Meeting Minutes: May 7, 2018

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Monday, May 7, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Louise’s Trattoria
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:22 p.m.

Present: Joel Bellman, Stephanie Bluestein, Tom Bray, Sarah Favot, Dick Hendrickson, Kathryn Mora, Richard Saxton, Lori Streifler, Alice Walton, Roberta Wax Julia Wick, Natalie Windsor and Dave Zahniser

1. Approval of minutes from the April 2 meeting: Wax moved to approve, Bellman seconded. Windsor abstained. Approved.

2. President’s report – Bluestein shared highlights from the regional director’s meeting which took place on Friday afternoon before the evening reception kicking off the regional conference. The next regional conference will be in Las Vegas in 2019 and Hawaii in 2020. The regional conference will return to Los Angeles in six years. Region 11 Director Matt Hall mentioned he is running for secretary-treasurer on the national board. The need to get an accurate count of members was raised with Hall during this meeting. Bellman politely but firmly pressed that our chapter has been frustrated for a long time. Hall said he will look into it.

3. Treasurer’s report – Hendrickson said this month’s report is rather complex. He reviewed the sponsorship money we received for the conference. Under accounts receivable, we are still waiting for banquet checks from two media companies that each purchased a table. Bluestein wrote a check for $130 to pay for the MOE lunches for the regional director and the director-at-large. Bellman made a motion to reimburse Bluestein for those lunches. Wax and Favot seconded. A vote was called. All voted in favor; Bluestein abstained. It was noted that GoDaddy, our chapter’s website host, is no longer charging us $10 a month because Marcellino paid $207.63 to GoDaddy for a long-term term contact, for which she was reimbursed. Hendrickson requested that SPJ checks no longer be sent to him in L.A. He said that Bluestein had suggested mail just be forwarded to her, so she can make deposits at her local bank branch. Bellman moved to forward mail to Stephanie. Windsor seconded and the group voted unanimously in favor. Hendrickson will continue to be the treasurer through the end of the calendar year. Discussion followed about opening a U.S. Post Office box for the chapter. Bluestein said she would look into that possibility. A few questions were raised by the independent auditors who looked at our financial records covering the fiscal year. Firstly, they wanted to know whether payments were owed to the Omni Hotel for previous banquets; Walton said she will look into it. In addition, a receipt of a check paid to Molly Malone’s for last year’s mega-mixer is missing; Bellman will follow up on it. We also need the receipt for a check sent to CSUN for high school journalism day.

4. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees
a. Awards –Streifler and Marcellino. No report
b. Banquet – Walton says the reason we haven’t received payment from two media companies is that we are not consistent with our mailing addresses on the W-9 form. One company said they sent the check to the Hall of Justice building address that’s on our MailChimp. They will cut a new check and FedEx it to Walton at her home. Walton is following up with the other company to make sure the check is sent. Walton raised the idea of getting a permanent mailbox that can be checked once a month (discussion was had about potential locations, the consensus seems to be toward choosing a USPS office near either Louise’s or in the Valley).
c. Courts – No report.
d. Diversity – No report.
e. Ethics – Bellman said there was nothing local but mentioned the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. After looking into their finances, Bellman discovered that the WHCD loses a great deal of money every year. He does not believe that there is any action we need to take.
f. FOI – A discussion occurred about an invitation to join an amicus brief for a lawsuit involving a closed session meeting of Metrolink board of directors that has been challenged as being in violation of the Brown Act. The L.A. Times is a plaintiff, among others. All parties joining the amicus brief are asked to contribute $500. Bray, who is familiar with the request, said the amicus has already been filed but they will file an addendum if we want to join. Bluestein will seek a definitive answer on whether we can join without paying the full $500. Bluestein, Bellman, Zahniser and Bray will consult on this in the next few days.
g. Generation J – Wax said that SPJ/LA chapter member Melinda Brown will be trying to revive the SPJ student chapter at USC. Saxton volunteered to assist. Wax will put Saxton in touch with Brown.
h. Membership – No report.
i. Nominations – Bluestein said she wants to have a list of possible nominees by June to vote on who we would approach. Some names were suggested for the two seats that we need to fill.
j. Regional Conference– Favot thanked Bluestein for the endless hours she put into the conference. Favot said there were no major issues the day of with the conference. Our total revenue was $20,516, some of which is still pending. Once we receive the $500 grant from SPJ national, we will have made $1,804.68. Bluestein commented that getting sponsors was more difficult than had been anticipated. In the end, it was mostly First Amendment lawyers and PR firms, in addition to NBC4, which paid for the conference lanyards. Bluestein said considering all the layoffs in Southern California journalism this year, we did very well. Bluestein brought small gifts for the regional conference committee members. Favot moved to reimburse Bluestein for the $209 she spent on a hotel room so she could be on site early Saturday morning to help set up. Hendrickson seconded. The vote was approved. Zahniser underscored the importance of making sure people know that it’s an all-volunteer effort. Favot is going to do a short write-up on the event, possibly for Quill. Wax suggested including some endorsements from panelists. Bluestein wrote a 10-question online survey that was emailed to attendees, in an effort to get their feedback. Responses will be discussed at the next meeting.
k. Scholarships – Saxton expects to send out notices next Monday, give them 30 days to respond and have a deadline of mid-June and have an early-to-mid July announce. After the release is emailed to our members, Favot will post on the chapter’s website.

5. Old Business – no items for Old Business

6. New Business
a. Patt Morrison book signing– Bellman approached Morrison about the possibility of doing a signing and discussion of her new book, “Don’t Stop the Presses! Truth, Justice, and the American Newspaper.” Bellman said Morrison is interested and he has approached The Association about dates. Bellman will keep the group apprised of updates.
b. Mega-Mixer – Saxton has been in contact with Molly Malone’s to set a date for the mega-mixer. Due to the timing of a family event, Saxton is hoping to move the mega-mixer from our usual July to Wednesday, June 27.

7. Adjournment at 8:47 p.m.

Next board meeting: Monday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at Louise’s Trattoria

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