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Re: Membership decline

Dec 27, 1999 06:34 PM
by Bart Lidofsky

JRC wrote:

> The situation you speak of is correct ... but only in a very few Lodges,
> 10 or 15 at the most (while many Lodges have some small assets, very few
> have anything worth the trouble of mounting a "takeover")

	And they had little to worry about from the new bylaws, either.

> And this is what supporters of all these changes still refuse to
> acknowledge ... that even if you trust the *current* leadership (which I
> sure don't), the changes mean that in the future *any* leadership
> *could* do exactly this.

	As you saw later in this message, I DID acknowledge as legitimate the
fear that National could almost arbitrarily take over a Lodge.

> > Interestingly, the Lodge which showed the most fear that something
> like
> > this could happen was the Miami Lodge; this while the Miami Lodge was
> > being held up as an example to other Lodges of a major SUCCESS.
> However,
> > those protesting didn't bother to examine all the solutions; they
> > insisted on all or nothing, and they got nothing.
> Didn't examine all the solutions? The President of the Miami is an
> attorney. He examined "all the solutions" rather more closely than
> Headquarters was comfortable with. The Miami Lodge *is* a success

	At least we are in full agreement about SOMETHING. When I was program
director for the New York Lodge, I was given copies of the Miami program
for the express purpose of using ideas from them (the New York Lodge had
a semi-successful monthly movie for several years; unfortunately, due to
legal reasons, it had to be a members' rather than a public program).

> ... in
> that during the years when the American Section was in steep decline,
> they were vibrant and growing. Insisted on "all or nothing" and
> therefore got nothing? This shows where the control lies. Are you saying
> that Algeo might have permitted them to have something, but in their
> refusal to compromise he decided not to acknowledge their wishes at all?

	No. I am saying that the group wouldn't even discuss a compromise. ACT
had a platform that contained a few good ideas, but the good ideas were
couched in language that almost guaranteed that they would not get
adopted (and if you choose to go over them in detail, I will not
respond. I have responded to them in detail in the past, and don't
choose to waste my time over moot issues). A few of the better ideas got
quietly adopted, anyway. Instead of working together with the
leadership, however, the group came out swinging, and then was shocked
(I say, shocked!) that the leadership didn't want to work with them.

> But ... but ... I thought the *REASON* for all these changes was
> alledgedly  to *BENEFIT* the Lodges? For their "protection". So then ...
> John Algeo knows *better* than Miami - a branch that contains both
> attorneys and accountants - how to protect Miami's assets? Very curious.


> *Headquarters* didn't by *any* means look at "all the solutions" ... if
> the problem *really* was simply fear of "hostile takeovers". There are
> dozens of ways such a thing could be prevented, most of them not
> requiring total centralization of control - its the reason why oil
> companies haven't already siezed control of the Wilderness Society, why
> Christian fundamentalists don't have control of Planned Parenthood or
> the ACLU.

	And, with all these attorneys and accountants, how many of them gave
alternatives to National Headquarters other than, "Do nothing"? And what
alternatives were suggested?

> determine what constitutes a "hostile takeover") be able to dissolve the
> Lodge, sieze the assets, sell them, and not even (as before) distribute
> the assets to other Lodges in that particular region, but simply put
> them in the coffers of the National accounts. And even further, this
> isn't going to be an *option*, but a National policy, required of every
> Lodge.

	Keep track of things. The part preventing the assets from being removed
from the area was put back into the by-laws. When the ommission was
first pointed out on this list, the first thing I did was inform the
Board of Directors of the New York Lodge with a recommendation to come
out against the new bylaws; the second was to call John Algeo, who
informed me that the omission WAS an error, that with all the complaints
on this list nobody had bothered telling him about it before I did, and
arranged to have the wording changed back before the ballots went out.

	As for the rest of your message, when I say getting something, I mean
finding some means by which assets can be protected, and so can the
independence of Lodges, discussing it with the leadership in detail, and
coming out with a plan that makes everybody happy.

	Bart Lidofsky

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