by Sharon Lovering, Doug Powell, Denise Colley, and Ron Brooks
Attendees at the American Council of the Blind's 52nd annual national convention experienced the kind of shift most folks associate with the change to Daylight Savings Time – except this was a shift in days. The convention's opening session was held on Saturday.
Pomerantz called the session to order, and introduced Vicky Prahin, chair of the local host committee. "On behalf of the local host committee, I do welcome everybody to Columbus, Ohio," Prahin said. "I hope everybody is here having a good time so far." She thanked the host committee members for all their work.
Pomerantz then called upon Linda Wyman, immediate past president of the ACB of Ohio. "On behalf of Nolan [Crabb] and ACB Ohio, I want to welcome all of you," Wyman said. "We hope that you'll all have just a wonderful, wonderful time here in Ohio and my hometown, Columbus."
After the introductions, Pomerantz gave his report. He reminded his listeners that at the close of convention, he would no longer be ACB's president. He thanked the staff in the Virginia and Minnesota offices for all their hard work, and mentioned that July 19 would be Eric Bridges' last day. He also thanked the officers, board, and board of publications members for their work, along with the ACB Radio staff.
Pomerantz mentioned the BOP ushering in "a new era of electronic communications, thanks to the ACB E-Forum, which was launched earlier this year. Regardless of how we may feel about the ubiquity of communications via the Internet, it is here to stay, and ACB has no choice but to get on board or be left at the proverbial station." ACB is expanding its presence on Facebook and Twitter, too, he noted. For those lacking computer access, the E-Forum is available on NFB-Newsline (R), and ACB is working on making it available on radio reading services nationwide. For the text of the president's report, see "President's Message: A Turn of the Page" (ACB E-Forum, July 2013) or go to www.acbradio.org/node/43 and select the Saturday general session.
He reviewed various legislative successes and talked about the success of structured negotiations, including Weight Watchers and Walmart. He mentioned Melanie Brunson's participation in the crafting of the World Intellectual Property Organization's treaty to create access to books worldwide. He also discussed his activities with the World Blind Union, and his being elected vice president of the North America/Caribbean region of that group.
Pomerantz informed his listeners that this year was the 75th anniversary of the Organizacion Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE). He mentioned that Miguel Carballeda, ONCE's president, had fallen and was unable to attend the convention; however, he had recorded his speech, which was translated by David Stirton. "ONCE is a project we can be proud of," Carballeda stated. "[It's] a historic project by blind people in Spain to secure our emancipation through one single organization. Without ONCE, we would still be marginalized, trapped in poverty." He gave a brief history of the organization, beginning with its founding during the Spanish Civil War.
Following a presentation by diamond sponsor Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Allen Casey introduced this year's first-timers: Frank Ventura of Massachusetts and Guillermo Robles of California. Pomerantz then presented life memberships to Geraldine Arnold, Evelyn "Trixie" Flippen, William Freeman, Anne Brewer, Tamika Polk, Alexa Poli, Denny Huff and Dan Sippl.
Pomerantz called upon Jean Mann for the first credentials report. "Most of you did a very good job at getting your stuff in on time, and if you had problems, you let us know," Mann said. Montana and South Carolina were not seated this year due to lack of membership lists and/or dues. Three affiliates lost votes: CCLVI, Hawaii, and Missouri. She reminded everyone that the deadline for affiliate lists is March 15th.
The session wrapped up with the roll call of affiliates.
Pomerantz called the session to order. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation, he called on Margarine Beaman for recognition of the convention sponsors, from diamond to pearl, and the individual titanium sponsors. Then Pomerantz called upon Jean Mann for the final credentials report. Mann chanted, "March 15th, March 15th, March 15th ... I'll keep saying it and maybe you'll get that subliminal message." She also reminded affiliates to coordinate new members' information with their dues, and to double-check the spelling of people's names.
After a few announcements, Pomerantz called on John Huffman, chairman of the constitution and bylaws committee, for the first reading of several proposed amendments. Two would affect different portions of Article IV; one dealt with signing up to be a member at large online. Following the reading, Pomerantz turned the gavel over to Kim Charlson to preside for the remainder of the session.
Charlson called Cindy Van Winkle and Paul Edwards to the dais to present awards. Van Winkle went first and presented the affiliate growth awards. The winners were South Dakota Association of the Blind (29.4 percent growth) and ACB of Texas (54 new members).
Paul Edwards quipped, "The board of publications has one and a half awards to present this morning." He mentioned the competition to name the electronic edition of the Forum, and how the BOP found most of the names lacking. He presented the $50 ACB Store gift card to Mitch Pomerantz for his suggestion of "The ACB E-Forum." "Now for the real award," Edwards continued. The Ned E. Freeman Award went to Beverly Clifford for "Touching Childbirth," which appeared in the fall 2012 issue of "The Blind Californian."
Charlson next introduced the speech, via recording, of Enrique Perez, second vice president of the World Blind Union. Perez said that the World Blind Union is "the internationally recognized organization representing the 285 million blind and partially sighted persons in 119 member countries. ... The World Blind Union is the voice of the blind ... the only one speaking to governments and international parties on global issues concerning blindness and visual impairment in conjunction with our members."
The WBU has achieved many things since it was first funded in 1984, "such as establishment of the International Development Program with the support of Sight Savers International and the Hilton Perkins Program in the USA," Perez stated. "This program continues to undertake leadership training and organizational development work in many countries, particularly in Africa." He also mentioned the work done in Latin America with the help of the ONCE Foundation.
"Today I'm most proud to report on perhaps one of our most outstanding achievements ever," he said. "History was made in Marrakech on 27 June with the UN World Intellectual Property Organization concluding a treaty on copyright for visually impaired and print disabled. This was the first intellectual property treaty benefiting the public interest rather than the interest of rights holders ..." Only 5 percent of all published books in developed countries, and less than 1 percent of all published books in developing countries, are ever produced in braille, large print and/or audio, he noted.
The next speaker, Justin Hughes, head of the U.S. delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization, continued the discussion on the treaty. "We did finish, and we're very, very proud to have finished this treaty," he said, mentioning the long name of the treaty. "That's a mouthful, but that mouthful actually reflects some of the complex politics that we were facing working on this treaty." Often, politicians will pass laws and think a problem is solved, but that's not the way it works in reality, he added.
Hughes briefly discussed copyright basics. "[Publishers] make very few large-type books, and they haven't been making until recently navigable audio books. So although the copyright system gives these exclusive rights to the authors and the publishers, the bottom line is they do not adequately exercise those rights in providing the kinds of materials that visually impaired people need." In 1996, the Chafee Amendment corrected this issue in U.S. law. By 2009, there were 57 countries in the world that had exceptions in their copyright laws for people with print disabilities; 128 had exceptions for libraries.
As the administration looked at the issue, staffers realized there was also a structural problem: access to materials varies from country to country. If you're a Spanish speaker living in Madrid, you have access to at least 30,000 titles through ONCE; if you live in Panama City, Panama, you have access to about 200 books, Hughes noted. And if you're a 10th grader in the U.S., you can get your textbooks in accessible format much more easily than if you were in Durban, South Africa. "There have been seven accessible format versions made of the first 'Harry Potter,'" he noted. "Instead of making one and sharing it, different countries have had to make different versions. So we realized that there ought to be a way for countries to share these accessible format copies that are being prepared, sometimes with great cost."
In December 2009 the administration approached WIPO and expressed the need for a better system to share accessible format books across the borders. By mid- to late 2010, there were several proposals on the table. Balancing the rights-holders' needs with blind readers' needs took a lot of work. By April 2012, when Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff made a state visit to Washington, Obama made a joint announcement with her supporting an international treaty to end the book famine. In December 2012, a decision was made to proceed to a diplomatic conference, but there were still some outstanding issues.
One of those was commercial availability standards in various countries' copyright laws. Another was technological protection measures – which was tremendously important for copyright holders. "We started on the problem of commercial availability, and to make a long story short, it went really badly," Hughes said. Delegates were able to reach an agreement on commercial availability, and pressed forward on the other issues. By about the 10th day, he added, it was clear that the treaty would go through.
The treaty will need to be ratified by the Senate, he added. "But we need to be honest that it's a treaty. ... And it's only going to be a meaningful system 10, 15, 20 years from now if there's a lot of capacity building on authorized entities, and a lot of training, and a lot of legal work is done to explain authorized entities, how they exchange accessible format copies with each other. ... When we gave our closing statement in Marrakech, we said, 'Look, folks, this isn't the end of the road. This is the beginning of a new chapter.'"
Charlson then introduced Karen Keninger, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Keninger gave an update on the progress made by NLS in the last year. She reminded her audience about the priorities she'd set. The first priority was to retain the quality of NLS' products. Her second priority was to expand the collection, and she briefly described the TIGAR project and acquisition of foreign-language materials. She also talked about converting material from cassette to digital format, and about changes coming to "Talking Book Topics" in 2014.
Another of Keninger's priorities was to use technology to enhance your reading experience. One way NLS has done that was to give BARD a facelift, providing more information about books, a wish list, a previously read list, and incorporating Web-Braille into BARD. And shortly, NLS will be releasing an application for iPhone, iPad, and iPod. An Android app is in development now, due out this winter.
Priority four has been to focus on braille. "I believe braille is our literacy medium," Keninger said. NLS joined the Transforming Braille project, looking for a durable, refreshable braille display. In June, NLS held a braille summit in conjunction with Perkins to find out what braille readers want and need. Among those were a braille e-reader, better and more available braille instruction, and more tactile graphics in NLS' braille materials.
Conventioners next heard from Luke Stedke, manager of communications and marketing for the Ohio State House. "Today, Columbus is the largest city in the state of Ohio," Stedke stated. "But it [hasn't] always been the case." He took his listeners back to colonial times, when Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory. Ohio was the 17th state to be admitted to the union, he added. Columbus was formed by the Ohio general assembly in 1812.
Following Stedke was Oral Miller, talking about the activities available in the Recreation Zone. Some of this year's offerings included water aerobics, Pilates, and yoga.
Pomerantz called the session to order. John Fleming and several members of the Visually Impaired Veterans of America led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Margarine Beaman listed some of the convention sponsors. The sponsor presentation of the day was given by Dominic Gagliano, Humanware's vice president of sales USA. Gagliano proudly informed the assembly that this year is the 25th anniversary of the company.
Following Humanware's presentation, Pat Sheehan, chairman of the nominating committee, gave the committee's report. The 2013 slate of officers was:
President: Kim Charlson, Watertown, Mass.
1st vice president: Jeff Thom, Sacramento, Calif.
2nd vice president: Marlaina Lieberg, Burien, Wash.
Secretary: Ray Campbell, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Treasurer: Carla Ruschival, Louisville, Ky.
The convention next heard a proposal to change term limits of officers from three 2-year terms to four 2-year terms; it failed.
Pomerantz acknowledged that at this point, Brenda Dillon would have taken the gavel, but she is ill, and not attending the convention this year. Pomerantz asked the assembly for 30 seconds of silence. After those 30 seconds, he called on Michael Garrett to present the scholarship winners. For more information, see the article "2013-2014 ACB Scholarship Winners" elsewhere in this issue.
Pomerantz introduced the now-confirmed Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Janet LaBreck, who goes to Washington, D.C. from the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. LaBreck spoke of approaching her new post with excitement over the opportunities we face in improving rehabilitation and employment of blind and visually impaired people in this country. Congress is working on revising the Workforce Investment Act, and the rehab sections contained within it. She is committed to the notion that successful rehabilitation will only happen when services are provided in a holistic way – when there is a partnership between professionals and consumers.
We also need to be more engaged in the community to increase our visibility, so that we can make communities understand the obstacles to disabled people's full participation. LaBreck then listed some of today's challenges: transition services; literacy skills; making services available to everyone; elder blind need new technology; making sure education gives students skills relevant to today's and tomorrow's job requirements. The commissioner has found in Massachusetts that internship experiences serve an important role in successful employment. She will act to identify and disseminate national models for innovation.
The next presentation of the morning was from Eric Bridges, ACB's director of advocacy and governmental affairs. He had found that his job dealt more and more with technology issues. Certainly the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) and its implementation require somewhat technological discussions. But along with his legislative oversight, he has been spending much time meeting with companies that have not had accessibility as a major focus. Over the last few years, Bridges and the chairmen of ACB's information access committee, Pratik Patel and Brian Charlson, have met with:
- Sprint – They have since changed their customer service and hiring practices.
- Google – After talking to them and offering to collaborate in making their products accessible, in 2012 they held an accessibility summit with all Google product managers, Bridges, Charlson, and Patel.
- Apple – ACB is now in touch with the Worldwide Product Manager for Accessibility to ensure continued focus and improvement of Voice Over and product accessibility.
- Facebook – Consistent with their "one percent credo" (always only one percent finished), they previously had no quality assurance whatever. After meeting with them, they now are moving toward quality and accessibility assurance and have an accessibility team.
- Microsoft – After speaking with them about their inconsistent commitment to accessibility, they are working to add accessibility as part of their corporate accountability measure.
Bridges concluded by telling the assembly, "We're doing things the right way: pointing out areas where we cannot interface with their products the way sighted people can, declaring that that's not acceptable, but also offering to collaborate to improve their products and services."
The last presentation of the morning was from Jerry Berrier talking about the deaf-blind equipment program. This project is part of the CVAA specifically focusing on providing the expensive equipment deaf-blind people need to communicate with the world. Berrier works for Perkins, which holds the contract for administering the program. The pilot program is initially funded at $10 million per year, divided between federal outreach, state outreach, equipment purchase, and training.
Eligibility is based on the Helen Keller Institute definition of being deaf-blind. A person wanting to take advantage of this program would fill out an application. Then someone like Jerry would go to the applicant's home and do a thorough assessment of their current skills, what they want to do, and what equipment would be needed. Equipment is then bought and delivered, and training takes place. Berrier mentioned that the iPad is currently the most popular equipment for distance communications. Detailed information about the program can be found at www.icanconnect.org.
Margarine Beaman, advertising and sponsorship coordinator, read the list of convention sponsors. Next up was John Huffman, who, assisted by Jay Bader, read two proposed amendments to the constitution. Mark Richert, chair of the resolutions committee, introduced the first few resolutions for consideration.
Marlaina Lieberg was the day's presiding officer, and she introduced the first presenter, Gregory Gorton, talking book narrator with Potomac Talking Book Services, Inc., Bethesda, Md. He reads for NLS as well as Audible, Inc. and BBC Audio. He has also done work for the Discovery channel and National Geographic as well as some television and independent films.
From books the convention moved on to hear from a panel talking about accessible prescription drug labels in our future. Mitch Pomerantz was the moderator; panelists included Mark Richert, director of public policy, American Foundation for the Blind; Annette Carter, CCLVI's representative; and Susan Crawford, U.S. Access Board working group facilitator. Mitch began by reminding everyone that this was the one-year anniversary of the signing by President Obama of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which included our language to establish best practices for the provision of accessible prescription drug label information. The Access Board was charged with putting a stakeholder working group together to produce best practices within a year of the signing of that law. The National Council on Disability will be doing a public education and information campaign to educate retail pharmacists about what these best practices say, what they do, and how they should be used and implemented, as well as reaching out to consumers to educate them about the availability of these best practices and what they can ask for.
CCLVI shared its best practices and guidelines for the production of large-print documents used by the low-vision community. That document has had a great impact on the portion of what is now the report of best practices for making prescription drug container label information accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired. Every element that was brought to the working group regarding large print was accepted and included.
Susan Crawford staffed the stakeholder working group and synthesized all of their discussions. The best practices report was presented to the Access Board on July 10. Once the Access Board accepts the report, it will be posted on the board's web site. All consumers were strongly urged to read the best practices report and go to their local pharmacy and request access to their prescription drug container label information.
Following the break, Tom Wlodkowski, vice president of Comcast Accessibility, discussed what Comcast is working on related to access to television. He told the convention that one of the accessible applications on the roadmap for this year is Xfinity Connect, which allows customers to aggregate all of their communications in one application. An iOS version is available now and an Android version is coming soon. A second application is "What's On," which will tell you what's on TV right now, and is a way to get at TV listings. The next release of this app is going to have a filter that will allow a person to be able to limit their view to what's on with video description. Xfinity Player is an app that allows you to find video content that is available on demand and turn it on by navigating through an app. The final product he demonstrated was the Talking TV interface, which will be available in the next-generation entertainment platform. It will provide voice-guided navigation through the remote control. It will be in a customer trial in the first half of 2014.
The final presentation of the morning was an update on ACB's Audio Description Project by Joel Snyder, president of Audio Description Associates. He said they are already working on plans for next year's convention in Las Vegas and are working with producers of Cirque Du Soleil to possibly have one or more of their performances described for conventioneers. Over the next few months ACB will be publishing a book that Joel has been developing as a part of his doctoral dissertation entitled "The Visual Made Verbal; an Audio Description Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description." He hopes that it will be available at the ACB Mini Mall and on the ACB/ADP web site by the end of the year.
After calling the meeting to order, Pomerantz invited John Huffman, chairman of the constitution and bylaws committee, to continue his report. Huffman read through three related proposed amendments to Bylaw 7 which, taken together, were intended to clarify the process state and special-interest affiliates would be required to use for notifying the secretary of their designated delegates, alternate delegates, and representatives to the nominating committee. After considerable discussion, the body rejected all three proposed amendments.
After Huffman's report, Pomerantz turned the gavel over to Carla Ruschival.
Ruschival called on Melanie Brunson, who began her report by commending ACB's outgoing director of advocacy and governmental affairs, Eric Bridges, for the contributions he has made to blind and visually impaired people around the country and throughout the world. Brunson also commended Sharon Lovering, who achieved 20 years of seniority as a member of the ACB national staff. She praised the ACB national staff as a committed group of high-caliber individuals who stand ready to serve our members and affiliates throughout the country.
Brunson then summarized several activities and successes achieved by the national office staff during the preceding year. These included:
- Implementation of the member and donor database in the Arlington and Minneapolis offices – The goals are to make the annual credentialing process more efficient and effective and to ensure better tracking and acknowledgement of donors.
- As a result of resolutions adopted during the 2012 convention, ACB held meetings with Apple, Google, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and others to work on improvements to the accessibility of a range of electronic products and services, ranging from smart phones to iOS and Android apps and more.
- ACB met with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to discuss the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaty (which was finalized in March of 2013) and to advocate for audio description on commercially available movies, including movies for use at home, many of which do not have audio description.
- ACB staff continued to work on the public policy front to ensure that past legislative victories result in long-term success for blind and visually impaired people. One example was implementation of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act.
- Staff continued to advocate for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and for the adoption and ratification of the WIPO treaty.
- ACB assisted members and affiliates in a number of other advocacy settings. One example was ACB's work with a local TV station to capture footage of taxicab drivers passing by blind people, refusing service to individuals with guide dogs, and leaving blind people stranded in the wrong locations.
Brunson wrapped up by stating that there appears to be slow but steady progress with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on the development of accessible currency. In the past, the bureau has conducted focus groups at successive ACB conventions, but now the bureau is talking about the distribution of money readers as early as 2015 and tactile features in the next generation of currency.
Janet Dickelman thanked members of the convention committee and the Ohio local host committee, chaired by Irwin Hott and Katie Frederick. She then gave the locations and dates for the next two ACB annual conventions.
- Las Vegas – July 10-18, 2014 at the Riviera Hotel
- Dallas – July 3-11, 2015 – Downtown Sheraton Hotel
Ruschival then gave the treasurer's report. ACB is meeting its budget for 2013, and investments are doing well. However, annual expenses are exceeding revenues, and this is requiring the ACB to dip into reserve funds. In 2011, the board established a special reserve fund of $300,000, which was intended to be used while the organization worked through the significant revenue shortfalls resulting from the ongoing economic crisis. In 2012, the organization drew down all of this fund plus an additional $182,000 which came from ACB's investment funds. In 2013, ACB expects to draw another $172,000 from its investments, but this is an improvement over 2012 and represents progress toward a more balanced budget. Ruschival stressed the need for more revenue from more diverse sources.
Ron Milliman gave a brief report on the results of the Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) program, and Dan Spoone gave an update on the ACB walkathon. These initiatives netted ACB more than $120,000 during the previous year and represent great examples of new opportunities to raise funds for ACB.
Michael Garrett, chairman of the ACB Enterprises and Services board, reported on the efforts of ACB's six thrift stores located in Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Each day 100 employees serve 700 guests who purchase everything from gently used clothes, toys and household goods to rare items, artwork and furniture, the net proceeds of which help to fund ACB. He did not give annual sales, revenue, expense or profit totals, but he stated that store managers and staff across the country are working with ACB assistant treasurer Lane Waters and the management of ACB's Minnesota office to strengthen the financial well-being of ACB now and in the future.
After Garrett's report, Mark Richert read three resolutions. One dealt with the need for accessible portable document format (PDF) files, another with the need for accessible stand-alone Kindle reading machines, and one which urged the Department of Education to implement guidance limiting the circumstances under which braille is not offered to a child with a visual impairment. All were adopted unanimously.
After recognition of the sponsors, Pomerantz called on Richert for the remainder of the resolutions. The first resolution honored Eric Bridges for his six years of work with ACB; it passed with loud cheers and lots of applause. Another resolution, regarding Blind Pride of Texas being denied affiliation with ACB of Texas, was referred to the constitution and bylaws committee.
After a few door prizes, the convention continued with resolutions. Resolution 2013-18 dealt with guide dog schools, and the number of alumni on their boards, and it passed after a great deal of discussion. Resolution 2013-20 dealt with Guide Dogs for the Blind. It, too, generated a lively discussion before passing. The last resolution before elections, 2013-07, dealt with captchas. It passed after a friendly amendment.
At 10 a.m., the convention went to elections. Pat Sheehan reminded everyone of the nominating committee's slate: president, Kim Charlson; first vice president, Jeff Thom; second vice president, Marlaina Lieberg; secretary, Ray Campbell; treasurer, Carla Ruschival.
The first office up for election was that of president. Pomerantz called for further nominations; there were none. Jay Bader moved that nominations cease and that Kim Charlson be elected president by acclamation. That motion passed. "Thank you," Charlson said. "Your confidence in me is something that I will absolutely not take for granted at any time. I'm honored to be the captain at the helm of the American Council of the Blind, but I want you all to remember that you are the members and you're on this cruise with me, and we're going to do it together."
The convention then voted on the office of first vice president. Jeff Thom was elected by acclamation. Next up was second vice president. Marlaina Lieberg was put forward by the nominating committee; Debbie Grubb nominated David Trott. After the convention heard both candidates' seconding speeches, Sharon Lovering called the roll and the voting team distributed ballots. When all the votes were counted, the winner was Marlaina Lieberg, 474 votes (57.6%) to 349 (42.4%).
Following the break, elections continued, beginning with the position of secretary. Ray Campbell was put forward by the nominating committee; Jim Kracht nominated Judy Jackson. After the speeches, attendees voted, and the winner was Ray Campbell, 556.5 votes (67.6%) to 266.5 (32.4%).
Carla Ruschival was put forward by the nominating committee for the office of treasurer. After calling for further nominations, Pomerantz received none, and there was a call from the floor to cease nominations and elect Ruschival by acclamation, which passed.
Kim Charlson announced her appointments to the board of publications: Denise Colley as chairperson, and Ron Brooks. She thanked Paul Edwards and Nolan Crabb for their work on the BOP this year. The convention then took a lunch break.
After lunch, the convention returned to elect two members to the board of directors, to fill the seats formerly held by Ray Campbell and Jeff Thom, and one to fill the seat formerly held by Denise Colley on the board of publications. Berl Colley nominated David Trott for the first seat; Frank Strong nominated Donna Seliger. Following speeches, the roll call and vote count, the winner was David Trott by a count of 611 votes (81.25%) to 141 (18.75%).
While waiting for the results, Pomerantz called upon Richert for a resolution. Richert tackled resolution 2013-04, which dealt with Common Core State Standards testing for students in grades K-12 and testing accommodations policies. It passed.
Pomerantz called for nominations for the second board seat. David Trott nominated Pat Sheehan. After Pomerantz called for further nominations and received none, Bader moved that the floor be closed and Sheehan be elected by acclamation. After several "seconds!," the motion passed, and Sheehan was elected.
Pomerantz then opened the floor to nominations for the seat on the board of publications. John McCann nominated Doug Powell. With no further nominations, McCann moved that the floor be closed and Powell be elected by acclamation. After a loud "second!", the motion passed, and Doug Powell was elected.
Pomerantz then turned the gavel over to Charlson, who called on Richert for the remainder of the resolutions. Richert began with resolution 2013-13, dealing with sub-minimum wages. After a great deal of discussion, the resolution went to a roll call vote. It passed by a vote of 391 (51.25 %) to 372 (48.75%). Richert next read 2013-10, which focused on the impact of sequestration on workers at NIB-associated agencies. It passed. The convention also tackled resolution 2013-08, dealing with the chained CPI system. After two friendly amendments, it passed.
After a few door prizes and a break, Richert brought out resolutions 2013-11, which dealt with copyright law protections, and 2013-21, dealing with accessible voting machines. Both passed, one (number 21) with a friendly amendment. Next up was resolution 2013-19, focusing on services for older blind individuals, which passed with a friendly amendment. Resolution 2013-17, focusing on diabetes supplies, passed.
The next resolution, 2013-15, dealt with pedestrian access issues. Resolution 2013-16 focused on the high cost of healthy snacks for vendors. Both passed. Richert thanked his committee members, then dealt with the commendatory resolutions, one each for the hotel and staff, convention host committee and ACB of Ohio, and the volunteers. All three passed.
With no new business, the convention adjourned.
Captions: (See photos at the left)
Mitch Pomerantz pauses for a moment after delivering his annual message to the convention. He's wearing a navy blue suit, blue-and-white pinstriped shirt, and a blue patterned tie, with an ACB pin on his left lapel.
Jean Mann reminds everyone that their affiliate lists and dues are due March 15th. She's standing on stage behind a wooden lectern with a "Hyatt" plaque on the front. Behind her is the blue-and-white ACB banner.
Paul Edwards presents Mitch Pomerantz with the $50 gift card to the ACB Store for his naming of the new electronic magazine "The ACB E-Forum." Sharon Lovering, standing behind Edwards, smiles along with the others. All three are standing on the stage at the front of the room. Edwards is speaking into the lectern microphone. Behind them, hanging down from the curtain rod, is the blue-and-white ACB banner.
Justin Hughes discusses the complex politics that he and the U.S. delegation faced while working on the World Intellectual Property Organization treaty in Marrakech, Morocco earlier this year. He is standing on stage behind the wooden Hyatt lectern, with the ACB banner behind him.
Karen Keninger holds her digital reading device up to the lectern microphone and pushes "play" to let the audience hear one of NLS' newest offerings that was both published and recorded in 2013.
Janet LaBreck talks about partnerships between professionals and consumers in successful rehabilitation and employment outcomes.
Eric Bridges, wearing a black suit, white shirt and red tie, discusses the advocacy successes ACB has had in the last year. He's standing behind the Hyatt lectern on stage, with the ACB banner behind him.
Gregory Gorton, a narrator for Potomac Talking Book Services in Bethesda, Md., reads aloud from "Who Done It?" by Jon Scieszka, a mystery about who murdered Herman Mildew. He stands behind the Hyatt lectern mike, wearing a tan suit, green shirt, and patterned tie, and is gesturing with his hands to emphasize part of the story.
Mark Richert and Susan Crawford discuss making prescription drug labels accessible, and their work on the best practices document. Both are seated at a table on the stage; Richert, left, is speaking into the microphone.
Tom Wlodkowski, standing behind the Hyatt lectern and speaking into the microphone, tells the convention about Xfinity Connect and other applications that will soon make TV more accessible.
ACB executive director Melanie Brunson summarizes the activities of the last year, including implementation of the new database. She's wearing a light blue suit with matching blouse, standing on stage behind the Hyatt lectern microphone.