AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
46th ANNUAL CONVENTION
JUNE 30 – JULY 7, 2007
Sunday, July 1, 2007
President Gray gaveled the 2007 ACB convention to order at 7:05pm Central Daylight Time in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The pre-convention entertainment was presented by Mike and Allison Smitherman.
Following the Invocation the attendees were asked to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance Mr. David Trott, President of the Alabama Council of the Blind and ACB Board member.
Mr. Chuck Hamilton presented a Proclamation sent to ACB on behalf of the Governor of Minnesota, the Honorable Tim Pawlenty.
Since the convention was held in Minneapolis, President Gray introduced the staff of the office including our new Comptroller, Mr. Lane Waters and then the staff and Executive Director, Ms. Melanie Brunson, from the Washington, DC office. In addition, Ms. Crissie Cochrane, interim director of ACB Radio was introduced. Ms. Marlaina Lieberg, an ACB Radio volunteer, Ms. Marlaina Lieberg announced that she had arranged for a phone call from Ronnie Milsap, a renowned country music singer and pianist, to the convention. We learned that Mr. Millsap underwrote the entire cost of the ACB Radio to be broadcast world wide throughout the convention. ACB Radio’s fifth program stream, World Wide Radio, is streamed in five different languages.
President Gray delivered his report to the ACB membership. He announced that we will be able to use accessible point of sale machines at Wal-Mart, Trader Joes and in the very near future Radio Shack.
Speaking of accessibility, through structured negotiations with the city of San Francisco, there will be audible pedestrian signals throughout the city beginning with eighty.
The Social Security law suit for notices to be sent to its recipients in formats that are accessible is ongoing. The Social Security Administration has heard us and they will, in time, respond with all correspondence in accessible formats.
In 2003 ACB filed suit against the Department of Treasury because it was felt blind and visually impaired individuals need United States paper currency to be just as easy to decipher as our sighted peers. ACB won the first round as Judge Roberts decided in our favor. Unfortunately, Treasury has appealed so we must wait longer for accessible currency to come to fruition.
The Chief Executive Officer of HumanwWare, Mr. Richard Mander, spoke to the membership. He explained all of their partnership activities with ACB. Mr. Mander read the company vision to the audience and explained its meaning. In the past year, HumanWare has installed a toll free number for the convenience of its customers. HumanWare donated $20,000 to sponsor the ACB Convention.
Next, Ms. Janet Dickelman, President and Mr. Ken Rogers, Host Committee Chair from ACB of Minnesota, welcomed ACB delegates to the 46th ACB convention in Minneapolis. Ms. Dickelman acknowledged everyone who served on the host committee from Minnesota. Mr. Rogers welcomed ACB to Minneapolis. Mr. Durward McDaniel brought so many young people to conventions including President Gray in 1976 and he has not missed a convention in 31 years.
The Durward K. McDaniel first time winners were introduced by Ms. Cathie Skivers. They were Susan L’Esperance from Columbia City, Indiana and the second winner Duane Hodges is from Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Life Membership presentations were so capably done by President Gray and Ms. Anna Olsen, the wife of our beloved late Jim Olsen. This year twelve individuals were presented with certificates. Additional life member certificates were purchased throughout convention week.
Mr. Jerry Annunzio, chair of the Credentials Committee presented his report. Four affiliates presented some concerns, however, three were resolved. The fourth, Utah, has asked for an appeal.
And finally we come to the Roll Call of Affiliates. This year sixty-two presidents answered when their affiliates were called. President Gray recessed the Sunday night meeting at 9:55pm.
Monday, July 2, 2007
The second meeting of the convention began at 8:35am with Mr. Michael Garrett leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Invocation.
Ms. Brenda Dillon announced two Ruby Sponsors for the convention. AT&T and HumanWare each donated $10,000 to ACB. The Sapphire Sponsor donated $7,500. AOL LLC provided the funds to cover interpreter services for the deaf-blind. ACB Radio was totally sponsored by country music singer/song writer, Mr. Ronnie Milsap. The two-way radios used by people throughout the convention were provided by Sprint.
The Opal Sponsorship, $5,000, Freedom Scientific, who covered the convention programs. Guide Dogs for the Blind provided three days of the Youth Activity Center and the pool party on Sunday afternoon. Eight sponsors donated $2,500 each to become Topaz Sponsors. The Information Desk was sponsored by GWMicro; Mr. Richard Laurion donated seventy hours of interpreting services; three issues of the convention newspaper were underwritten by Maxi-Aids; Minnesota State Council on Disability provided interpreter services; an addition three issues of the convention newspaper were paid for by the Mississippi Council of the Blind; the computers were provided by Tenacity; Thomson West for the career workshop and legislative seminar and VITAC for the Life Member reception.
The Pearl level sponsors donated $1,000 toward the convention expenses. Accent Signage Systems sponsored the membership development seminar; Caption Max and the National Association of Blind Teachers partnered to sponsor the educational seminar; Commission Serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing for interpreter services; Paul Deeming Interpreter Services for over thirty hours; Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen and Dardarian (Linda) along with Ms. Lainey Feingold sponsored the information access workshop; Kentucky Council of the Blind for one day of Youth Activity Center; Maxi-Aids for the ACB Café; Regal Entertainment Group for one day of Youth Activity Center; Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America donated two sponsorships for the National Alliance of Blind Students luncheon and the Scholarship dinner; Track Phone for savings at the ACB Café; Vehicle Donation Processing Center for the Affiliate Presidents’ Meeting and Wells Fargo Business Bank sponsored the pizza and game night for the youth.
The Monthly Monetary Support Program chair, Dr. Ron Milliman invited members to visit the Prior Lake Room each afternoon to sign up for the program. Contributions can be withdrawn from checking, savings or a credit card on a monthly basis. At least fifty percent must go to ACB and the remaining share can be sent to an affiliate of one’s choice.
The final Credentials Committee report came from Mr. Jerry Annunzio, chair.
Motion 1: Mr. Annunzio moved on behalf of the Credentials Committee the roll call of the states, and the special interest affiliates conducted by the secretary Sunday evening identifying the delegates and their alternates together with life members and members at large are the official list of voting members for the convention. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Motion 2: Ms. Bernice Stradley moved to amend by restoring the Utah affiliate’s vote from 20 to 25. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
For a brief announcement, President Gray invited Mr. Joel Snider of the National Captioning Institute to the podium. Mr. Snider stated NCI will be showing the movie “Charlotte’s Web” and that he will be describing it for the audience. In addition, ACB heard that in February, 2009 television will go digital and the audio description as we know it will go away.
President Gray announced that the Convention Standing Rules were listed in the program. Since there was no objection, the Standing Rules were adopted.
Each registered person has received a copy of the convention program. Since there were no objections, the convention program was adopted as printed.
Amendment 2007-01 submitted by Mr. Ken Stewart – (This amendment was referred back to the committee by the 2006 ACB Convention to be presented at the 2007 Convention.) Amend Article IV, Section K by striking out all of the current text in the section and inserting the following proposed language: “The person placing an individual’s name in nomination for elective office in ACB shall announce to the convention state of residence, employer, type of gainful employment and any volunteer or professional association memberships the nominee may hold.”
Amendment 2007-02 submitted by Mr. Don Stevens – Amend By-Law 7, Section A by striking out the words: “”the first session of” and the words: “as the first order of business” Proposed language: “At each annual convention, the secretary shall call the roll of affiliate organizations so that each affiliate will have the opportunity to publicly announce to the convention the identity of its official delegates and alternate delegates in the order of precedence and representative who will serve on the Nominating Committee.”
The Officer of the Day, Ms. M. J. Schmitt of Rochester, New York is also a charter member of ACB. Ms. Schmitt has served on the board of Directors in a number of capacities. She will leave the Board at the end of the convention for a final time.
Ms. Ardis Bazyn, chair of the Membership Committee, presented the Membership Growth Award to the American Association of Visually Impaired Attorneys.
Ms. Nola McKinney presented several awards to deserving ACB members. The Robert S. Bray Award was presented by Ms. Cathie Skivers in the name of Norma Schekter, a devoted California Council of the Blind member who passed away. Ms. Schekter was a staunch advocate of Braille.
The Special Achievement Award was presented to Ms. Linda Dardarian on behalf of Ms. Lainey Feingold and herself. Without the devotion and donation of time and expertise of these two attorneys, we would not have talking ATM’s, accessible point of sale machines and accessible, secure online banking. And their latest accomplishment through structured negotiations of securing agreement from the city of San Francisco to install audible pedestrian signals at every intersection over time.
The final award, the James R. Olsen Distinguished Service Award was presented to Mr. Leroy Johnson, who has worked for many years at every convention with tours loading and sending those buses on their way
Mr. Mike Duke, chair of the Board of Publications, presented the Ned E. Freeman Award to Mr. Ed Ames for excellence in writing. The article was titled “The Recruitment and Retention of Volunteers”.
Mr. Charlie Hodge announced the Board of Publications has created a new award with the first presentation at the 2008 national convention. It will be called the Hollis K. Liggett Award for affiliate newsletters meeting specific criteria.
A proclamation was read Mr. Stevens from the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Rybak declaring BFLAG day as July 2, 2007.
Coming to us from the National Council on Disability is its chair, Mr. John Vaughn. His message centered on inclusion of disabled persons in social activities, church and schools.
The final speaker of the day, Mr. Richard Keeling from the IRS Stakeholder Partnerships: Education and Communication. Mr. Keeling gave ACB members a website, www.irs.gov/advocate as a contact for questions.
Mr. Oral Miller, who supervises the activities at the Recreation Zone each afternoon during the convention week, gave an overview of its use and what to expect when one participates.
The meeting was recessed at 12:15pm by Ms. Schmitt.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
President Gray brought the meeting to order at 8:35am with the children from the Youth Activity Center leading the membership in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the invocation.
Ms. Judi Cannon, chair of the Nominating Committee, reported the committee’s recommendations for the upcoming election:
President: Ms. Carla Ruschival
First Vice President: Ms. Kim Charlson
Second Vice President: Dr. Ed Bradley
Secretary: Ms. Marlaina Lieberg
Treasurer: Mr. Mike Godino
Mr. Ray Campbell, chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee presented the following amendments for approval:
Amendment 2007-01 submitted by Mr. Ken Stewart – (This amendment was referred back to the committee by the 2006 ACB Convention to be presented at the 2007 Convention.) Amend Article IV, Section K by striking out all of the current text in the section and inserting the following: “The person placing an individual’s name in nomination for elective office in ACB shall announce to the convention state of residence, employer, type of gainful employment and any volunteer or professional association memberships the nominee may hold.”
Motion 1: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of Amendment 2007-01. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Amendment 2007-05 submitted by Dr. Ed Bradley – Amend Article IV, Section D by placing the number “1” before the second sentence and adding the following to the end of the section: “2. A member of the National Alliance of Blind Students selected during each ACB Convention by that affiliate for a single term of one year (1) shall attend each board meeting, may make motions, may serve on committees and may participate in discussions but shall not vote.”
Amendment 2007-06 submitted by Ms. Sue Ammeter - Amend By-Law 6, Section K, fourth sentence by inserting the words “at least” before the word “three”. “K. Advocacy Services Committee: There is hereby established a committee on advocacy services. The President and Executive Director shall serve as members of the committee. The President or his/her designee shall chair the committee and the Director of Advocacy Services shall serve as a non-voting member of the committee. Each year, no later than thirty (30) days after the close of the national convention, the President shall appoint at least three (3) additional members to serve for a one-year term.”
Resolution 2007-08 submitted by Joel Snider – Video Description. “…resolved that this organization directs ACB staff and strongly encourage ACB members and affiliates to urge the FCC chairman to: 1) Add consumers and producers of video description who are generally accepted as being knowledgeable advocates on behalf of video description to the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee; and 2) Add comprehensive information to WWW.dtv.gov regarding the implementation and dissemination of video description within digital broadcasts.”
Motion 2: Ms. Jackson stated the Resolutions Committee recommends a do pass. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Ms. Brenda Dillon, Sponsorship Chairperson, reported more sponsorships to the membership. At the Platinum level Mr. Michael Henderson donated $500. At the Gold level, $100 sponsorship, thirty-nine (39) individuals contributed. In honor of the sponsorships, HumanWare donated four Victor Reader Streams, one to be drawn for each sponsorship level.
Resolution 2007-01 submitted by Ms. Judy Jackson – Accessible Educational Materials for Parents who are Blind and who have Sighted Children. “…resolved that this organization direct its Officers, Directors and staff to initiate contact with the members of the United States Congress to seek sponsorship and support of legislation requiring school districts to provide parents who are blind and visually impaired access to all educational material, and; Be it further resolved that affiliates seek state legislation to achieve the same goal, and; Be it further resolved that a report be given on the implementation at the 2008 convention.
Motion 3: Ms. Jackson stated the Resolutions Committee recommends a do pass. The motion carried on a voice vote.
The officer of the day is Mitch Pomerantz, who hails from Pasadena, California and works for the city of Los Angeles.
Mr. Al Lavoti, a teacher at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired discussed the Leo Club with the audience. It seems Leos are young Lions and the Leos from ISBVI raised funds so they could attend the 2007 ACB convention.
An important part of the convention each year is the ACB scholarships presented by Ms. Patty Slaby. A great number of varying scholarships were received by college students.
Mr. Michael Garrett, President of the ACBES Corporate Board announced the ACBES thrift store managers donated $3,200 toward the James R. Olsen Scholarship fund.
The next speaker came to us from AT&T to discuss cell phone accessibility. Ms. Susan Mazrui stated wireless phones are becoming more accessible to blind and visually impaired individuals. Go to the following URL www.apple.com/accessibility/iphone to inquire about how accessible the new Apple iphone will be for disabled individuals.
New Trends in Employment and Rehabilitation was presented by Mr. Gil Johnson from the American Foundation for the Blind.
Ms. Terry Pacheco and Mr. Owen Rachal provided information about telephone systems that Tenacity, Inc. their company, is working to make accessible for everyone.
The last speaker of the day, Dr. Ron Milliman, chair of the Monthly Monetary Support Program, encouraged members to join and support ACB on a monthly basis. As incentive, the person who brings in the largest number of new MMS participants outside ACB will win a victor Stream from HumanWare.
The meeting was recessed at 1210pm by ACB Second Vice President Mitch Pomerantz.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
The Fourth of July meeting began at 8:35am with the Visually Impaired Veterans of American reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Don Stevens read a proclamation sent from the City of Minneapolis proclaiming June 30 through July 7, 2007 American Council of the Blind week in Minneapolis..
Mr. Ray Campbell, chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee presented the second reading of the remaining amendments.
Amendment 2007-02 submitted by Mr. Don Stevens, Amend By-Law 7, Section A. by striking out the words “first session of the…” and the words “as the first order of business…” Proposed wording: “Before the second meeting of the annual convention the secretary shall call the roll of affiliate organizations so that each affiliate shall have the opportunity to publicly announce to the convention the identity of its official delegate and alternate delegate in the order of their precedence and representative will serve on the nominating committee.”
Motion 4: Mr. Campbell moved adoption of amendment 2007-02. The motion carried unanimously.
Amendment 2007-05 submitted by Dr. Ed. Bradley – Amend Article IV, Section D by placing the number “1” before the second sentence and adding the following to the end of the section. Proposed wording: “D. the Officers of this organization, the ten (10) Directors and the Immediate Past President shall constitute the Board of Directors. 1) A member of the Board of Publications selected at each annual convention by that Board for a term on one (1) year shall attend all meetings of the Board of Directors, may make motions and may participate in discussion but shall not vote. Within thirty (30) days after each meeting, this member of the Board of Publications shall be responsible for writing a narrative summary of actions taken during each Board of Directors’ meeting for publication in the Braille Forum. This narrative summary shall include a record of how each Board member voted on all roll call votes with the exception of roll call votes taken during executive sessions which shall not be included. 2. a member of the National Alliance of Blind Students selected during each ACB convention by that affiliate for a single term of one (1) year shall attend each Board meeting, may make motions, may serve on committees and may participate in discussions but shall not vote.”
Motion 5: Mr. Campbell moved the adoption of Amendment 2007-05. On a voice vote, the motion failed.
Motion 6: Mr. Ken Stewart moved to refer the amendment back to the Constitution and By-Laws Committee to reconsider concerns expressed and bring it back to the 2008 convention. The motion failed on a voice vote.
Amendment 2007-06 submitted by Ms. Sue Ammeter. Amend By-Law VI, Section K. fourth sentence by inserting the words “at least” before the word “three”. “K. Advocacy Services Committee. There is hereby established a committee on advocacy services. The President and Executive Director shall serve as members of the committee. The President or his/her designee shall chair the committee and the Director of Advocacy Services shall serve as a non-voting member of the committee. Each year, no later than thirty (30) days after the close of the national convention, the President shall appoint at least five (5) additional members to serve for a one-year term.”
Motion 7: Mr. Campbell stated the Constitution and By-Laws Committee recommended a do pass of Amendment 2007-06. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Motion 8: Ms. Ruschival moved to amend the number of persons to nine. The motion failed on a voice vote.
Mr. Roger Peterson introduced Ms. Heather Sherber from the first Touch Foundation who talked about a rare eye disease called labors congenital amoroso. She stated the University of Iowa is conducting a study and would like three thousand participants. At present, only eight hundred are enrolled.
President Gray needed to step away from the podium so the officer of the day, ACB Treasurer, Mike Godino introduced himself before moving on to the scheduled speakers.
Ms. Brenda Dillon announced there were two additional Gold sponsors who contributed $100 each to ACB. In addition, there were forty-eight Silver sponsors at $50 a piece.
To speak on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ACB was honored with one of its own long-time members, Dr. Otis Stephens.
Ms. Pricilla Rogers from the American Foundation for the Blind discussed her role working on vision loss. AFB has designed a website for seniors with vision loss. This site lists a number of resources for seniors. The site has larger than normal fonts for easier reading. There are five general sections of interest. To access the information go to www.afb.org/seniorsite.
The Director of the National Library Service, Mr. Frank Kurt Cylke, and Mr. Michael Montoya, Financial Officer brought information about NLS to ACB members. The NLS received an appropriation of $12.5 million per year for four years to put the digital books and machines in the hands of readers.
Mr. Chuck Young, talking book narrator and special guest, discussed his career as a journalist and radio celebrity interviewing a number of famous and important people, but his greatest enjoyment is reading the various books to blind and visually impaired Americans. In conclusion Mr. Young read The Declaration of Independence which touched the members of ACB.
The meeting was recessed at 12:05pm by Mr. Mike Godino.
Thursday July 5, 2007
The meeting began at 8:40am with everyone reciting the Pledge of Allegiance led by Ms. Sue L’Esperance. This was followed by an invocation.
Ms. Brenda Dillon announced the first ever ACB auction netted $18,884. The event was well attended and everyone had a fun time. This was a very successful fund raiser for ACB. She went on to list the names of those persons who donated $25 each to become Bronze sponsors.
Mr. Mike Godino, treasurer Chair of the Budget Committee, read his report to the membership. He stated thus far in 2007 ACB is in keeping with the budget. The ACB books have been sent to an auditing firm and the 2006 results will be available by the end of July.
Motion 10: President Gray entertained a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Ms. Judy Jackson began by reading Resolution 2007-19 submitted by Ms. Carol Edwards. “…resolved that this organization work with other interested groups to achieve equitable gasoline pricing.”
Motion 11: Ms. Jackson moved adoption of Resolution 2007-19. The motion was defeated on a voice vote.
Resolution 2007-05 - Window Eyes Training Materials submitted by the California Council of the Blind “…resolved that this organization strongly urge GWMicro to develop and produce accessible audio tutorials on tape, CD, via the internet and DAISY format.”
Motion 12: Ms. Jackson moved adoption of Resolution 2007-05. The motion failed on a voice vote.
President Gray introduced the officer of the day, ACB Secretary Donna Seliger.
The first speaker, Ms. Melanie Brunson, ACB’s Executive Director, reported on several fronts being watched and/or worked on by the staff at the Washington, DC office. She strongly urged everyone who hasn’t done so to sign on to the Money 4 All petition.
Mr. Jeffery Lovitky, the attorney ACB has acquired to file suit against the Department of Treasury, gave an overview of the law suit. Since the case is ongoing, he was not able to go into great detail, but he did give us the nuts and bolts of the case. The initial cost of an embosser to make currency tactile would be $45 million. To add a foil feature to the US currency it would cost would be $51.5 million. A bank note with a small perforation feature would initially cost $75 million. These three tactile features would require additional funding to cover labor from $15 million down to nearly $9 million per year to produce. These costs have been figured with altering even the $1.00. The costs to make the bills visually more accessible are significantly smaller.
To discuss private rehabilitation agencies and their place in the blindness community, Ms. Kate Grathwol from Minneapolis, Minnesota informed the membership about her work.
Resolution 2007-15 Maxi-Aids - submitted by “…resolved that this organization expressly and unambiguously prohibits Maxi-Aids, Inc. its officers or agents from exhibiting, sponsoring advertising or otherwise engaging in the convention of the American Council of the blind for the next three (3) years, and; Be it further resolved that the ACB Board of Directors, Officers and staff are expressly prohibited from making any purchase of any product or service on behalf of the American Council of the Blind from maxi-Aids, its officers or agents for a period of three (3) years.”
Motion 13: Mr. Michael Byington’s objection to the consideration of Resolution 2007-15 was sustained upon a voice vote.
Motion 14: Mr. Mike Godino moved to ask the Resolutions Chair to not read the boiler plate wording of the resolutions in order to save time. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Resolution 2007-02 - Destination Elevators submitted by Mr. Mike Godino. “...resolved that this organization support the use of destination elevators when, and only when, the information provided by the elevator control panel is understandable and available via tactile, audible and visual means, and; Be it further resolved that full accessibility in the case of these elevators means tactile information in the form of refreshable Braille display at each elevator control panel, and; Be it further resolved that in addition to the Braille display at the control panel tactile information identifying the elevator car must also be provided (this can be accomplished by the use of an additional placard on the elevator door jam), and; Be it further resolved that in keeping with universal design there should also be consistency in the placement of the elevator control panel in all elevator banks.”
Motion 15: Ms. Jackson moved adoption of Resolution 2007-02. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Resolution 2007-06 – Accessible Currency submitted by Mr. Jim Jirak. “…resolved that this organization commend the outstanding effort put forth by this exceptional young lady, and; Be it further resolved that a suitably prepared copy of this resolution be sent to Ms. Ross.”
Motion 16: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of Resolution 2007-06. The motion carried on a voice vote. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Resolution 2007-10 – Pedestrian Safety submitted by ACB of Maryland. “…resolved that the American Council of the Blind take the following steps: 1) update the pedestrian safety handbook and publish a third edition within the next year. This process should include input from ACB’s pedestrian safety specialist staff person, ACB’s Environmental Access Committee representatives who use white canes, guide dogs and people with low vision. 2) Other stakeholders such as orientation mobility specialists, traffic device manufacturers, members of other disability organizations and any professionals in related fields that this group deem valuable in the successful completion of this work should also be consulted. 3) Additionally, particular attention should be given to methods of achieving public education outreach to both the disabled and non-disabled communities.”
Motion 17: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of Resolution 2007-10. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Resolution 2007-17- Veterans Affairs Accessible Correspondence submitted by Visually Impaired Veterans of America. “…resolved that this organization in conjunction with its affiliate, Visually Impaired Veterans of America (VIVA) demand that the Department of Veterans Affairs comply with its legal obligation by providing correspondence and other printed material to veterans who are blind or visually impaired in accessible formats; and, Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Honorable Jim Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.”
Motion 18: Ms. Jackson moved adoption of Resolution 2007-17. The motion carried on a voice vote.
President Gray recessed the fifth meeting of the American Council of the Blind at 12:00 noon.
Friday, July 6, 2007
The meeting began at 8:35am with Mr. Vernon Daigle leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Rev. Jo Tallifaro gave the invocation.
Motion 19: President Gray entertained a motion to accept those people who have acquired voting status since the credentials report given on Monday morning. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Resolution 2007-26 – Rehabilitation Commissioners submitted by CCLVI "...resolved that this organization encourages its members to seek cease on Federally mandated state rehabilitation counsels, whether the counsels oversees a combined services program or a blindness specialty program and also cease on other blindness specific rehabilitation services advisory boards which may exist in states that operate under a combined Federal Rehabilitation Plan in each state so that increasing opposition to such narrow, restrictive and often draconian rehabilitative practices may be mounted and voiced; Be it further resolved that this organization urges its members to seek cease on appointed boards and commissions of the blind in states that offer this form of governance over their blind services.”
Motion 20: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of resolution 26. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
The convention report was delivered by Ms. Carla Ruschival, chair of the Convention Committee and Site Selection Coordinator. The Convention Committee met in Minneapolis in October rather than at mid-year when there might have been several inches of snow on the ground. This could have made it difficult to check possible tour sites for convention. Ms. Ruschival felt it so successful she would like to continue it in the future. The Convention Ear was revived for the 2007 convention to everyone’s delight. An e-mail list with convention information was well received by those who have access to computers. Those people who paid and registered with ACB numbered 1,137. This number did not include volunteers or exhibitors.
The election of ACB president began with Ms. Carla Ruschival, the Nominating Committee’s choice and Mr. Mitch Pomerantz who was nominated by Mr. Jeff Thom.
During the standing voting procedure, Mr. Michael Garrett, Chair of American Council of the Blind Enterprises and Services spoke. The thrift store managers assembled in Minneapolis for a two-day meeting which covered a variety of topics. Mr. Garrett felt the managers took away a great deal of knowledge and were motivated to work harder. Mr. Lane Waters were praised for his involvement.
As the ACB convention progressed, Dr. Ron Milliman, his wife, Palma and others took applications for the Monthly Monetary Support Program. Dr. Milliman announced that members have stepped up and joined this worth while contribution for ACB.
Resolution 2007-11 – Quiet Cars - submitted by Mr. Ken Stewart “...resolved that this organization demand that state and local legislation be enacted that establishes a firm deadline after which date any motorist operating one of these vehicles without any measurable sound emission shall be subject to a fine in the same manner that a motorist can be fined for during the moving violation of driving without headlights after dark.”
Motion 21: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of Resolution 2007-11.
Motion 23: Mr. Michael Byington moved to refer resolution 2007-11 back to the Resolutions Committee and bring it back for a vote later today. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Resolution 2007-18 – Accessible Appliances submitted by ACB of Ohio "...resolved that this organization direct its officers, directors and staff when continuing negotiations with appliance manufacturers the goal must be to work toward universal accessibility for all brands and models of large and small appliances as opposed to accepting the reality of only a very limited selection of accessible models.”
Motion 24: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of Resolution 2007-18. The motion carried on a voice vote.
The results of the presidential election: Mr. Pomerantz received 59.68 percent with 616.5 votes. Ms. Ruschival received 40.32 percent with 416.5 votes.
The office of First Vice President: Ms. Kim Charlson was nominated by the Nominating Committee and Mr. Charlie Hodge was nominated by Ms. Chelle Hart. The results of the election were Ms. Charlson received 692 votes with 68.31 percent. Mr. Hodge received 321 votes with 31.69 percent.
Resolution 2007-12 submitted by the Resolutions Committee – Telecommunications Section 255. "...resolved that this organization call upon its officers, directors and staff to seek introduction and adoption of Federal Legislation which will require cost parody for telecommunications equipment and services between non-disabled users and blind, low vision or disabled users who require accessibility features in order to achieve full access."
Motion 25: Ms. Jackson moved to adopt Resolution 2007-12. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Resolution 2007-09 submitted by the Michigan affiliate – Microsoft “…resolved that the American Council of the Blind sue Microsoft demanding that all future versions of any operating system be fully accessible so that no third party screen reader is necessary; and Be it further resolved that the law suit require that Microsoft employ qualified personnel from third party screen reader manufacturers so that they will not become unemployed and so that Microsoft will have the necessary screen reader expertise within its ranks.”
Motion 26: Mr. Jon Gormley moved adoption of R3esolution 2007-09. On a voice vote, the motion failed.
Resolution 2007-13 submitted by the District of Columbia Council of the Blind – United Nations Treaty “…resolved that this organization direct its officers, directors and staff to take all appropriate action to encourage the Bush Administration to sign United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and Be it further resolved that ACB place all possible influence on the Executive Branch concerning support of this Treaty; and Be it further resolved that this organization adamantly suggest that a Treaty of this magnitude warrant prominent dissemination throughout the White House media.”
Motion 27: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of Resolution 2007-13. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Resolution 2007-27 submitted by Mr. Michael Malver – Cell Phones “… resolved that the American Council of the Blind communicate to Apple extreme displeasure at Apple’s increasing patterns of exclusion of potential customers who are blind and visually impaired from their market place; and Be it further resolved that ACB acknowledges that Apple has produced a few products that are accessible or which have limited accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired; and Be it further resolved that ACB expresses its willingness to consult with Apple on further software and hardware design to include universal design principle; and Be it further resolved that this organization direct its staff to provide assistance to any ACB member or affiliate who has experienced the lack of accessibility of the iPhone and who, therefore, wishes to file a complaint with the United States Federal Communications Commission under Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.”
Motion 28: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of resolution 2007-27. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Resolution 2007-30 submitted by Mr. John Gordon and RSVA - Vendors "...resolved that the American Council of the Blind join with its special interest affiliate, the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA) that this organization urge Congress to strengthen and revitalize the Randolph-Sheppard Program by taking all of the following actions: 1) Adopt initiatives by Senator Barack Obama and other members of Congress to reinvigorate the Randolph-Sheppard Act by establishing a demonstration project with innovative components such as: a) Establishing not-for-profit nominee agencies with influential board members with large, private businesses and charging the nominee agency with establishing new Randolph-Sheppard locations. B) Infuse new Federal money to stimulate the creation of additional Randolph-Sheppard locations reversing the troubling decline in employment opportunities in the Randolph-Sheppard Program and utilizing the nominee agency board and its other resources to find new locations. C) Partner with National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and/or its associated agencies to engage in the sell of Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act products. 2) Establish a line item in the budget of the US Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration for the Randolph-Sheppard Program and restrict those Rehabilitation Services Administration funds by mandating that such funding be spent exclusively on the Randolph-Sheppard Program for the purpose of training new vendors, creating new sites, refurbishing and replacing existing equipment for funding business consultants whose mission is to assist vendors with business plans, marketing plans and other activities to assist vendors with being successful on their self-employment sites. 3) Provide new opportunities and incentives to generate upward mobility career paths for people who are blind participating in the Randolph-Sheppard Program. 4) Providing ways and means to secure health care, pension and other benefits for people who are blind participating in the program. 5) Retaining the priority and exclusivity of the Randolph-Sheppard Program for people who are blind. 6) Providing support for the establishment of programs that create new additional employment opportunities for people with other disabilities without taking Randolph-Sheppard jobs away from people who are blind. 7) To provide safeguards to correct and prevent abuses in the intent, mission and purpose of the Randolph-Sheppard Act thereby preserving this valuable program for future generations of people who are blind.”
Motion 29: Ms, Jackson moved the adoption of Resolution 2007-30. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
The Nominations Committee presented Dr. Ed “Doc” Bradley as its choice for Second Vice President and Ms. Brenda Dillon was nominated by Ms. Marcia Dresser. The results of this election were as follows: Ms. Dillon received 50.66 percent with 500.5 votes and Dr. Bradley received 49.34 percent and 487.5 votes.
The office of Secretary came with Ms. Marlaina Lieberg being the Nominations Committee choice. Ms. Judy Jackson was nominated by Mr. Michael Byington and Ms. Lynne Koral, nominated by Mr. Jim Swartz. The election results are as follows: With 926 total votes, Ms. Lieberg received 498 votes and 53.78 percent; Ms. Jackson received 338.5 votes with 36.56 percent and Ms. Koral received 89.5 votes with 9.67.
Resolution 2007-25 submitted by CCLVI – White Paper “...resolved that this organization commend the ACB Task Force on Rehabilitation issues for its white paper on rehabilitation and training; and Be it further resolved that this organization ratify the action of the ACB Board of Directors and adopt the white paper on rehabilitation training as the statement of the official position of the American Council of the Blind on rehabilitation training of people who are blind and visually impaired.”
Motion 30: Ms. Jackson moved adoption of Resolution 2007-25. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Resolution 2007-29 submitted by Mr. Alan Petersen - Accessible Currency. "...resolved that this organization urge the United States Congress and the President of the United States enact legislation implementing the ruling of District Court Judge James Robertson in American Council of the Blind v. Secretary of the United States Treasury; and, Be it further resolved that this organization commend Representative Stark for his ground-breaking work in addressing this issue.”
Motion 31: Ms. Jackson moved adoption of the Resolution 2007-29. On a voice vote, the motion passed unanimously.
Motion 32: Mr. Michael Byington moved to suspend the rules and adopt three courtesy resolutions without being read. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Motion 33: President Gray entertained a motion to adopt the three courtesy resolutions without their being read. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Motion 34: Ms, Cathie Skivers moved to elect Mr. Michael Godino to the position of treasurer. The motion passed unanimously. Since Ms. Dillon vacated her board seat to become the second vice president, an election was held to fill that position. Five nominations were made with Mr. Richard Rheuda nominating Ms. Cammie Vloedman. Ms. Billie Jean Keith nominated Ms. Rebecca Floyd Collins. Next Mr. Mike Hoenig nominated Ms. Donna Seliger. Mr. Ken Rogers was nominated and the last nominee was Ms. Jean Mann. The total number of votes was 873 with Ms. Vloedman receiving 238.5 votes and 27.32 percent. Ms. Floyd received 248 votes with 28.41 percent. Then Ms. Seliger received 184.5 votes and 21.13 percent. Mr. Rogers came in with 122.5 votes and 14.03 percent, Ms. Mann received 79.5 votes and 9.11 percent.
Resolution 2007-04 submitted by California Council of the Blind – Health Care Record Systems "...resolved that this organization initiate and participate in discussions with legislators and health care administrators concerning the establishment of paperless health care record systems so as to ensure that their designs will enable consumers who are blind and visually impaired to have equal access to such systems."
Motion 35: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of Resolution 2007-04. On a voice vote the motion carried.
Resolution 2007-11 submitted by Mr. Ken Stewart - Quiet cars. "...resolved that this organization direct its officers, directors, staff and its Environmental Access Committee to work with manufacturers of hybrid and quiet cars to ensure that these vehicles have a means of being detected to indicate their presence during both their moving and idling phases; and Be it further resolved that if significant progress is not made with manufacturers over the coming year, this organization shall seek all remedies through Federal legislative and regulatory actions as well as through assisting its state affiliates in seeking such remedies at state levels.”
Motion 36: Ms. Jackson moved to adopt Resolution 2007-11. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Motion 37: Mr. Michael Byington moved to amend the resolution per Ms. Brunson’s suggestion. The motion carried on a voice vote.
Motion 38: Mr. David Trott moved to refer Resolution 2007-11 to the Environmental Access Committee. The motion failed on a voice vote.
Motion 39: Mr. Byington moved to drop the last resolve clause of Resolution 2007-11 and replace it with: “Be it further resolved that the 2008 convention of ACB will receive a report on progress made with this resolution.” The motion carried on a voice vote.
As a result of the election for the vacant board seat, only the top two candidates engaged in a run off election: Ms. Rebecca Floyd Collins, 388 votes with 44.96 percent and Ms. Cammie Vloedman, 475 votes with 55.04 percent.
Resolution 2007- 14 submitted by Mr. Joe Harcz – Voting “…resolved that the President of this organization within ninety (90) days of the close of the 2007 convention appoint a task force that will examine all means of establishing a secret ballot; and, Be it further resolved that a comprehensive report be developed on the issue and posted on the ACB website and presented for consideration at the 2008 mid-year board meeting; and, Be it further resolved as a point of clarification that this resolution does not include the casting of affiliate votes during a roll call vote as those votes should be reported publicly.”
Motion 40: Ms. Jackson moved the adoption of Resolution 2007-14. On a voice vote, the motion failed.
Resolution 2007-32 submitted by Members of the Long Island Chapter - Absentee Voting. "...resolved that this organization direct its officers and directors to appoint a task force to prepare a written plan outlining specific actions that may be taken to develop procedures for absentee voting for all standing votes (one member equals one vote) conducted at the ACB convention; and, Be it further resolved that the provisions of the afore-mentioned plan shall apply only to standing votes and shall not impact roll call votes, affiliate votes or voice votes where no roll call voting is conducted; and, Be it further resolved the afore-mentioned plan shall outline a range of solutions available to implement absentee balloting; and, Be it further resolved that any amendment to ACB’s Constitutions which are required to implement the plan which is created as a result of the adoption of this resolution shall be drafted by the ACB Officers and Directors or a task force appointed by them and submitted to the ACB Constitution and By-Laws Committee; and, Be it further resolved that after the completion of the plan authorized by the adoption of this resolution that such plan be posted on all ACB listservs, the ACB website and disseminated to ACB members to the maximum extent practicable.”
Motion 41: Ms. Jackson stated the Resolutions Committee recommended not passing Resolution 2007-32. The motion failed on a voice vote.
The new ACB President, Mitch Pomerantz, announced the Membership Committee Chair, Ms. Ardis Bazyn will continue in that role. The new Chair of the Board of Publications will be Mr. Paul Edwards and the additional appointee to the BOP will be Ms. Jeanine Stanley.
President Gray suggested the remaining resolutions be sent to the Board of Directors to consider during the Post-Convention Board Meeting.
Motion 42: A motion was made from the floor that any resolutions that were recommended to refer to automatically refer them. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Motion 43: Ms. Pat Beattie Moved to refer remaining resolutions to the post-convention board meeting. On a voice vote, the motion carried. (For information on these resolutions, see the Post-Convention Board Meeting Minutes at acb.org under the ‘Speeches and Meetings” link.)
Motion 44: A motion was made from the membership that when leading the Pledge of Allegiance, the person says: “Attention, Salute, and Pledge.” The motion was adopted by consensus.
Motion 45: A second motion was made to sing "God Bless America" following the Pledge of Allegiance before each meeting of the convention. The motion fails on a voice vote,
Dr. Ron Milliman, Chair of the MMS Program gave a final report. He stated $7,850 was contributed from the membership during the convention.
Motion 46: Mr. Paul Edwards moved that we ask the Board of Directors to work in collaboration with our new President to try to assure that next year there will be sufficient time to complete the business of the organization, (Mr. Edwards stated he is particularly concerned that for the past few years we have given up Saturdays which have been a part of the meeting time in the past. I am suggesting that the Board work with the new President to find time to conclude ACB’s business.) On a voice vote, the motion carried.
President Gray adjourned the 46th American Council of the Blind annual convention at 5:10pm Central Daylight Time.
Donna Seliger, Secretary