Present: Don, Nolan, Lauren, Donny, Madeleine, Chase, Hannah (facilitating), Marilyn (minutes), Richard, Burgess, Maggie, Chris, Dusana, Sarah (guest)
David; looking for a single room; no pets or pet allergies; can do food prep, clean-up; works at HEB as a baker in the tortilleria, looking for work in computer science.
(Paul) Agenda item unnecessary.
(Sarah) Allow BASTA Austin, a new tenants' rights project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, to use Commons space in support of tenant organizing work in neighboring apartment complexes.
The BASTA project requests use of Commons space for two purposes:
1. Hosting informational meetings and renters' rights trainings for the community (open to all who wish to participate, including LaRe members and friends).
2. Hosting meetings of emerging tenants' associations based on Gault Street and potentially around the Wooten Park neighborhood (open only to persons who have joined a particular tenants' association).
This proposal is a general request for house consent to use of Commons space in support of this project. Sarah will make all specific requests for use of Commons space well in advance of when it is needed.
Sarah: She has a tenants rights legal aid job, and her organization organizes tenants who have problems getting adequate maintenance, etc., in their units. One of the complexes on Gault St has been identified as a potential site for organizing. There is a need for space for meetings, and since our co-op is interested in affordable housing, and since this is an accessible space, she would like to have La Re host the meetings and thereby build local community. La Re tenants can also learn about tenants' rights during this process.
Clarifying questions/points of information: Donny – how many people, how often? Sarah unsure, has only been assigned to one of the complexes, and will start a door-knocking campaign. The staff only started a week ago. Most likely two dozen people at the most. If it grows, she might approach a church or other venue. The staff may do a training for CHEA, an overview of the project. Concerns/friendly amendments: several supportive comments.
Proposal accepted by consensus.
(Steward) Present/ratify behavioral contracts for William and Lauren. Read by Hannah; both limit no-shows to a maximum of four hours per month through August 15, 2016.
Both contracts accepted by consensus.
Chase offers that the maintenance officer positions might be restructured. He says he will try to come up with a proposal. Nolan explains that Chase could give a 48 hour meeting notice to the House to gather people for an in-depth discussion. Sarah gives some background on how the maintenance coordinator position. Lauren states that there will be a Coordinators meeting Tuesday at 9 and suggests that interested people may want to meet then.
Sarah says that there is a collection going on for Uriel's funeral costs. She would like someone to set up a GoFundMe account. Nolan wonders if CHEA could create an account; as a non-profit it would increase the credibility and visibility. There are other platforms such as Generosity through IndieGoGo, which might have more helpful rules. Sarah will try to speak directly with a family member about their needs and get back to us. Maggie will provide a sympathy card for everyone to sign. Chase is concerned that the full truth of what happened may not be clear and Sarah will try to get more information about that as well. Lauren wonders if the family could use food, and Sarah will also look into that. Maggie points out that cash is a quick and direct way to help; she is planning to take flowers every day to the memorial; white ones are especially meaningful. Uriel's mother is expecting another child soon.
Burgess brings up the question of safety on the block in light of the death of 5 y/o Uriel down the block 2 days ago. It has never been safe, and we have never made efforts to change things. Maggie wonders if there is a way to attach Uriel's name to any efforts at change. Hannah: Our city council member Leslie Pool's assistant Michael Gaudini has told her and Gatlin that there are efforts in process, but more citizen input can move things along. He suggested a working group for Wooten safety or mobility. This would be a legitimized group to work with the city transportation dept. He also asks for support for an upcoming bond issue that will include funds for bike lanes, etc. Lauren asks for an e-mail with contact information for City depts. Sarah says that it may help if any of us send an e-mail to Public Works Dept; more voices are better and may move things faster than starting a new advocacy group. Public officials tend to respond to multiple contacts, especially if they don't seem canned. Burgess says handwritten letters and phone calls are especially meaningful. We may have some ideas, but public works and neighborhood planning will have more information about what is practical. Things we could ask for: adding speed bumps, lowering posted speed limits, changing from yield to stop sign at turn from Anderson Square to Anderson Lane, adding a Kids at Play type sign and speed limit sign immediately at the beginning of the block. Nolan would like to have a stop light and audible signal at the Anderson Square turn; there are few crosswalks, etc., on Anderson Ln. Hannah: the bond issue in November could help address some of these issues. Marilyn asks how to move forward on this; Nolan again recommends a 48 hour meeting, but Sarah would like us to engage the neighbors as well. If a City dept comes to do an assessment they may put in resources like translators. She is also concerned that if we push the City to move quickly, we may step on needed time for grieving, and may also frighten undocumented residents in the neighborhood.
Richard: Michelle has restarted the childrens' program as an afterschool program Tuesday evenings. It came as a surprise to him and some others and asks if there are any concerns. Burgess is worried about the foxglove plant in the courtyard, which is toxic. Richard asks if there is any objection to Michelle using the program as make-up labor. No concerns raised. Dusana offers a public shout-out to Michelle for restarting the program.
Sarah: Is there a calendar for reserving space? No. She would like to see something in writing and electronically accessible. Events Coordinator Lauren offers to take this up and get a big Office Max-type calendar.
Lauren: Birthday party next Saturday at 5 p.m.; she will send out an e-mail to ask for help. There is some question about the timing, given the recent neighborhood tragedy; she will re-set it for June 4 and get it on Facebook.
Dusana: The new oven donation for 102 has arrived and unloaded thanks to Gatlin, DJ, and one of their friends. Help is needed to move it in and install it. A fair market evaluation is still needed to give the donor a tax document.
Lauren: McAllen is planning a camp-out at Camp Ben McCullough and is inviting La Re members to join him and his friends.