As most of us are aware, the elections this year are for the positions of Director At Large. Since many of the candidates in this large field are unknown to us, at least in regards to their positions on issues affecting the Siamese breed, I posed a question to them that will better help us in determining who will best serve our needs. The question was as follows:
Although WIAB has been enacted, it is just a policy, and could be rescinded should enough Board members wish to vote that way. If a motion to rescind WIAB is placed before the Board, will you vote for it?
There has been debate recently about the activities the Breed Council Secretary should engage in to effectively carry out the job. My belief is that a large part of those responsibilities is making sure that the Board knows the wishes of the Breed Council members and that the Board is responsive to those wishes. The reason people come into the Cat Fancy is because of their attraction to a specific breed. Those who go so far as to register a cattery and join a breed council do so because they have a commitment to that breed and are interested in the future of that breed. There are a few who go on to work for CFA after their interest in breeding has ended, but even most of those people tend to retain a strong interest in their original breed.
The Breed Council Secretaries provide the one link that the Councils have to be sure that the Board hears members’ voices. While they do not have the power of a vote on the Board, they can make sure that the wishes of their members are heard through the medium of polls, newsletters and candidate recommendations. The candidate recommendations have been particularly important for the Siamese Breed Council lately, as issues have been before the Board that are imperative for the Siamese breed. While we may approve of a Board member’s work in different areas of CFA, if they are going to vote against or for an issue that a Breed Council feels will be damaging to their breed, we need to know. While other areas of CFA are also important, they are secondary to our breed. They are not the issues that keep us in cats, cleaning litter pans, delivering kittens at 2am and spending long weekends and hard cash at the shows. It’s our love of our breed that is the focus of our time in the cat fancy, and therefore that is the first thing we should consider when voting for a candidate.
Had the last election gone differently we may well have been looking at pointed Orientals in the show ring this May. Instead, with the passage of WIAB, for the first time in many, many years, there was no question on our ballot regarding pointed Orientals in any form. While WIAB is generally very important to CFA and its direction, it is the one thing that ensures the survival of our breed as we know it. And it was knowing how the candidates would vote on WIAB that enabled us to decided who would best represent our breed at the Board table.
I asked the question I did because of the importance of WIAB to the survival of the Siamese breed. At least two-thirds of the Breed Council membership support this policy, and have supported this policy for many years. With so many unknown candidates running this year, and so many who have voted against the policy in previous years, it seemed a good place to start. The question was emailed or faxed to all candidates. All but one of the candidates responded to the poll.
Joan Miller, Diana Doernberg, Stan Barnaby, Donna Jean Thompson and Betty White all reaffirmed their strong support of WIAB. Bob Molino also stated his strong opposition to rescinding WIAB. Although Bob is not currently a Board member, he is one of those who worked very hard to get the policy passed, supporting it with financial as well as verbal support.
Darrell Newkirk and Joanne Cummings also expressed strong support for WIAB and stated that they would not vote to rescind it.
Although Pam Delabar and Kim Everett have both voted against WIAB when it was before the Board, this time they stated that they would not vote to rescind the policy. Pam stated briefly: “No (not vote to rescind), I agreed with the principle of WIAB but did not like the procedure in which it was enacted at the time.” Kim Everett stated: “I would not vote to change the policy (WIAB) unless the clubs and/or breed councils voted in the affirmative to do so.”
Patty Jaccobberger and Gary Veach did not support WIAB. Patty did not clearly state whether or not she would vote to rescind the policy, but she did make clear that she had never supported it in the past, and felt that it harmed CFA’s future. She raised these objections: “First, the enactment of WIAB severely limits the ability of breeders to control the direction of the breeds they work with....Second, WIAB has and will severely limit CFA’s expansion in the International arena in regards to registration and exhibition of cats.” Gary Veach would rescind the policy, stating: “While I believe that WIAB has many positive merits, I have a concern for the fairness to the large number of cats it seeks to exclude.” He further stated “I believe that the WIAB policy as it stands, has only resulted in a very divided CFA. We cannot progress with such a separation.”
Jerry Woolard chose not to respond, and I was unable to poll the European candidate.
From the above responses it is clear that there are some obvious choices. I would strongly recommend that the Breed Council continue to vote for Diana Doernberg, Joan Miller, Betty White, Donna Jean Thompson and Stan Barnaby. These people have worked hard in the past for policies that benefited our breed and I hope that they have earned our support and loyalty for all the efforts they have expended previously. I would also add Bob Molino to that group as he has always had a commitment to WIAB, and did all that he could to advance its cause.
Beyond past performances, however, I think that these six people will be able to help us move into the future. The current Board members of this group are already actively engaged in activities that will move CFA forward, such as the increasing the visibility of our pedigreed cats, fighting animal legislation and promoting the breeds. Bob Molino will be able to bring his extensive business background to bear on some of our most intransigent problems, such as streamlining the business end of CFA and developing procedures to eliminate waste. His contacts will also be very helpful in gaining national attention for our sport.
That leaves several people vying for the additional Board seat. I would recommend that you all take a close look at these candidates. Read their flyers, examine their past CFA and work related experience as well as their positions on other issues. We now know how they will vote in regards to WIAB. Three of the candidates never voted for it in the past, Pam Delabar, Kim Everett and Patty Jaccobberger. Although two have taken a different position this time, past voting records should be taken into account. Patty and Gary Veach do not support WIAB. Although I do not agree with the conclusions they have drawn, I must say that I respect the honesty and forthrightness of their expression
The fact that Jerry Woolard chose not to respond leads me to believe that he would not be very supportive of the Breed Councils at the Board level, regardless of his position on WIAB. For that reason alone I could not support him .
There are several other brief matters that I would like to address in addition to this election.
One, the protest filed against me by Shannon Ramsey was dismissed at the February Board meeting. The Board found that there was no evidence to support the allegations.
Two, Debbie Knorr will shortly be mailing out a letter asking for donations for this year’s awards. We hope that everyone will be willing to contribute a minimum of ten dollars to the awards. If everyone were to send in that amount it would not only fund this year’s but the following year’s as well, and we could leave everyone alone for one year! Included with this letter will be the choices for this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Two choices have been selected to vote for this year. The committee that was appointed to look into developing criteria for this award has come up with a proposal that will be presented at the Annual Breakfast.
Also, I need to mention that our Breed Council voted overwhelmingly that pointed Tonkinese do affect the Siamese breed, at least at this time. The Board took no action on this matter.
And for those who are not aware of the poll that is running on the CFA website, I urge you to take a look and complete it. The poll gives you a chance to make your wishes known regarding the planned publicity show in Madison Square Garden. It’s your chance to weigh in on this latest venture of CFA. I believe that the Cat Fancy in general and CFA in particular need to gain a lot more of the national publicity share than they currently receive and that it is important to do it in a way that benefits all of us. I hope all of you will take the opportunity to participate, as this committee, chaired by Betty White, is eager to plan a show that we will all feel proud of. CFA@theGarden poll.
Candidate websites (known as of date of this newsletter):
Donna Jean Thompson
Pam DelaBar – unknown
Kim Everett – unknown
Gary Veach – unknown
Jeri Woolard – unknown
Juergen Steinbrenner – unknown
Website and Breed Booth: We need pictures for both the breed booth and website. For the website we would like to have pictures of all of our DMs and National/Regional winning cats (including top three in breed and color nationally, and top three in breed regionally), not just this last year but for as many years as possible. For the breed booth, we’d like some candid pictures of Siamese cats. If you have pictures already scanned, that’s fantastic. If not, you can send them to anyone working on the two projects and the pictures will be scanned and returned. In addtion, Mary Kolencik will have a laptop and scanner at the annual and can scan pictures and return them immediately. Please contact either Mary Kolencik (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Deb Knorr (email@example.com) for more information on where to send pictures.
For those receiving this newsletter through the regular mail, we now have an e-mail list for Siamese Breed Council members and invited guests. If you are on-line and would like to join us, just send a subscription request to firstname.lastname@example.org.