November 2012 District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.

– Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)

Making of a President

As the two US political parties beg for our votes I, like everyone, can only hope my man comes out on top. I’m amused, yet discouraged, by the enormous amount of high wire tip toeing through the truth and the unnecessary mud slinging that goes on. Is this really the American way? I doubt those 56 founding fathers envisioned it that way when they penned their names on the hallowed parchment. Hardly.

ACBL President

In a more sane approach to selecting a leader, our ACBL Board is currently deciding between two candidates – each hoping to become president of the league for 2013. The two vying for votes are Bill Cook of Mississippi, District 10; and Don Mamula of Washington state, District 19. The ACBL presidential term is for only one year – twelve months of public relations visiting as many districts as possible sharing knowledge and good will, as well as transparency, of how the league functions. The president sets goals for how he/she wants to lead the bridge world forward, then sets out to accomplish so much with so little (time).

Our current 2012 president is Sharon Anderson of Minnesota, District 14. Sharon, a very aggressive leader, has been quite visual to us in District 22. She made an extensive appearance at the San Diego Regional, and again at the Ventura Regional, and also at the annual Passing of the Gavel ceremony in Palm Springs when the new 2013 ACBL President will receive the baton from her. If you have time, I hope you will attend either tournament to meet this lovely lady.

The election: S current year 2013 hopeful will be selected from the ranks of the twenty-five national board members (District Directors) during the upcoming Fall NABC in San Francisco; a majority of 13 votes is all that is required. Voting is by secret ballot; I have one vote. We also play the election game. We root for our favorite, campaign a little, courting the fence-sitters, and hope we get our main man seated. But mud slinging, untruths, and insults are rarely a part of our process. At least not openly.

Only the Strong Survive

Most of the 25 board members stay 3-4 terms of three years each. Some longer ... some much longer. So the pool of potential presidents is rather small since most long time veterans have already been president, or have no interest in competing for the position. When you subtract the rookies and sophomores from the equation it leaves only a handful of hopefuls. Quite often deals are made behind the scene to ensure two equals with similar interests not compete against each other ... staggering their years of candidacy to increase chances of success. All in all, it’s an honorable approach to selecting leadership, and the camaraderie between the different factions normally produces election harmony – normally. As on all political boards, egos, personal interests, and a little saber rattling exists. Wouldn’t be as much fun without some of this. And makes for a more interesting column to write.

More Elections

There are two other league positions of great interest to be contested in San Francisco. The chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG) is elected for a two year term and limited to two terms. A new leader will also be chosen by BoG members during their scheduled Fall meeting. The BoG is a district-elected body of delegates whose major function is to review the actions of the Board of Directors and oversee our decisions. At least three BoG members have announced a desire to lead: Dick Anderson of Regina, Chris Compton of Dallas, and Ellen Kent of Los Angeles. Vice-chair is also up for grabs. Only BoG members, or their individually designated proxies, may participate in this election.

ACBL Goodwill Committee

And finally, the prestigious Aileen Osofsky ACBL Goodwill Committee will select a leader. Aileen was the long time beloved GW chairman who spent the last few decades of her life trying to make bridge a better place to be. Big shoes to follow. The Goodwill Committee meets during a reception on Monday of each NABC. At this writing there are three candidates for the position: Rose Meltzer of North Carolina, Ellen Anten of Encino, and Bonnie Bagley of Colorado Springs. Rose succeeded Aileen two years ago. Bonnie, Ms. Osofsky’s number one choice, chaired the meetings following Aileen’s untimely death. All three women are first class candidates; my choice, of course, is Bonnie.

So there you are. Three great elections coming up in San Francisco this Thanksgiving week. I’m sorry, but unless you are a member of these boards, you will not be voting. But I wanted you to be part of the process, and root for your favorites, just as I do.

But no mud slinging, please!

Peace, my friends.