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Re: Almsbox - replying to Charles

ctuttle39@juno.com wrote:

> Re:  Ben's membership
> Whatever happened to the VERY serious accusations of plagiarism that were
> flying around last year??

I think that is an issue that will never be resolved.  The only way to do so
for the offended parties to seek legal remedy and/or to resolve this
Therefore, since this is a different issue and not really germaine to this
opening up an old wound doesn't really help to heal the current one.
Wouldn't you agree, Charles?

> If we are being asked to fund Ben's membership, why not take up a
> collection and give ALL worthy overseas members a free membership,
> supported by the overly generous donations of AHS members.

This would be a better way to resolve this so I agree in principle yet
perhaps not in methodology.

I proposed a decrease in international memberships by 10-25% (for three
years), to help encourage international memberships.  Even though many of us
have offered to pay Ben's dues (myself, Chick, possibly Barbara, now Carolyn
and others), this is not the real issue.  The issue is about how to attract
and retain members without prejudice.  Ben's concern was about a $5-6
perceived disparity, and he just happens to be the most vocal about this (is
there any doubt that where you see a mouse, there are others?  Is there any
doubt when you have one who complains, there are others?)

At the heart of the matter is how broad of a membership base does the AHS
want?  Do we want primarily US members, Western Hemisphere members, or are
we trying to expand the reach to include multi-national membership even more
than we have?   Certainly we must recognize that the "value" of AHS
membership is greatly diminished when one cannot (nearly as cost
effectively) participate in the annual convention, tour national gardens, or
participate in regional functions.

In most associations, you have a full membership level of participation, and
you have an affiliate membership level of participation.  Then, if an
affiliate comes to the convention, they must pay more than what a full
member pays.  It's really rather simple to implement.

In the AHS, we have an individual fee and a family fee.  Seems to me that
what Ben and some of the others OTP are probably seeking is pricing at an
affiliate membership level.  Or delivery of the Journal in the cheapest
manner possible.

IMO, the only fair way to address this issue is to address the BIGGER issue,
not just the value of Ben's personal membership fee.  One perceived
inequitable situation is not resolved by creating another perceived
inequitable situation.

Perhaps a membership rebate is in order.  And then we REALLY do need to find
a way to accept credit cards, and to do so rather quickly.  I do believe
that Bernie Diesen is addressing this with some other input from the Board,
so maybe one of the issues will be resolved shortly.

Or, as Kate said, maybe we can twist Ben's arm to get a Visa card (or twist
Paypal's to accept Mastercard).  What a confusing world.  I do know that
companies in France accept Mastercards from the U.S. so maybe we need to
work harder at making that equation work the other way around...)

One final option, which I believe Kevin has mentioned.  Just bundling the
whole magazine issue up as a PDF document and then emailing it to
international subscribers who opt NOT to receive the magazine in hard copy
(or to send it on a CD-ROM?).   This could be an amazingly good solution, IF
the copyrights can be easily protected.  For some reason, I just see that
option as a little too complex.  Technology can't be used to solve every

Andrew Lietzow

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