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August 25, 2013

Present: Andy, Z, Cynthia, Donny, Erin, Gina, Hannah, Leslie, Martina, Mike, Ryan, Travis, Victor, William

At Wednesday meeting:

austin meyers - 2nd

dominick parry - 1st

​ denise bell - 2nd meeting

rebecca peace - 2nd meeting

alexa arechiga - 2nd meeting

Meet and greet

Martina (in 208) here for her first meeting

Martina is concerned about drama and safety for her family, and smoking. She and her family have lived here for 18 years.

Officer reports


Ryan: Spent 2/3 of our maintenance budget in 4 months. I suspect we'll be out of money in 2.5-3 months. I'm not going to approve spending on anything unless it affects our ability to rent the apartment. If it's just something to make you comfortable, then you'll need to find money from other sources. Hopefully most of the emergencies have been dealt with, but that leaves us with $8000.

Victor: A new A/C will use a third of that.

Ryan: We've used 50% more water last month than in the past. $200 extra that we didn't have to spend.

Travis: If your toilet is making noise every once in a while, talk to me.

Victor: Look at the surface of the water. If you see little ripples, then you probably need a new fill valve.


Victor: We got the roof repaired. When Clear Choice looked at the roof, they said it would last 10-15 years. They really got a real look at it. It appears that the electrical wiring done in this building is much better than what we got a report on. Copper connectors to fixtures, and looks like they used the right oxide where the copper and the aluminum meet. Congratulations to Travis, fixed his own oven without spending a dime just by thinking about it and figuring out how it worked. That's absolutely what we need. Want to thank Ryan for taking on two long outstanding problems, with Don and Cynthia. Made an attempt to secure a source of parts for small appliances. I think we'd all like to be able to offer Section 8 tenants a nice, good place to live. We failed two inspections on Sec8 rooms this month. We have substandard units, and I can't fix them. I've got at least twenty hours of trying to fix a leak in the shower in one of them, three hours with a professional plumber. We still don't know why it's leaking. It's 45 years old and had a lot of bad work done on it. Last week, a member said that he didn't want to look at videos; wanted someone to show him. That isn't going to happen. I fixed Honey's bathroom. She was seriously injured. They used duct tape and hack-sawed a bunch of parts under her sink. I'm not a trained maintenance man, and you can't really train maintenance people. The multiplicity of problems is too wide and varied. Improv is the right attitude to take. When you're asking us to set aside for Sec8, you're putting a pain in the butts of maintenance and memco, and I don't think you're aware of that. If you want to push for sec8, start working on the problems that come with it. I need somebody to take the spring for our washing machine, go to First Source when it's open, try to find information about that.

Leslie: I'll do that.

Victor: Need somebody to find out if there's parts for gas valves for the stove that was in Cynthia's room. I think it can be fixed. We need a stove to pass one of the HACA inspections. I'm going to move a working one in there. I know how to fix those but need somebody to get the serial number and model number, find a whitepaper on the internet that explains how they work, see if those have parts available. Somebody needs to go into 108, get the model and serial number off the dishwasher, try to find a whitepaper for that. Not opposed to teaching what I know. I just want to stress that I certainly don't know it all. Suggested having wrenching parties. Want people to bring some knowledge with you. Proposing plumbing stuff for the first one.

Erin: If you could pick one thing that you had the money to fix right now, what would it be?

Victor: The shower valve. We've already spent money on it. Nobody can figure out what's wrong with it. Possible that we could rupture the pipe system for the whole building.

Travis: Posted a spreadsheet on the web site for preventative maintenance. If you've done any of that, post it and a date that you've done it.

Ryan: Should get a/c filters.


Meghan: We've been staying under budget. Wednesdays are another meeting, but it's not a potluck. A lot of people eating that aren't in the food program, not donating, not bringing anything. If you're telling people when the meeting is, tell people that they should be bringing something or making a donation. Also have people join the meeting that aren't members or in the food program, but they're eating. I don't want to be the food police. Send me an email; if I'm making food for 12 people and all of the sudden there are 18 people, then that's a completely different amount.

Hannah: What I have on our form email is that meetings are at such-and-such a time, Sundays are potlucks but bringing food isn't mandatory. I could add language to request a donation of food or money, but I think it's in our interest to have people come to increase the membership pool.

Travis: Nothing saying you can't come. Just saying you can't eat if you don't contribute.

Meghan: I need to know how many people to cook for.

Hannah: I often don't know. Sometimes people are courteous and send me an email back to rsvp. Most of the time, they just show up.

Leslie: Trying to get better at being menu planner. Sunday we're going to review that there are three officer positions for the kitchen. Seems excessive.

Cynthia: I don't mind cooking as long as you all buy the food. Sometimes I donate my food. I'll be bringing bread here sometimes. I'm just helping you guys. I don't mind cooking; I just need to know what's going to be cooked.


Hannah: Until about a week ago, the plan was for Paul to move into Z's unit. However, we're talking about continuing to rent out a room here to pay for a paid maintenance person. Andy will probably move into what was Greg's room as soon as we can get it habitable. Denise moving out at the end of next month. Nolan is moving into that unit. Andy will probably move into that unit, too. A bunch of units coming open later on in October. Don wants to renew. Sam and Delia(sp?) want to renew. Martina and I were talking about renewing. Trying to expand our marketing a bit. Got some ideas from Honey. One is posting on the GoSection8 web site. Want to get in touch with HACA. They will physically post something at their headquarters. Posted our first flier at Monkey Wrench. Want to get a voice phone for membership before I post any more fliers.

Ryan: Having people come to Wednesday meetings presents a liability issue, particularly if we reject someone on a Wednesday. We don't take minutes on Wednesday. Minutes cover why we rejected somebody. If you're not a white, single male and you get rejected on a Wednesday, it would be very easy to site a discriminatory law saying why you didn't get accepted.

Hannah: Maybe we should go back to having meetings only on Sundays, but don't want to until we get the next two units covered.

Travis: Could we take minutes on Wednesdays until further notice?

Meghan: It's not really official.

Travis: Then it should not be considered official.

Hannah: We should make it official. On Wednesdays, dinner starts at 7, meetings at 7:30.


Donny: The CHEA board met on Thursday. Will meet every week for the foreseeable future because we have a lot to decide for a two-house system. Will open a couple of bank accounts, one for fundraising and a CHEA account that is not a LR account or a Sasona account. The fundraising account should be opened on Monday. On my plate to work with Gatlin to create a mechanism for the houses to share the CHEA maintenance budget that we get.

Erin: Who should I contact about the account, to set up a donate button?

Donny: Jessica.

Ryan: Where are you having the meetings? Would you consider alternating locations?

Donny: At Sasona. Most of the board lives there. I'll ask if we can do that.

<strike>(Honey) Resident grievance</strike>

Honey was not present, and this is probably already dealw with.

(Travis/Leslie) Presentation and discussion of proposal to create position of Steward.


Z: Propose a term limit for the steward. It's an umbrella position. I think it's necessary, but I think that only allowing two consecutive terms would be a good idea.

Travis: Terms at Sasona are six months each, and I think we've been following that. Not sure if it's official policy. Putting in a term of six months, and limiting number of consecutive terms to 2.

Hannah: I think we mostly agreed that we need something like this. Folks in other positions have been picking up the slack, and they might not always do that. Would this take off of the memco a lot of the conflict resolution / difficult conversation stuff? Asking a membership coordinator to interface with HACA and keep the rooms full and keep people happy is a lot.

Travis: Steward is responsible for conflict between a member and an officer or between officers. Would be fine with changing that.

Hannah: I'd change mine to support the steward in resolving inter-member conflicts. I think it makes sense for the memco but not all the time.

Donny: I think we'll eventually want a more thorough conflict resolution system.

Travis: I sent out an email to a lot of coop people I know around the country to ask for information on this type of position and on sexual harassment policies. Got a lot of good resources.

Hannah: I'm not necessarily posting on cl once a week whether we have vacancies or not. When we don't, I thought it was a little bit excessive to hold somebody to.

Ryan: Is the steward also the meeting moderator?

Travis: It's not in here. Responsible for making meetings happen … (through the facilitator). Would probably default if no one else wanted to do it, since they need to make sure it happens.

Hannah moves to vote.

Cynthia: Who are you evicting?

Hannah: Nobody. Ryan has had to start the process, but then they paid.

Ryan: It's happened twice. It's not that bad.

Travis: Once we have enough labor, I would like to make this worth more than two hours. Steward would be the representative of the house on the board of directors.

Donny: We have two at-large board reps, me and Gatlin. This will take one of them.

William: No way to make it more than two hours?

Travis: I made it two because people are complaining that we don't have enough labor right now.

Ryan: How much is taking responsibility from other officers, and how much is for duties that aren't being fulfilled?

Travis: It's kind of esoteric; making sure that meetings happen, everybody's on the same page. Things we do but not very well. I don't think it's taking anything, beyond evictions and conflict, from other officers.

Leslie: A lot involves actually speaking to people, not just writing emails. I say three hours right now. Once it gets done really well, I see a breath of fresh air. I think there will be less stress. I know this doesn't look good for the other officer positions, since none of them are two hours.

Ryan: I think it should be two hours. If you want more labor hours, keep a time sheet, and use it as evidence to argue for it in the future. I've already spent twelve hours this month, and it's an eight-hour-a-month position. All of the officers are doing way more work. I don't think a lot of it really takes that much time.

Hannah: I think we should keep it to two hours because we can't equalize that with all the officers. At some point, it should get three hours or more. So should membership, treasurer, maintenance. It's episodic. Some weeks they won't have to do anything. When they're doing the job well, may spend three hours in a single day dealing with it.

Gina: Start off with two. Victor has been putting in a million hours.

Travis: If any position is going to get more hours, should be maintenance.

Passes unanimously.

Hannah: I'll post a nomination sheet.

(Erin) Fundraising update.

Erin: Was thinking about how much time it would take to send out another survey and get quotes. We have quotes on a couple of them. All of the things we have quotes on are in the top five. My thinking is that we pick the top three things that people have quotes for (A/C units are $2700 per unit

Victor: There are a number of A/C units that use R22, if people want to do something right away. I'm in favor of saving as a contingency.

Erin: Number one on the list was the laundry room, but fixing the floor was $11,000. Not sure how realistic that is.

Victor: That's fixing the laundry room and the leaks that spring up from the slab beneath it. I've got a wooden shelf under the dryer. A good use for that free wood would be to build more of a floor to keep people dry.

Erin: How much is the leak costing the house?

Victor: Not that much.

Erin: We can really sell air conditioners in Texas that are efficient and ozone-friendly. We can sell gates. We can sell water conservation and outlets because that's a fire hazard.

Victor: I replaced several and checked the wiring. We definitely don't need receptacles. Looks like things were done much better than I thought. There's a goo that you put on wires for aluminum and copper. Was put on. All of the pigtails are made out of copper. It matters that the stuff is only copper-compatible. I think that's really a non-issue now that I've started replacing them, I don't think it needs to be replaced.

Erin: What about gas cut-offs and ovens?

Victor: Something that would be good to be done. It'll be hard, if not impossible, to find somebody who will do it. Greg had three plumbers who said they would get back to him and they never did. Reason they don't is that we've probably got little gas leaks somewhere. The city will fail us, most likely, after they put in the new valves. Plumbers are afraid they'll do the work and not get paid. I'd suggested that we purchase an explosive gas detector to check the valves. You can get a decent one for $150. Given the liability, I don't think we can find anybody to replace all of the valves. If we discover with the leak detector that one is leaking, Frank will replace it.

Erin: Accessibility was also ranked highly on the list. Sarah, Nolan, and I had a conversation about how Sarah has great contacts with people who could make things accessible for discounted rates. She was willing to take that on separately. Nolan was willing to take on getting internet for the coop separately. We intended to talk about the exact separateness for those projects, and then the meeting got canceled. The things that are being pushed for being fundraised for are gates, a/c units, and gas leak stuff. I think I can devise a campaign and target the right people to fix those projects. I can have an email template that anyone can send to anyone. Paypal takes 3%, but the money goes into our account. Hoping to have an account open by the end of the week. Not doing anything without solid votes from the house.

Z: Through Occupy, we've raised $5000 to get Eric Marquez out of jail. Unfortunately, he was re-arrested. You would think, 'oh, you can't raise $5,000,' but you can. It's really straight-forward. Why Paypal vs. Kickstarter?

Erin: Nolan has done the research. With Kickstarter, you don't get the money unless you meet your goal.

Andy: Kickstarter intended for business ventures.

Erin: There's no getting around Paypal's fees.

Ryan: That's what credit card companies take out.

Erin: It's standard. I trust Nolan on this.

Jessica: Thank you to you, personally, because you don't even live here, and I'm not that kind of a person. I really respect people that are associate members, and I'm really thankful. It'll be a rough couple of years.

Hannah: I've lived at three different coops, and you're the most bust-ass associate member I've encountered.

(Ryan) Increase required labor hours

Ryan: I think we need more labor. I propose that we increase everybody's labor by one hour. People on the food program have to do five hours.

Leslie: I think that it's awesome. It's not like we're not doing the labor anyway.

Erin: I am a CHEA associate, and I get one lump of labor.

Ryan: I wasn't intending to change the associate rules at all. I think this would get us an extra 30 hours pretty easily. Don't need to squeeze out an extra 3-4 hours from our associates.

Donny: Have you talked to Beth about what we can do?

Ryan: No. We have tabled proposals.

Leslie: How would that affect members who don't normally come to things?

Ryan: Might be appropriate to no-show Beth for not having dealt with that.

Travis: This is why we need a steward.

Leslie: Possibly no-show her, but I think it's a larger issue. We all here know exactly what it means to abstain, to be at a meeting at 7:00. Maybe we should all help Beth and assist her. People who lived here before are not used to coops. We as a whole need to deal with the divide.

Cynthia: A lot of people don't participate but want to have a say. Frankly, I don't care if some of them just move.

Leslie: We need to meet people where they are.

Gina: We need education. When we first came here, we had a big get-together. For me, even, I was like, 'okay, so that means what?' The education process needs to be a bit more structured.

Leslie: to make people feel more welcome.

Ryan: I've always envisioned that the outreach coordinator would be responsible for the initial orientation to new members. We haven't even completely formed a community inside our apartment complex.

Hannah: I think that we should try to do a better job, whatever we need to do for Beth, there are so many people who are members and aren't doing labor, or they're supposed to be doing maintenance or grounds labor but aren't actually doing it. I would like to see us stop at four hours. I think we can stay at four hours if everyone is actually doing what they're supposed to be. I think that would spread it out rather than put more work on people who are already doing a lot.

Z: I have a concern that we had one labor czar who did not meet up to the expectations that we needed. It seems to me that the labor schedule currently up is still the draft. The board hasn't been updated. I have concerns about commons clean-up not being done as effectively as I might otherwise like. If we could request that Beth be present next week, that would make me happy.

Leslie: Travis and Beth went around and talked to some people.

Hannah: There's a member roster on the wiki.

Travis: I have been helping Beth talk to some of our Spanish-speaking members. The labor will be changing around next week. I think the main issue is communication that is not happening. We don't know that things are happening even though they are.

Hannah: We've got several people joining in the next couple of months.

Travis: I've added real talk on the labor situation to next week's agenda.

(Donny) Review and vote on Labor Description for The Fixer, a rent-paid-for position in maintenance.


Donny: We all know that we can't get enough maintenance hours here. We thought we'd create a 10-hour-per-week position to do maintenance. Would get $450/month of rent credits to go towards a room here. Under the maintenance coordinator.

Victor: There are tons of energy-saving things that could be done. Lots of doors, door sweeps need weather strips. Most of the windows would benefit from having film put on them. Tons of stuff would lower everybody's electric bill. Tons of things this person could do when there isn't an episode going on.

Z: Is it 10 hours above the four hours they're required to do being members?

Donny: I anticipated that it would be ten hours for this position. Did not anticipate that it would replace their labor.

Z: I am for the position if it's 10 hours plus the four they would normally do. I am against if it's the other way around.

Donny: If they have to do labor outside of that, it keeps them from being this person in the corner who people throw things to but isn't engaged in other ways.

Leslie: Are we only saying 10 hours because that's as far as we can stretch $450?

Donny: I think it's a huge step from where we are now. We'll see how it goes.

Hannah: Friendly amendment to continue renting out a room in the commons. We haven't seen any other way to do it right now in a sustainable way.

Victor: Unfunded mandates are always a bad idea.

Friendly amendments for 106 and for having 10+4 labor.

Leslie: Would the fixer help schedule stuff, or is that a separate position?

Donny: I envision it as the person who does the work, and the coordinator coordinates things.

Victor: I've been working with Honey. She's agreed to take the phone and take on scheduling. She has done similar positions with a rental agency before. I don't envision this position as taking care of that.

Ryan: Already a few people doing maintenance labor. Do we foresee that changing at all?

Donny: This proposal does not change that.

Victor: I would be very happy to cut down some of the hours that I'm given if this passes. We don't have enough skilled people. I have not been using all the hours. I give things to somebody, and often they come back and say they can't do it, and I have to do it myself. The number of hours I've got is far more than what I'm effectively using at this point.

Gina: If we can institutionalize educational programs in conjunction with the fixer, this place needs maintenance constantly, big and small. I'd be weary about taking away the assistance that you may or may not have.

Victor: The staff I've got now would be very good at organizing wrenching parties.

William: Would the fixer be someone who would help to organize the training?

Donny: I left the description as vague as possible so that it would be up to the maintenance coordinator.

Victor: I don't plan to change that part of the policy. When I train somebody, I want them to train somebody else, so that two people get trained, then four people.

Gina: Is this addressing any kind of hiring process? Is this person going to be qualified?

Donny: it's an elected position. Anyone who thinks they can do it can sign up on the sheet.

Ryan: Friendly amendment: If this proposal passes tonight, election should coincide with the stewardship election.

Donny accepts.

Z: The fixer would not be required to live in the commons?

Donny: Correct.

Passes unanimously.

(Z) 206 Living situation discussion (stemming from email thread). Who will be her roommate? How will we resolve the high-priority maintenance/appliance issues?

Z: Now that I know that Andy is going to be my housemate, makes my life a lot easier. The stove is now working. Greg had told me that that stove needed to be replaced. I had no way of knowing that the stove just needed to be fixed. I'm hoping that the oven can be fixed. I still need a refrigerator. Beth said she'd give Gatlin labor for it. Gatlin said that he's working on it. Don't know how long that will take. Victor has stepped forward and said he's working on things. Wanted to ask if I could have some of my labor towards working on things on my unit that are above and beyond what a normal rehab would be.

Victor: If that's putting flooring in, I think that would be very, very acceptable to be considered as labor. That's minor construction, far beyond cleaning the place. My intention is to assign someone to assist with putting the flooring in.

Andy: I was planning on working on that, too.

Z: I'm feeling a lot better about the situation now that I've met Andy. Want to make sure that it's on the radar.

Ryan: Was wondering what labor you had that you could not do that this would credit.

Z: Not sure if I'm on dinner clean-up for Sunday.

Leslie: Also food buyer.

Ryan: She can't not do that.

Meghan: Cooks on Wednesday.

Z: I'm currently overscheduled.

Leslie: You should talk to Beth.

Z: Hopefully she'll be here next week.

Hannah: Andy cannot move in until we get the floor down, and we need to get Andy in there. Does anybody want to help put the floor down some time this week? Is there any other limiting factor?

Andy: I have to be out of the place I'm living right now by the end of the month. I was planning on moving in with a friend and a coworker for next month. I've already given them a check. Regardless of me moving in, I'm still going to help get the unit fixed. Not sure what's going on with the other situation. Now that I know for sure that this is a possibility, I need to get that worked out with them.

Hannah: If you can be in here next month, we should put together a work party.

Victor: My intention was to assign Don.

Z: The floor has already been purchased, but right now we are painting.

Victor: Don will have no trouble knocking that out.

Hannah: Don has a complicated work schedule. He's in San Antonio sometimes. Is it an afternoon job?

Victor: The long boards will go in really quick, in an afternoon.

Hannah: I'll stay in touch with Andy about whether he can get his check back.

Z: I need a refrigerator to just show up. I'm willing to pay for it but need one to appear. Have a concern that Gatlin will drop the ball on this one.

Erin: Was Gatlin going to move his mini-fridge into your unit?

Z: No. Gatlin needed to make up labor, so Beth assigned him, but that was Thursday, and I still don't have a fridge.

Gina: I work the next two days. I'm off on Wednesday. I can find a refrigerator but will need some muscles to move it.

Victor: Can we put the fridge in the office for a day or two?

New business

Victor: Knocked on Cidnee's door several times. No answer. Came in. Cidnee said that she didn't have any clothes on. Waited 15 minutes. I am in favor of set-asides. I think we should look not so much at tying ourselves to Sec8 in particular, but at an income level that would be parallel to Sec8. When I was about 38, I was homeless myself, but was about a year before I could get approved for a voucher. By then I'd got back on my feet. At one time, you could be prohibited from getting assistance for a very minor drug offense. We need to think hard if our criteria is going to be Sec8. If we go with a low-income criteria, Sec8 is still welcome, but I think we would do better to mimic their income requirement. I would not want to exclude anyone who had it, but a lot of people who deserve it can't get it.

Leslie: We need to talk about the kids, what is okay. I am not your kid's keeper.

Hannah: Delaney and Montrael(sp?) will be moving out in October.

Meghan: Need to reiterate that Wednesday is different from any other cooking night. If we're having dinner at 7:00 and a meeting at 7:30, are we only allowing members in for dinner?

Hannah: I think hospitality/marketing says that we feed our guests.

Meghan: If left-overs aren't eaten on Sunday, then I think they should get thrown out.

Hannah: I don't want to tell prospective members that they can't eat.

Meghan: They need to donate or bring something. How do we approach people who aren't food plan members?

Ryan: I think that, as kitchen manager, that's your job.

Meghan: I'm not the one handing them a plate.

Leslie: Can we leave the jar that DOnny made in the center of the table, with some obvious label?

Travis: Seems passive-aggressive to me.

Gina: Is there any possibility of moving dinner to Tuesday or Thursday and making Wednesday a potluck?

McAllen: What is our policy around guests of members? Are they required to donate?

??: Yes.

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