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June 1988

July 1988

Reaching New Heights
President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
1988-90 National Program
League Needs You!
Initiative & Referendum Study (Marian Wilkins)
Board Notes
Nominating Committee
Transportation Committee
Y Brown Baggers
New Publications
Membership Roster Changes
Convention Report (Jean Aoki)

Convention Report

I wish it were possible to schedule a League convention in Hawaii so that all of our members could at least observe one in action and have the opportunity to meet the delegates from the 1,141 local and provisional leagues throughout the United States and its territories. Feelings of pride, exhilaration, joy and excitement intermingled with that of frustration, impatience, disappointment and resignation kept our adrenaline flowing and broke through the heavy exhaustion of the four and a half days.

While it was intellectually stimulating, it was punishing physically – first the jet lag and resulting sleepless nights – crammed into chairs shoulder to shoulder with no elbow room and only your lap to hold your papers and to write on – the battle to get on and off elevators that never came or were too packed to hold one more – the struggle for the use of the restrooms.

Financial problems seemed to dominate the convention – that and the strong resistance to anything perceived as a possible threat to grass roots power. Computerizing and modernizing office procedures among other things seem to have eaten dangerously into reserves and the raise of the PMP was considered vital to the continued functioning of national League. But the raise was seen as a great threat to member retention and recruitment by many of the smaller locals. The first year's raise to $16.50 barely passed. The raise to $18.00 for the 1989-90 fiscal year failed on the first try but was rescued the fifth morning by a move for reconsideration, and succeeded in mustering a three-fifths majority. While the assembly finally supported the raise, the debate sent the message to national that it must manage its financial resources more carefully.

No new studies were adopted for this biennium. If any study had been adopted, it would probably have been "economic conversion." Supporters waged a vigorous, well-organized campaign and it only narrowly missed adoption.

The strong desire to keep League a truly democratic grass roots organization rang through the debates during the five days. There was resistance to direct consensus by mail to individual members by National. It did win acceptance with the understanding that it would be used sparingly and only when absolutely appropriate. National membership dues was deliberately set high – $50.00 – to encourage nationally recruited members to renew through the locals. The need to speak with one voice versus the desire on the part of some local leagues to speak to their own congressional delegates on positions not on our priority list for action in the next biennium was the topic of much debate.

Despite the message that the locals would not stand for complete dominance by national, there was acknowledgement that the image and. prestige of a strong national is important to the effectiveness of League at the local level just as vitally active and effective locals give strength to League on the national scene.

Jean Aoki

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