President's Report on the 27th National Convention
Denver, May 2-6
I wish I could have taken all of you along to Denver, but the airlines are pretty narrow-minded about excess baggage, so you'll have to settle for a brief summary of what happened at Convention.
Overall impression: a businesslike ball. Forget what you've heard about Conventions -- no parades and no fancy hats when the League meets. Your weary delegate couldn't possibly have averaged as much as four hours of sleep a night for the five convention dates. And at that I might have been one of the lucky ones. I still haven't been able to figure out when the National Board people and the convention organizers managed to sleep at all.
(Marginal note: Perhaps an apocryphal story, but it seems that a bewildered businessman trapped in a Denver Hilton elevator with a mass of Leaguers asked the operator, "What in blazes is this bunch of women, anyway?" And the boy is reputed to have answered, "Couldn't tell you, boss, but it sure as heck isn't the WCTU.")
Speaking of excess baggage, I brought back the National Program, and I'm pretty sure it isn't what you had in mind when I made my pulse-taking rounds last spring. It's a large package. My increasing respect for the abilities of the League membership to undertake whatever is required in the way of study and action gives me confidence to outline for you the national-level program items we will have as our responsibilities for the next biennium.
NATIONAL CURRENT AGENDA
Development of Human Resources: Support of policies and programs in the United States to provide for all persons equality of opportunity for education and employment.
Foreign Policy: evaluation of U.S. relations with the People's Republic of China. Support of U.S. policies to enhance the peace-keeping and peace building capacities of the U.N. system and to promote world trade and development while maintaining a sound U.S. economy.
Water Resources: Support of national policies and procedures which promote comprehensive long-range planning for conservation, and development of water resources and improvement of water quality.
The specific responsibilities for these items will be designated by the Board in the near future. Board members Sandy Larson and Betty Harris have already indicated their willingness to handle these portfolios, but it may be necessary to add a third Board portfolio in view of the importance of the national program items.
Suggestions and advice from the membership will be appreciated by the Board.
(There were almost two thousand wahines at the convention, and I think that almost all of them will be willing to testify that your delegate did her ever-loving utmost to Reduce National Program. Matter of fact, I got shoved in front of a microphone before anyone else from the floor had a chance to speak about anything else at all, and made a fervent pitch to pare the national program to two items. I was spokesman for a happy coalition of diverse delegates --- our motion lost, but I was "Hey, Honolulu" from then on, and
seemed to get included in everything going, to my pleased surprise.)
By the way, I managed to spend somewhat less than the amount budgeted for the Convention trip. I haven't added the nickel column yet, but I think it might come close to fifty bucks. We'll know definitely when we get our travel
equalization check from the national office. I hope we'll be able to transfer this happy excess of funds toward sending our ethics chairman (Nancy Dykes) to Hilo to provide the indoctrination session and research help we promised our
sister League. This piece of sugar is prefatory to announcing that the Convention also adopted a Continuing Responsibility package. Would you believe five items?
Apportionment of State Legislatures: Support of apportionment of both houses of state legislatures substantially on population.
District of Columbia: Support of self-government and representation in Congress
for citizens of the District of Columbia.
Loyalty-Security: Support of standardized procedures, "common sense" judgment, and greatest possible protection for the individual under the federal loyalty-security programs; opposition to extension of such programs to non-sensitive positions.
Tax Rates: Opposition to constitutional limitation on tax rates.
Treaty Making: Opposition to constitutional changes which would limit the existing powers of the executive and the Congress over foreign relations.
(Speaking of Two Thousand Leagues swarming at the convention hotel, there's another story that made the rounds, Seems one businessman was overheard in the Brown Palace lobby telling another ditto, "for Pete's sake don't go over to the Hilton; it's wall-to-wall women!"
Convention bonus: State President Marguerite Simson and I met with John H. Thompson, of the American Broadcasting Company, and completed preliminary arrangements for participation by the two Hawaii Leagues in ABC's television coverage of primary and general election returns in the fall. Some thirty-odd local precincts will be chosen by the network's political research staff, and the League will be responsible for reporting direct to New York from these precincts the votes cast in the senatorial and gubernatorial races. This will mean that League teams will man hot-wire telephones at these precincts in order to report voting totals as soon as they are tabulated. It sounds like tremendous fun (I am working on a sales pitch to give my husband so he can be the other part of the team in the precinct. I'm assigned to) -- and besides, the League will got PAID by ABC. Marguerite says that State plans to use this
windfall for Voters Service -- so if anybody asks you for a date on election night, tell 'em you already have plans, (or sign them up as a precinct reporter.)
Marguerite and I also had a pleasant extra-curricular lunch meeting with the delegates from Puerto Rico and Alaska, together with the advisors of these
groups. It was a productive session, largely devoted to discussing the problems of small and remote Leagues, (And believe me, after watching the delegations from California and New York rise in their hundreds on the Convention floor,
I KNOW we are a small League!) Marguerite and I had initial qualms that we had been invited as a sort of horrible example to these fledgling Leagues, but were reassured that our solutions to small-League problems would be helpful. It was also pleasantly flattering that this meeting was convened in the national president's suite --we felt quite Chosen to lunch in Mrs. Stewart's company, and to be able to talk freely with her and a group of the members of the National Board.
(Yes, there was a chance to talk about our local ethics project. The national office now has our duplicate scrapbook, and I will report to the membership as soon as we receive their comments.
Meanwhile, delegates from many parts of the country expressed lively curiosity as to how we had been able to accomplish so much in such a short time, and I have a considerable list of Leagues to which I have promised summaries and bibliographies. I am strongly convinced the; our conspicuous success in the ethics project gave weight to our single small voice in the convention.)
Fortunately, the airlines charge no tariff for the overload Marguerite and I brought back from Denver -- a bewildering abundance of new ideas. They relate
to all aspects of League activity and represent the dedicated and inspired thought of the many thousands of Leaguers who, like yourselves, have devoted
a large segment of their lives to the service of their communities. You'll be hearing more about these later.
Thank you for sending me to Convention.