The Heinlein Society’s 10th Annual General Membership Meeting
by Keith G. Kato
The 10th Annual General Membership Meeting of The Heinlein Society was held at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, on Friday, 19 August 2011, 2:00 PM PDT, in Room D05 of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, 4590 South Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada 89502-6013, U.S.A.
The following members of the Board of Directors were present: Michael Sheffield (President and Chairman of the Board of Directors); Keith Kato (Vice President-Secretary); Pamela Somers (Treasurer); Joe Haldeman (by proxy to Michael Sheffield); and Jerry Pournelle (by proxy to Keith Kato). Wearing their second hats as Committee chairs, Pamela Somers represented both Bylaws and Membership Services Committee, and Keith Kato represented the Social Activities Committee. An eventual total of 17 members (with late arrivals), including Directors, officers, and assigned proxies, were present.
This meeting was conducted pursuant to Article I, Section 3, of the By Laws of The Heinlein Society, ratified by written ballot of its Board of Directors on 13 December 2010, as amended.
Order of Business:
At 2:04 PM, PDT, Society President Sheffield called the meeting to order. The Agenda of the meeting is appended. The Order of Business was as follows:
(a) The signup roll of eligible voting members was taken by Treasurer Somers, showing 15 members present. Several members paid their 2011 dues in arrears by the time of (i.e., at the Society’s information table at Renovation) or at the meeting. The meeting was also witnessed by about five interested non-members.
(b) President Sheffield noted that a timely notice of the meeting had been presented via the Society’s website and in the July 2011 Society Newsletter, pages 5 and 18, to all members.
(c) President Sheffield inquired whether anyone had a proxy to present to the Vice President-Secretary and there was no response. Mr. Sheffield stated the Society’s postal box was checked before he departed for Renovation on 15 August 2011, and there were no proxies received. He also announced that, although Article II, Section 1 of the By Laws states that undesignated proxies of non-attending members can be used at the discretion of the President of the Society, this power would only be used to establish a quorum, and he would otherwise honor the votes of the attending membership.
(d) Copies of the 2011 Agenda and Minutes of the 2010 Annual Meeting of 27 November 2010, were distributed. President Sheffield offered to read the Minutes, or entertain a motion to waive the reading of the minutes.
Member Herb Gilliland moved to accept the Minutes as written. Member Joseph Martino seconded the motion, which unanimously 11 ayes, 0 nays, 0 abstentions.
(e) President Sheffield then gave his report, a de facto State of the Society summary:
• Since so few in attendance were at the 2010 Annual Meeting, he reminded everyone that he assumed office on 26 July 2010.
• He announced the efforts to reinstate the Society’s non-profit tax status at the Texas state and Federal levels.
• He discussed the Society’s on-going campaigns for higher visibility and outreach at future science fiction conventions. Vice President-Secretary Kato added the Society had one small effort to outreach to Heinlein-friendly libertarian groups, and was considering renewed outreach to the aerospace communities.
• The release at Renovation’s Education Workshop of the Society’s new Education CD, v. 2, containing the donated stories from SF authors Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, and David Brin, with lesson plans for these stories and the Heinlein juveniles by Dr. Robert James, was announced.
• The Society’s plan for a cash award at the Popular Culture Association for best Heinlein-related research paper was mentioned. Member Joseph Martino asked for clarification, and was told at the moment the mechanics of the award had not been worked out yet.
• The Society’s plan to award two $500 scholarships for college students was announced to begin in the 2012 academic year. That the mechanics of the scholarship solicitation and award process was also not worked out yet was mentioned.
• The Society’s tentative plans for the “Heinlein For Heroes” program was announced. Member Joseph Martino asked if this included electronic books, and was told “tentatively yes.” Member Carol Fyfe commented she thought this was a good idea, but asked if Canadian troops would be included. Vice President-Secretary Kato said the original Board motion was for distribution of Heinlein material to English-language-speaking troups. Member Edward Rom asked about logistics of the plan, and was told this was also not worked out yet. Non-member Valerie Johnson mentioned the use of U.S. postal flat rate boxes as carriers.
• He announced that Dr. Alan Koslow had assumed the duties of Blood Drive Committee Chairman, with updated news that about 3,200 units had been collected at the recent Dragon-Con under Dr. Koslow’s direction, which brought the Society’s ten-year total to over 10,000 collected units of blood in Robert and Ginny Heinlein’s names.
• President Sheffield then discussed some weaknesses or challenges the Society faces. Answering a question from member Robert Preisinger, Treasurer Somers said the Society had 206 active members. President Sheffield asked for volunteers to chair Blood Drives or Society presence at local SF conventions.
• He also mentioned the on-going campaign to create a Heinlein Center.
• Finally, he announced that a new Society website had been released about one week prior.
At this point, questions and comments were fielded from the attendees:
• Member Joseph Martino suggested news releases for the various campaigns underway.
• Member Brad Lyau asked if University of California, Santa Cruz was considered for the Heinlein Center, and was told no university site had been chosen yet.
• Member Gregory Benford suggested that a grant request to the Heinlein Prize Trust be made for outreach efforts such as the libertarian community.
• Member Joseph Martino suggested a collaboration between the Society and the Futurist Society at regional and world SF conventions.
• Member John Strickland noted the lack of space-related panels at SF cons, and asked if such panels could be sponsored by the Society. President Sheffield answered that panel topics suggested by the Society to convention committees are sometimes accepted, sometimes rejected.
(f) Vice President-Secretary Kato was asked if he had anything to report, but he had nothing to add.
(g) Treasurer Somers was asked for her interim fiscal year financial report, as the Society’s fiscal year began on 1 September 2010 and would not end until 31 August 2011. The Balance Sheet and Income Statement were distributed, and Treasurer Somers said in general that the Society’s cash position was 300% better than last year. She cited economies of operation such as the elimination of credit card user fees, financial support from the members, and about $15,000 from the Heinlein Prize Trust. She emphasized that about 25% of Society expenses out-of-pocket by members themselves. She also mentioned that the ledger assets of the Society had increased because the Bonestell-Freas-Ludekens paintings on display by the Society at Renovation had finally been appraised for insurance purposes, using the median of the appraised value ranges.
(h) The membership then considered the election of Directors for the Board. President Sheffield stated the three incumbent Directors, Jerry Pournelle, Pamela Somers, and himself, all stated their willingness to stand for office again. He mentioned that the By Laws were in the process of being re-written, which would eventually authorizing the use of electronic voting for the Board in a similar process to the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He mentioned again he would not invoke his power of proxy as President for non-attending members.
Member Fred Moulton moved to nominate Jerry Pournelle. At this point, Member John Strickland asked if there were any nominees besides the three incumbents, and was told “no.” Since there was no second to the nomination of Jerry Pournelle on the table, Member John Strickland moved that the three incumbents be nominated as a slate of candidates. This move was seconded by Member Alan Petrillo. This motion carried 15 ayes, 0 nays, 2 abstentions.
Member Brad Lyau moved that the nominations be closed and a vote taken, which was seconded by Member Alan Petrillo. This motion carried 15 ayes, 0 nays, 2 abstentions.
Good of the Society:
The President opened discussions for the Good of the Society:
• Member John Strickland asked if his understanding of the various Heinlein-named prizes and awards was accurate—one by the National Space Society (miniature replica if “The Brass Cannon”), one by the Heinlein Prize Trust, and one granted by Dr. Yoji Kondo’s committee which is now executed by the Society. Member Fred Moulton asked that the Society’s website “disambiguate” [sic] the various awards.
• Member Gregory Benford announced his private bio-technology company had its origin with “Methuselah flies” from Michael Rose’s attempts to breed longevity in fruit flies, with cohorts now having lifespans 5½ times average. He credited Michael Rose’s inspiration for this research to the Heinlein novel Methuselah’s Children and derivatives therefrom.
• Member Joseph Martino suggested the Society enact and use an office of parliamentarian for future meetings.
• Member Carol Fyfe expressed her frustration that Canadian standards for blood donation seem overly restrictive. A follow-up comment was made by Member Alan Petrillo, who said he was unable to donate blood at the Heinlein Centennial, but made the effort to encourage others to donate.
With no other business pending,
It was moved by Member Fred Moulton that the meeting adjourn. The motion was seconded by Member Brad Lyau, and passed unanimously, 17 ayes, 0 nays, 0 abstentions.
President Sheffield adjourned the meeting at 3:28 PM, PDT.