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August 14, 2016

Present: Chris, Ryan, McAllen, Lauren, Madeleine, Marilyn (minutes), Paul (facilitating), Donny, Richard, Hannah, Ramona, Corey

Meet and Greet


Review of Minutes


Wiki Updates


Agenda Item 1

(Richard) Unless covering the no-show of another member, food-related (cooking or buying) makeup labor is capped at three hours per month. (tabled because not posted)

Agenda Item 2

(Monkeywrench Books) Dear Friends,

After a decade of clandestinely sourcing copies from our office jobs, schools, and big box stores, we have decided that Monkeywrench Books needs a copy machine. Why a copy machine?

We move somewhere in the ballpark of 200 pamphlets a month, all of which are given away either for free or a small donation. When we table at events, we can move almost twice that in an evening or two. In addition to printing and distributing the literature written and designed by others, the underground publishing wing of Monkeywrench Books has begun producing its own original content.

We have also come to rely heavily on the revenue generated by zine donations. Donations received in exchange for zines and pamphlets amount to about 60% of our monthly income, all of which barely covers overhead leaving us little or no money left over to order books. And, since it is more and more difficult to compete with big box book stores and online bookstores like Amazon, we see our capacity to have a curated, high-quality selection of zines as being crucial to our ongoing viability as a project—both financially and politically. Our plan:

Monkeywrench Books is going to lease a copy machine. The copy machine will cost us about 0 a month, but will let us print copies for a small fraction of a cent per click, without the overhead of toner or maintenance. We are reaching out to half a dozen sympathetic housing cooperatives, of whom you are one, and proposing the following arrangement: What we asking:

A contribution toward the copy machine. We are flexible on amount and payment option, but ask that it amount to at least per month (to be paid monthly or one-time) and a commitment of at least one year since we will be signing a two or three year lease. What we are offering:

Monthly delivery of contraband literature, propaganda, and/or ephemera.* 15% discount for co-op residents at the store. Free coffee! Even-greater-than-usual effort at friendliness from whichever volunteers are in the store when you come in.

In the coming months, we will be launching a sustainer program and will be producing apparel, posters, buttons, and so on to offer as prizes to contributors. Your co-op will reap the benefits. In conclusion:

We would love to sit down with you and figure out the specifics, so that both parties know what to expect from the arrangement.

Thanks for your time!

Presentation by Monkeywrench members Sean & Ari: Monkeywrench wants to fund a copy machine, and is asking local co-ops to subsidize. They usually publish 200 zines or pamphlets monthly; it is important to them to produce original content, and these produce 60% of their revenue. Cost estimate $250 per month. They are asking for a one-year commitment for $25/month. In exchange they propose to give us monthly delivery of zines and other products of the store, and 15% discount at the store, and “even greater than usual effort at friendliness.” Hope to collect $ mid-September and start the lease Oct 1. (Sample zines distributed).


Ryan: Please recommend 2-3 books on co-ops; Hannah comments that having such books would represent our interests. Answer: Their budget is so low they have no book-ordering budget at this time. They are looking for sustaining members to provide $600/month for book-buying (this is a separate initiative from the one presented here tonight).

Paul: Have you gotten buy-in from other cooperatives? Answer: This is their first formal presentation.

Hannah: In the past we have taken care of non-coop financial requests, e.g., for members needing assistant, by asking for individual contributions. If only 5-6 residents here contributed could this still be considered a LaRe contribution. Answer: Yes, however you would like us to handle it as long as we can have regularity.

Donny: Would this impact our 501c3 status? Answer: Monkeywrench is also a 501c3.

Ryan: You will be signing a lease for 3 years, but are only asking for a one year commitment. Do you have a lease? Answer: Not yet. Ryan: We'd like some documentation of the our commitment to the lease.

Donny: Should this go to the CHEA board, or can we sign as La Re? Ryan: It's similar to us paying contractors. Corey: No board involvement if we don't use CHEA money.

Monkeywrench is scheduling meetings with 5 other co-ops.

Paul: Because the item was not posted physically we cannot make a final decision tonight.

Monkeywrench: How many copies would you want of zines? Answer: Several copies of each zine or pamphlet for our zine library.

New business

Presentation by Rachel Stone of ICAST, a nonprofit for green rehab for multifamily residences. In a previous job she helped design a program that is now available in Travis County, called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to help buildings with energy efficiency, solar. There is a long-payback for private owners and they typically don't want to take out loans. The PACE financing is for the loan itself, therefore transferable if the property is sold. Money is available up-front for energy efficiency and conservation of water. By collecting energy use dat you can predict the savings, which should be enough to pay back the loan. Travis Co. approved the program in 2013 and hired administrators TX PACE Authority to manage it. Rachel did an assessment of our property last year. The county is eager to see the money to go to an affordable housing property. The first property to complete their application will get fee waivers, and in addition the county has weatherization grant money. Process: apply for financing, grants, and loans, calculate the savings, deduct the free money, as all one project, and there is money for all projects. The county provides funds for relatively cheap items that give energy savings, and Rachel's organization averages it out with less energy efficient projects like the roof. They have relationships with banks. We can have a thorough rehab for no upfront money and also receive energy savings. Several projects are underway, and PACE's goal is to finalize the first project by mid-October. They would try to get our roof as part of the package but some assured items are funds for lighting, windows, water conservation, a.c. units. ICAST needs all the utility data they can get – so residents will be asked to sign releases for them to access for all our energy use data; names will not be attached to the data, but with unit-by-unit data they can recommend improvements such as energy efficient refrigerators. There will also be a form for each resident to complete in order to provide income data proving that we are a low-income property. There are a lot of incentives to get this done quickly.

Richard: Tomorrow is the day for the July no-show report; he will work on it tonight and lump it with the big report. In future he will report monthly. Automatic membership reviews will begin 30 days for tomorrow; that will be the make-up deadline for more than 15 hours outstanding. Special cases can be considered individually.

Richard: Victor may not be capable of helping over the next few weeks or months. Richard would like to provide a disability credit. Consensus is that at some point Richard may need to bring a request to a house meeting.

Richard: Of the make-up labor sign-up sheet only one stood out as questionable. Andy does labor Monday mornings, and the labor sing-off sheet is not always available. She asked to get 1 hr (total) labor credit for drawing up a labor sheet to sign off. Richard had suggested she sign the regular sheet with a date. The old sheet is up and available, and the consensus is for her to sign the old one; the labor credit is not granted.

Donny: We will get some questions answered on how to complete income-reporting forms (see above re: ICAST presentation), and once they are finalized Paul and Ashli will take responsibility for getting everyone to complete their forms by the end of the month (as we have to report previous 30 day income). There may be some events to get people together to complete their forms.

Paul: Jesse is moving out soon, though if he doesn't there will probably be an eviction. There will be moves within the co-op and probably a new resident. There is a new Associate, Timothy Gray known to several coopers from Casar and Gauldin campaigns.

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