This is a personal view of the convention with no pretense of objective reporting except this fact: The Knoxville Hilton’s Champagne Brunch makes an afternoon of elections a very drowsy undertaking.
SOMEONE at the banquet podium remarked that for the first time in many years the air conditioning worked, the public address system worked, and they worked simultaneously. Indeed everything worked at the Knoxville Hilton. The hotel facilities were among the best in recent memory.
Many people expected, anticipated, or feared fireworks at this convention. Whether they occurred may depend on one’s opinion, but I believe that, in the main, goodwill and friendliness prevailed. As expected there was a good bit of discussion at the time of the Official Editor’s Report. Unwilling to let what I consider to be major transgressions of editing go unremarked, I moved that his report be accepted with minor reservations and with the notation that the Association deplored: 1. the publication of gibberish in the September issue, 2. the publication of the proposed amendments with so many errors that the member could not tell what they were to vote on, 3. the deliberate omission of the Executive Judges’ Report from the March issue, and 4. the interjection of editorial comment into the Executive Judges’ Report in the June issue. After considerable floor discussion, Harold Segal amended the motion to say: “accepted with minor reservations.” I concurred in this amendment (dropping the particulars) because my purpose, to open up discussion on the Official Organ, had been accomplished.
I don’t want to belabor the point, but the Editor’s action in turning an official report (the Executive Judges’ Report) into a debate in the June issue demonstrated his total lack of any knowledge of what editing is all about. Lest there be any doubt in a future editor’s mind: The NA had traditionally served as a vehicle for its editor’s opinion, but editorializing must be restricted to editorials; it is not to be inserted into official reports or into other people’s articles. I believe the Official Editor should have great freedom in the pursuit of his task, but he must observe the fundamentals of editing, and the resulting NA should not be an embarrassment to the NAPA.
Hyman Bradofsky chose to present the details of his complaint to the Executive Judges at the time of consideration of the Judges’ Report. Apparently he desired only to present the matter in some detail since he did not propose any motion. He did report that in the “corrected” version of his speech in the June NA that fourteen words were missing from the first paragraph.
Last year the budget for the publication of the NA was $4000. The Editor reported a cost of more than $6000; the excess appearing as a donation by the Editor. It may seem churlish and ungrateful but many people that I talked to felt the way I do about this. We expect the Official Editor to produce the best journal that he can for the amount budgeted by the Association. Nothing would be worse for the Official Organ than to have it become a vehicle for each succeeding editor to show how much of his own funds he was willing or able to contribute to its production.
In her report Elaine Peck, Publicity Director, suggested advertisements in printing magazines might be a fruitful recruiting method. Discussion on the floor mentioned several other magazines in which ads might be placed to assist in recruiting new members. In her report the out-going president, Leah Warner, said that there had been a slow decline in membership during the past two years, but it looked as if the decline may have stopped. As of the moment, the total membership, including 27 family members, is 361. In the last ten years the membership has varied from a low of 349 in 1977 to a high of 440 in 1978. This peak in membership was caused by the influx of over 100 members as a result of Al Fick’s article in Graphic Arts Monthly.
Four or five years ago, it looked as if we might get more members than the Association could handle, but now it seems that we may have to take steps to prevent a further decline in membership. Most active publishers seem to feel that somewhere around 400 is the “right” number of members. It has been noted that this feeling is not unrelated to the fact that paper comes in batches of 500 sheets.
Perhaps the time has come for another Kelsey mailing. The last Kelsey mailing in 1968 brought in about 120 members. I remember it well because I was one of those who joined as a result of the mailing. I wish we could devise some way to better describe NAPA so that we did not have to run through 100 new members to retain 10, but I’m at a loss to know how to do so.
All proposed amendments failed this year. The absentee vote and the convention vote were about numerically equal with the convention vote being much more on the negative side than the absentee vote. On the first amendment, to eliminate the activity requirement, the absentee vote was 19 for and 10 against (still not the required 2/3) but the convention vote was 3 for and 19 against, causing it to fail to reach even a majority much less the required 2/3.
The only amendment that would have passed if only the absentee vote had counted was the fourth one – the amendment that provided for secret absentee voting. I had thought that the fourth amendment would pass easily, and I had thought the second amendment, to revise the activity requirement, also would pass handily. The amendment to change the method of electing Executive Judges which failed by only one vote last year at St. Petersburg did not even get a majority vote this year. The two-thirds majority requirement means that if there is substantial opposition to an amendment, it is very difficult for it to be passed (and of course that’s why the requirement is there in the first place). Perhaps the membership is simply saying it is tired of amendments, who knows? This year no amendments were proposed to the amendments committee and thus none will appear on the ballot for this year. This is only the second time this has happened since I have been attending conventions.
I think the amendment to simplify the activity requirements should be re-introduced another time, perhaps at San Diego in 1984. The present situation where one can win an art laureate but the art work does not necessarily fulfill the activity requirement seems illogical and unfair. Bill Haywood has solved that problem by winning art laureates on his calligraphic journals; the medium is the art.
Opposition to the secret-ballot amendment was voiced by Vic Moitoret on the basis that it restricted the ability to withdraw one’s absentee ballot, it made it impossible to obtain an absentee ballot for a specific session during the convention, and that it entailed considerable postage expense. The first two objections are quite valid. At present one’s absentee ballot can be withdrawn right up to the moment of the election. Under the secret-ballot method, the ballot could not be withdrawn after it had been separated from the signed envelope because it could not then be identified. It would still be possible to include in such an amendment a method for exercising one’s right to vote by absentee ballot during the convention if one had to miss one day or one session, but it is true that this amendment had no such provision.
The postage expense was not at all clear to me. Under the present system, ballots are sent in the bundle to those who receive the bundle. Family members and foreign members who would not receive their bundles in time are sent ballots by first-class mail. As far as I could see, the secret ballot would only require that one more envelope be included in the bundle or in the first-class mail to the family and foreign members. At most that could cost one cent per bundle, an additional 17 cents per family member, and two times that for foreign – certainly less than $20 total. Perhaps there is something wrong with my postage analysis – Jackie Grissom thought so, but I forgot to ask her for her explanation after the meeting. I think we should make some provision for secret voting on the absentee ballot. As it is now, members present at the convention vote secretly, but at least seven people, the Absentee Ballot Committee, can know how the absentee cast his ballot.
Vic Moitoret made a motion that the election of Executive Judges at the St. Pete convention had been illegally conducted, and that the members should consider what action should be taken and take such action at the San Diego convention.
It has never been a secret that confusion reigned during the election of judges at St. Pete. Harold Segal was in the chair, and I was acting as Judge of Elections. We have generously blamed each other for the confusion.
However the constitution specifically demands that the violation be such that the results of the election would have been different, and it demands proof of such. If these terms are met, the officers of the previous year are carried over as the de jure officers for the year. The burden of proof is obviously on the challenger of the election.
Vic claimed that the method of voting for the judges one at a time rather than three at a time was illegal. It may be unwise, indeed it has been tried twice – once at St. Pete and once at Cincinnati – and both times it has been a disaster, but there is nothing to say that it is illegal. The constitution does not specify any method of voting for these three officers. Vic showed that the election of Jack Bond on the first ballot was not in question, but he claimed that the tabulated numbers showed that George Hamilton should have been elected on the second ballot, and thus that the terms of the constitution were fulfilled. Then it was pointed out that George had not been eligible for the office. Thus it is by no means clear that the results of the election would have been different if it had been conducted properly. It seemed to me that Vic’s case immediately collapsed.
At that point Sheldon Wesson offered a compromise substitute motion for Vic’s motion. His compromise was to propose that the names of the Executive Judges for the year be carried on the roll in parallel with the names of the judges of the previous year. This proposal seemed to me a very bad solution. We were suddenly put in the position that proof as demanded by the constitution being lacking, we were going to declare everyone a little guilty. Even worse, no exception was made for Jack Bond whose election had not even been questioned by the maker of the original motion. Hyman Bradofsky was presiding at the time these motions were considered, and he severely restricted discussion of the substitute seemingly under the impression that the authority of the Chair was being challenged. The motion narrowly (14-12) carried. Afterwards I found that more than one person, in the confusion of the moment, did not know exactly what he was voting for. I do not say that the result would have been different, but I do maintain that the implications of the motion were unclear to some voters and a clear explanation was not given before the voting.
At the risk of redundancy let me say again that Harold Segal and I have never denied that confusion existed during the election, but I deny that it has been proved that the results would have been different had it been conducted properly. We are now in the position of compromising on the sentence before the crime was proved. I shall study the minutes when they are available, but my present inclination is to attempt a correction to this action at the San Diego convention in 1984.
I was amused when told by a member who was attending his second convention that he liked this convention much better than the one last year. That’s exactly the way one gets hooked on these things – each one seems a little better than the last, and before you know it, you cannot bear to miss one. At the pre-convention evening gathering when we were sitting in a large, irregular circle in the meeting room, I thought what a rare and wonderful experience it was to be again in such a group whose warm regard and pleasure at being together again is so openly obvious. I don’t think I could hope to find it anywhere else, and it is exactly why it is so easy to become addicted to NAPA conventions.
See you in San Diego!
1982 Laureate Winners
LAUREATE: “The Award,” Jacob L. Warner, Boxwooder 160.
HON. MENTION: “The Man Who Came on Friday,” Ann Vrooman, Scarlet Cockerel 69.
LAUREATE: “Wayzgoose Day,” Ripples 7. J. W. Beaudry.
HON. MENTION: “Friendly Mountains,” Martin B. Keffer, National Scribe, February 1982.
LAUREATE: “An Ill-Tempered View of Creationism: The Teacher’s Plight,” Jacob L. Warner, Boxwooder 152.
HON. MENTION: “Florida for Fun and Frolic,” Elizabeth Butt, The National Amateur, March 1982.
History of Amateur Journalism
LAUREATE: “The Enigma of Churinga,” Ralph Babcock, The Fossil, October 1982.
HON. MENTION: “Jake Warner, Amateur Journalist Par Excellence,” Robert S. Williams, Jr. The National Amateur, December 1982.
LAUREATE: “The Voice of Outrage,” Robert L. Orbach, The Flexible Voice 24.
HON. MENTION: “Everybody’s Bookkeeper,” Jacob L. Warner, Boxwooder 157.
LAUREATE: “Frolicking,” Henry J. Jolly, Reader’s Buffet 41.
HON. MENTION: The Scribe 10, William F. Haywood.
LAUREATE: The Boxwooder 150-161, Jacob L. Warner.
HON. MENTION: Reader’s Buffet 40-46 & 48, Henry J. Jolly.
LAUREATE: Campane 97-101, Harold Segal.
HON. MENTION: The Boxwooder 150-161, Jacob L. Warner.
Handset in Deepdene. Front cover type, top to bottom, is Tudor Bold, Airport Semi-Bold, and Spartan. Back cover display type is Graphic Light. Edited and published by Jake Warner who printed 450 copies on a 10×15 C&P.
The Boxwood Press
Greenbelt, MD 20770