by Marcia Dresser

The ACB board of directors held its pre-convention board meeting on Saturday, July 10 at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz. All board members were present except Cammie Vloedman, who was unable to attend the convention because of work responsibilities.

President Mitch Pomerantz convened the meeting at 11:15 a.m. Mountain time. David Trott moved to adopt the meeting agenda as distributed, and Marlaina Lieberg seconded; the motion carried unanimously. Trott moved and Billie Jean Keith seconded a motion to accept the minutes of the June teleconference; this motion also passed unanimously.

In his president's report, Pomerantz said that two USC students interviewed six blind and visually impaired high school students for a film they are making called "Do You Dream in Color?" He hopes that we can screen the film at the 2011 convention if it is produced. After attending the 20th anniversary celebration for the Americans with Disabilities Act in Washington, D.C., on July 26, he and Melanie Brunson will head to Minneapolis to visit the ACB office there. In closing, Pomerantz thanked the five members completing terms on the board for their service. (Ray Campbell and Jeff Thom are eligible for a second term. Carla Ruschival and Patrick Sheehan are rotating off the board after completing two terms. Vloedman is not eligible for a second term because she moved to Virginia, where Keith resides.) Campbell moved to accept the president's report, and Lieberg seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Brunson began her executive director's report by stating that Patricia Castillo and Dena Wilson wished to convey that they enjoyed their time at ACB and appreciated the opportunity to work with and get to know ACB members and staff. She will be recruiting for Castillo's position shortly. The Social Security Administration has expanded the types of formats available for accessible statements because so many people asked for large print. The World Intellectual Property Organization is attempting to craft a treaty to allow accessible files to be shared internationally. The World Blind Union proposed the treaty, and ACB is taking a lead role in attempting to get it passed. Brunson said it was very moving to meet people in Geneva and hear their stories of how desperately they need reading material.

Regarding legislation, Eric Bridges thinks that H.R. 734 and its companion bill S. 741, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, should both pass by the end of July. ACB's language is in both bills. The resolution thanking Apple for the iPhone has been shared with an Apple executive. The vehicle donation legislation, H.R. 571, is intended to relax IRS laws that were tightened six or seven years ago because people were taking advantage of a loophole. It has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. Although it has 150 bipartisan co-sponsors, it will probably not go anywhere this year. The ACB resolution on health care directed the staff to make Congress aware of the specific needs of blind and visually impaired people and that these be put into any health care legislation; unfortunately, this did not happen. Bridges will continue to bring these issues to Congress. H.R. 3101, the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, and its Senate companion bill, S. 3304, have gained momentum since the members of Congress finally realize the importance of this issue. The goal is to get this legislation passed in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, hopefully with FCC authority and provisions for the deaf-blind intact.

Sharon Lovering reported that circulation of the Braille Forum is down in all formats except e-mail, which is up 7.6 percent. The braille edition is the highest braille circulation magazine in the U.S.

Following a short break, the meeting resumed at 1 p.m., when the board entertained bids from Columbus, Ohio, and Las Vegas, Nevada, to host the 2013 and 2014 national conventions. Following these telephone presentations, Trott moved that the 2013 convention be held in Columbus, and that a decision on 2014 be deferred until Ruschival checks out a last-minute bid from Atlanta. The motion was seconded by Marsha Farrow and passed unanimously. The board will meet via conference call in mid-August to make a decision on the site of the 2014 convention.

Berl Colley reported that he, Lieberg, and Ardis Bazyn had a very productive visit to Idaho in May. A one-day seminar will be held this fall, and monthly conference calls will be organized. Hopefully, a core group of folks from Idaho, including potential officers, will attend the 2011 convention. Gray moved that the report be accepted, and Campbell seconded; the motion carried.

Next, a lengthy discussion ensued concerning ACB life memberships. Lane Waters has been able to recoup quite a bit of the outstanding money from installment payments. Billie Jean Keith made the following motion: Persons will be installed as life members of the American Council of the Blind when full payment is received. Those who voted for the motion were Dillon, Lieberg, Godino, Campbell, Farrow, Garrett, Keith, Ruschival, and Sheehan; those opposed were Charlson, Gray, Colley, Thom, and Trott. Campbell will explain this new policy in an article he will write for "The Braille Forum."

Larry Turnbull, director of ACB Radio, reported that Mainstream now has a much better sound quality, especially during live shows. He is working on getting Treasure Trove back in house. Since he took over as director, he has added eight new broadcasters. Programs broadcast from IAAIS include Sports Illustrated, Oprah, Audio Book Review, and some content for kids; these have been very positively received. ACB Radio streamed the 60th anniversary celebration of Enchanted Hills Camp in California, which had 60 listeners, and the performance of the Ohio School for the Blind marching band at the Rose Bowl Parade, which had 45 listeners. Lieberg moved to accept Turnbull's report and Thom seconded; the motion carried.

Brunson and Charlson reported that the new handbook for the board of directors should be ready shortly after convention. Organizations that fund strategic planning will be researched. Trott moved acceptance of this report and Lieberg seconded; the motion carried.

Michael Garrett announced that, unfortunately, there is no funding for the proposed youth seminar, which was to be held in 2011. He and his committee will continue to seek funding with the goal of holding this event in 2012. Lieberg moved acceptance of this report, and Trott seconded; the motion carried.

The board of directors commended Carla Ruschival for fantastic convention planning. Margarine Beaman raised over $75,000 for this convention!

Following a short discussion of the board of directors e-mail list, the meeting adjourned at 5 p.m. Mountain time.

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