Present: Associate Member X, Yarrow, Serene, Hannah (facilitator), Corey, Vaidy, Andrew, Nolan, Paul (minutes), Barak, Gatlin
(Paul, Vaidy, Robbie, Rebecca, Catty) Member review of Associate Member X for:
Associate Member X: <Requests that their name be removed from minutes.>
Vaidy: I've noticed Associate Member X staying in the commons almost every time she's here. I'm often here at random times in the night. Multiple times, multiple people. She's claimed lots of labor - labor needs doing, but not at the number and scale that she's claiming it.
Paul: <reads several statements>
Statement from Kelsey:
I want to make a note for tonight’s meeting that Associate Member X, who’s being member reviewed tonight, has been extremely kind, generous, and community driven the handful of times we’ve crossed paths in the commons. On two different occasions she has made snacks for me, and Amanda and me purely spontaneously, and I have noticed her doing cleaning around the kitchen both times. She also came to my performance last weekend, and was very friendly to all. I have very positive associations of her and hope that she can become a member of La Re.
Statement from Catty:
A couple months ago, I had met Associate Member X and had a couple of co-opers over for drinks and food and thought to invite her to join us cause she had just became an associate member. A couple days later I had a bunch of friends/non co-opers over and Associate Member X saw that I had friends over inside my apt.. she then invited herself into my apartment and drank my last shot of tequila. I didn’t know what to do cause I felt awkward since I had only met her once previously. Most of my friends left shortly after cause they were uncomfortable like me. I’ve been trying to avoid interactions with her since.. and then recently when we had the fire pit party/s’mores, I cleaned up the entire mess left by everyone even though I had company to entertain.. spent about 45/1hr cleaning up, and then she claimed labor for it later that night! I believe one of the marshmallow bags was brought back out but that was the only thing left and she claimed half an hour for it along with cleaning the commons bathroom (same night). But I didn’t see her clean the bathroom at all and it looked the same as it did all day (I was off that day and was in and out of the commons throughout the day/night). Just seemed a bit sketchy to me. Then there were multiple times over the last couple weeks where I had tried to go into the library at night to read but the door was locked and then I later found out it was Associate Member X that was in there. Whether she was sleeping/reading I don’t know but it’s not cool to lock the library door
Statement from Rebecca:
Since becoming an associate, multiple people have reported that Associate Member X has been sleeping in the commons, despite being told that sleeping in the commons is against our rules by multiple people, including myself. I have had 4 people speak about negative experiences with Associate Member X, all independently using the word “harrassment” when describing the experience. While Associate Member X was trying to get a hold of me while I was out of town at NASCO, she was reported to be “stalking” my apartment. I thought these issues were important to discuss as a house so that everyone can be on the same page, and I regret to not be able to attend the meeting due to work.
Corey: Library key should be the same as the commons, and accessible to all, but it's not.
Anne: I first met Associate Member X about two weeks ago. She wanted to see my unit and I told her I was uncomfortable with that. She was very pushy and no matter how many times I told her she couldn't she kept asking. It took 5 minutes before she went away. Last Saturday (not yesterday) she showed up at 9 am and I told her I was busy and didn't want her inside the unit. She said that she hadn't bothered me all week and was again very pushy. Burgess told me later that he let Associate Member X into their unit, and she got to measure his unit, and that he afterwards felt uncomfortable with her as well. Rebecca (Membership Coordinator & Hannah (mediator) also texted me because Associate Member X had tried to get them to intervene to let her into my unit. I was really uncomfortable about the whole thing.
Paul: I also had an encounter where I told her not to sleep here. My first experience with her was horrible and she walked past & ignored all boundaries that my partner and I tried to very clearly and directly establish, to the point that my partner cried.
Associate Member X: I'm sorry. I'm very sorry. My intentions have been set very differently than what I'm hearing now. I think it's a wonderful co-op and I apologize sincerely and sorry I disappointed and offended. I don't recall the interaction with Paul.
Paul: They cried in front of you.
Associate Member X: I don't recall that encounter.
Associate Member X: I have a legal obligation to see the unit before I move in. I waited a week and for the weekend to see the unit. I did get to see Burgess's apartment. My computer was stolen two months ago. Sometimes it's neat and tidy here but sometimes it's very messy. I have made time to clean. I've cleaned out refrigerators, thrown out rotten food, cleaned toilets & sinks regularly.
Associate Member X: I didn't say I cleaned the table outside. I wrote down that I swept outside. I also think I could be on maintenance. I'm handy - I can help with broken cupboards, and I've been talking to the maintenance coordinator.
Hannah: What about the sleeping in the commons issue?
Associate Member X: I know what I do. I can explain my work habits and schedule. Sometimes I get up early in the morning, like 5. I know on several occasions I'll get here at 6 in the morning and get water or coffee and get on the computer here. Sometimes other people are using the computer and I can't get on until late. One time I was reading in the library and Serene tried to come in and it was locked - I didn't know it was locked, and I let her in. Sometimes I get tired and I don't like to drive when I'm tired. I'm sorry for infringing or overstaying my leave. I keep weird hours. And I'm not sure when people care and when I should explain that.
Associate Member X: Well, I apologize, and I'm very concerned about having left the wrong impression. I've had a goal of living in a cooperative and sharing food, transportation, support for over 10 years, and when I found you guys I thought it was a good fit. I think the biggest thing out of a program like this is coming to it with love and respect. I've come here with an open heart and good faith, and wanting to live here. I want to be involved and do my labor.
Serene: You did write that you cleaned up after the party.
Associate Member X: I don't remember that. I'm sorry.
Paul: Can you talk about the legal requirement to see the unit?
POI: She doesn't have to.
Associate Member X: Well, Anne was very rude to me, after I reached out twice and then realized that she wouldn't show me the apartment. I came on 2 o'clock on Saturday for an appointment with Rebecca, but she was not around. I'm just trying to do business. I do want to be within the boundaries.
Corey: I've seen physical evidence that people have been sleeping here. Associate Member X has also had food in the freezers here for months.
Hannah: I think it's a double-standard that people need to be self-starters and contact the membership coordinator and see the unit themselves and then complain that they're too pushy when they try to do that. I can see how I might be the same way in some circumstances. Especially when the co-op has some opacity and we're imposing those requirements on a diverse set of applicants.
Paul: Do you remember the shot of tequila?
Associate Member X: I do. I remember being captivated by the bottle, and asked her about saving it. I asked if I may have a drink and she said sure. Yes, I remember that, but I don't remember anyone being uncomfortable. Again, I'm sorry about that.
Paul: The agenda item was taken from the front door while Associate Member X was around.
Associate Member X: I pulled it off to talk to the Steward about it. It was how I found out about the review.
Paul: I'm sorry about that. I asked the Steward to contact you.
Steward: I tried to text her about the review beforehand but she doesn't get texts.
Associate Member X: I'm sorry about these oversights. I know there's a lot of room for improvement and I'm committed to that.
<Associate Member X leaves.>
Gatlin: I believe we should show mercy and be kind. Who here doesn't miss social cues or mess up on labor sometimes?
Hannah: Yeah, she can be pushy. We kind of require pushiness to move in here.
Serene: I saw Catty clean up after that party, before Associate Member X claimed it. I saw that bathroom after she claimed to clean it, and there were paper towels everywhere.
Corey: It's one thing to miss social cues, it's another to make someone cry in front of you and not remember it.
Andrew: It's about more than just sleeping in the commons. She was called out on a labor claim she did make and said that she didn't make it, then said she just didn't remember. There's no harassment claim.
Nolan: I've made it a habit of checking the commons Thursday morning. She seems to have mischaracterized her labor on several occasions in small ways, which I'm not upset about. If we do a behavior contract maybe we can require that someone check and make sure she's not mischaracterizing her labor.
Ryan: She's hard to communicate with, but when I've established hard boundaries with her she's respected that.
Barak: I've had several conversations with her. I think most of her faults are in the vein of being too enthusiastic and too social.
Vaidy: She hasn't disproven any of the items on the member review. Her labor claims are largely bullshit. I think she's absolutely wrong about our membership coordinator being irresponsible at all.
Paul: My partner was here for a week in July. We encountered Associate Member X in the commons, my first encounter with her. She started talking about my partner's arm injury, trying to give ways of improving with it. Despite both my partner and me telling her to stop, because it was an emotional conversation, she would not, through multiple suggestions (already attempted and dealt with years ago), stop. Both of us were incredibly direct with her that she needed to stop. She didn't. My partner was visibly upset at the time and we ended up just walking away.
Gatlin: I don't want to diminish anyone's experiences, but let's not make the mistake of thinking that she's a static entity who cannot change.
Hannah: Perhaps we could have a phrase to end conversations. I don't think it's ill-intended but we have to set strong boundaries.
Vaidy: I don't see a behavior contract that says, “Don't lie about your labor claims.” as working.
Hannah: Perhaps she could be put on labor that is very clear whether it's done or not.
Corey: I don't know how to establish boundaries with someone who ignores statements like, “Stop.”
Ryan: I think I've established clear boundaries with her. It's a little hard, but it's doable.
Paul: It's very difficult to establish boundaries with people who smash through boundaries.
Andrew: Lots of opinions here. If she comes in here and apologizes for missed communications and is trying to do better, I think that's fine.
Barak: I think these are problems that can be remedied with a behavioral contract.
Behavior contract wins.
1) If someone says, “I do not want to talk right now,” “Please leave me alone,” or “I'm too busy to talk,” or a reasonably equivalent phrase, remove yourself from the conversation.
2) Don't no-show someone before the timeframe of the labor ends.
Passes by consensus.
(Ryan) Discuss possible changes to system for paying rent on line.
Ryan: Sasona wants to use our online rent payment. There's a scenario where we change from QuickBooks and get another system. This might be a future: all of the money goes into one large central checking account. We could deposit our rent and then do a reconciliation to the houses. I don't think we should switch to that just yet.
Paul: OK, all this means nothing to me as a member of the house. I just want to automatically pay every month, online.
Ryan: I want the same simple back-end and the same interface for the residents. There's a possibility of ending up with a complicated back-end that takes more labor and isn't actually better for residents.
Barak (board member): Are you concerned Sasona is going to push forward on this?
Ryan: I don't think it's too late. I think we should press on them that they need to solve the problem separately, and set up a test for it.
Ryan: Maybe we can set a timeline: How many people are interested in a new online payment system and want me to explore that with the finance team of the co-op. Then we can discuss when we can get off QBs and Sasona can get on QBs.
<Straw poll is almost unanimously in favor.>
Barak: Let's talk about it more next week.
Events: Laird Schaub will be here 2-4 pm on Sunday to talk about facilitation, communication & anti-oppression.
Events: AURA, pro-density pro-housing-and-transit development organization will be having a meeting here. Cesar Acosta is on their board. They've also been very pro-cooperative throughout. There might be 20 people here. That's the 29th, Thursday night.
Ryan: AURA has been helpful with the ACBA as well. It used to be promoting the rail bond (Austin Urban Rail), but shifted to a broader pro-development group.
Hannah: Ryan & I are having a birthday party and we want to have it here. December 1st. I'm excited! There will be bands, including trip-hop & vaudeville ukelele.
Barak: If you signed up for the Institutional Memory Committees, give us your availability! Grr!