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September 20, 2015

Present: Donny (faciitating), Richard, Lauren, Andy, Sandra, Anne, Marilyn (minues), Paul, Ryan, William, Hannah, Cynthia, Corey, Alex, Michelle, Carey, Andi, Molly

Meet and Greet


Review of Minutes

Reviewed, accepted

Wiki Updates


Agenda Item 1

(Alex) Request additional time extension for makeup of June no-shows. Represented by Richard: Alex has accomplished half his labor, is requesting extension. POI/CQ: Why hasn't he done them? Ans: He said needed more structured assignments. Concerns/FA: How long the extension? Ans: One month, down to four hours left at this time. Pass as amended: Alex has a one month extension of makeup of June no-shows.

Agenda Item 2

(Paul) Spend up to $450 to fix and improve our security cameras. Paul states there are several that are broken, and he has created a new plan for cameras to cover the exits; Corey has made a plan that includes the cabeling. Actual amount probably $400. POI/CA: How was the amount determined? Ans: Corey used a satellite image to map the distances. The new system will cover all our front doors; we will buy just one camera. Concerns/FA: Paul adds that for less than $100 more we could get a larger hard drive and hold more data; they hold about 3 weeks right now. Concern: maybe best to wait and see what the system will hold with the additional camera. Passed by consensus.

Agenda Item 3

(Andy G.) No house policy will go into effect until it is ratified during the “Wiki Update” portion of the house meeting. Items under review may be blocked. Andy: There has been a lot of discussion about the single occupancy cap; its inclusion in the Wiki was delayed by the need to clarify wording, and then there was discussion of its appropriateness. CQ/POI: Does this take the view that the Wiki approval is actually a second review of each item? Andy: Doubts that we would go into depth on every item, just if there is concern by a member about what was passed. Q: Couldn't someone just bring a new agenda item. A: Sometimes there is a lot of confusion about something that was passed? Q: If someone tried to block something during Wiki updates, would we expect to have a discussion about it during the meeting, though it wasn't on the agenda? A: probably it would be blocked and tabled and come back on the next meeting's agenda. No consensus to consider further. Tabled.

Agenda Item 4

(Ryan Nill) Remove single occupancy cap. Ryan: We don't vote on people coming into the house, so this doesn't represent open housing. It won't really prevent affordable housing or cause gentrification. POI/CQ: This cap does not include people on supported housing at this time. Different people have different needs at different times in their lives. Q: Would anyone wanting to take over a whole unit be required to take it to the house. A: No, that would also be repealed. Q: When a unit becomes unoccupied, who owns it? A: NASCO properties, and we lease it from them. Q: So any unused unit makes it for the use of the co-op as a whole? A: Makes it less cooperative, and lowers the amount of time they might expect to be living in the co-op. C/FA: This is trying to do more than what it says it does.

Friendly amendment: The requirement for house consensus to take over a whole unit is also repealed. C: Every other activity includes a check with the house. Response: the check we do with the house in accepting a prospective member does not exclude anyone except for reasons for potential eviction. Response: often the membership coordinator makes independent decisions without a house check. C: We usually do make the decision on acceptance of members, and the house does make the decision on contract break, so there is precedence for the house defining an aspect of membership. C: The way the cap passed first was with a cap of zero. Response from Paul (who authored the item that requires house consent) : That's not how I intended it. Andy: I expected that everyone against the housing cap would block it, and it was passed with confusion; if people had more time to think it probably would not have passed. Paul is okay with making the house consent easier, like with a simple majority, but he is concerned about shrinking the number of multiple-occupancy units. Ryan: House consent is functionally the same as a cap of zero. Anne: maybe wait until there is an actual need for a cap, when other options may be needed. Paul: There has been a discussion based on other scenarios, like how many 3-person units we have. Corey: Maybe we have to re-think about how it happens, but we should include the house in this important matter. Alex: a single person with dependents is exempt from the cap. Hannah: This addresses a problem we don't have yet. In the past we had no single units to offer prospects from the Housing Authority. If it's a roommate co-op, that limits people at other stages in their life who may have reasons not to live with a random roommate. In an apt. co-op people can choose their level of interaction with others here. Lauren: Doesn't like requiring house consent because some people will automatically vote against that. Friendly amendment does not pass.

Return to the main proposal: Richard agrees that the house consensus requirement is functionally a cap of zero. Ryan: He wants to meet in the middle, pass some things that make us more diverse without a cap. His idea is that most people come by word of mouth, so we get more people like us. It's a waste of resources to advertise if we have no vacancy, but we do work with other nonprofits. They've never been able to get anyone in here, however. Another cap make it prohibitive to live here, for example, he couldn't plan to be here if he can't stay when they have kids and need more room. He doesn't think that all units being leased to one person or every apartment being shared will work because of the needs of the Housing Authority and others. Richard: Perhaps personal ambitions are incompatible with the goals of the co-op, and there's a limit to how much the co-op can accommodate. Donny: Would like this to pass because we have some people who think they know what the needs will be; some may have a vision that is not widely shared, and we may need a visioning process to share a vision. Concern: removing the cap without removing the house consent is effectively a zero cap. Friendly amendment: include agenda item 5 within this item. Refused. Corey: Requiring people to come to the house to obtain consent is a barrier, but we require attendance at meetings when someone wants something. He finds it a transparency issue that he doesn't know when someone is thinking of getting a single unit. Paul: he sees that the cap may be seen as a problem that doesn't exist, but some people think the problem exists already. The MemCo has a lot of power to decide things, and maybe too much power has been taken. He understands about the need for open membership but he disagrees that units might not be rented because of the cap. And we can make exceptions, but without the requirement that can't happen. There are exceptions for those on financial assistance. Ryan: The cap could be construed as discrimination against someone who has assistance, and the questions involved could be construed as discriminatory and open us to legal action. Carey: We are not doing anything that would open us to discriminatory action. Andi: I haven't heard an example of someone who is not privileged being discriminated against by the cap. She agrees that we need a visioning process to find more common ground. There are a lot of people who passionately want a cap, so maybe they don't feel their needs aren't being represented or met. Molly: She thought this was to help people who have financial problems, so she doesn't think that people who have assistance should not be counted toward the cap at all. Anne: Because her kids aren't here full time she doesn't feel welcome here, could be asked to leave at any time. Hannah: Some people occupying single units are being made to feel unwelcome. How about if someone requests a single occupancy unit and the MemCo sends out the information to the co-op.

FA: Require the Membership Coordinator to announce when a single occupancy unit is requested without naming the potential occupant. Accepted by Ryan. Michelle: We already have a problem with gentrification, a lack of minorities, in opposition to the mission of the co-op. If someone here feels marginalized, welcome to what I and others experience. Hannah: Some people feel that this proposal doesn't actually address the concerns about access. Further clarification of this amendment: Require the Membership Coordinator to announce, at least two Sundays before potential move-in, when a single occupancy is requested, without naming the occupant, so that there will be at least one week for people to raise objections to it. This puts the onus on house members to object. Richard: How does this amendment apply to the proposal? Ryan: An attempt to respond to house concerns about transparency. Anne: Maybe all this should be repealed after the goals of the organization have been discussed and decided. Hannah: This amendment is germane; it's an attempt to meet halfway with people who want a cap. Molly: It shifts the responsibility of adding the single unit occupancy from an individual decision to the house as a whole; this expects that people will care and act. Richard: This seems to repeal the consensus check and adds a notification requirement as well. Anne: The person potentially moving in would be forced to wait a week or two, which would be stressful. And why not announce every potential move-in in advance? Ryan: The point of removing the cap is a way to avoid discriminating against some people.

FA: Members with objections to units being rented out to a single occupant will be given an opportunity to object when the MemCo announces that whole unit is becoming available, which will be at least six weeks prior to a potential move-in. MemCo announce that a whole unit is coming available, and those who have an objection to it could state their objections.

The proposal does not pass; it's tabled.

Agenda Item 5

(Paul) The house decision to allow someone to sign a single-occupancy contract shall be voted on using simple majority rules, rather than following standard modified-consensus rules.This means that there will be a vote, but only 50% of people present are required to pass and there could be no blocks. He feels that this would eliminate the fear that someone can block based on lifestyle choices. As things stand now there is a cap of 7; if there is an 8th request, the house currently has the option of blocking. C/FA: This violates open membership, which is the first principle of cooperatives. Response: this does not affect membership. Adding more requirements to leasing adds to limits on membership. Richard: This actually weakens the current barrier. Ryan: Agrees, except if there is a new member request. Paul: has also considered not applying this to new members. Richard: Why not just make the proposal one to keep the 2/3 majority but eliminate blocks? Paul: had not considered creating a new consensus procedure.

Friendly amendment: The house decision to allow someone to sign a single-occupancy contract shall be voted on using a super-majority affirmative rather than following standard modified-consensus rules. Corey: maybe 3/4 as we do with evictions. Paul accepts the amendment. CQ/POI: This doesn't seem different from the current rule. Amendment does not pass.

Proposal does not pass; it's tabled.

Agenda Item 6

(Andy G.) Have the CHEA board renew its membership with the ACBA. Andy: We joined the Austin Cooperative Business Association a year ago; it will cost about $1000 for membership for the next year. Q: What do we get and what do we give? A: We don't get anything from it. There is a discussion of potential future benefits. There has not yet been an invoice. A: We have cooperative networking opportunities. ACBA has the goal of establishing new co-ops. A: Ryan is on the ACBA Board with an attorney who provides free legal advice, e.g., about the contractor abandoning the gutters. It's a new organization, still finding its way, but it has persuaded the City of Austin to budget $60K to promote co-ops. A: We learn about housing and other things for the co-ops; we are investing in the infrastructure for co-ops. Q: Is there a deadline or a penalty for late payment. A: None, because no invoice yet. A: We already have this in our budget. One of the CHEA members has been working on a project, establishing a bike tour of co-ops, and ACBA is supporting it. It also sponsors an annual conference. It passes by consensus.

New business

Richard re: Labor Holiday Projects: Will bring the list to next week's meeting for approval.

Andy: Maintenance meeting Monday night; Coordinators meeting Tuesday night.

Hannah: Next Saturday at 9 a.m. is a Wooten Park work day; Sunrise Mini-Mart is a sponsor. Also Saturday is the Sept-Oct birthday party here, starting about 7.

Marilyn: Shakespeare outing Friday, October 23, $15

Corey: Bought a projector for movies.

meetings/2015-09-20.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/28 18:06 (external edit)