John's Open Letters Vol. 1 #28
May 31, 2002
The dawn of a new and brighter day is soon upon us and with your support and vote for a change, the KWVA will be brought back to a more respectable position in the community of Veterans organizations.
Even with the renewed interest in this Election, there is still a lot of apathy in the Membership. This was mainly brought about because for several years Members have been ignored by the National Officers and they also felt they had no voice in their organization. With these complaints many have asked why should we care when we can't even get an answer from the elected officers. This has got to change or our attrition rate will exceed our aging available Members.
If it hadn't been for the efforts of Jerry Lake, Sam Naomi and others, working towards a common goal, we would not have as many Members and Chapters as we do now. The present regime wants all the glory but with little efforts except where a personal recognition can be gotten with a picture of Mr. Coon in the Graybeards. Shouldn't we have pictures of the others?
Having received many complaints from Chapter Officers on the subject of "dues sharing", I checked with Past President Nick Pappas and he told me a dues sharing program was set up and is still on the books but was put aside when the KWVA was having financial problems due to the illegal actions by John Maison, Treasurer, deceased. Now that our Treasury has about $600,000.00, the KWVA can well afford to implement the dues sharing that was mandated by our Executive Board and the Membership. Because of circumstances since then I would recommend some modifications to the programs disbursement procedures. This should be acted on by the Executive Council soon after the Election.
Articles from Chapter Officers and Members, by way of a "Sound Off" section in the Graybeards, would remove the stigma of the Graybeards magazine, as now edited, being construed as a restricted and censored magazine. The Members are demanding this.
Some time back I stated our Treasurer, Mr. Gregory, was doing as good a job as he could do. I was surprised when I received a quick reply, not from Mr. Gregory, but from Mr. Coon warning me not to say anything bad about Mr. Gregory. I never did say anything bad about Mr. Gregory. I will exercise my right to question the contents of his Financial Statements. I have received many questions about the contents and still feel that some of our present and past expenditures need to be explained in better detail and, in some cases, report who authorized the use of our money. Several Directors have told me they know nothing about, nor have they been asked to approve, the funding of several operations that recently have been approved by Mr. Coon.
This brings up the subject of the misuse of mailing labels from the KWVA to get out the vote for Mr. Coon and his supporters, who are also running for office. The labels were authorized by Mr. Coon without getting approval for their personal use because only he and his supporters could get them. Now long after they had this privileged use of the labels, Mr. Coon has contacted a Director and asked him if he wanted the same illegally authorized labels. The Director, being an honorable man, declined Mr. Coon's offer for it is too late, and also he would be guilty of the same wrong doing if he accepted.
Then there is the issue of Mr. Jerry Bey from Florida sending out letters supporting Mr. Coon and his company. His use of KWVA labels to get votes, and remarks implying I was a trouble maker and similar insinuations about Mr. Adams when he is not even running for office, has a smell of its own. Did he pay for the labels? Being an ex-Director he should know that he was doing wrong like Mr. Coon and the others were when he used the labels. My recommendation is that anybody who uses unauthorized or illegal materials and moneys, belonging to the KWVA, should be expelled as a Member. No exceptions. This "IS" just cause.
Getting back to Mr. Coon's quick response to me in regards to our Treasurer. I've noticed Mr. Coon seems to be answering for a lot of our officers. Can't they speak up for themselves or is this like Edgar Bergen and Charley McCarthy? Being a leader is one thing but being a controller is another.
With the General Meeting only two months away what other surprises are we in for. My name was supposed to be on the Agenda at the Jan. 2002 Las Vegas Meeting with charges for my expulsion. I want to thank Mr. Pratt for giving Mr. Coon sound advice by postponing these ridiculous charges that I am disrupting the normal functions of the KWVA by writing my Open letters. The letters will stop when I feel they are no longer needed or when I am no longer able.
Mr. Sherman Pratt, Judge Advocate, and Legal Advisor, appears to be using good judgment about several major and important issues, one being no third term for National Office. Now if he would advise Mr. Coon of his foolish efforts to have me expelled, maybe Mr. Coon would honor his advice this time. Or will the "Master of Expulsion" come back to life and rear its ugly head. I would prefer to get the full use out of my Life Membership that is presently being denied to Mr. Tramonte and Mr. Pappas.
A large number of my readers have asked me to continue my Open letters. They said they feel like my letters are one bright spot in a dark period in the KWVA. Several said I have turned on the light and brought new hope and enthusiasm to themselves and their Chapters. Some have even admitted to throwing out their Graybeards magazine without even reading it. I would suggest all to read the Official Magazine for there are a lot of interesting articles in it. Several had to retrieve their copies so they could vote for Mr. Adams. I'll thank you for that.
I recently have been told that the Washington crowd is not very happy with the KWVA because of several things that happened in the recent past. This has got to change and it will change with Mr. Dick Adams as our newly elected leader. Maybe we can bring the Veterans Community around, from a lack of support in Washington, to welcoming the KWVA. The present leadership has failed us and with some new blood we can rise above this. If Mr. Coon's time in office is to be considered positive I would hate to think what it would be like if it wasn't.
I've received two very different e-mails I want to pass on to you. One says, "I am no longer proud to be a member of the KWVA. The dissension caused by our leadership, and the complete disregard for the rules that govern our organization, and the corrupt behavior of our present leadership prompts a response by the membership. If Mr. COON is re-elected, my personal response will be my resignation. I would hope that thousands of others would do the same. I am a past president of the Santa Clara County Chapter KWVA., San JOSE California and a member for 12 years. LEE DAUSTER 5657" Thank you, Lee, for granting me permission to put your e-mail here for all to read. You are not alone in your feelings and with a change to a new President by the name of Dick Adams, your threat of leaving the KWVA will only be that, a threat. You have been a great supporter of the KWVA for 12 years and you are needed now more than ever as a Member of the KWVA in your part of California. I hope you are working hard to get out the vote for Mr. Adams. California has been neglected much too long.
Another e-mail I received came from a much decorated Marine from Brea, California. His buddy in Oklahoma sent him my Open letters and after I talked to him he plans to join the KWVA and hopefully help start a Chapter in his area. He wanted me to send him an Application but with my wife's help and the magic of the Internet we advised him to go the KWVA web site at http://www.kwva.org and print out his own copy. It's all there. Naturally he still has to send a copy of his DD214 and payment to Membership person Nancy Monson. Presto, we could have a new Member in Brea, California. Arty, I hope you become one of us and we can always use another Marine. Good luck and Semper Fi.
An e-mail was sent out by Mr. Sherman Pratt on March 21 suggesting Mr. Ken Cook remove himself from the Election Committee until the Election is over because he is running for Director and this could possibly cause a conflict of interest. He also said, "With respect to the announcement by Dick Wainwright that he is running for Director I am quick to express my pleasure. I have the highest regard for Dick and for his personal integrity and qualifications." Mr. Pratt, that was a nice thing for you to say those kind words about Dick Wainwright, for I know you two have known each other a long time.
I would like to quote Mr. Coon's acceptance speech from when he took the helm as President July 1998. He said, "From this point on, everything we do in the KWVA is going to be positive. . . . Nick Pappas hung in there when times were rally tough. . . . . Our financial picture looks good. . . . .In the meantime if you have any questions please call me." This was in the July/Aug. 1998 Graybeards magazine.
What went wrong, Mr. Coon? Why did you turn your back on the Members? Your promise to reply to questions had a hollow ring to it for that is the biggest complaint from Chapters and members. Here you state "our financial picture looks good", but you repeatedly say under Nick Pappas' leadership the KWVA was nearly bankrupt. You also say Mr. Pappas hung in there. Why the change of story? Why put Nick down and get him expelled? You were a Director at that time so shouldn't you share some of the responsibility? Did you forget that you made the Motion, seconded by Ken Cook to have John Maison as treasurer? Why the 180° turnaround against Mr. Pappas and the Members? Every leader who feels more important than the position they are elected to has had a hard fall. I say now, Mr. Coon, prepare yourself for a fall. By Mr. Coon's continued tirade against Mr. Pappas and others he is showing a hateful side none of us has seen in times past. Any responsible leader would address the problems of improper activities by some of the Executive Board and others and make an effort to stop it. Mr. Coon has decided to ignore this by allowing it to continue showing poor judgment in leadership. Allowing Appointed Officers to vote on Motions at the Vegas Meeting is a case in point. You have let your egotism get in the way of your better judgment and it is showing in your actions. Resign so you can avoid further embarrassment to yourself and the KWVA. That would solve a lot of problems.
Again I am asking those who haven't voted to please do son, and I pray it is for the good of the KWVA. By voting for Dick Adams and his slate of Candidates you will be voting for the future of a better KWVA.
Your personal opinion is greatly appreciated. Freedom is not free and it never was.
Respectfully, John Kronenberger