Bonnie –

Before I give you my three cents, I want to tell you I don't understand why most of the comments on your website are from D22 people. And there don't seem to be any from D17 people.
It seems immoral to me to take money from so many people and give it to so few with absolutely zero say in how it's spent. I'm not saying the USBF and the WBF are not honorable or forthright in how they spend the ACBL's money, but.....recent evidence has indicated they have no inclination to be accountable to anyone but themselves regarding comportment, tournament organization or allocation of our money.
The most egregious example of the USBF's (and the ACBL's) total disregard for policing the behavior of it's competitors came about three years ago when a member of the winning US women's team held up a sign which indicated her distaste for our current President.
Outcries came from network newsreports and frequent letters to ACBL and USBF officials. Yet the disposition of the matter was, from both organizations, to outlaw such behavior in the future. Nothing was done to sanction the offenders by either organization. This demonstrates either the fear of lawsuits that renders both organizations incapable of administrating such a far-reaching program as international bridge competitions or the tendencies of both to favor and give tacit permission to certain players to act however they like whenever they like. And it also demonstrates the organizations disinclination to be accountable to the rank-and-file which funded these participants in this competition. Is there no longer such a thing as accountablility? I tried many times to get a roll-call vote from the ACBL BOD on this matter, so we could hold those voting against sanctions accountable for their (lack of) actions. I couldn't get it done. Why should we let these people spend our money however they see fit when they don't let themselves be accountable to us for how it's spent?
Regarding tournament organization: I attended the WBF tournament in Philadelphia. Other Americans and I were astonished at the haughty and condescending attitude of all WBF officials toward Americans. When I learned that the scoring machines used to input results at the tables in pairs games gave the percentage of matchpoints awarded to each pair on each board, thus turning the competition into a barometer pairs, I complained to the "proper" WBF official. He was European and, in no uncertain terms, told me that this is the way it is done all over the world except in North America. I told him it tainted the purity of the competition and he assured me that any good expert player could determine his matchpoint score on each board without the aid of seeing it refected on the scoring machine. I asked him to whom I could seek a change in the procedures. He told me only the President of the WBF could change conditions of contest, even though I mentioned something to him about a competition committee. And that I should apporach the President if I was unhappy with the event. His tone was not one an accountable or employed official should have had with a concerned participant. I have heard for years about the WBF's general disdain for Americans. And that all rules and decisions were made with the express desire to "screw over" Americans. I didn't want to believe it, but I witnessed it with my own eyes. Whey are we acquiescing to such treatment?
Regarding the distribution of our money: Unfortunately, there is a general disconnect between the rank-and-file ACBL member and the "stars" of the game. There are several obvious reasons for that, no matter how much volunteer work the stars do for the rank-and-file, as alluded to by Mr. Weinstein. And, unfortunately, the ACBL, through it's Bulletin editor, has done everything they can to pander to and deify the "stars" and their rich sponsors, rather than to look after the interests of most of the ACBL players. As Percy Bean would say, "Sadie Kumquat doesn't give a flying fig whether or not some bridge bum and his rich friend go to Turkey to represent the USA or not. But she does know he better not be spending her dime to get there." If the ACBL wants to abrogate selection of the USA teams to the USBF, let the USBF raise all the necessary money to conduct the trials and to send representatives to world competitions. This forced "tax" on all ACBL members is shameful. I don't want my money going to subsidize billionaires and those the billionaires pay to play on their teams. I understand the need to promote some international presence for American players. But requiring every ACBL to pay for it has to be wrong. Especially when there is no accountability to the rank-and-file for the conduct of anyone involved. Make contributions to the USBF voluntary. If it doesn't have enough money to exist, so be it. The people it "represents" don't want it to exist. AHA! There we have it. The problem is it does not represent the rank-and-file ACBL member. It does not exist for the benefit of the rank-and-file ACBL member. It exists and represents the elite players at the top and their wealthy sponsors. THAT is what sticks in the craw of the average ACBL member. Until this "disconnect" is addressed, no one will be happy with the current system.

Steve Bruno
Peoria, AZ