Hello from the Denver ACBL Board of Directors (BOD) meetings. We covered a large number of agenda items and I will be reporting on those I think will be of interest to you.
Each year one ACBL member is appointed by the ACBL President as the Nadine Wood Volunteer Member of the year. For 2015 the person whose volunteer contributions to the ACBL were honored by this recognition is Debbie Rosenberg of the Palo Alto Unit and District 21. All of us here in District 21 want to add our congratulations to Debbie and thank her for all she does. Debbie is the Founder and President of the Silicon Valley Youth Bridge Organization. She is doing everything possible to promote youth bridge.
Ken Monzingo has been elected 2016 ACBL President and we congratulate him. Ken represents much of Central and Southern California on the ACBL BOD.That area is designated District 22. Ken lives in San Diego and has been the Managing Editor of our Contract Bridge Forum for many decades.
One issue that generates ACBL BOD cocktail party chatter on a regular basis revolves around the number of districts that comprise the BOD. We now have 25 districts. Some people think we should combine a few of the districts with fewer members and get down to 21 or 19 districts (almost no one wants to increase from 25 districts). This issue is studied about every five years and results in no change. We had a proposal to study this issue again. It passed with a large majority of BOD members supporting it. I was one of four who voted against studying this issue again. I donít like to see more time and effort spent studying this issue when it is very unlikely a BOD member will vote to dissolve their district.
One proposal that was strongly supported in committee and unanimously passed by the full BOD regarded marketing materials. The successful proposal stated
management shall develop and maintain appropriate marketing materials to assist clubs, units, districts and teachers in their member recruitment and member service efforts. A listing of available materials shall be published on the ACBL website. Please take advantage of these materials.
One issue that BOD members are discussing formally and informally is our budget and the fact that we soon may need to develop additional revenue sources. One proposal we discussed and voted on regarded non-member surcharges at regionals and sectionals. While the amount of money which will change hands is quite small the principle of this bothered a number of us. A number of us felt if the money was collected locally it should stay local. From now on when the district collects a $4 per session non-member entry fee surcharge at regionals and when units collect a $3 per session non-member entry fee surcharge at sectionals the surcharge money must be remitted to the ACBL. I was one of the twelve votes against this proposal but it passed. It was effective January 1. Charity events or events limited to players with fewer than 20 masterpoints are exempt.
New Life Master levels have been added to the opportunities for achievement. In addition to existing levels to be reached you can now become a Ruby Life Master and a Sapphire Life Master. A Ruby Life Master is a Life Master with more than 1,500 masterpoints including no fewer than a combination of 300 silver, red, gold or platinum points. A Sapphire Life Master is a Life Master with more than 3,500 masterpoints including no fewer than a combination of 350 gold or platinum points and no fewer than a combination of 700 silver, red, gold or platinum points. These levels became effective January 1, 2016.
Entry fees for all two or more session team events held at a North American Bridge Championship tournament will be charged per person rather than on a per team basis. While I can see some logic in this approach five of us were opposed when the vote was taken.
We have members who resign membership when faced with charges of cheating and others who are expelled for cheating. We unanimously voted to make both groups wait longer before they can apply for readmission. Now they must stay away for at least ten years unless they admit to the factual basis of the charges against them prior to the commencement of the hearing on those charges. They likely will not be readmitted on first request. Then they must wait at least three more years before again asking to be readmitted. I personally believe someone who is clearly caught cheating should be expelled and not considered for membership again, but these stronger rules are a step in the right direction.
You may realize that a Regional At Sea (RAS) out of San Francisco will conflict with a District 21 Regional this year. I have been talking with and negotiating with ACBL management about this issue the past year. Management agrees that having an active RSA out of a port close to a land based regional can hurt land based attendance. They feel that scheduling all the elements needed for a successful RAS can trump the possible problems for the local regional. We in District 21 disagree as do a few other districts that are close to major ocean ports. Management and I did some research on how many District 21 players would go to the RAS and then could not attend our regional. Surprising to us the number we most likely will lose is relatively small. I have convinced management and the travel company running the RAS to compensate district 21 for the conflict. We are currently negotiating with management and the travel agency concerning the amount of compensation.
It has long been my feeling that information about Youth Bridge activities should easily be available through the ACBL. In the past some of the information was available through the ACBL if you knew where to look. I have always wanted a
Youth Bridge button on the ACBL.org sign on page that could lead directly to Youth Bridge information. For our Fall meetings I proposed a policy that would require management to install a button on the ACBL.org sign on page that would lead people to Youth Bridge information. Once they saw my proposal they installed a Youth spot on the sign on page that will lead readers to lots of Youth Bridge information. Additionally I asked that they finalize the details of the Youth activities held during the next summer North American Bridge Championships the previous fall so that families could make decisions affecting their activities during the Christmas holiday season.
If you have ideas for improving our bridge activities please email me at RLSmithD21@aol.com or chat with me at the table. Take care.