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meetings:2013-06-02

June 02, 2013

Present: Z, Beth, Donny, Eric, Gatlin, Gina, Greg, Hannah, Hillary, Jess, Jessica, Lynn, McAllen, Mike, Molly, Nolan, Ryan, Trip, Victor

Meet and greet

Eric: Found LR on CraigsList. Like the idea of a community with everyone doing their part. Interested in a room. No pets, no allergies. Can smoke but prefer nonsmoking.

Gina has no pets, no allergies, interested in a unit

Gina has a truck. Jesse also has a truck, fyi.

Officer reports

maintenance

Donny: Some progress on the electrical front. Gone all last week until Monday. Greg and I did a little, went to Lowe's today, plan to get rid of the standing water source in the laundry room. Have the hardware for it.

Greg: Electrical work starting the 11th. Four days in a row, just like in the original letter. Sorry for the miscommunication.

Victor: I'm happy to loosen the panels if I can get into the rooms.

Greg: Cutting the pane, taking the screws out.

Victor: I'm happy to do that if you let me in.

Donny: Discussions about plumbing, the gas lines in a bad state. If we do the work ourselves, then we (CHEA) are liable for anything that will happen. Would have to involve the CHEA board. CHEA board is in flux right now. Might be better to see about funding that. That's what they carry the professional insurance for. Way expensive. Will need outside funding. Research going into a kickstarter to fund that and other serious maintenance needs.

Greg: Downside risk is tremendous. Want to try to avoid that. If we have the professionals replace the valves, then the pressure test. If we fail the pressure test, then we can't get the gas back on. You have to find out where all the gas lines go. If it goes underground, probably have to put holes in the slab to find it. Would be cheaper to just run new gas lines, but would be pretty ugly. If we'll do that much, we get into whether we have the right kind of drafting in the AC closets. Need two sources of outside air coming into the closet. We don't have any coming in right now. We don't want to get anywhere near it, basically., without the money to back us up to do these other things.

Mike: Do Daniel/NP know about the issue with the plumbing?

Greg: No. Will need to talk to Cynthia to see if we can come up with a different solution for her to be able to cook.

Treasurer

Ryan: Asked Daniel and Gatlin what our portion of the lease payment would be. Didn't get any good, adequate responses. They contacted me this week and said that CHEA hadn't made a lease payment in three months. CHEA needs to decide what portion of the lease needs to be paid by each house. Two ideas I have in place are to have Sasona continue what they paid before and we paid the difference, or to figure out what a lease payment might be per member. Divide the lease payment by the total number of members. I'm inclined to request the second one. I don't think we could afford the full lease payment the first month because of some smaller rents from existing tenants and startup expenses, such as the $3,000 deposit to Austin Energy. Been able to communicate with the Sasona treasurer. I'll come back with more information. There's been a lack of communication.

Greg: Does this put us in arrears with the mortgage company?

Ryan: They're paying the mortgage, understand that things are difficult, but three months of nonpayment is starting to affect their balance. Talking to Gatlin and Nicole (Sasona treasurer). We're working it out.

Donny: Do you guys have a plan to get the checks in one place and get it off to Daniel?

Ryan: Haven't got a response from Gatlin. I informed them. I think Daniel's been hounding Gatlin. It's Gatlin's responsibility to ensure it gets paid.

Jessica: When I became bookkeeper, I texted Gatlin and asked about the checks. We still have them.

Ryan: If I showed up at Sasona, someone could give me the checks?

Jessica: Need the box. I have a key to it.

Ryan: Could you check the amounts when you get home tonight? I don't physically need the money. Not a lot I can do until I know the number on the check.

Jessica: Okay.

Ryan: We're sales tax event. If you buy something for the coop, please ask me for a tax or a card. I've been reimbursing people for stuff. Now that we're a bit more organized, I'd like to stop doing that. Please ask before you buy stuff. Lowe's is good, but a lot of places are really bad about it.

Jessica: if you have the tax ID #, or some places will accept a phone number.

Trip: There's a form on the web that you can print out, that says CHEA and has the tax-exempt number.

Membership

Hannah: Hillary moving out. Meghan's moving in on the 22nd. Jess and Beth moved in. They've been painting. A lot of switcharoo with the commons; Paul and Nolan moving in, McAllen and Mike moving out. Having discussion about boundaries. Z still considering. Wants to know a few things first. Resigning contracts because most people were on provisional three-month contracts that expire June 30 because we didn't know what the terms should be. Afaik everyone will renew. Got a good response rate for food program membership. With the exception of three people, pretty much everyone is joining.

Hannah: Could be cool to have monthly/bimonthly routine visiting of Sasona. These are our brothers and sisters and cooperative owners.

Jess: Could exchange labor.

Hannah: Also tried to start some discussion about a CHEA-wide email list. Didn't get any response. Is there another way I could go about this? Invited people to join the existing cheacoopdiscussion list. Another way to do it might be to just start a list. Would probably require some board approval, but could add everyone until they ask to be taken off.

Trip: As Sasona's computer person, I went ahead and created a full set of lists of that type mirroring the ones that Sasona had. The only awkward thing about them is that they end in sasona.org. I'd like us to get chea.coop. .coop domains are a little pricier, but I think it would be worth it for making it obvious that we're a coop. Could it put it on the Google apps for education.

Hannah: I'm starting to feel like a direct add system is the only way it'll happen. Most people are easily distracted. Fine if people don't want to be on the list, but I'd like to add people and take people off. I'd bet most people would be happy to be on but won't take the steps to be there.

Victor: I thought, if you were on the old one, you were on already.

Hannah: Most of the Sasoonis aren't.

Gatlin?: That's what I did for the list.

Hannah: I would like us to have an IT person/team also.

Gatlin: Was thinking about grounds coordinator. Realized that we don't have an inclusive and accessible way to vote. I think it's important to everyone to vote in the same manner. If there's a computer in here, people can vote on it. That way, everybody voted the same way. I apologize that I haven't come up with a good solution quickly. We should have an IT person to implement those things.

Nolan: I'd like it if it were a committee.

Labor

Gatlin: People doing labor. Some people doing extra labor. People are showing up and doing stuff on the property. I'm really happy that everybody is taking initiative. Working on organizing a labor holiday. Details to come. I'd really like to focus on Claude's room. Also would like to see if I can spare some labor for the bathroom. I'll probably just email and flier to ask what everyone wants to do and how to do it.

Z: I think it would be really nice to do an interior repaint here. I will gladly throw money towards the paint.

Hannah: I want to help.

Jessica: Would have to check with the house, but Sasona has a lot of paint. I'm also in for whatever.

Outreach

Hannah: Can we have another event soon? We got some good momentum with the garden party. Would like to continue as a biweekly thing.

Gatlin: Labor holiday.

McAllen: Events in general, or gardening?

Hannah: Events in general. Just something to get people having fun.

Molly: Plan on an anarchist/radical trivia night at Monkey Wrench. Could do a repeat at the coop.

Hannah: I love trivia. What if people moderated their own category? You could do anarchist trivia. I will help.

Hannah: I've been doing a lot of the updating on the fb page. Anyone who wants to be an admin can be an admin. If you want to be, let me know. If you don't want your picture taken and/or posted on Facebook, let me know.

Z: No Facebook for me.

Discuss the particulars of Z, Paul, and Nolan's residency in the common space (106)

Z: Paul isn't around, throwing his hat in for groundskeeper, not particularly concerned about anything. Gatlin and I will be trading rooms.

Gatlin: I think this room down here is actually bigger.

Hannah: Are you going to be living in both rooms?

Gatlin: Could condense down to the small room, but would like to use the bigger room for some things.

Hannah: Need to be gone in July.

Z: I won't be here in July. Fine with Gatlin staying in the room. Still some issues with electricity, things that need to be worked out.

Hannah: We haven't really formerly decided how people taking transitional residence will be paying for electricity, if at all. I've got two ideas: take an average rate that any other unit would pay for electricity and divide it by half ($20/month/person), or the coop could make it compensation for the difficulty of living in the common space.

Gatlin: I'm willing to put my shit on the meter and pay kw*price. Would put a meter between me and the wall.

Hannah: Is that easy to do?

Greg: I have a meter.

Victor: Does that cover air conditioning?

??: It doesn't.

Greg: I don't think we should charge them anything. It's an incremental cost. We're getting the rent.

Nolan: Those of us who live here are basically paying the same amount that you guys for the unit are paying but not getting an equivalent level of service. Have 15-20 people tromping through my kitchen. I can't store my Braille-labeled cups in the kitchen because they may wander off. I feel constrained in how I cook in there because I don't have my utensils that are more accessible. Not making a complaint. I'm happy to live in the room to make the coop better. I feel we should offer discounts if we're going to charge for electricity, and would offset. Someone turned the AC onto fan recently, so was constantly running. I didn't do it. I feel like, if there's a possibility I'm going to get charged for that, it's unfair. I came in here last night, and there was a light on. It's hard to measure what's mine.

Donny: Want to second Greg and Nolan. Too hard to estimate/measure, and it's not that much money. Big thing is air conditioning, and we have to air-condition the space anyway.

Molly: A slight side note, but, if anyone wants help labeling things with multicolored tape to make sure things don't walk away from the kitchen, I'd love to help. Would suck for people to lose their personal stuff.

Gatlin: I don't care that there's 15 people tramping through my space and how loud they are, not that other people shouldn't as well. If we have to do things like this in the future, seek out people who don't care.

Nolan: It's not so much peoples' presence that bothers me. It's that people bring dirt in. The kitchen has to get mopped a lot more. I'm happy to do that. It's just more than you'd have to do with a typical two-person unit. Kids will come through.

Z: I second the labor conversation. I think there's something to be said for the bathroom has to be cleaned way more than a unit. At the same time, if you're living here and you clean the bathroom, how much counts towards house labor? Having 106-related house chores should be on the labor list.

Gatlin: Was going to look at labor tonight.

Z: Would like to see us get a second fridge.

Mike: Agree with a second fridge, felt like I didn't have much fridge space when I was here, wouldn't mind paying electricity personally but think it makes sense not to charge because it isn't an equivalent level of service

Z: Plan on doing more salon hours, planning tea, posting conversations. I don't know how things get on the calendar but it's something I'm interested in.

Gatlin: If you want to do something here, go for it. I don't care.

Molly: Could create an email address with a password, then everyone could access the Google calendar.

Z: That's awfully digital.

Nolan: I really wish Jesse were here to talk about stuff with the food plan. Was looking to see what is there as far as utensils. We don't have measuring cups, measuring spoons, ladles, stuff to make more than really simple dishes. If I had to cook a pop of chili in there, I don't have measuring cups, a food processor. Wanted to talk about acquiring this stuff that we'll need anyway and putting it in the common area. I can bring my stuff in here, but a lot is Braille-labeled. I can't go to Good Will and buy Braille-labeled measuring cups. I'd like it if the house had stuff. I don't know how to have that conversation since the person in charge of the kitchen is not at this meeting. Has to happen soon because I can't cook more than simple stuff.

Nolan: Isn't about the food program. If I bring nice things into the kitchen, they're going to walk off. The house is going to need this stuff anyway. Can we put together a plan to get that stuff? The kitchen is pretty bare right now.

Z: I have some stuff in the back. Was planning to make it available anyway.

Elect a grounds coordinator (McAllen)

McAllen: Would like this person to be a garden coordinator, to make sure it runs efficiently and well. Was under the impression that there were two people who wanted to run. I think Paul is the only person who wants to run.

Hannah: We haven't done elections at a meeting. Could be a kick-off to the election. Would prefer we don't do it right now.

Molly: We need to have someone who is temporarily in charge, because the garden is particularly sensitive? Do we need to appoint an interim grounds coordinator?

McAllen: If we can do that, then yes.

Gatlin: No rule saying we can't. I like that idea a lot. Would like to come up with a fair way for people to vote anonymously. If everyone is okay with appointing an interim one, then that could tie us over for a week.

Z: If Paul is the only person running, do we need to have an election?

Mike: William not interested right now as far as I know.

Donny motions to appoint Paul in the interim.

Motion passes.

New business

Donny: Ordered four wheelchair ramps for the common space so that Sarah can visit more easily. Should come this week.

Nolan: Do we want to discuss the food plan?

Meghan: I'm the food buyer but haven't heard from the kitchen coordinator or the menu planner. Is it starting in June where people are putting in money?

Hannah: Yes.

Meghan: Sent him a few emails but haven't heard anything. Haven't talked to Cynthia at all. I don't know when it's supposed to start, what our budget is, how man y people are paying, who's vegan, who's not.

Gatlin: Will try to get a hold of Jesse. We should all find the time to meet, talk about budgeting, talk about who has dietary restrictions with the membership coordinator. I have one person's suggestions as to what the labor should be. Not a gold standard unless it's voted on. Kitchen people should talk face-to-face. Some coops have open-to-everyone officer meetings so they have to talk once a week; automatic review if you miss it. We should have a kitchen + 3 officer meeting and invite everyone to figure it out. We can figure out why communication breaks down.

Meghan: If people paying for the food plan, I work all night. If all of our potlucks are at night, I'm sure I'm not the only one who works at night.

Hannah: We have a saved plate at Sasona. I'd suggest that we adopt what we used at Pearl Street, have a signup board.

Meghan: If we could have an email sent out to all paying members of their dietary restrictions?

Hannah: I can do that.

Meghan: That way we can have a percentage. I know roughly who has agreed to me, who has told me they would join, who has not.

Meghan: What's the protocol, we've been having these potlucks, and then all of the sudden some people have paid and some people haven't. What if people come who haven't paid?

Hillary: We either charge then a small amount of money that we've previously agreed upon, or we ask them to bring an item of food with them.

Meghan: It's June now; seems abrupt to have people pay when we don't know what we're doing.

McAllen: I can't pay for anything I'm not going to use, unless I use it from day 1, or need to do a prorated amount. Can't afford something I'm not going to use.

Gatlin: We can always vote to rebate you the amount.

Meghan: We can get some ingredients.. Easily by July 1.

Z: Supposed to be June 1, I thought.

Meghan: Anyone who can't afford it should be rebated. Anyone who can should be prorated. We haven't even got this thing started. If you can afford it, we'll just prorate it to July, seeing as it's so up in the air right now. We have to figure out what our budget is going to be able to afford.

Hannah: Could put it off until July, or, if we had 4-6 people committed, could pull this off. I could hold down a Wednesday dinner cook shift. I'm eager for us to have a food plan.

Beth: I cook a lot but probably won't be at many of the meals. Would be useful to have lots of common stuff.

Gatlin: Part of the purpose is to buy staples.

Gatlin: Until we can get hold of the other two kitchen officers, should rely on the kindness of strangers. I'm willing to volunteer. Several other people are. In the short term, it is difficult for me right now. There's a technology divide. Hard to get a hold of Cynthia. If we can get a hold of the two people who are MIA, would like to schedule a kitchen meeting.

Ryan: Might be helpful if we have people pay for the first month and not start a monthly billing cycle until it's started. That way we have a pool of funds to work with.

Z: I'm more than happy to work with Meghan and anyone else in the food group. Also interesting in trying to make dinner happen for tomorrow night. If there are people who are expecting to eat, there should be a meal there. Is there a requirement that, as food magnate, that Jesse is supposed to be coming to meetings? I've spent a lot of time in the commons and only seen Jesse once.

Gatlin: No formal requirements to show up to meetings. I'm inclined to propose such. I don't know that we have an officer review mechanism in play yet. Probably should be cut and dry.

Mike: Could set up more potlucks in the interim.

Meghan: Would be a great idea to have potlucks on the same nights that meals will be in the future.

Trip: Not paying for things we don't use is a slippery slope. Part of what you buy is that you buy the whole place. You can disassemble a cooperative by trying to itemize, so use caution. In all of these things, have a few simple principles, do the simplest thing that can possibly work. Always favor structural solutions, not behavioral ones. If Nolan is entitled to use the kitchen, then a reasonable accommodation would be to have a small, locked area to store Braille items in, so they would be secure. Requires no thinking on anyone's part.

Nolan: I like Trip's idea. Doesn't necessarily have to be locked. Would be nice to have a space to put the stuff I would be using to cook. Wasn't necessarily just thinking about me. If Paul was cooking, there would be things that he would want to have. When I came in a few days ago, it seemed like there was a lot of stuff. Greg took a lot because it was his. That was totally his right. If we are basing a food program on this kitchen, we need to be able to count on what's there today being there tomorrow. Would be bad if you had a dish liked hummus, needed a food processor, and I'd donated it temporarily and then moved into a unit. If we had a kitchen where someone could go in and cook, a potluck could organize itself more easily. The main reason I can't participate is that I don't have enough in there to make something. If we have a kitchen, people will make things.

Jess: A lot of kids, but a lot of construction. Loose nails. Kids running around without shoes on. For safety, might be good to have a picture of a parent with their kid and a phone number of the parent in the common room, in case a kid stepped on a nail. We'll eventually know each other, but right now we're all moving in, and I worry that we won't know how to get a hold of their parents.

Gatlin: A few people I've talked to don't have email. Not proving to be the most inclusive means of communicating. Once everybody has keys to this room, would like to have announcements down here. William has also offered to make me a cheap mailbox to put on peoples' doors. Could have things like a no-show sheet up so that people can see them. I think an email list is great, but there are people who will not use it. I'm happy to make it anyone's labor to bridge that divide. Would like to standardize on more physical communication so that everybody can participate. But email is accessible in other ways. Need to do both.

Jess: If a board is put up, I would be interested.

Hannah: Plan is to do the food program next month and prorate people who have already paid?

Meghan: Could we have one house dinner a week?

Donny: Could be an agenda item for next week, to say what the interim food program would be. I think we have some consensus but not a very clear one.

Meghan: Before we do anything involving money, I need to talk to the other kitchen coordinators.

Lynn: Nolan mentioned wanting to have staples for the kitchen, things that don't move if people move. What if you took a fraction of the first month's money and used it to buy kitchen area utensils and things like that?

Meghan: I have no idea how much money we're even talking about right now.

Donny: Whoever talks to Jesse, could you request of him that he be the person to enter the agenda item on the wiki, so that he can push it through?

Hannah: Would prefer that someone put it up there. If he isn't there, then we don't get to discuss it at all.

Hannah: I think it's really cool that Meghan is stepping up.

Announcements

McAllen: There's a pile of stuff in the corner that I got from work. One fan, one small AC/fan cooling tower (not sure if the AC works), one small pizza delivery pouch, two small wastebaskets, one swiffer mop, one brand new iron, one desk lampp, an insulated mug with a lid and a spool, a vase, a white t-shirt.

Meghan: I was curious how we could donate items to the commons area without people walking away with them. Want everybody to be able to use.

Hannah: Can put apiece of masking tape with your name on it. That's what we do at Sasona.

Meghan: I don't need it to be mine. Nede it to be everybody's.

Jess: 21st St has blue tape. Anything with the blue tape is house property.

McAllen: That and/or some kind of tactile marker.

Nolan: Donations are cool but also a double-edged sword. If you have too many donations, you have clutter. Need to find space that people are actively using. When donating stuff, they can pose accessibility issues. Sarah wasn't sure she could get a wheelchair in and around because of shelves and things.

Hannah: If it's bigger than something that can fit on a shelf, ask the coop first.

Trip: All the other coops have things they get rid of. Might be nice to do an organized thing to say that we need to populate a new kitchen.

Ryan: We aren't under Crestview Neighborhood Association. We're a member of Wooten. They meet at the Redeemer Lutheran Church. Meeting is next Monday.

Jess: What would they discuss at those meetings?

Ryan: “Crime reduction and stuff.”

Trip: At least in Austin, the city council and city council staff, their default is to defer to decisions that NAs make about their neighborhoods. It's political power.

Ryan: All of the area between Anderson, Burnet, and 183. About 6,000 people.

Hannah: Found this out because I advertised something of the Crestview NA. Lobbying to establish a park across from Black Star. It's been an on-going battle. I'll be going to a rally at City Hall on Thursday afternoon.

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