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meetings:2013-07-28

July 28, 2013

Present: Allen, Cynthia, Donny, Greg, Hannah, Jess, Kay, McAllen, Mike, Molly, Nolan, Paul, Sarah, William

Meet and greet

Called Mary Tucker(?) Pedersen(sp?). Moving from Corpus. Interested in becoming an associate. Her son will be living at 21st St.

Allen also here for his first meeting. Has lived at 21st St. before, in the summer.

Kay and Andy accepted for membership

Officer reports

Kitchen

Meghan: Everything going strong. We're really under budget. Wanted to give out a consensus poll regarding meat. Should we include it? What type? Probably only once a week. I'll put out a letter to everybody and ask for your responses.

Greg: What kind of attendance are you getting on Fridays?

Meghan: Molly said that there were 15 on Friday.

William: Seems better than the other two days.

Donny: Schedule same as last week?

Meghan: Yes.

Nolan: Could we find money for an inventory of kitchen items? We were looking for a 9×13 cake pan. There is not one to be found. I would be happy to make a list of things that I've looked for and not found.

Meghan: We need to find out how much under budget we are. Just doing the meat poll so that we can figure out how much we're spending next month. Want to spend on bulk items and cooking items.

Mike: If we were just buying meals, then we'd have over $4 per meal, which is a lot more than we need, so we should have a surplus. I think we meant to also buy bulk items for people to use.

Meghan: We have a separate budget for kitchen items and bulk. What we budgeted for meals, we're still under budget. This was our trial. Now we need to decide how to allot money for next month. We need to rework the kitchen in some ways if we're going to allow for bulk items.

Maintenance

William: (Standing in for Victor). We've had one roofing estimate for the leak over 208, at $700. Scheduled an appointment with a second contractor. They'll be here tomorrow. Victor or I will handle. A/C cleaning done by McALlen and Andy.

McAllen: There are two units left: 103 and 110.

William: 201 has asked us not to clean until they move out. Andy has some carpentry experience. Will be able to help me with Claude's door repair. Ryan says he has a friend who is a carpenter who might be willing to take a look and give me some advice. A couple of small projects need to be taken care of. Plan on taking care of Cynthia's stove very soon.

Donny: I emailed Victor about that. The stove is in Cynthia's apartment. It is not installed because of the gas cut-off issue. We need a professional plumber. Victor said that Frank can come next weekend.

Greg: Replacement shelf for the fridge is in process. In 205, the top hinge of the door came out, and their a/c is conked out. I put the roller in there.

Donny: Two people asked me for watering keys for 101. I have them with me.

Grounds

Paul: Not much new. Will be planning out what to plant next month.

Greg: What's up with the weeds that are choking the parking lot?

Hannah: My friend gave me some jalapenos that can go in. Would be nice if someone from grounds can put them in.

Paul: I can do that.

Membership

Hannah: Tried to talk to the person who perpetrated some damage in their apartment. Not sure if she wants to renew. She's being very evasive. I'd like to tell her that she needs to attend her meetings by the end of August. Would still give us two months before the end of her lease.

Cynthia: She needs to play by the rules. She can't be aggressive.

Hannah: She has perpetrated a significant amount of damage. Not comfortable renewing without a higher deposit. Will also vote against her for her second meeting. Don't think she will be renewing but still need to give her a fair chance.

Jess: Can this damage be patched easily, or is it really expensive?

Hannah: That's about the extent of it. It isn't like she's taken a chainsaw to the place.

McAllen: The damage indicates her as a liability.

Cynthia: Does HACA know? We should make room for someone who wants to be here.

Hannah: They know. If she doesn't come by the end of August, that will be a de-facto not wanting to renew. Also, some people from the Texas Ag-life extension program want to run a nutrition class with cooking demonstrations, for families with limited means. We probably don't have 10 participants in this complex, but might if we open it to the neighborhood.

Greg: Bilingual?

Hannah: Don't think so but can ask. Honey's lease coming up. Want to get her in for her second meeting. I think she still wants to renew. There have been issues in the past, but I think that everything has been good since we talked to her about those issues.

Jess: I was present for the fiasco a few months ago. Last night, we had a long time to talk an dhang out and get to know each other. She's very high-energy, but, at the end of the day, Honey is a pretty nice person. I've recategorized her as being someone who is very high-strung for reasons that are very concrete. She likes what we're doing around here. That changed my mind. I'll most likely vote in favor of her staying. She really won me over.

Hannah: We talked to her about the incident a while ago. She offered to sign a contract. We didn't end up doing that because it hasn't been a problem since.

Cynthia: I don't like cursing and aggression. It's unnecessary.

Donny: I'm going to feel the need to present the evidence of what happened before. I think we should have the vote.

Hannah: We also have Mari and Teofilo's renewal at the end of August. Sarah and Travis are going to help me translate.

Labor

Jess: There is now a chart with everyone's labor hours. No-shows aren't up yet. Only things that haven't got done as much as they should be are grounds and watering.

Outreach

Jess: Been trying to get to know people who I didn't previously know. Have a better idea of what people like and don't like. Can't find anyone to rent me a pool in Austin. Could have a slip-and-slide. A group talked to William; they go to lower-income areas and do classes on common-sense health and food, how to eat healthily for cheap within your budget. Would like to get them to come out. Could do an educational event here.

Hannah: I'm on the Wooten neighborhood Facebook page. They started talking smack about this block. I spoke up to introduce ourselves. We got a big response. We should have another potluck event and reach out to neighborhood association folks.

Jess?: I've met several people interested in this place. Not necessarily interested in moving in, but intrigued.

Treasurer

Ryan: Collected on the late rent. Talking to Nicole and Daniel about getting a conference call together to get more organized on CHEA stuff. Been talking to Meghan and Leslie about kitchen stuff.

Hannah: Are we over budget on minor maintenance?

Ryan: Was going to wait until the end of the month. I've got a lot of receipts lately. I'll ask Victor next time I see him.

Tech

Nolan: Done a lot of work on the wiki. Broken out into functional areas (subpage for labor, food, membership). Didn't put grounds because I didn't know what we want to put. Any sort of broad division has a page. Going to spend another week moving stuff over. After that point, I'd like individuals to take charge of their section. If I'm the wiki-rambler, it's kind of a low-level function that will take up time, and I'd rather work on cooler stuff. I installed a plugin on the wiki that theoretically looks nicer to edit. I also added a plugin that gives us a toolbar. Can get a pdf, an OpenOffice document of each page. Was hoping that we could put the labor chart on the wiki, then hit the print button. That way I won't get caught off-guard with a half-hour notice that I have kitchen labor. I'm happy to work with people. Giving up on Charles coming to a meeting since it seems hard to get in touch with him. Will talk to him about what he recommends and hopefully bring a proposal next week to vote on getting stuff.

Jess: Can I create an outreach page?

Hannah: I give our page out to the neighborhood association folks. It's important that it looks nice and it's helpful.

Nolan: If you're struggling, you can let me know what you're struggling with. I'd like to be in more of a support role. A wiki is a wiki so that other people can edit it.

Discuss gating the courtyard. (Donny)

Donny: After the incident of this past Monday, I've talked to a lot of people about the idea of putting three gates to gate off the courtyard from the parking lot and the alley. Nobody spoke against in the conversations I've had. It would keep people from wandering in and committing acts of violence, and would keep kids from wandering out into the parking lots.

Molly: How accessible will they be? Can we afford to have an accessible-enough system?

Cynthia: If people give out the code, then it will be a problem.

Jess: Even if it's not an option to have an automated system, if we don't have a spring system that will auto-close it, it would be a lot better, even if it's a risk that the gate will remain open. Will be much cheaper than having an automatic gate.

Hannah: Anyone know how much these cost?

Donny: I don't think anyone has researched it yet.

Jess: We talked about doing fund-raising. Seems like a perfect opportunity to use some of the fund-raising money.

Donny: It's on the list of projects that we're fund-raising for.

Greg: The planter next to the east entrance and the closet at the west entrance would both have to be removed.

William: I don't think that's true for the west side.

Greg: Not saying that it has to. I'm just raising the flag that it may include that.

Donny: As part of the research, we should figure out how wide it has to be.

Greg: And which way it needs to open.

Donny: Maybe can't put in the alley since it's an easement for the city.

Cynthia: Claude needs to be able to get through it.

Jessica: Was wondering about the prioritizing about different maintenance tasks and how high the gate is.

Greg: Reminds me to remind everybody else here that we have a survey available on this question of what the priorities should be for maintenance. To date I've had nine responses. Will help us decide where we're going to spend the money.

Hannah: Would you re-send the link?

Greg: Yes.

Gina: Research needs to be done. More information needs to be brought forth before we delve into anything. Are we okay with just doing the research and bringing it back on the table?

Molly: When issues of violence come up, we think of issues of human violence. The fact that the previous landlord neglected the property is an act of violence. I think that security gates are a slightly lower priority than replacing faulty machinery.

Sarah: I think we have larger priorities than gates, but we have kids that wander. Gates tend to be really heavy. I have difficulty opening and closing gates. I'm sure Claude, at some juncture, will as well. If we're going to do gates, I would like to see a solution whereby we're not trapped out or in. I don't want to have to call someone in this community every time I want to come in and out. I think that we can balance a need to monitor who's here with people needing to contact a member of the community every time they want to come and go.

Ryan: Motion Donny to do some further research, including price and accessibility.

Gina: I second with the addition of looking at city code.

Cynthia: People with STS need to be able to get in, but this community is wide open. If we had a gate, Sheila wouldn't have been stabbed. We need to sleep at night; we don't know what's going on, with anyone being able to come.

Donny: The reason I brought this up was to find out the issues we need to research. Code, accessibility, cost, priority. We can do a motion or not. I plan to research it.

Motion passes unanimously.

Limit duration visitors can stay without house approval to 2 weeks. (Donny)

Donny: Trying to look at how we can make the community come together a little bit more. One way is to create a boundary. Everyone in this space is a co-oper or someone we invited. Everyone staying here should be staying as co-opers or as guests of the co-op. Propose that people can only stay for two weeks unless the house votes otherwise.

Sarah: Two weeks per year? Two weeks at a time?

Donny: A two-week contiguous stay is what I'm intending.

Hannah: Most leases address this. Ours does not. I talked to the people in 211 about their long-standing house guests. They told me it would change. I haven't seen anything change. Susie's old lease allowed seven days at a time, so people are breaking their lease. If people stay for 30 days, it establishes them as a domicile. They have the rights of a tenant. Most landlords want to make sure that's a never-happens thing. Been thinking about what a call to the police could handle. If it's a difference between telling someone that their family can't stay with them when they have no place else to go, or we can tell them that we will call the police if their guests are causing damage.

Donny: They can stay with house approval. The family isn't staying with them; the family is staying with the coop.

Jess: Two weeks stay and two weeks off would mean that we've got the rest of the month. I'd say that, if it hits the two-week point, then we'd say that it's mandatory that it has to come to a house vote. Sheila and her sister are interested in the coop. If they're really serious about joining, then we should look at the options. Particularly with Sheila, might be dangerous to go back across the street.

Gina: I have concerns about two weeks. Two weeks easily morphs into 28 days, which easily morphs into one month. I understand that there are always extenuating circumstances, but I think the general policy should be for a short time with permission needed for a longer time. I'm trying to protect from people having squatting rights.

Hannah: I should consult with Daniel asking if it's legal to ask people to sign a contract saying that they're not agreeing to become a domicile. Most people aren't wanting to establish their tenant's rights here. It's just that, when it comes up and it's a problem, then people assert them.

Gina: The intention is that people who live here are co-op members.

Hannah: The co-op is an entity. The place is a building. There's a distinction in the eyes of the law. Somebody could be a tenant but not a coop member.

Jess: I'm not comfortable with going less than two weeks. At Sasona, you're only getting a small room. The whole coop is forced to interact with the person a whole lot more. If they're in my apartment 90% of the time, it's not as intrusive to others. If the person doesn't come to the meeting, then it's an auto-eviction. In the future, as this becomes more of a coop, people realistically won't be pushing the boundaries as much as they are now.

Greg: There's an ordinance in Austin that you can only have so many unrelated people at a time on your lease legally.

Sarah: Was going to ask if there is an occupancy limit on the units. We could add people to a lease, but, for fire and safety code reasons, we don't want lots of people living in a two-bedroom apt.

Molly: I'd like to know what it says on the lease of other apartment-style coops. I'm sure there are other good, established precedents that we can learn from.

Nolan: Seems cut and dry. We all have tenant's rights, but we're paying for them. We pay rent, have come to two meetings, are doing labor. My first priority is protecting the integrity of what it means to be a member of the coop. If there is the possibility that somebody can establish a domicile here, we need to come up with a way that they can sign that away, or we need to give them a path to membership, but we cannot risk having them stay long-term.

Hannah: I would like to know, for the situations at hand and in the future, what is it that I'm supposed to do. Should I post an eviction notice? It's the only thing I have as a motivator.

Ryan: It sounds like you call the cops and have them leave because of criminal trespassing.

Greg: One way to solve this might be to tell tenants that, if they stay over seven days, then they need to pay us a per diem, so there's an economic disincentive.

Donny: Wanted to set a policy; the discussion about 211 might be a separate item.

Hannah: At some point, I'm going to need to know what this response is anyways. What do I do if somebody doesn't make any steps?

Nolan: What have you done so far?

Hannah: I've asked them how long they were planning to stay, how many people there were. She agreed that they would leave within the week, but that hasn't happened. I don't know if/when that's going to happen. I think she was trying to get me to leave her alone.

Sarah: If we vote and say we want the 14-day thing, maybe we talked to her tomorrow that we have the new policy. If she wanted to bring them here, then we could decide as a house.

Jess: If we're calling the cops, I'd request that we inform the tenants. There might be legal side-effects of having the police in someone's apartment without them knowing.

Hannah: I don't want to be calling the cops on people.

Sarah moves to vote.

Ryan: There's no action.

Donny: Guests in an apartment unit can only stay for up to 14 days without house approval. I don't think we need to specify further; there are plenty of other rules that don't specify.

Jessica: I respectfully disagree; I think we need a course of action.

Gina: I like the course of action of bringing them to the house. The house can decide on a daily stipend.

Hannah: Sometimes the only way things happen is piecemeal. It's a first step.

Molly: I'm cautious about putting this into a contract. I'd like it to stay as house policy for now. I'd like to do some research into other apartment coops before we put it in the contract.

Hannah: Contract says that members need to abide by house policies.

Nolan: If she violates this policy, then we call her up for membership review. If they're not a member and they're breaking their lease, then we can evict. Don't think the proposal needs those teeth because we already have them.

9-0-3.

New business

Molly: I've been sending emails about a book club. I'd like to propose that everyone bring a book to nominate next Sunday after the meeting.

Sarah: Can I suggest that we throw up a flier around the community? Not everyone has email.

Molly: I can print out fliers on Wednesday. If anyone can get to a printer before Wednesday, that would be awesome.

Sarah: Email them to me.

Hannah: We should consider essays or shorter works that might provide 45 minutes of discussion. More people will do it.

Molly: Was planning on having a combination.

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