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September 29, 2013

Present: Z, Claude, Donny, Erin, Hannah, Mary, Meghan, Molly, Nolan, Ryan, Victor, William

Meet and greet

Glenn called by phone and accepted for membership. Second meeting; was here on Wednesday. Wants a single room; no pets or allergies.

Officer Reports


Victor: 207 not squared away yet. Had a plumber out. We were denied entry. Discovered that there has been order of criminal trespass filed against a number of us. Brought Mr. Macbride a bill from the plumber. He will tentatively do a final inspection on Friday that will not do the gas work. Will not have to do anything until she's out of there. Hopefully next week it will be over and we can get on to doing regular maintenance. William got a false floor built for the laundry room. Would like people to express some gratitude for the work he did. Got three surveys back. This Tuesday we'll be doing a water shut-off at midnight to fix problems in Don's apartment.

William: The coop will be paying for heating the units during the winter months. We stand to save a significant amount of money if we can weather-strip the apartments. If you can take down a note and put it in the box if you've got something obvious, like a leaky or rattling window, light visible through your door when it's closed.

Victor: We'll need to install carbon monoxide detectors in everybody's apartment.

Claude: I helped William build the floor.

Hannah: Would you put up notice about the water shut-off asap? People get really annoyed when their water is shut off without notice. A lot of us have nonstandard schedules.

Victor: Hoping there will be no objection to taking over the closet in 203 strictly for maintenance use. My apartment has been a de facto shop. It's an unfair burden on us. Will need to buy locking cabinets. Ryan is taking responsibility for rekeying locks. The bottom closets should be for grounds.

Ryan: All the screws are stripped on the doorknob. I can't remove it.

Victor: We can drill it out.

Ryan: Claude spent the afternoon cutting keys for all of the apartment units. Ask Claude if you're locked out of your apartment. Please stop knocking on my door.


Hannah: Don and Sam and Delia(sp?) signed last week. Denise set to leave. Nolan and Andy Pedersen(sp?) will be moving in. An unpleasant incident happened on Friday; one of the tenants was being violent. At the end of October, William and Meghan are interested in moving into 207. Working on figuring out how the remaining people matching up as roommates. Contingent on the eviction going through.

Victor: Do we have a membership review policy on the agenda?

Hannah: No; it was past the deadline, and I didn't have time to write it. Next week.


Ryan: Half-year point at the end of the month. I need receipts before I can tabulate a report. Not sure I can get a detailed report by next meeting, but expect one by the next next meeting.


Nolan: We have a fundraising site. Paul has already given us $50 for the wireless. We should be getting another $150 from the people we're hosting the site with. That's just one of many campaigns we can launch. Charles will help us install some wireless equipment on Tuesday around 6:00. I'll need access to 206 on Tuesday; will talk to Z or Andy.

Z: It can be arranged.

Nolan: We're going to borrow some of the Free Network Foundation's gear and set up a mesh network based on what we already have. Hopefully will extend throughout the coop. Will have the equipment until November 11-12. Hopefully we'll have the money to replace what we're lent.

Erin: What's the goal amount?

Nolan: Set to $3,000. We can scale that down. You can build a crappy mesh for cheap, but we want to do it right.

Erin: Does it include getting service?

Nolan: Probably does not. Initially we might have a sub-coop so that those of us who want internet pay into it.

Z: Will the current internet remain in 206, or is that coming downstairs?

Nolan: Probably has to remain in 206. It's a cable modem.

Z: So there will be more stuff in my apartment?

Nolan: A small amount.

Z: For the sub-coop, would it be possible for some of us to come in as charter members? If 30 of us pitch in $100, that covers all of it. Could be an owner coop, and people could sell their shares when they move out.

Nolan: That's a lot of complexity for a tech person to take on. I don't want to be in charge of taking peoples' money and contracts.

Ryan: I need receipts for the server for our web site.


William: We need to install carbon monoxide detectors. I have reports of my hours that I'm passing around the room.


Z: Been working with Keep Austin Fed. Hannah did all the work to have food getting here. We've had a Thursday snap delivery, a Friday egg delivery. On Sunday we were inundated with free food. We have more coming on Monday, tonight. William has stated that he will make sure there is storage available for Snap. We need a person to donate an hour of time to Keep Austin Fed, and I need a person to be back-up to receive food when it gets here.

Ryan: Can you give them a list of apartments that they should knock on?

Z: I can. Hannah suggested a Google phone number to text all of us. For now, I need people to step forward to accept food. If you're interested in some of the more fine-tuned details about what we'll put on the bulk list and things, come to the meeting here on Thursday at 7:00. We'll go over the surveys that all of you will fill out before then.

Mike: Not sure what the expectations are with food from Keep Austin Fed. Will it be used for our meals? If so, then we should inventory food stored in peoples' personal fridges that is intended to be used for meals. I feel the way I felt when I lived in 106–I should put as little as possible in my fridge because we might need the space as overflow for donated food. If that's a general expectation, then we should say so up-front.

Z: McALlen was in here and offered to store quite a bit of stuff. I did not have time to inventory. People across the street specifically requested eggs. I wanted to make sure that food was secured; didn't want food to sit in the sun.

Meghan: Eggs last forever. If the members have paid for it, then it should be inventoried.

Z: Keep Austin Fed specifically said that, if we hadn't got the food, it would go into the trash. Had to be given away. Would not feel comfortable counting it as apart of the meal plan.

Ryan: You should get in contact with the mobile loves and fishes people and just give out stuff along side them. They show up 2-3 times a week at around 5pm.

Z: Over the week that's coming, we're basically relying on the fairies. On Wednesday we'll have a potluck that's scheduled. Some cooks have come forward. Next week we'll begin the new schedule. Meals will be served Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday. I need the surveys back by Thursday at 7:00.

Hannah: I've been charged with making sure the elections for the meal positions happen. Leslie may be willing to be the potluck coordinator.


Donny: We met at Sasona last Thursday. Had a long meeting to appeal a Sasona member review. Trying to design a way to run a two-house system.

Ryan: Are you alternating where the meetings happen?

Donny: Yes.

Ryan: I have a proposal for how CHEA can pay the lease, and we can start a little bank account for the board. Right now, we both send checks to NASCO and hope they add up to the right number. I've been doing the math to ensure that the difference gets paid. Trip should be paying the lease since he's the CHEA treasurer. Each house could pay CHEA and add an extra $50-100/month.

(Erin) Vote on initial fundraising projects.

Erin: I promised that, as your volunteer fundraising coordinator, that I wouldn't do anything without house approval. Proposing that we fundraise for air conditioners and gates. People cared enough to get accurate estimates. Ranked highly on the survey. We need to replace at max 18 air conditioners ($48,000). Gates are $3,947.

Meghan: Why are we building a gate? Where is the gate going to go? The parking lot is really small. What kind of gate are we building? Seems almost awkward to move into a community and then build a gate.

Donny: We picked this in our survey. The proposal was that we build three gates, so the children will stay in, and people and cops that we don't want will stay out. There was great support at several times in the past.

Meghan: Can we vote on one but not the other?

Erin: Sure; we can vote separately.

William: I share the opinion. I think we should be careful how we word our web site. The web sites are going to talk about our community, and then we're going to build a gate, and talk about community on the same page. We should consider how we phrase that.

Victor: I've been criticized this week for taking an action; what will the neighbors think? We're becoming a gated community.

Z: Want Erin to understand that the objection is not with her. If this was previously voted on and concerned were not heard, we should consider those concerns. From speaking to Elaine and Maria, this is something that I've heard from them that they want. I almost ran over Elaine's littlest. Only reason I didn't was that I was counting them. I knew that, as soon as I hit the accelerator, he was going to run out. That's exactly what he did. I missed him by a couple of feet. I understand the concern about us becoming gated, but I don't want to run over any kids. I like the idea of people having to knock a little to get on our door. I understand the concern. I could seriously consider changing my point of view. What can we do to at least keep the children in, where parents sit upstairs, to at least make sure it's a closed circuit?

Ryan: When I first heard the gate idea, I really liked it. Was worried about the cops and across the street. Now I'm not worried about that. Seems the cops are only here to break up peoples' domestic disputes. Jess is doing a great job with outreach. I think the only valid concern is the children. I probably wouldn't vote for it. We could have gates that don't lock. Anybody could still come in and out.

Z: Could we make it a friendly amendment to make them unlocked?

Erin: When the gates thing happened, a lot happened that made people want to have gates. I think the community's temperature has changed. I'm going to proposed that we hold off voting on gates.

Z: Having just one ask might be better.

Meghan: How do we know the kids won't get locked out of the gate?

Erin motions to have permission to fundraise on air conditioners on behalf of La Reunion.


Erin: Nolan and I wanted to get the house's opinion about how we fundraise. I want the house to be informed about the entire process before we go forward. Maybe we should talk about it at the next meeting.

Nolan: I'd say we just do it.

Erin: My only concern is that, with the crowd-funding site, we don't get the money until we've reached the goal.

Z: As long as the house has the ability to change course, I don't want you to wait another week. I just want to get it done.

Erin: If I were a house member, this would be a big sticking point for me.

Nolan proposes doing a straw poll, eager to get started with it. Meetings are long enough as it is. The site requires you to enter a goal amount. Let's say we only make $20,000 and we don't reach our goal. Your cards aren't being charged because we haven't met the goal. Kickstarter would say that you don't get the money since you didn't meet your goal. The site we're using allows you to change the goal downward. The key is to communicate with your backers to let them know that the goal might be lowered in the future. I don't think we should leave $20,000 on the table if we can only do 10. I think we should communicate with people that it may be lowered downward. I don't think we need to hash out every last detail right now.

Erin: I don't want us to be in a position where we've raised $20,000 and we don't get the money because our goal was $40,000.

Nolan: We can say on the site that we may revise the goal downward.

(Travis) Discussion of Food Program Labor requirements

Tabled. Travis is not present.

===== Discuss and possibly vote on proposal from Frank Stanton to spend $2500 to engage his plumbing services for a year. (Donny) Donny: Frank the plumber gave us a proposal to hire him on retainer for a year for $2,500. Will do general plumbing repair. Anything over $400, he will discuss with us and order if we approve it. Will handle getting outside bids when needed. The coop will provide things such as faucets, toilets, tubs, water heaters, fixtures.

Victor: In four months, we've spent $1,800 with Frank. We have really serious issues here that I can't deal with. At least three jobs that I can think of probably will not be done if we do not approve this.

Z: Who's going to sign on our behalf?

Donny: Would have to be CHEA. As board representative, I think that I would sign it.


(Donny) Propose to refine meeting procedures. Will send proposal in email for pre-discussion.

Donny: The way we do it right now, anyone can say that something is a direct response, jump in front of everyone on the stack, and spend five minutes giving their opinion. Proposing that a direct response can only be a clarifying question or a point of information.

Z: I would like us to think about process in general. I think this is a good step. Nolan brought up some good points on the list about people being able to see the c or i. At Occupy, we allowed them after every speaker. I think that people could make the signal or say it to get on stack. We don't have a time-keeper, but maybe we should. Could keep clarifying questions to 30 seconds.

Ryan: I dislike the way we've been handling it. People jump in and start having dialogues. The point isn't to have a discussion with one person. When I run meetings, I don't allow direct responses unless the speaker asks to allow it.

Donny: I want to thank Z for giving me the ideas from Occupy. I appreciate Nolan's comments for having a simple hand signal. Could jump in and say “clarifying question,” and would be okay. Propose for it to be done after a proposal but not after each speaker.

Ryan: Before we bought the property, we spoke about doing a different meeting process, but never got a chance to ask around. Put it on the agenda some time soon?

Hannah: Or a non-meeting informational event.

Hannah: I think the problem could be solved with the original proposal of only allowing directly relevant information, less than 30 seconds. Might be enough.

Donny proposes that that is the limit on direct responses, enforced by the chair.


(Donny) Propose to have a stack-taker at meetings, separate from the facilitator

Donny: I think we have enough people at meetings that the stack-taker could be different from the chair. Would allow the chair to be in the discussion even more.

Hannah: When I'm chairing, it's never bothered me.

Ryan: When you chair, I'm often bothered by the fact that you stare at people you're talking to and miss people on the stack. I think it's not an uncommon problem. I get missed all the time.

Z: We had one at Occupy. We're adding an extra level of complexity with direct responses. It's not that hard to ask someone to keep stack.

Hannah: I think it's worth trying.

Donny proposes that, when possible, we have a separate stack-keeper.


New business

Molly: I'm a little concerned about my future roommate situation. Would like to extend this into a larger discussion at a future meeting about whether or not it's appropriate for the coop to assign roommates without making sure that new roommates are compatible with the old roommates. I had someone in mind, and she's not on the wait list. It seems that the person who is already crashing on someone's couch here can't move in because she isn't on the wait list.

Hannah: We're in a difficult situation where you can't triangulate any incompatibility out on other people like you can at Sasona. At Sasona, you're in close quarters with a bunch of people, so, if you don't like one person, you can avoid them. I don't know how we can handle it better. A current roommate can have veto if there is something that the membership coordinator judges as legitimate (gender, eating habits, allergies, very concrete stuff). It's not based on liking or not liking someone. If we don't do that, then there's no point in having a wait list. We can't guarantee anything to anyone, and it opens us up to accusations of discrimination, that we think we like people who are like us. I recognize that the way we're doing it now is probably stressful in some situations. I'd like to look for better policy. However, I can't in good faith say that we should allow people to be able to pick their roommate off the waiting list.

Molly: We're already practicing self-selection by allowing people to have their own apartments entirely. Most of the other people in the complex are living in couple situations, so will never have to deal with a random person moving in. The entire burden of this inclusive policy is coming down to a small portion of people in this coop. I feel that that's very unfair.

Z: I see both sides of the situation. Let's say that there are three people on the wait list: a, b, and c. Molly would like to live with C. Hannah says that C shouldn't be able to skip ahead of A and B. Once they move in, there's nothing to stop Molly from saying that she would like to live with C.

Hannah: Assuming that A would be willing to switch with C. Someone will have to move, and people don't like moving.

Z: If she is advocating for needing the space, then presumably she would be willing to move. Since Molly has priority, she would move into it, and D (the person who lived with C) would move into her unit.

Meghan: Agree with Molly that certain people can choose their roommate because they're couples. Seems discriminatory that single people don't get that same privilege.

Molly: I've been dealing with a lot of instability already. I've had one roommate who moved out, and now another one is moving out. I feel like my apartment is becoming like this common space. I would prefer for my apartment not to become that.

Ryan: If you look at other coops, like the rooming situation in student coops, when you sign a lease for a bedroom, you're signing a lease for a bedroom and not a unit. You don't get any choice at all in terms of who you're roommate is, except for gender. That situation is much more intense. At least when you have your own bedroom, you have privacy. I don't think that this situation is anywhere near as bad, and people learn to live with that kind of situation.

Molly: In this specific cooperative situation, I am one of the only people who would have the opportunity to have this happen. Your situation in this coop is substantially better than mine.

Z: I understand where Molly is coming from. I also think we need to consider what if Molly found a partner of her choice. Would we not allow her to jump because of that? We need to be very careful in comparison to student coops. Some of us are older and have responsibilities that make our living situation very important to us. If Andy moved out and I had a new roommate who I didn't get along with, then I'm going to break my lease and leave. Donny and Jesse have a privileged situation. I think the house would be uncomfortable if the house decided that the house needed the labor and they'd be forced to have a roommate. Could Molly bring a proposal to have people suspend and have people jump?

Hannah: Because this wasn't brought up until now, we've already made promises to people that they'd get the next room. I don't think it behooves us as an organization to break those promises. I can think of things we could do better in the future. Complicated because other people in the coop wanted to move around. Somebody may not be able to get what they want, and I don't think it should be the prospective members who have been doing what they're supposed to be doing. In the future, if people have a roommate request, I think this still runs us in danger of self-selection, but, if they gave me the request six weeks ahead of time, then we might be able to honor roommate requests in the future.

Ryan: The advantage of being a single person is that you could move into a fully empty unit or move into a half-filled unit. The downside is that, if me and Hannah wanted to move in together and the only room was Molly's extra room, then we wouldn't be able to. There are pros and cons that happen at alternating times of the leasing cycle. Same with Donny; if there wasn't an empty unit, then he wouldn't have moved in.

Donny: We knew this would be difficult when we bought this place because of the two-bedroom arrangement. It's a much more intimate living space with the person in the other bedroom. We voted on the membership policy. Doesn't mean that we can't change it, but we're going to have to figure out how to make it work for us.

Meghan: I don't understand why 207 was promised to people if it wasn't available.

Hannah: We don't know really when she's leaving. We thought that 207 could be available as soon as Sept 17. That didn't happen. If it had been available, then we'd want people to be in there as soon as possible. I don't want to find out that the space will be open and then have to hustle to put someone in that room.

Mary: If a person wants to pick the roommate, couldn't they just buy the whole apartment and pick the roommate?

Hannah: I've wondered about that as a loophole. Your name would only be on the lease, though.

Molly: So I would just have a sub-leaser.

Hannah: That's not allowed.

Mary: I saw you all advertise, and I thought you didn't have a place. The face that you're putting on is a little bit squirrely. Is it discrimination? Nobody is going to file discrimination against y'all. If someone is very unhappy with a roommate, then they're going to make the roommate's life difficult. May be limiting your potential to people who would be decent community people. You said you had a place, and then there's not, and then you put more advertising out.

Hannah: This comes up a lot. There's reasons why we do it the way we do it. You might think they're not good enough reasons. Whenever we don't have an opening, and I don't know when we'll have an opening, I say that in the first paragraph. I'm not being deceptive. I don't think everybody always reads it that clearly. Haven't been advertising for the last month or so because the wait list is very healthy. When we have a couple people on the wait list, that's not good enough. People flake out all the time, or decide to move to California, or decide to move in with their boyfriend. I consider it my responsibility to make sure all the rooms will be full all the time. We don't have other money. That is our bread and butter.

Mary: That's the way life works. It's hard to wait for a room. I think that's the reason people leave. Has nothing to do with you.

Molly: The thing you said earlier, if we look at the timeline, Meghan tells me that she's moving out three weeks ago. I have no idea who everyone has in mind for me for a future roommate. I remember we having a discussion about whether the coop could force people to live with you. I started scrambling around to find someone who would be my roommate. Talk to Diane. Sent an email to the people involved. If people are rejected, then they'll know that I'm deliberately rejecting them. I wanted to have a quiet discussion ahead of time.

Hannah: In the future, Meghan and William would have to request a room switch six weeks ahead of time.

Meghan: We didn't know that there were people moving in there already. Since he'd be fixing it anyway, we could live there while he's fixing up the place, and there wouldn't be a gap where it needs to be remodeled.

Z: I've had it as a concern for a long time, that we're putting an unfair burden on the people moving into an apartment to fix it up. Some are in better shape than others. Some have greater skills than others. From the perspective of getting that unit fixed up, it makes sense for William to be living in it. Forwarding that information to the other two roommates puts Molly in the situation where they would know that they weren't picked.

Hannah: I can't have individual conversations for every situation. I have lots of places to be.

Donny: I think this might need to be sorted out by the relevant parties or an agenda item to modify our policies.

Z: My friend Katia is here. She brought us a coffee maker from Italy. Can't start using it yet. Brought an extra gasket(sp?), as a replacement.

Donny: We had an awesome labor holiday. Had lots of jobs, including a huge job of washing the walls.

Meghan: Don't move any plants back; I'm going to sweep and move them back tomorrow.

Donny: We think we have one of the outdoor lights working, by 203. The circuit that runs our security and outdoor lights has a ground fault somewhere. Ruth discovered that some of our wires are copper, some are aluminum, some are together, which is bad. Put in a bunch of nuts to allow them to be put together.

Nolan: Still trying to empty out the storage unit. If anybody could help me, tomorrow is the last day I can be in there. Have four boxes left. Was going to ask McAllen, but his truck won't start. We had a violent issue on Friday night. If their lease ends in two months, I can stick it out for that long, but I would like to ask that we do more than talk about it at meetings and mailing lists. I would like to ask that we as a group go to their unit, knock on their door, and say that this is not going to continue. Would like to plan a time to do that and go and do it.

Hannah: Their lease ends at the end of December.

Donny: I was very happy that we came out, watching this guy yell and beat things. No one was arrested because there was no witnessing of actual hitting. While it's a powerful thing to talk to them, is it also a threat? I think we're having enough trouble trying to kick someone out who isn't paying rent.

Nolan: When we first had violence, I think you brought up having a group censure. It sounds like we're letting this culturally take hold. It scares me, making me feel like I don't want to stay here.

Donny: I'm saying don't go to their door and threaten them. There's a difference between what we can do with co-opers and what we can do with tenants. As people who also live here, we can absolutely say that we don't appreciate this, and we did, and that's why Leslie got yelled at. It's different to go there when the guy is not raging.

Hannah: I think we could address the issue without making a threat. I don't think people listen when you get ten people to talk at them. Feels really great for the people there. For the people on the receiving end of it, I think it makes them dig in further, makes people resist working on it or meet us half-way.

Nolan: I guess my revision is who is with me in going to talk to them? I didn't mean for it to be a threat, but I am not willing to sit here and talk calmly about the fact that I'm terrified anymore. I am on Amazon looking for pepper spray and tasers. If someone attacks me, I'm not putting up with it. It's about the people who are in their bedrooms and can hear every word. I think there's a huge difference between doing it in the moment and doing it when it's not happening.

Z: In the past, Nolan and I were having a conversation, and a bunch of people started showing up. I went into street preacher mode and was yelling. Nolan had no way of knowing that I wasn't yelling at him. By the time I was done, Nolan was shaking like a leaf and terrified. I'd say that that's the night that we became friends. Wasn't my intention to scare him, but, nevertheless, I did. There's an extra level of complexity for him in gaging the level of danger for a situation. Normally I'd say to get a gun. I understand where you're coming from. At the same time, I feel like you need to have really clear expectations of what you expect to achieve.

Hannah: I'd be willing to go with you. I'd prefer Travis did it, not because I'm scared but because I have a lot to do. I can go with you if Travis can't. Can you try to see if Travis can go?

Nolan: I'd like to have more than two people. I'm scared, too. I'm not looking forward to this. I guess I'll post on the mailing list if more people can go.

Molly: I've talked to the woman who lives there a few times. I like her a lot. I'd like there to be a way for her to stay, if not him. I don't think there's a way for him to stay.

Hannah: They will probably engage on this as a team effort. But I don't know.

Donny: If we keep the group small, then I am definitely with you. When the craziness happens, I think it's powerful to have a lot of us come out. Given the painful slowness of our legal system, maybe that's one of the more powerful things we can do right now.

Z: Many of us come from backgrounds where violence isn't an option. For a lot of the people who live here, violence is a fact of life. If we're not going to be gentrifiers, then I think there's a certain amount of blending that will have to occur. A cop came by and was confused; things were totally different than they were nine months ago. Children didn't used to play outside nearly as often as they do now. I know that it's really upsetting. Sometimes it means hearing gunshots and not caring.

29 Septiembre, 2013


Conocer y Saludar

Informe de los oficiales

Artículo 1

(Travis) Discusión de los requisitos de trabajo del programa de alimentos.

Artículo 2

(Donny) Discutir y posiblemente votar sobre la propuesta de Frank Stanton a gastar $2500 a participar a sus servicios de fontanería para un año.

Artículo 3

(Erin) Votar sobre los proyectos iniciales de recaudación de fondos.

Artículo 4

(Donny) Proponer a perfeccionar los procedimientos de la reuníon. Enviará propuesta en el correo electrónico para discusión previa.

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