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Thread: Meeting to discuss club options to recent AKCA board actions

  1. #61
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 111whalen View Post
    Again , I ask Don, Louie, or Kristine to explain why the past practice needs to be changed. Of course they want to win the election but this process has never been used by AKCA before.

    I think you answered your question.

    The reason indicated in various emails boils down to having to eliminate write-ins to prevent a 'hostile takeover'. The board majority knows that the overwhelming majority of clubs do not support them, but they believe they alone possess the wisdom to govern. So, the fact that a majority of clubs reject their regime is seen as somehow proving that the majority of clubs is misguided.

    It is all very sad. I hope the Board pulls back from the precipice, but I don't think they realize they are marching off the edge. My guess is that they have a perception that is so limited to their circle, that they really have no understanding of the big picture.

    JR's concept of leaders grooming their replacements is certainly valid. An important aspect of that grooming is to encourage creativity and adaptation to changing times. That element has been missed in the steadfast insistence upon conformity. AKCA has been in decline for a lot of years now. I do not believe the current board members think it is anything more than the economic downturn. They do not see that AKCA no longer leads in the hobby. They seem to see it as a matter of wrong-thinking people not following. You'd think that they would figure out that something is wrong with the 'leadership' when it cannot convince folks to follow.

    So, what happens when the slate is rejected? It would seem likely the Board majority will declare itself to be continuing in office since no successors were elected, and then appoint its chosen as temporary officers until a successor is elected. So, elections will no longer matter and AKCA will continue as is. Whether a club chooses to remain affiliated will be up to it. I'm sure many would simply because the dues are so cheap you don't need to get much to justify the expense. Some will not. The bigger question is not whether AKCA continues to exist with clubs as members, but where the hobby finds leadership that hobbyists will follow. That is the Brave New World which JR mentions. Time will tell. What is clear, at least to those outside southern California, is that the leadership will not be supplied by AKCA.

  2. #62
    Daihonmei
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    Hi Mike. Like Mark, who I've known for 20 plus years, I have known you for at least ten at this point so I think we can discuss this ‘safely’?

    JR's concept of leaders grooming their replacements is certainly valid. An important aspect of that grooming is to encourage creativity and adaptation to changing times. That element has been missed in the steadfast insistence upon conformity.
    That's a very good point but that is more in the 'suggestion box' category than the 'pitch fork and torches' category, no? Working with the national board and making good suggestions gets you a LOT further without strife and tension. I know. I've done it and as a result have been invited in to do more-- really more that I want to! It’s a matter of contribution and then recognition--- no one passes on a person with energy, intelligence and a good idea. Grandma Reilly told me I'd get more flies with a spoonful of honey than a barrel of vinegar.

    AKCA has been in decline for a lot of years now.
    Really? Its seminar is in trouble as a dated concept, but not the club numbers or the judging program-- they are as strong as ever. The magazine is a conversation, but more than a lost leader. This west coast organization started with just a few clubs and the magazines were on plain white stock paper for heaven's sake! And stapled by the board members!! And sent from member's house to member’s house for processing and hand mailing! Stored in members garages! The circulation counted has to have been less than 300 magazines in the beginning. The clubs were only the
    California clubs and a few others spread around the country and up and down the west coast. That is why (as one collector to another) it is so hard to find an 'original' first copy-- they were as rare as hen's teeth!
    The first judging membership was 3! And then maybe a dozen. The
    Seminars were held as a one day event and then a weekend event at some arboretum as I recall?
    So there is a LOT of water under that koi bridge my friend and it has grown and grown and grown. And the money in the treasury is lost due to decisions by a few people who wanted to invest LARGE in a new idea that drained 50% of the war chest—and there were no consequences for those decisions.
    So it seems like AKCA is fading because the focused hobby is fading. In some aspects it is growing as a water garden hobby and in another, it is fading as a koi hobby vehicle. I admired someone who recently posted and protested that the AKCA needed to get back to the water garden clubs that make it up to a great degree. I found that honestly refreshing.
    'Decline' is relative- relative to the conditions of the day but more relative to where it came from-- that mighty oak might be looking storm battered to you and other newer shakers and movers in the hobby, but it came from a tiny acorn for heaven's sake.

    I do not believe the current board members think it is anything more than the economic downturn. They do not see that AKCA no longer leads in the hobby.
    The safe part of commenting on this for me is I'm not involved! . But do you think that the new admin will 'lead' the hobby better than those that created the hobby and managed it for three decades and chose successors? And I have to say, if you think that unemployment, houses underwater and no home equity loans has no effect on koi keeping-- I have a stock to sell you! LOLs
    They seem to see it as a matter of wrong-thinking people not following. You'd think that they would figure out that something is wrong with the 'leadership' when it cannot convince folks to follow.
    Well that's interesting. I do believe that politicians all eventually become radioactive as they go from popular to 'wearing' on the membership. I get that. I'm honestly not on anyone's side but I still follow the current leadership of AKCA. I’ve worked with them all and some are difficult, but I respect them to a man/woman. They work hard Mike. I can't see someone working harder? I can see lots of ideas coming from a new younger leadership. But I also know the personalities and they will tear each other apart at some point just as it was done on the various koi boards-- its coming, I can almost chart its timeline. Hope I'm wrong but I do make my living reading people. A pretty good living. Mark mentioned that many good people have been driven out of AKCA. I've seen more people driven off koi boards than out of AKCA. I’ve seen a koi board split into two and then two again and then split again! I've seen judges driven out of AKCA and I've seen volunteers turn on one another--- often. It is the human condition and the new leaders will be no different in that regard as they are also humans. Maybe the problem isn't the organization- maybe it is just people and the pack mentality? A purge that simply has to happen once in a while? Maybe the koi are innocent (oooo, who said that! )
    Here's my suggestion, shake the trouble makers from the group and take the new productive core of your slate of young bloods and have them work within AKCA for just two more years and I will support them as much as you do now. Let it be known that they are going to suggest a platform of education and new ways to reach the public. Let them ask for a committee to explore these ideas. I'll bet they can get that. Have them expand their ideas parallel to the current structure.
    If it flies, then they will be recognized as hard working volunteers with proven ideas and measurable execution talents. Then we have no crisis and we have positive progress.
    By the way, whenever I hear someone quoting Robert's rules as if it were a heavy blunt object, I know I have a political warrior on my hands! If they then pull a well worn copy out of their back pocket, I know I have a professional pain in the neck before me! LOLs

    What ever happens with this political drama Mike, try and not get so vested that it taints the hobby for you. I've seen it happen and it is casualty of the worst kind. JR


  3. #63
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    They seem to see it as a matter of wrong-thinking people not following. You'd think that they would figure out that something is wrong with the 'leadership' when it cannot convince folks to follow.

    Well that's interesting. I do believe that politicians all eventually become radioactive as they go from popular to 'wearing' on the membership. I get that. I'm honestly not on anyone's side but I still follow the current leadership of AKCA. I’ve worked with them all and some are difficult, but I respect them to a man/woman. They work hard Mike. I can't see someone working harder? I can see lots of ideas coming from a new younger leadership. But I also know the personalities and they will tear each other apart at some point just as it was done on the various koi boards-- its coming, I can almost chart its timeline. Hope I'm wrong but I do make my living reading people. A pretty good living. Mark mentioned that many good people have been driven out of AKCA. I've seen more people driven off koi boards than out of AKCA. I’ve seen a koi board split into two and then two again and then split again! I've seen judges driven out of AKCA and I've seen volunteers turn on one another--- often. It is the human condition and the new leaders will be no different in that regard as they are also humans. Maybe the problem isn't the organization- maybe it is just people and the pack mentality? A purge that simply has to happen once in a while? Maybe the koi are innocent (oooo, who said that! )
    Here's my suggestion, shake the trouble makers from the group and take the new productive core of your slate of young bloods and have them work within AKCA for just two more years and I will support them as much as you do now. Let it be known that they are going to suggest a platform of education and new ways to reach the public. Let them ask for a committee to explore these ideas. I'll bet they can get that. Have them expand their ideas parallel to the current structure.
    If it flies, then they will be recognized as hard working volunteers with proven ideas and measurable execution talents. Then we have no crisis and we have positive progress.
    By the way, whenever I hear someone quoting Robert's rules as if it were a heavy blunt object, I know I have a political warrior on my hands! If they then pull a well worn copy out of their back pocket, I know I have a professional pain in the neck before me! LOLs

    What ever happens with this political drama Mike, try and not get so vested that it taints the hobby for you. I've seen it happen and it is casualty of the worst kind. JR
    I am split on this issue. On one side I sympathize with the east coasters that want more representation. On the other side I see the safety from outsiders bankrupting the magazine and organization with new management ideas.
    Like JR says, the current leadership understands the history and how to keep the magazine and organization afloat even during economical times when we have seen other Koi magazine go under.

  4. #64
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    JR, I'm not sure who you reference when you say the 'new bloods' should try working within the system for a couple of years. The 'new bloods' I see trying to save AKCA are former editors of KoiUSA, certified judges, current and former chairs of committees... and folks who just plain bleed 'koi' when cut. As I'm sure you know, Cheryl Childers organized the petition requesting the AKCA Board to reconsider its direction. This past weekend, CFKS gave AKCA a free booth space and Cheryl staffed it for 3 days. She had mostly 'old stuff' to sell, but sell it she did. I'm sure a nice sized check will be going into the AKCA coffers. The folks upset by the decision to terminate any semblance of democratic governance want AKCA to thrive. When nearly all the judges ask the Board to reconsider, when over half of the clubs ask it to reconsider, when a vice-chair elected by over 70% of the clubs is ignored ... well, it gets to be clear that folks who should be listening just refuse to hear. That is why I find the whole situation so sad.

  5. #65
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    When nearly all the judges ask the Board to reconsider, when over half of the clubs ask it to reconsider, when a vice-chair elected by over 70% of the clubs is ignored ...
    Is this really true?

  6. #66
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    JR, I'm not sure who you reference when you say the 'new bloods' should try working within the system for a couple of years. The 'new bloods' I see trying to save AKCA are former editors of KoiUSA, certified judges, current and former chairs of committees... and folks who just plain bleed 'koi' when cut. As I'm sure you know, Cheryl Childers organized the petition requesting the AKCA Board to reconsider its direction. This past weekend, CFKS gave AKCA a free booth space and Cheryl staffed it for 3 days. She had mostly 'old stuff' to sell, but sell it she did. I'm sure a nice sized check will be going into the AKCA coffers. The folks upset by the decision to terminate any semblance of democratic governance want AKCA to thrive. When nearly all the judges ask the Board to reconsider, when over half of the clubs ask it to reconsider, when a vice-chair elected by over 70% of the clubs is ignored ... well, it gets to be clear that folks who should be listening just refuse to hear. That is why I find the whole situation so sad.
    I see. well I certainly don't want you feeling more sad that you currently sound so I'll end my comments here.
    I'm sure things will turn out for the best, either way.
    Back when we in the MAKC were going to take over AKCA or die trying ( back in 1992-94 or there abouts) , I think we might have felt the same way as you do now. Our alternative was to form the east coast version of AKCA ( I think the group was going to call it the national koi clubs of America). We had some pretty talented folks back then and our own magazine. In fact some of the Florida folks might have just been entering the scene when that revolt was on. The MAKC managed to spread up and down the east coast back then and brought in members from all over the country. One guy, Lester Berkow, a sweet man and one of the original MAKC founders, was distraught over the whole thing, as I recall and he tried very hard to stay out of it-- he liked the AKCA folks and he liked the MAKC folks. He was in the middle. And I know how much it bothered him. Wonder what he'd say if he were alive today?
    I'm feeling a little like old Lester right now. JR

  7. #67
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    "Back when we in the MAKC were going to take over AKCA or die trying ( back in 1992-94 or there abouts) , I think we might have felt the same way as you do now. Our alternative was to form the east coast version of AKCA ( I think the group was going to call it the national koi clubs of America)."
    Wow!! I always suspected something and this does not surprise me... but I stayed out of the politics and never heard this.

    Knowing this should not make anybody surprised why the current board is acting so possessive.

  8. #68
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    Is this really true?
    Yes. All but a couple of judges asked the Board to reconsider. Over half of the clubs requested it to reconsider. Mike Frady was asked to resign from his position as vice-chair. He did not. Then he was left off the ballot that is at the heart of the current controversy, and cannot be written in by the 70+% of clubs who voted for him last year.

    It really is just plain bizarre.

  9. #69
    Daihonmei
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    Good Morning Ricshaw, I promised myself not to discuss this subject any further. In one sense it is no longer any of my business, and in another, these kinds of tensions are part of human nature and no one is going to change that. They will naturally arise from decade to decade amongst any group of 2 or more people in different forms and in different ways.

    But since you made this response to my last post—I’ll make my point another way, History tends to repeat itself. Not exactly the same way, but variations of an underlying theme. I'm really not sure who is involved in all of this other than a few names. And people pretty much avoid filling me in on these details and I'm grateful for that. They know I’m in the middle and can’t be recruited by any side. When the uprising occurred last time, the board hung together ( although I ,as the AKCA rep from MAKC and a hobbyist AKCA rep from a texas club, rewrote the AKCA bylaws as a compromise) and the uprise just died away vowing to regroup and return at some other point, which they did not as they began warring internally here on the east coast and fragmenting MAKC and other clubs after that. Ironically, two of the players today were directly and indirectly involved. One on the other side back then and the other an heir to the fractures and fragmentations that occurred, but not in the hobby at the time. But that’s too much inside baseball and not appropriate to go into.
    Since I don't know the players in this one I would not make another
    prediction. I can tell you though, somewhere Lester Berkow is shaking his head and saddened that this is all happening again.
    I KNOW this has been beaten to death and that I sound like a naive preacher when I say this but - “it’s about the fish, people"! If we stay focused on the fish and on building strong individual clubs ( not structure above clubs), we will avoid the temptation to turn to politics and cliques. It will always be a temptation to make this more about people than the fish. But the fish brought us together---
    the ZNA motto is “Friendship through scales"
    It was the first expression of what these artistic living things could bring out in people. Politics, power and ego are easy things to find in your everyday life. But the fish! They are an oasis for those looking for peace and escape from those other common stressors. Friendship through scales, the old ZNA way. JR

  10. #70
    Tosai
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    Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting Friday. I counted about 70 present coming from all areas of the country except the NW. A diverse group for sure although many in attendance are show people. To those of you who came and have contacted me by phone or email as a result of reading my announcement at the beginning of this thread, I appreciate your interest. Minutes were recorded and I think a copy was sent to Burt Ballou.

    A new organization is definitely in the formative stage, however, as realists it is recognized that how strong that movement becomes depends a lot on the AKCA board actions between now and the end of June. While some present are in a "wait and see" frame of mind, for many of us the problems with AKCA extend beyond just the fact that the AKCA board is a closed shop.

    Right now there are more questions than answers, however, those present were assured by members of the judge committee that all club shows would be covered with qualified judges as we go forward.

    If you are reading this and you are a club officer or active club member and would like to be included on an email list to receive future updates send a note to [email protected] or [email protected].

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