. Redirection ceremony could have been more formalized and wonderful to see where it went and additional folks who come in.
Susan Miller – big shout out to Chrissy thanks for work ahead and through weekend. Coordination is a lot. Enjoyed staying with the group. Take away – renewal of friendships and a bit more energy seeing yours.
Sarah – much already been said. Enjoyed seeing people she hadn’t seen in a while. WeCopWatch educational and redirection.
Bill R – Friday night was interesting to see someone peel away the edges and come to WTR from far away. To watch his process and learn from that. Thanks Chrissy. If you leave you don’t have much to call back on.
Ruth – great to have Matt here and VfP for flying Matt out. As a consultant remember that we blocked out time for the WeCopWatch training as our special thing and yes we usually do a demo or something but this time it was WeCopWatch. As a consultant we need your feedback and it is a press being in meetings but it is important to our work. You give us too much power if you don’t give us feedback.
Erica – great to have Matt Hoh here and that Michael McPherson was here and connecting. Taking away fond feelings for all of you. Looking forward to seeing what we can make of next year. Thanks all.
Sam – a hard few weeks for Sam so coming is hard, and also hard to be youngest one around. Moments appreciating laughing with people around the table. And seeing the legacy of dedication making this a priority. Thanks to all for the long hours to get here.
Susan Van H – thanks to all. Disappointment is why don’t more local people come to these gatherings? Would have liked more locals to hear matt h and the WeCopWatch training. Would love more people to have that experience. Puzzled by that? Kind of common with our meetings so think about more and try to draw more in. loved staying at meeting house and being together with you all.
Kima – thank you and not sure how you did it. Since November she has been in an overwhelming despair and it’s groups like this that keep me from being a hermit in the woods
Cathy – thank you. Everything has been said. Bring more outside people to our meetings. WeCopWatch did bring a few new people in. great to have the sponsorship also as well as dong everything else. With a team maybe more publicity. Takes away a renewed focus on W-4 resistance and other ideas that came up.
Coleman – can’t think of anything down except for parting. Hard work and dedication from all the people. So much good work gets done in informal sessions. There is a constant buzz. If you stand back and listen there is talking and learning all the time. Having VfP and Michael here was a time to talk with him. 3-4 things came out of this weekend. Getting David to Asheville to reinvigorate the WeCopWatch there. Energetic and dedicated. We’re all good and all bright.
Chrissy – wicked hazing process to become a member but looking at this weekend and objectives and how much has been accomplished in the 6 months. To see the redirection campaign come through and become manifest and have WeCopWatch here for skills training and sessions and Coleman pushed VfP and that was substantial. Matt Hoh’s struggles and hearing form him how to “reach beyond the choir” – and reaching people in the establishment. She was eagerly awaiting for all to come and pitch in and make the weekend what it was. Thanks for being here.
Thank you Rachel for your time on the AdComm!
Thank you Cathy for your time on the AdComm, and for agreeing to another 2 years!
Thank you, Thank you, Chrissy, for hosting us and for all your hard work!
Notes from other sessions – coming soon!