Re: Winter Scientific Meeting (Part Three)
> This last part of my continuing discussion about the Winter Meeting
> relates to what happened AFTER the Meeting. At the beginning I want to
> express appreciation to the President of the AHS who is taking several
> initiatives to solve a backlog of problems within the AHS which are a
> carryover from the past administration. His hard work and dedication are
> applauded. However, some programs and policies flowing from these
> efforts may represent individual or collective work of several
> individual "Decisionmakers" within the Board of Directors. When I
> discover faulty or divisive policies, I, like others, may disagree
> strongly when necessary. That is what I am doing in this post. I am
> discussing faulty policies. If policy makers insist they are right, then
> I may address the actions of the policy makers themselves.
> I am not speaking on behalf of growers. Many of them have spoken for
> themselves in a series of electronic posts in recent weeks indicating
> strong objections to the IAC Program described in the last Edition of
> the Hosta Journal. I wish to address several related policies and
> regulations that have been mentioned previously.
> After the Meeting the normal pattern of friendly disussion occurred in
> hallways, in the Hospitality Rooms, in private rooms, in the lobby and
> over dinner with friends. These were largely reactions to the AHS
> Officials' Panel Discussion. I did not attend the Growers Meeting which
> occurred immediately after but I got reactions from several participants
> who did attend.
> The general reaction to the IAC Program and related Policies was
> NEGATIVE, almost universally. The only supporters appeared to be friends
> and family of Board Members, newcomers unfamiliar with details and
> background and a few people who might benefit in some way or other.Most
> attendees were not interested or were unaware of the IAC Program. Of
> those attendees who expressed verbal opinions, I would estimate that 95
> percent were AGAINST and 5 percent were FOR the Program....and that's a
> very conservative estimate.
> By chance I encountered Jim Wilkins in the hallway near the lobby. We
> approached, greeted each other and began a lively discussion about
> health matters, mutual activiites and the Panel Discussion. I
> congradulated Jim on previously announced AHS policies regarding
> Registration in which costs were reduced and the registration processes
> were simplified. I suggested to him that this change from an environment
> of dissincentives to an environment of incentives was a good change to
> encourage an increased rate of registration. I suggested that this alone
> would in time solve perceived but undescribed problems re registration.
> I characterized the IAC Program, however, as a step too far...not
> needed...an answer to a problem that will not exist soon, now that an
> incentive environment to register has been insitutionalized. I assured
> him that I planned to register all of my plants worthy of registration
> just as soon as they mature and flower. I believe that everyone else
> has the same intentions. I suggested that the punative measures
> associated with the IAC were disincentives toward cooperation and
> participation in various AHS activities.
> Jim responded in saying that he did not think that the IAC was punative,
> but rather was rewarding to those who participated as Preferred Growers.
> He viewed the IAC as the best means to achieve increased registrations
> and to solve other problems.
> I repeated my opinion that I was only one of many who opposed IAC and
> its related polocies because it punishes those who do not fall into
> line. I mentioned a dozen or so leaders in the AHS who have indicated
> their opposition to IAC in conversations with me. I warned that the
> manner of making these policy decisions and the rigid position taken by
> the Board would result in serious damage to the AHS in terms of lack of
> harmony, participation, cooperation and contributions of many kinds by
> some within the membership. I expressed my opinion that in terms of
> feasibility, the costs and harm done would far exceed any benefits hoped
> for by the Program.
> Jim's reaction to my comments was, (as best as I remember his
> words)...." I don't understand. The policy remains. If it is not
> excepted, we can be voted out at the next election". (Note: I think he
> understood what I said but did not agree with me. I interpreted " I
> don't understand" to mean "I don't understand why you don't agree with
> us and do what we decisionmakers say".
> As noted, we did not reach agreement on any of the recent policies,
> conflicts or points of view raise by the IAC Program and its related
> Policies. Jim did say that continued study of these problems may be
> necessary to try to resolve the conflicts. At least he is open for
> further study. I appreciate that the door is still ajar even if just a
> wee bit.
> In discussing this subject with dozens of attendees, growers, nurserymen
> and women, friends, newcomers, oldtimers and other Board members not
> involved or knowledgable of these decisions, I can say that almost to a
> man (or woman) they are opposed to being told what to do. Only a hosta
> cop on the internet here and there, only Officers on or off the Panel
> were supportive of the IAC. What does this tell us? It tells us that
> something is drastically wrong within AHS.
> I thought the AHS was a social club...a society of friends, not a
> political party or a financial endeavor. I thought our objective was to
> promote and encourage the use of hostas in our gardens through
> educational and scientific efforts...not the promotion of individuals,
> decisionmakers or special nurserymen in their pursuit of power,
> prestigue, advantage over others or money. In my opinion, we have gotten
> off track. We have forgotten why we are here. We have forgotten that
> harmony in our ranks is necessary to achieve our objectives. We can't
> survive under dictatorial edicts. It is not in our nature.
> I wish to remind all that we garden for the rewards of beauty,
> understanding and spiritual experiences that we receive from our
> gardening efforts. If some gardeners impose bad rules, policies and
> regulations about gardening on others who don't want them, this creates
> conflicts which subtract from the rewards we seek as a group. Please
> don't destroy the group by trying to impose your will and your assumed
> power on others.
> Jim Hawes
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