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Policy Conflict II


This is a continuation of a discussion of AHS policies and programs
flowing from them. They are
intended to be a summary of events and facts to inform AHS membership of
policies which affect the
well being of  the Society. It represents a partial critique of the
policies and in no way is intended to
be personal judgments of people themselves.

I have assessed the article written by President Jim Wilkins in Journal
29.2, page 99.. My comments

Jim Wilkins informs us that we have an increasing problem with
unregistered hostas. There are more
than 700 of them and more are coming in future years from hybridizers,
nurseries and tissue culture
labs.He explained that because the registration  process was difficult
and the costs were high, there
was little incentive to register new introductions. He says the problem
is complex.  I looked further
for what is the increasing problem. I could find no description of the
increasing problem except that
the numbers of plants that are yet unregistered are increasing. But what
is the problem? He didn't say.
I suggest that a discription of the problem  should have been made
first, then an analysis made to
determine if the problem is able to be solved. Included in this analysis
should be an estimation of its
costs, in qualitative and qualititive terms as well as expected
benefits, both qualitative and
quantitative..Only then should decisions be made to adopt policies which
lead to program decisions.
Summary of this portion of the article: The preliminary work in policy
and program design was
overlooked. The justification for the program is lacking. No proof is
given that the program is feasible
from a financial, economic, technical or social standpoint. Without such
justification the proposal
developed by whomever should not even have been presented and
considered for adoption and
implementation. The Board approved it nevertheless without meeting
common sense criteria.

But let us continue to examine other elements of the Policy/Program.

The program flowing from the approved policies will deal only with
hostas identified by a cultivar
name. No species names or cultivars with numbers will be included. No
reason is given for these
technical decisions.. It was simply a declaration...a rule, without an
explanation. If people are
expected to follow orders/rules, they need to be convinced that there is
a valid  reason that they
should. This decision. IMO, fails the social soundness  criteria needed
for widespread participation
by the general membership and the many nurserymen expected to be

The originator of the program was not identified. This is important
information to present because it
may reflect on why the program is being proposed for consideration An ad
hoc Committee was
established,  composed of Bob Solberg, representing the Growers
Association, Steve Greene
(Owner of The Hosta Finder, a reference book for retail  prices and
sources of hostas), Warren I
Pollock,and Jim Wilkins, Committee Chairman. Others who provided
services in the development of
the Policy/Program  include C.H. Falstad, W. George Schmid and Dave
No comment is made regarding the selection of this Committee. I prefer
not to make comments on
anyone person selected because this could become  an inflamatory
subject. I will let others comment
in such cases where  selection affects them personally. Thus, I will
remain flame-free.

Rules decided upon are many and detailed. I will summarize the most
important of them as listed by
the author.

Starting Jan.1,1999, hostas on the IAC list published in the Journal,
compiled by Steve Greene, will
be identified as IAC designated plants.When these plants are registered,
this designation will be
dropped. The goal is for all IAC plants to be registered by 1999 and

Starting Jan. 1, 1999, all IAC designator plants not registered will not
be allowed into AHS events or
publications. They may only be referred to by parentage (meaning
seedlings or sports of H. "x", for
example). A list of these plants  which have been so designated will be
published in early 2001.

The details of these rules are so overwhelming in their attempt at
control and   manipulation of
people's behavior, that no further comments are needed. These rules fail
in any social soundness
criteria analysis.. Non- participation by members and growers has
already occurred on a massive
scale and is expected to increase. Short term performances and repulsion
of these rules has been
observed by many. This   points out  the failure of these rules to
encourage stated  objectives of the
Society. These polices are producing the opposite effect of what is
desired. There certainly has been
no proof that increased registration of named hosta cultvars has
resulted from adoption of these rules.
I give this element of the Program  a big minus for obvious reasons.

The program provides for registering proceedures to be simplified and
that costs be reduced . This
has indeed provided the incentive for those with new introductions
"worthy" of being registered, to
proceed when the plant is considered mature and stabilized to a uniform
morphology. I think this is
the best
part of the Program. In fact, this is the only part of the program that
is needed to accomplish stated
objectives. I congradulate the Committee for instituting this provision.
But the rest of the elements  are
not needed. They should be scrapped as being non- feasible and
worthless, thus should be

The program provides for educating AHS membership on the importance of
registration. The AHS
will try to influence members  of regional and local societies to only
buy and sell registered hostas
after Jan 1 2001.

IMO, this smacks of manipulation of membership.. To achieve this goal, I
suggest that first, it is
necessary to demonstrate the importance of registration .Since this has
not yet been done, it is
important to first identify the reasons why named hostas should be
registered, and to demonstrate just
how important registration really is. Until this is done, no claims that
it is important should, or can, in
all honesty,   be made.

The Program description continues with...Working with the American Hosta
Growers Association,
the Committee will attempt to obtain a committment of growers who will
buy and sell only registered
hosta plants. A list of Preferred Growers  who commit themselves to the
ethical and professional
standards (only registered hostas after Jan 1 2001) , will be
established, promoted,etc.

Only Preferred Growers will be given incentives to:
   - use theur distinctive logos in AHS publications
   - be listed annually
   -be on the hosta growers list sent out to new members
   -listed on the AHS Web Page
   -allowed to advertize in  AHS publications
   -allowed to sell at Concventions

In summary, Jim Wilkins explained that the program will be LARGE  and
he will report periodically on progress.

For those of us who are keeping track of the response of growers,
nurserymen, tc labs and just plain
hosta gardeners to these rules within the Program, I believe it can be
summarized that the
simplification of the registration proceedures and the cost reductions
are positive incentives to register
new introductions. Other than that,  the rest of the program should be
scrapped because the devil is
in the details, so to speak. Many details, rules, prohibitions,
incentives to some and punishnments to
others and lack of rational makes the overall program destined to
failure. If you don't believe it,  talk
to the growers . Almost to a man (and woman) they are opposed the all
elements of the program
except the simplification of registration and lowering of the costs of
registration. My recommendation
is to junk everything else in the program. It doesn't meet the usual
accepted  criteria for a successful

This critique has not been requested by anyone. It is my personal
opinion. In the absence of any
periodical report from the president during the last year as promissed,
I can make no other
conclusions than those I have made based upon my own examination of
events as they have
Jim Hawes

The next discussion will be a continuation of AHS policies as described
by the Panel of AHS officials
at the Winter Scientific Meeting in Jan. 1999. Stay tuned if interested.

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