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mormonyoyoman
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After much soul-searching, I had to post the following to the little-known Executive Committee:

It is with regret that I cannot renew my S.A.M. membership this year.

With the multiple losses this year (of John & Richard as M-U-M editors, of SAMtalking), with the fear that further benefits and privileges of membership may also be taken away, and with the rise in dues all coming at once, it distinctly feels as if the S.A.M. quite frankly wants me to leave. It is a shame, since we finally settled down to a permanent address and I was about to become more active in the Society, but it evidently was not meant to be.

I'll be looking in next year, and seeing if benefits are further eroded or restored, or if membership dues go up again. If things look rosier than they do now, I'll be back.

Not that I expect this will make any difference to anyone. We little people aren't considered very important.


Hated to do it; S.A.M. had become an exciting part of my life and the S.A.M. that existed before this year was a vital and vigorous place to be. It was a hard lesson to learn that mere members such as I are almost completely powerless to make a difference this year. I'm surely hoping things will be better next summer.

Sadly and with a great sense of loss,
---Grandpa Chet
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Merlina
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Maria Ibanez
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Greetings,

dear Grandpa Chet, it is us, the other members of the S.A.M. who will be suffering the loss -- you have always been a voice of reason and fairness. I for one am saddened that you have decided to leave the Society and not renew but I know that your decision was not lightly taken because knowing you I know you think things through thoroughly and you must have tried every avenue available before making this decision.

Hard feelings and feelings as though you don't count or don't matter are both feelings that are in a way like sugar substitutes....they leave a bad taste in the mouth and it's hard to get rid of the taste at a later date. I am afraid I've heard from several others who share your feelings and who may end up doing the same.

Membership retention is one of the most important jobs of any person in a position of leadership.....new members who may replace the ones that are gone does not really constitute growth. I would hope that by now the membership committee has at least contacted you to see why you feel as you do, the co-chairs of the committe are Marlene Clark who is the National Secretary and Mark Weidhaas who is 1st Vice President and will consequently be National President in 2 years after Mike Miller.

Member or not, you will always be a friend and please do not hesitate to let me know if I may ever be of any assistance.

And my friend remember to always keep a dream in the making for you create your tomorrows by what you dream today.

Maria Ibanez
Erich Troudt
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First off I applaud you. You don't like whats going down and you do something about it. Lots of people will complain but yet continue to send in their money.

Quote:
Not that I expect this will make any difference to anyone.


Nice to see you realize that too. I think several hundred people would have to drop, all for the same reason, before it made an effect and caused a change.

I'm with ya, come April when my dues are up, I'm done too.
mormonyoyoman
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I just couldn't see a reason to spend $65.00 to be treated as if I was of no consequence. It's like when one of the elite phoned me to tell me that (1) everything's the fault of Maria and (2) all the S.A.M. members want is to play magician by performing for each other. With such a condescending attitude prevailing, there's no hope of things getting better anytime soon.

Depressedly,
--Grandpa Chet
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JRob
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Well, the Genii thread got locked. At least the comments are still there to be read. You are also right about the leadership. By the time my membership is up for renewal the current slate of officers will have a foot out the door (or at least reaching for the handle to open it). That's roughly 6-7 months before I have to decide whether or not to write the check. If things remain the same I more than likely won't. Like I said in another forum, this stopped being about SAMTalking after a month of this nonsense. It will be interesting to see if the current bunch is willing to take a chance of going down in history as the leaders who presided over the biggest exodus in the history of SAM. I don't wish to leave SAM, but I refuse to continue to pay to have my intelligence insulted when I have a boss at my day job who pays me to have my intelligence insulted.
"Jim Roberts, AKA: Professor Jay Rob "<br>
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mormonyoyoman
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Quote:
On 2008-09-19 14:22, JRob wrote:I refuse to continue to pay to have my intelligence insulted when I have a boss at my day job who pays me to have my intelligence insulted.


This wins my Laugh-Out-Loud Funniest Post of the Week Award!

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
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JRob
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Ya see. There some things in SAM that bring a smile to your face...they just don't have official titles
"Jim Roberts, AKA: Professor Jay Rob "<br>
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Ba Ba Booey
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I've heard from other S.A.M. members that they are not going to renew their memberships, either. It's going to be an interesting year. At least if things to get better, you can always join up again.
Merlina
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Greetings,

dear Grandpa Chet, I'd like to address what you wrote above....

"(1) everything's the fault of Maria
(2) all the S.A.M. members want is to play magician by performing for each other"

How pray tell can line number (1) be justified? How exactly is anything the fault of Maria?

*it is not Maria who removed SAMtalking or any other benefit of membership during her Presidency or at any other time
*it is not Maria who has gone a week shy of two months without responding to the questions posed by concerned members
*it is not Maria who has received or ever received communication from any member saying they were resigning their membership or not renewing their membership in the SAM for this, that or the other reason

Reading further into your comment (2), it is not difficult to guess who the originator of such a comment was.....I heard it many a time in the past. It saddens me to think that anyone would think that way of any of our members or of any magician out there....that they are just "wanting to play magician and perform for each other"?

All the comments, e-mails, posts, letters, phone calls, etc. that I received during the year that I was honored to serve as YOUR President were positive, appreciative and heartwarming.....all those that I continue to receive whether by phone, e-mail, snail mail, posts, etc. continue to be positive, appreciative and heartwarming. Hardly a week goes by that I don't receive a card, floral arrangement, fruit basket, phone call, or other show of appreciation and thanks from members and non-members who wish to express their thanks and recognition for whatever they feel I did for either them, the Society or the membership.

I only wish you had those comments in writing instead of verbal; I would turn it over to my attorney who would look into liable and/or slander, but, NO, that would only hurt our beloved Society and that is something I would not do or want. Reading it from you who was the one who was actually told makes it hearsay for me.

There is a Spanish saying which is "spilled water always seeks its own level" which loosely translated means the truth shall prevail. I know in my heart of hearts that I can, much as I wrote in one of my final columns in the MUM, that at the end of the day, I must be able to look at "The Man In The Glass". I go to sleep at night with a clear conscience that I did the best I could for and on behalf of the membership that elected me to be their representative.

My prayers are that our Society will not be the looser of more membership but rather that we should all work together for its improvement and a better and brighter tomorrow.

Jim (JRob), I am sorry you also have decided you might leave the Society -- loosing you will also be a great loss to the Society. I hope your "prediction" of a mass exodus does not prove to be true but I also agree with you, I would not wish to be a part of the "leaders who presided over the biggest exodus in the history of SAM"

Being told that it is all being blamed on "Maria" has hurt to the core, not just because I honestly and without any reservation feel that it is an unfounded and unfair accusation....I will continue to be available to anyone who feels I may be of any assistance, member or not -- feel free to contact me via e-mail at merlina17@aol.com or at merlina@merlina.com, by phone at home at 305-258-3414 or on my cell at 786-258-8762. If it's easier for you send me an e-mail and tell me when and where to call you and I will happily do so. If you wish to be placed on the "Have you heard" magic update newsletter which I send out once weekly (unless there are breaking news to share and then additional ones go out), then drop me an e-mail and I will add you to that mail list.

Always remember to keep a dream in the making for you create your tomorrows by what you dream today.

Respectfully

Maria Ibanez
mormonyoyoman
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Maria, I wouldn't have you hurt for anything -- and I did not repeat what was said to me lightly. I felt you - and everyone - had a right to know that you were being slandered.

I don't have the high hopes which you still seem to have, hope that the S.A.M. will fully recover from this using of the "small" members by The Elite.

-Still sadly,
--Grandpa Chet
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Father Photius
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You know in a time when prices are soaring for everything, postage goes up, utilities go up, food goes up, gas goes up, everything goes up, I know a lot of people are pressed for cash right now. But it is only logical that organizations are also suffering from the same price increases their members suffer from.

I was a manager (administrator) of a large medical school for 11 years. Every year our state support was cut further and further back. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements were cut further and further back. Our costs went up. We had to raise prices, yet if we raised prices in ratio to cost increases it would make our services too expensive except for only a few. We had to manage by cutting back on cost (which means slower or fewer services). We did that in order to keep the cost increase from eliminating the least number of potential patients.

The state legislature would order a 3% cost of living increase for all employees then cut our appropriation back by 12%, which mean solely from practice income we had to pay for the cost of living raise mandated but not funded by the legislature.

Only way you are going to do that is lower costs (services and personnel) and raise prices.

The SAMs increase while presented as a huge percentage really isn't that much of an increase. Most national fraternities and organizations charge much more and give much less. Yes, we lost Mum editors, but we get new ones, that is going to happen. Sam Talking hadn't really taken off, and in Maria's defense, she was one of the few users of it.

Organizations are what the members make of it. Members who get active, who run for office, who vote in the ballots (and every year a huge number of SAM members do not vote those ballots go into their circular file).

Blaming it on the current or former administration is just an excuse, the membership put those people there either by their vote or lack of vote.

Maria was one of the best presidents in SAM history. She communicated with the membership and listened to the membership. She isn't the board, she had limited power, but she used it to the best of the membership.

I can sit back and call anything a "Play at Magic", I can say that about ever ring and assembly, every national and international organization, I can even say the U.S. government just plays at being a country. Saying it don't make it so.

It is the weakest link theory, every organization is no stronger than its weakest link. Easy to sit back and complain, easy to quit, hard to get in there and work to make it better. I wish every SAM officer would work as hard as Maria did to make it better.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
mormonyoyoman
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This is one of the problems. During my time in the S.A.M., I was never allowed to vote. And the voting is arranged so that "little guy" members only get a part of a vote - Only the majority vote of an assembly is counted, and then as only one vote. Whereas many officers get a full vote - perhaps even more than one vote.

A disenfranchised membership is unlikely to enjoy having membership dues raised or benefits taken away. It's very much a taxation without representation kind of thing.

A membership which has some say in what's going on, is more likely to sit still for rate hikes.

I thought it was exaggeration, when I was first told that The Elite would bring pressure to delete or block any complaints I might bring up. Since then, I've seen threads locked off at the Genii Forum and received nastygram type e-mails and posts and at least one hostile phone call. I'm just grateful that I'm retired & the daughters are out on their own, so I have no one to worry about when it comes to retaliation.

Loving the S.A.M. that is no more,
--Grandpa Chet
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Father Photius
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I am well aware of how the SAM, IBM, and Academy of Magical Arts ballots, I'm a member of all three. I'm a member of SAM Assembly 13 in Dallas, Texas, clean across the state from where I live. There is no Ring or Assembly in El Paso even though there are probably well over 100 magicians in the area. Nobody wanted to take responsibility and do what needed to be done, they elected a group who "took the money and ran" and now would rather complain than have a club.
Dallas by contrast is a combined Ring / Assembly, very active, excellent program and commraderie every meeting, lecturers brought in, and played a large part in the SAM convention there two years ago.
But in spite of its member numbers, and very good attendance at meetings, basically about 5 people do all the work and have for years. Two primarily have kept it together and pitched in doing all the things that need to be done to have a successful club that nobody else wanted to do.
Yet , fortunately for the membership, when it comes time for the Assembly to vote, these people don't step in and usurp the vote, they solicit the membership and how that goes, so goes the Assembly vote. The Dallas clubs can boast a Regional VP and two past secretaries of the SAM.
The reality is if there are people willing to get in and do the work without the glory, the organization can be changed and made to be anything the membership wants it to be. Constitutions can be ammended or totally scrapped and redone. But it takes people. People being active. People wanting to work for the common good.
Offices in the Dallas Magic Clubs are not rotated between a limited number of people, but the work sure is. The membership is more than willing to sit back, cruise, and let them do it. The membership certainly derives the benefits of these peoples' work. But one day they won't be there anymore, and if no one else takes up the work, then you will see the membership by default elect people into office, who won't work, or won't work for the common good and you will see it fall away into nothing.
I've been trying for three years to establish a magic club here again. Not a ring or assembly, just a club to start, we can worry about affiliation with SAM and or IBM later. Most of the magicians here when you talk to them about it say "sure I'll join as long as so and so doesn't" It has not been a fruitful effort.
But if someone doesn't try there never will be a club here again. Now one other man, a member of Café has joined with me to try to raise a club again. It might take several more years, but if we keep after it, there will one day be a club.
If we decide to quit and just hope somebody else puts a club together or do as so many others, point to the past failed Ring and give it as our excuse for not trying, there never will be a club here.
As I said earlier it is the weakest link theory. No organization is stronger than its weakest link. The SAM officers we have is because the membership put them there. The consitution we have is because that is what the membership has allowed it to be or become. It isn't a disregard for the "little guy" it is the disregard of the little guy to do his part to work to make the organization what he or she thinks it should be.
Why do I belong to an Assembly clean across the largest State of the lower 48? Because it is the closest Assembly to me, and I can occassionally participate
and I can vote through that Assembly and I can participate to some degree. It is better than sitting in El Paso and bemoaning that there is no local assembly and not having any say.
I have a vote in the Dallas Assembly. I can vote for or against any candidate for office. I can support or decline to support any candidate for office in that assembly. I can financially support its programs or choose not to. I have an effect on that assembly, proportional to my ability and desire to be involved with it.
The RVP is a member of my assembly, a member of the Café, I know the man. I also know thet Territorial VP of the IBM for this region. I can communicate with them. I can let them know how I feel on issues and find out from them how to push those issues higher up the organization. But to do any of that I have to act, not sit back and bemoan the little man not having a say.
I'm not point you out Chet, I'm just making it clear that everything the SAM is or isn't is because that is what we the membership have made it or allowed it to become. Every movement begins with one voice, and if we don't speak up and act, then we accept what it becomes by default.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
mormonyoyoman
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You're blaming this on the victims?
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Father Photius
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They aren't victims, if they are, they have made themselves so. There is no secret cabal running the SAM. It is what it is because of the membership who chose to act acted the way they did, and the membership who chose not to act allowed them to act that way.
To call them victims is like saying a man who sits on his blessed assurrance and chooses not to work, is a victim when he is homeless. He chose to be what he is, he is not a victim. Inaction is an action. Not doing anything is a vote, a vote to allow the action of someone else.
You can run for SAM office as well as any other member. If you want it changed and think that the officers are the place to change it, become one. I'm sure you can find plenty who would support you. Get on your soapbox and stay on it. But you can't change the organization from outside. Quiting is yet another inaction that allows those acting to keep going where ever they are going. You don't appear to like where they are going, stop facilitating them. You may not have a huge voice in the organization at present, but not being a member you will have zero voice.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
mormonyoyoman
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Once again, blaming this on people who were not permitted to vote is aiming your cannons in the wrong direction.

And if you're telling me to shut up and go away, you're one of several. Which should give everyone an idea of just what happens when one does try to change things.
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Rodney Palmer
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I just have to say that Maria is one of the best Presidents that our organization has ever had. I met her at Abbott's in 2007 and she was a very approachable person who went out of her way to make sure things got done. I also had the honor of meeting our current president and I have to say that he is not very approachable at all. Because I am a little man in the Magic Community he did not seem to have time for me and I tried to approach him when he was in the dealers room at Abbott's and I got the brush off and felt like I was a nobody. My personal opinion is if you are not a big time act then you do not count. Even though I have been in magic for over 25 years and made my living with magic only. This is the only job I have ever had. I must be doing something right. Maria, I wish there were more like you to fill the TOP spots. Well I am sure that this will get deleted but I hope many see this and really think do they want to belong to an organization that is not approachable.

Rodney
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JRob
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Grandpa Chet,
I don't think that Fr. Photius is saying anything like "shut up and go away". It looked to me like he was saying just the opposite. I have to say that some of what he said stung a bit, but that is because he is right and I needed to be reminded of one simple fact: You cannot change any organization from the outside. He was also reminding us that responsibilities of membership go hand-in-hand with the rights of membership. Besides, leaving right now gives the current leadership a bit of plausible deniability. The issue may not be the money, but it can still be blamed on the economy. Remember the old saying, "When they say, 'it's not the money, but the principle', it's the money". Yes, this does mean I plan on staying to outlast the current leadership. There are a number of...interesting questions I would like to see answered. If I leave I can't even ask them.
When I was in seminary, there was a group of us who called ourselves "The Gadflies". We existed for the sole purpose of humorously poking the eye of the administration of the school. There was also a group called the Loyal Opposition that did the same thing but were rather smug and humorless. You see, the rate increase was not an issue for me, I just paid $65 to get in, so $65 to renew is just a continuation and a small price to pay to be a Gadfly again.
"Jim Roberts, AKA: Professor Jay Rob "<br>
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mormonyoyoman
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You'd best beware, Jim. Opie Houston has just been banned from SAMtalk. That should make it obvious that gadflies and questions are not welcome.

--Grandpa Chet (Who still thinks honesty is the best policy.)
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JRob
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If they resort to that then so be it. As I've said before, heavy-handedness like that has a way of blowing up in the faces of those who engage in it. We all have a choice in how we handle things. When it does there will be no shaden freude from me, only sorrow that it was unnecessary.
Besides, it takes more than that to get to a 50-yr-old rugby player. Our club's motto is, "Let he who hath not the stomach for the fight depart"
"Jim Roberts, AKA: Professor Jay Rob "<br>
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