A Statement of Candidacy ?
In 1980 there was a Boston worldcon, Noreascon II. Most of the regular members of NESFA were intensively involved with preparing for and putting on the worldcon. I agreed to be (and became) a caretaker president. This was my statement of candidacy.
For the last four years I have been nominated from the floor for the position of President of NESFA. Neither I nor the club have treated these nominations terribly seriously. In part my, ah, candidacy has offered those who wished to make a protest vote the chance to do so. It is a measure of the improving morale of the club that the number of votes that I have gotten has declined steadily over the years. This year the nominations committee asked if I would be a serious candidate. I agreed. Since I have agreed to be a serious candidate I feel that I should make some statement for the record.
NESFA has a formal policy that only people who work for the club should be allowed to vote. It also has a tradition, like most other organizations, that the President is an activist who is among the central members of the group. Since there are some members who may only be vaguely aware of who I am or what I have done I feel that I should recapitulate what I have done for the club. Briefly, I am a founding member and a Fellow of NESFA. I have served as Editor (when it was an elective post) and as vice president. I have served as Rules committee chairman several times and on the Membership committee at others. I negotiated the purchase of the Strauss Index. I was chairman of the first Lexicon (the hotel was awful but there was a great aurora.) Currently I am the collator for the APA. In the early years I worked regularly on Boskones, although I have not done so for the last few years.
In the past few years I have not been particularly active in working for NESFA. In part this is for a variety of personal reasons; in part is because the club has become oriented towards putting on Boskones and running ever more elaborate conventions. I will not say that this is wrong - it seems to be the natural orientation of the club. It is not, however, my orientation.
In the ordinary course of things I would not be a serious candidate for President. For a number of years now the President has been someone who has run a Boskone and who has been actively involved in the central councils of the club. The simple fact is that none of these people (past Boskone Chairman/person/people/woman) wishes to run this year. We have asked the Elite to rule us and they have deserted us. The reason is, we may suppose, that the Elite is involved with putting on Noreascon II. Thus the stage is set for a caretaker President.
I say, "caretaker President", because the club will not be undertaking its usual elaborate Boskone. The fact that no one among the central Elite wishes to be President says much about how much they want to do for NESFA in the coming year, a reasonable attitude in view of the work of putting on a Worldcon. I think it is fair to say that this coming year will not be a year of radical innovation. Still, it is always worth considering new directions.
In view of the attitudes I have expressed from time to time you (the voter) are entitled to ask, "Will I work as President?" The answer is yes. If elected I will get to meetings on time and will preside in an orderly and effective fashion. (Mind you, it will be a strain.) I will appoint the requisite committees and will follow them up. I will probably not participate actively in the social life of NESFA (at least not any more actively than I do now) which is a distinct handicap. I am not likely to be excessively dedicated and will probably be irreverent from time to time.
There are some things that should be worried about. I haven't worried a great deal about them of late because I have been letting other people run the show. However the club should be concerned about the ten year index. Personally I should like to see Proper Boskonian become more active or else see it killed off. In the early years of NESFA both the APA and PB were a much greater part of the concerns of the club. Since then they have atrophied. A number of years ago we used to have much more extensive programming; we had movies, science speakers, and discussion groups, for example. This too has atrophied. Although the club has recovered quite well from the troubles of 1975 it has shifted a good deal in orientation; in fact, it seems to be strongly oriented towards putting on conventions and convention related activity. This well and good - people obviously like working on conventions. However there are many things that the club might offer that it doesn't, and it might be worth thinking about what it should be doing that it isn't. (Allowing, of course, for the possibility that, after due soul searching, we would come to the conclusion that the club is doing precisely what it should be doing.)
Finally, you are entitled to know whether I have a burning desire for the Presidency. The answer is "Of course not." In actual fact I would prefer not to be President. It means additional work and time; it means hassles that I can do quite nicely without. Etc. Above all it means assuming responsibilities that I have cheerfully let others shoulder. I will not advise people to vote against me because it would be inconsistent with having agreed to be a serious candidate. If I were not willing to serve I would not have agreed to be nominated. If you feel that I am the best available candidate by all means vote for me. But if there is any real doubt in your mind I shan't be hurt if you vote for someone else.
This page was last updated March 1, 2005.