The Quest for an Effective Chairman in 1997

Candidate: Sander Rubin


1. Teresa Fisher (long)
2. Bill Fisher
3. Carolyn Dane
4. Douglas Gannon
5. Shelly Harrison
6. Charles Koberg
7.. Stu Friedman
8. Stan Bercovitch

To biography page
To summary table
To platform

[Unless otherwise indicated, by color, positions held are not current.]

Teresa Fisher

[Editor for two Mensa groups, local excom member, national newsletter awards chair, former active Mensan.]

Remember when Mensa used to be fun? Most of us enjoyed the organization at
the local level, paying scant attention to anything that went on nationally.
We are now paying heavily for that disregard.  During the past few years a 
group of politically ambitious people have taken over the organization, much 
to its detriment. Amassing political power took precedence over the health of 
Mensa, with sadly predictable results. Dues money was wasted on a grand scale,
dues were raised in an underhanded way, decisions by the ombudsman were 
ignored, and officers who were trying to do a good job were hounded not only 
out of office, but in some cases out of Mensa. Disgusted members dropped out 
and membership declined at an alarming rate. I am tired of watching political 
chicanery kill the organization that used to give me so much pleasure.

It is difficult for those of us at the local level to keep up with who is 
doing what nationally, but I've made an attempt through reading Interloc 
and the Bulletin, reading a variety of newsletters when I was a local editor, 
talking to friends in other parts of the country, and monitoring the Inside 
Mensa forum on CompuServe. When looking back at the worst offenses, the same 
names appear again and again as perpetrators. Unfortunately, most members who 
bother to vote neglect to find out candidates' backgrounds and past activities. 
That neglect has allowed some very harmful aspirants to rise steadily up the 
Mensa political ladder.

In the upcoming election I have decided to vote for Sander Rubin for Chairman.
He was Chairman twice in the early 70s, and understands many of the problems 
we are now facing. His platform, available in Interloc and at this location, 
contains a plank that addresses what I believe threatens the health of Mensa: 
impaired communications.

For the first ten years of my membership, Mensa regularly published a register
of members' names and addresses. This practice was begun by Sander, and he 
would like to reinstate it. Early registers were filled with information about 
members, taken from the questionnaires they filled out when they joined. Later 
editions included only basic info, but were still quite useful. Since we are 
spread out across a large country, the register made it easy to contact friends 
whose addresses we may have lost or forgotten to ask for at an RG. It was a 
wonderful resource. The last register was published in 1992 and is now 
basically worthless. Several people have requested a new register, one that 
would include email addresses, but our leaders complain that they couldn't 
make any money from it and it might even cost Mensa to print it. What are our 
dues for if not to make the organization more enjoyable for us? Efforts are 
now underway to provide, via MERF, a permanent building for our national office. 
Which would benefit the common member most: a register, or the knowledge that
there is a building in Texas with Mensa's name on it?

Another way communication is hampered is by having Mensa's official computer 
forum on CompuServe. Much Mensa business is discussed on that forum, but to 
access it one must pay for a CompuServe account. Mensa gets a rebate based on 
usage, and open communication is sacrificed so maximum dollars can be squeezed 
from the members. How typical of current attitudes among Mensa leadership. 
Sander Rubin believes the Internet should be used to insure that any member 
with a computer can access the official Mensa forum without paying a third 
party. I agree. One of Mensa's stated purposes is to foster communication. 
Let's start trying to further that goal. Since Sander originated the local 
group newsletter subsidy, his credentials in the area of furthering 
communication are good. Improved communications would make it easier for 
interested members to find out the real story on prospective candidates, 
instead of restricting information to the carefully crafted statements in 
the Bulletin.

A great deal of dissatisfaction with our current leaders is expressed on the 
computer forum, and several people claim they will vote for None of the Above 
for Chairman. There is an emotionally rewarding sense of vengeance in voting 
for NOTA, but if NOTA should win, which is unlikely, it would throw our troubled 
political structure into even more turmoil. We would once again have an 
unelected Chairman, someone who didn't want the office bad enough to run for 
it. Why split the anti-incumbent vote when we have a candidate for Chairman 
who wants to stop the abuses of the recent past? Will the pleasant buzz 
achieved by voting for NOTA be worth a two-year hangover?

Pro-incumbent forces naturally oppose Sander's election, but their reasons are 
often vague. They don't like his style; he would cause problems (isn't that the 
purpose of revolution?); and my favorite reason, Margot didn't like him. They 
have attributed to him proposals that he has never advocated, and then attacked 
him for having such bad ideas. I have watched the arrogant accuse him of 
arrogance, and the hard-to-work-with accuse him of being difficult. At the 
very worst he will be no more harmful than what we have now.

When endorsing a candidate one never really knows what that candidate will do 
if elected. I know what we currently have, and am willing to give Sander Rubin 
a chance to turn Mensa around. If he ends up being another self-serving 
politico, I'll be among the first to denounce him. But first, I want to give 
an opportunity to the only alternative we have to More of the Same.

I am sending this endorsement to people I wouldn't have met had it not been for 
Mensa. You have all enriched my life in one way or another. Distributing this 
message has been made difficult by the lack of an updated register, but maybe 
that's the whole point.

Teresa Fisher

Bill Fisher

[Local group excom member, local treasurer, and local group president.]

Our leadership has gotten out of control, as shown by their ignoring the
Ombudsman's decisions. I am also disappointed in the way our elected officials
have handled our money. I am supporting Sander Rubin and Gerald Fortner in the
upcoming election.

Carolyn (Simon) Dane

[Editor for: LAMENT, Chinook, Columbian; Associate Editor: Mensa Bulletin (West); Newsletter Awards Committee Chairman, NomCom]

  I endorse Sander Rubin enthusiastically. Over the years I have 
read many of his analyses showing where Mensa has taken a wrong turn 
(especially the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on PR and 
advertising) and he has been proven correct in every instance, as 
demonstrated by subsequent events.  Besides that, he is an adult and 
acts it. If you have questions, I urge you to email Sander and ask them! 

  I renewed for just one year, because I'm not convinced Mensa will
last longer than that, especially if the current leadership remains in
office. Sander is our last best hope.

Carolyn Dane

Douglas Gannon

X-POP3-Rcpt: sander@wheel
Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 00:19:54 -0700 (MST)
From: (Douglas G. Gannon)
Subject: Mensa Election

Dear Mr. Rubin,

        I would be most happy to vote for you.  You are clearly the man.  I
have visited your site in the past and I feel that Mensa is important to you
as an entity and not just an ego trip on your part.

        Sadly I did not renew before the deadline and did not receive a ballot. 
I write this note just to give you my vote personally.

Douglas Gannon

Shelley Harrison

Dear Sander, 
	I've reviewed your candidacy statement and agree with you
100%. You definitely have my vote, and I hope that when elected you will not
have too uphill a struggle to implement some positive changes.  Best of

 Shelley Harrison

Charles W. Koberg

Subject: Old Times, Indeed
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 97 13:17:00 -0500
From: "Charles W. Koberg" <>
To: "Sander Rubin" <>

Greetings, Sander,

Recently, I re-activated my Mensa membership after lying doggo almost a 

My first issue of the Mensa Bulletin also happened to be the one 
containing the ballot - and lo, there was your name from the past, 
challenging the present. Lazarus, indeed.

I joined American Mensa in mid-67, just after you and the other brave 
souls fired it up over here. My original membership card (number 20060 - 
did we begin with 00001?) was completed in ink, by hand - on Margot's 
kitchen table, I've always fancied.

FWIW, you received my vote. I'm astonished to find what sad shape the 
organization's in, and what sorry goings on are in the recent history. 
Your observations and your "mission statement" fit the circumstances 
precisely. Sic 'em! 

I just attended my first general meeting here in San Antonio. We were 
nine souls, average age 100+ <g>. The official membership hereabouts is 
306. Something is Not Right in Mensa-land.

Charles W. Koberg
Venture Consultant
San Antonio, Texas
"eheu fugaces labuntur anni"

Stu Friedman

[Groups Officer, Vice-Chairman, AMC and IGC, Cofounder and President of MERF, Director of Science and Education]

Yes, I am not a rabid supporter of Dave Remine (nor of Sander Rubin; rabid, that is).
I did serve for many years on the AMC with Sander commencing in 1964 and culminating 
after a dozen years as President (and cofounder with Sander in 1972) of MERF in 1984. 
During this period we worked very closely together as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of 
American Mensa. I was quite comfortable with Sander's style --which I found paralleled 
others in the New York-New Jersey area, where I now live (as does Dave). 

I would like you to post this message wherever appropriate, together with my 
wholehearted endorsement for Sander for Chairman. I have reviewed his proposals and 
find them sound and conducive to a meaningful redirection for Mensa. I've no doubt 
that Sander still possesses the interest, capability, and drive to make the difference 
as was amply demonstrated in the early, growth years of the organization. Those who 
know me know that I am strongly apolitical and have often, in the past, served to 
bridge the philosophical gaps among our leaders. As Dave suggested I would be 
delighted to share "real facts about his style". I would welcome the opportunity. 
Thanks for letting me know about this. 


Stan Bercovitch

  I am disappointed and disturbed by Dave Remine's attempt to impeach 
Sander's credibility by the innuendo that those of us whom he listed 
would join in his opinion of Sander. He apparently expects few, if any, to 
approach us for our comments and relies on the apathy of the 
membership to accept, ex cathedra, his insinuations and that his list of 
former AMC  members would all, de facto, castigate Sander. Well, it just 
ain't so, Dave. 

  Of course, I have had disagreements with Sander. I even had serious 
disagreements with my best friend, Marvin Grosswirth, when he served as 
AMC chairman. Indeed, unless an AMC member were a total sycophant, 
there has never been an AMC member who has never disagreed with 
every other member at some time. (That has to be one of the very few 
universal negative statements with which I am truly comfortable, and a 
double universal negative at that.) To the best of my recollection most of 
my disagreements with Sander were in degree, or extent, rather than in 
substance. We argued about the scope of MERF, not about MERF itself. 
In some I prevailed, in others he did. (He won that discussion on 
MERF--it had to do with research into Medieval French Literature.) 
Sander can be opinionated; but then, aren't we all! Sander sometimes 
seems to be in his own little world--who else would sit and obviously read 
a newspaper during the Rabbi's sermon at the bar mitzvah of the son of 
a very close and dear friend; but then, the hell with being politically 
correct, maybe he has the right idea after all. 

  During Sander's tenure as chairman of American Mensa, membership 
grew, local groups gained an autonomy they never had before, local 
newsletters were encouraged and subsidized, MERF was launched, 
Mensa enjoyed some of the best PR and magazine articles we have 
ever had (adding nicely to our membership), and, among the active 
members, there was a growing sense of family--an intellectual and social 
as well as intelligent community that could have fun, joke, play, discuss, 
challenge, learn, and enjoy each other's company and ideas--that I have 
seldom felt in Mensa for the last 18 years. 

  Can Sander return Mensa to its early promise? I honestly don't think so. I 
sincerely doubt, given the social state and attitudes in the nation today, 
the intellectual shallowness, egocentricity, and triviality of so many of our 
newer members, that anyone could return Mensa to that vision of the 
70's, but I would dearly like to see someone try. The attempt in itself 
would be worth the effort and even some small measure of success 
would be appreciated. 

  Over the past several years I have refrained from granting my 
endorsement to any candidate for chairman of AMC and have given 
endorsements to candidates for other offices only sparingly. I have 
dedicated myself and my efforts to my local group's activities and have 
stayed out of national politics. This year, more in response to Dave's 
unfortunate statement in the Mensa Forum than anything else, I break 
my silence. I am pleased, therefore, to announce my endorsement for 
Sander Rubin's candidacy for Chairman of American Mensa. 

  If anyone wishes to contact me directly, they may do so at
Stanley D. Bercovitch

Back to Remine's message
To top of this page