A VISION FOR THE FUTURE - WHILE HONORING THE PAST
November 24, 2015
We were provided an opportunity to answer some questions, addressed to us, but sent to members by Brian Tepper, a Life Member and Board supporter. Following is our point-by-point response to the six questions Mr. Tepper seeks answers to. Our bios on the 2015 mail-in Ballot speak to our reasons for running. And our ASL 2025 Platform speaks to other questions raised by Mr. Tepper.
1. Mr. Tepper: ASL 2025's current campaign is clearly backed by significant funding. The USPS mailings and online activities are obviously costly. Who is funding you?
ASL 2025: We are self-funded by member contributions. Donations are appreciated.
2. Mr. Tepper: ASL 2025 has an association with ASL Unite, one of their candidates is the founder of Unite, and the originator of the lawsuit against the majority vote for the cantilever transaction. It is important for all members to be aware that this defending against this failed lawsuit and its appeal have so far cost the League over $800,000. Who funded your end of that lawsuit?
ASL 2025: The originator of the lawsuit was the ad hoc leadership of ASL Unite with roughly 300 supporting members. And it's precisely the issue of whether there was, in fact, a majority vote of "members entitled to vote." That is an open question, and one of the subjects of the lawsuit. As to the League's costs for defending the lawsuit, we have already discussed that in a prior email.
The short answer to Mr. Tepper's question is that the bulk of the legal representation, including the litigation, have been done on a pro bono basis, at no cost. When costs needed to be covered, primarily for the initial litigation, donations have come from League members.
3. Mr. Tepper: At a members meeting, Mr. RJC promised not to appeal that [lower court] ruling, and yet he is. Why is he doing that? What does he hope to accomplish? Why does he feel that this is in the best interests of the League?
ASL 2025: Mr. RJC proposed at two members' meetings that a member's meeting be held to discuss whether an appeal should be taken. Mr. RJC stated that after a full discussion of all the issues, and members opinions, there could be a decision not to take an appeal. The League never scheduled this requested meeting. Mr. RJC never promised not to appeal the lower court ruling and the decision was not Mr. RJC's to make.
The appeal is being taken by the 250 named plaintiffs. The initial decision to explore whether an appeal should be taken was made by the leadership of ASL Unite. Eventually, all named plaintiffs were contacted about whether they would agree to take an appeal.
The appeal was taken because there are important issues regarding the correct interpretation of By-Law 31, which could require a different procedure in any future attempts to sell real estate assets. Also, there is an important question as to whether Board statements misled members to not cast a vote. If plaintiffs ultimately prevail, there are a number of possible remedies that would benefit the League, including increased safety precautions.
4. Mr. Tepper: If the ASL 2025 slate wins control of the Board do you plan to fire Ira Goldberg? You don't appear to trust or respect him. Who do you plan to put in his place?
ASL 2025: We have no plans to fire or hire anyone at this time. We will be evaluating the mission and performance of all administrative personnel, with special emphasis on student and member feedback. We will then make decisions on whether any changes need to be made.
5. Mr. Tepper: Peter Homitzky's recent ugly letter suggests Ira has hired unqualified instructors. Does ASL 2025 agree with this and if so which instructors will be dismissed? How many students will lose their favorite teacher? How will new instructors be hired?
ASL 2025: As we previously stated, Mr. Homitzky's letter is his own. We have no plans to make any changes in instructors. We will support the Executive Director in his capacity to oversee the instructors, classes and programming. As written in Our Platform, we will "Establish peer review hiring of instructors and maintain Atelier-based traditions."
6. Mr. Tepper: If you dismiss instructors, many students can be expected to leave, causing a loss of tuition revenue. How do you plan to address that loss?
ASL 2025: As noted above, we have no plans to dismiss anyone. There has always been an ebb and flow to the make-up of the League. If we ensure that there are qualified instructors that reflect a multiplicity of viewpoints, artists will attend as they have in the past. Changes in faculty always happen for one reason or another - retirement, relocation, job change. What we will do is ensure that we have the finest faculty available, continue low tuition, reinstate and maintain part-time student accessibility, provide excellent support services, and institute a comprehensive safety and work environment plan for the duration of the Extell construction.
ASL 2025 - The Reform Team
Marne Rizika, President
Susan Brauser, Vice President
Roberto Franzone, Board Member
Salvatore Forte, Board Member
Walanne Steele, Board Member