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Consultant’s Report from Ruth Benn
November 2008 - April 2009

Am still happy with working for NWTRCC, though other parts of life have rather overwhelmed my attention of late. I had to be away for 2 weeks for family stuff at the end of March and early April, so that kind of set me back right before tax day. However, it was not a terribly busy April 15 (or is there a connection?). For me personally that was kind of a relief; for WTR growth and outreach that is not great news of course. There were some media calls with interviews done by myself and others and quite a few groups were out on tax day (mingling with the tea baggers in some cases). We have a steady annual presence – steady presence in general – which is something to feel good about. With the peace movement in a low period, I don’t expect WTR to be especially hot (though of course I believe it should be). Judging by some of our recent efforts, I think we need to put more emphasis on outreach to the more anarchist oriented young people and perhaps try less hard to get the general peace movement to include us. Seems they will always keep WTR on the fringes. In this economy, I think it will be successful to hold steady while so many groups with bigger budgets are facing cut backs. We’ll see how it goes….

            Below is a run-down of my NWTRCC activities as I remember them for this last period.

Administrative Tasks

• Email – time consuming, as it is for everyone I know…..

• Keeping up the finance records, checking in with Tana our Treasurer off and on, found a volunteer bookkeeper to review the books and Tana has that report for the meeting.

• Mailings to the Network – November minutes posted on web and mailed, tax day postcard and May meeting info, some email notices here and there.

• Produced December, February, April newsletters; copy to Peter for web; email to e-list announcing issue online; bulk issues to those who ask.

• Making plans for May meeting

Special Projects

War Tax Boycott campaign – Helped get the website updated. Ordered palm cards. Purchased a couple online ads in an effort to reach some new audiences. Bill and I invited folks to a consultation meeting in NYC on April 4 before the UFPJ demonstration. Despite promises, only Nancy Tate and Tom Stinnett from Lepoco in PA showed, along with Ed and Bill. A disappointment. Bill is working on getting back to some of the folks to see about their continued interest in the Boycott. (I was out of town at this time.)

Video  – Steev has a report for the May meeting. I reviewed his rough cut/rough draft and participated in a conference call with the video committee.

Speakers’ Bureau – Ginny S. volunteered to work on this at the November meeting and sent out a request for speakers to various folks. As bios and pics have come in we created web pages (Ed and I). Somehow we need to promote this now. Have a few bios to add as soon as tax day gets out of the way. I have not heard that anyone has gotten a request from our list as yet.

Finances & Fundraising

• After the November meeting, Bill Ramsey followed up on the support at that meeting by investigating the possibility of making scarves in time for the Dec. UFPJ meeting. We went ahead with this, borrowing some money from our special funds to pay the costs of making scarves. Sales were not brisk, Bill worked the hardest at this and support from the network at large has been slow to develop though there was some help. In May we will talk about selling these scarves out in the fall, which will bring good profit to NWTRCC. I was not very successful in my personal attempts to sell scarves, picking bad venues perhaps, but did promotion to the network and our list for buyers and sellers.

• Ginny S. has taken on coordinating of the fundraising committee. I’ve been trying to keep up with what she needs to work with.

• Sent out the fall appeal and thanks yous

• Money-wise, we are hanging in but need to get the spring appeal out.

Outreach & Literature

• Mike Butler set up Facebook pages for NWTRCC and the Boycott. I am not active on these pages but folks have signed up. I expect we could use them better but not sure anyone has had time to do that. Mike set the pages up but turned administration over to others (Pam, Dave Gross, Ed).

• Send packages of lit out to folks who want to table at events, including to Carol Moore for a conference on overseas bases in DC, SOAW, New England gathering and New England WRL for various events

• Peter Smith and Ed keep the website up-to-date.

• Generally trying to keep lit stocked, fill orders, and keep up necessary updates.

Network & Counseling

• Sent out the tax day card to network and some mailings to network.

• Binghamton, NY, has been added to the area contact and alternative fund list.

• Have tried to promote the regional gathering idea and seed money available through network mailings and the newsletter. No takers thus far. May try some calls; we’ll have to talk about this in May. Ginny secured a grant from Pioneer Valley WTR for the seed money.

• Now some of the constitutional/tax protester types have found our frivolous information page on the website and have been emailing or calling to see if we can help. Have not been overrun yet, but it takes some time to figure out what the issue is before I realize that we cannot help. They have many ways of filing that I don’t know about, so it requires some research time in each case.

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As to being away 2 weeks, I will mention that it is because my sister has Alzheimer’s Disease – a rotten turn of events for someone in their 50s. Some of you may be dealing with family members with Alzheimer’s, and perhaps you have found, as I have, that the Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent resource – well worth some redirected tax dollars as far as I can tell. They put out very good resources, are very active here in NYC and in Seattle (my sister’s area). Of course this is another reason that one thinks about the waste of tax dollars and human resources building weapons rather than working on cures and providing better care. I have learned a lot about long-distance caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s if any of you are facing this. My sister has now moved in with my brother’s family in Indiana, which is great and puts her closer Ed and I and all of my family, though we hated for her to leave her beloved Washington state. So I’m hoping that there won’t be more family crises in the near future, but one can never tell.

This summer I will be away for 10 days at the end of July and for about a week mid-August.

Ruth Benn
April 20, 2009

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