Event:2016/02/04 Delegates Meeting

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Omni Delegates' Meeting - February 4, 2016

Who's Here?

  • look below at "introductions"

Meeting Roles

  • Facilitator/s: Jenny
  • Explanation of hand signals: "deaf applause", "raised hand", "point of process", "direct response"(wildcard), etc.
  • Stacktaker: sang
  • Timekeeper: tatille
  • Notetaker/s: yar, laura, lori
  • Vibe Reader: joe
  • Next meeting's facilitator(s):


  • BAPS: inactive
  • BH: Maggie, remote
  • BS: Tatille
  • CCL: Ken
  • CSC: Mary Ann
  • FNB: Joe
  • GWS: Lori
  • Mess: Sang
  • MPM: Simon
  • LL: inactive
  • Sudo: Matt
  • TIL: active, not here
  • Quorum: 2 inactive & not present. 9/10 active & present. yes quorum!

Introductions (10 mins)

Introduce yourself: Name; Prefered Pronoun; Affiliation; Relationship to caffeine

  • Jenny, sudoroom
  • Tatille - BS - Delegate
  • Lori - GWS - Delegate
  • matt s, sudo delegate
  • Yar, she /her Sudoroom
  • jeremy, sudo
  • joe, fnb delegate
  • laura, fundraising, commons
  • sang, the mess delegate
  • simon, mpm de;egate
  • arthur, fnb
  • ken ccl delegate
  • maryanne chiapas delegate
  • julio, sudo & commons wg
  • brendan, sudo
  • robb, sudo
  • larry, events on feb. 20th & 27th
  • Denise Harris, Teenagers Matter

Announcements (5 mins)

  • fnb benefit next saturday (feb 13). worried about security.
    • not relevant to this meeting. maybe commons wg or another time.
    • more discussion about conflict with a disco room event, etc
  • feb 21st climate action report back @omni
  • tristan anderson's birthday party 5-9 sunday (feb 7) @purple house
  • yar: building bloc organizing omni volunteer fair Sat March 12. start thinking now about what you'd do with more labor!
  • robb: production "working group" is meeting Tuesdays at 6pm

Bans (0-5 mins)

See https://omnicommons.org/wiki/Asked_to_Leave

  • Jenny walked into a scene, 6 Omni folks confronting someone who had stolen things.
    • Matt: someone set up a closet in the basement, bed, art walls, etc. Issac, photo and name going on Wiki. There was a second person and possessions are still there.
    • passing photo around


Working Group Report-Backs (15 mins)

Building & permits

Meetings: Mondays at 8pm

  • wheelchair bathroom has a lightswitch! amazing! ready to close the walls now
  • RAT CITY. on the agenda.
  • ready to paint south wall on saturday ~10~4

Becoming Omni

  • On hiatus


Meetings: Second and Fourth Thursdays at 7pm

  • Julio review the event requests for March
  • Laura: we lost a $5k event because they saw a rat


  • Has traditionally transpired over virtual communications among the sysadmins and fundraising folks - this working group could use a reboot and some in-person meetings!
  • yar: there is SO MUCH to be done. please participate in this. People need to join our mailing lists, the new people who have joined. It is a disaster. sudomtg
  • arthur: can send jpeg of benefit for the flyer for Feb 13.
  • yar: a good example of a project someone can take on. we need a lot of help.
  • sang: i can work on a newsletter, need orientation as to where to get information to include
  • Laura: when we meet I can work with you on that.
  • yar: very briefly, the labor involved would go like this: go through the list of working groups and member collectives. track down people from each of those, and ask them: what are you doing? what do you have to offer the community? what do you need from the community? then write up all this information in an easy-to-digest way, and send it around to everyone!


  • Joe & Julio are working on RJ circles
  • upcoming circle between community members, Food Not Bombs (5 members), and some Omni members about Running Wolf. writing some agreement for terms for him being around.

Finance and Fundraising

Meetings: Every other Thursday at 6pm

  • almost got books ship-shape. finally. round of applause
    • matt: it's so much fun!
      • pfft
    • 2 new volunteers today
  • our deficit is growing. we need more money. MPM moving out, front room still empty. space for organizations, so do outreach!
  • buried seeds didn't get their utilities invoice this month. discuss with finance
  • working on changing how collectives pay shared expenses, so the amounts are clearer and more consistent. right now it reflects what people are currently paying.
    • not too many changes - smaller collectives will be paying less for utilities

Buy the Building

Meetings: Mondays at 5:00pm

  • once that's done we can apply for a mortgage to buy the building
  • laura sent an email to almost everyone who's had an event here. there were a few donations from that
  • Reach out to orgs looking for a place!

Proposal: Basement Robot (5-10 mins)

Presented to delegates by Marc on Jan 21st:

Counter Culture Labs is getting a donation that includes a liquid handling robot (not sure exactly what the dimensions are yet but something like 5' by 5'). We would like some space in the basement for this robot. Possibly the corner on the right next to the couches near the entrance to the basement. Probably between 8' by 8' and 10' by 10'. We would build a transparant enclosure and any CCL member who has passed a basic safety quiz will have access. The robot is for automating biological experiments by moving small amounts of liquids (microliters) between different machines (incubators, centrifuges, PCR machine, etc).

  • temporarily put it in corner right of the stairs?
  • how much rent?
  • footprint: 5x5' with a few feet around it to work
  • wouldn't significantly alter the use codes for the basement ('business use')
  • rob: sublease space from mpm? pay omni?
  • joe: tape out the space with masking tape
  • maggie: how much sq ft is mpm vs rent , calculate based on that, 1/6 mpm = $100 / marc - that seems fair
  • chloe: omni asked black hole for $400 for the whole space right of the stairs?
  • Proposal: To temporarily store a robot within a 10' x 10' square at the bottom of the basement staircase, on the righthand side, adjacent to the plumbing access hole. Then, to install the robot in a more permanent location in the basement (TBD).
  • please not here. down below.


  • ken: i understand it'll serve coffee, make your bed. valuable for lab people. looks like a 3d printer. takes a 5x5x5' cube
  • by the couches downstairs
  • if you wanna see it, it's partially constructed right now
  • in favor: tatille lori joe sang simon ken maryanne maggie (8/9). yar abstains. (1/9). passes.

MPM Proposal to Move out of Omni by Feb 29th, 2016 (10 mins)

  • Presented to delegates on Jan. 21st:

This Sunday, MPM collectively decided that we will move out of Omni by the end of February. There are multiple reasons for this decision: we have been struggling to make the rent + utilites/fees, no one was willing to sign the sublease, and many of the core-organizers are feeling too burnt-out / exhausted to keep the project going at its current capacity. Collective members expressed both sadness and relief at this decision. Our hope is that we can leave on good terms, with minimal impact to the Omni community. Please take a look at the proposal below: MPM will move out of our space by Feb 29th, 2016 and will no longer be a collective member of Omni We will pay Omni the amount that we currently owe ($1,459) by Feb 29th, but will not be able to pay the upcoming rent or utilities/fees for the month of February We will use this time period (now through the end of February) to coordinate moving our equipment out of Omni and to raise the amount we owe and have scheduled a fundraiser for Feb 20th to help raise the money for this This was discussed at the last meeting (1/21), and we agreed that collectives would talk it over amongst themselves and come to consensus this week, but that MPM's official notice would date back to Jan 21st, 2016


  • simon: proposal is to stay until end of month, and not pay rent
  • joe: but you're gonna pay money owed up to now?
    • yes
  • in favor: tatille lori joe sang maryanne ken simon maggie. yar abstains. passes.
  • round of applause for being a member collective for so long!
  • brendan: what happened?
    • they didn't have enough money. don't have any money. people got burnt out, a lot of people dropped off because they weren't coming. some people were paying rent in absentee - ghost members. some just didn't want to be a part of the project anymore. bay area problems.
    • maggie: thanks for being part of this project all this time.

Proposal: Building Bloc Member Collective Application (20 mins)

Submitted by yar on Jan. 27th:

1. Mission statement:

Building Bloc is a collective of many familiar Omni faces. Our goal is to bring new volunteers to Omni, give them a good experience which orients them to Omni's values and social contract, and a path to becoming active members of the Omni community and stakeholders in the building. Alternate nicknames for Building Bloc include:

  • "the working group collective"
  • "the new welcoming committee"
  • "the merry band of misfits"
  • "a hack around the fact that omni has no general membership"

2. Origin and group history

We've been formally meeting since October. All of our notes are here:https://omnicommons.org/wiki/Building_Bloc

3. Participation in the Omni

  • We want to be able to give our members card access and the full sense of ownership that comes with being a member of a member collective. We use the entrance hall for meetings twice a month. Meetings are also meant to double as Omni intro & orientation sessions. We are organizing a Volunteer Fair in March, and we'd like existing member collectives and working groups to participate.

4. Group finances and paying rent

  • Hell no! We don't dough!
  • We encourage people to directly donate what they can, but our group does not handle money.

5. Dedicated space

We don't need any dedicated space.

6. Other contributions to the Omni

  • We have members in every working group, and plan to send many more.

7. Additional

  • We love you all!

Proposal Discussion

  • Yar reads names of all members, many of whom are people who are doing a lot of work on WGs but don't belong to any of the otehr member collectives.
  • Simon: Would BB need insurance? YAr - not sure how to resolve that.
  • Robb:Perhaps would be mmroe staightforward for amend access policy.
  • matt: what we did for HNJ was making their membership contingent on getting insurance but agreeing in interim to let them have access to the building and act like a member collective. for instance, insurance issue becomes moot when we buy the building
  • simon: i went to HNJ meeting yesterday. i told them i'd ask for them to ask what it'd mean to become a housing working group, to help people who come to omni (such as person from mediation section above) find housing. be a working group rather than member collective.
  • laura: there's a procedure for people who aren't members of collectives to get keys, if you look up key policy
  • brendan: i think it's a great idea to make this kind of collective. meshes nicely with idea of making a working group based on housing. what if we did something where we could do a policy paid for by omni that people can buy into? idk how it works to need insurance, but what if there's a general policy that you could choose to pay into?
  • yar: solving a problem that doesn't exist. the problem is our landlord requiring insurance for every official collective and active participants not being in a collective. Propose to have a guest insurance policy that all these collectives could be included in
  • laura: landlord wants insurance to protect himself from things that groups do outside the omni. building bloc is just for omni - i'd say we should give you like a hybrid status. so it'd be covered by omni policy. but that wouldn't apply to HNJ.
  • sang: it's a ripple effect. if your org has a mission in the community, in the city or larger... and someone decides to sue you ... your org is connected to omni, which is part of that liability chain. protects owner of building to say whatever you do anywhere, there's some money that'll get paid before omni's landlord has to pay anything.
  • tatille: we're asking for insurance to just cover our location in omni. buried seeds has other spaces but we don't want that included.
  • matt: we're a community first. we're a bunch of different projects. how do we fit it all in this container so the state doesn't shut us down? working groups are legally committees of our board of directors (delegates). What HNJ needs is totally taken care of in the meantime. or we could pitch to insurance agencies... we just need to store tools in a closet. we're always skirting around these issues. there's a nightmare that's damaging this project, that's always been there.
  • yar: why not just have a category of "guest collective" defined this way? access to building, participating in consensus decisions, use of space, and all activities are directly related to omni's overall mission. not a separate mission or project otherwise, therefore no need for separate insurance.
  • robb: risk to omni being found in default
  • arthur: seesm like we could have them sign some kind of waiver.
  • Matt: maybe we can have them do an event contract through the commons working group. I also want to echo what RObb says that if it looks like a duck, then it s a duck.
  • Yar. The most important things to people are access to the building, beiing treated as an equal,. I thnk as long as we can say that a guset collective is part of the OMni working for the OMni's mission, no reasonable person could look at that and think it needs a separate insurance coverage.
  • Ken: Concerns over fairness among Omni collectives, concerns that some would meet to meet reqs such as insurance
  • Yar: When we started I didn't want tto be called Omni, I wanted us to be called BUilding Bloc, like a collective that holds the building, but no one agreesdwith me.
  • Amended proposal: Building Bloc is effectively a member collective, pending the resolution of the question of insurance.
  • Amended proposal (yar): Building Bloc will become a member collective once the legal question of insurance is resolved. In the meantime, they can give keycard access to members, for the purpose of doing outreach work for Omni Commons.
  • Ken: isn't it risky if people become BB members, get keycards and are walking around without insurance? isn't that a liability issue?
    • yar: we have a process. you can read all our meeting notes.
    • julio: the way our working groups work now, it's already nebulous
    • laura: we already have a key process for volunteers so this isn't a big change
    • worries about physical keys, but we're not asking for physical keys
    • matt s: there's accountability vs liability. [too much for yar to transcribe] fairly minimal risk - i've worked with these people.
  • rob: how do you join BB?
    • yar: you come to a meeting, we ask you questions. all existing members have a week to block them. after a week, they're a member of building bloc
    • rob: what if someone does work for a week and then just starts hanging out?
    • yar: we can deal with that and remove members if we have to
  • Brendan: sudo doesn't have super stringent requirements. we ask new members a couple of questions and they get access to the space within a week [actually a month]
  • delegates in favor of yar's amendment: lori joe sang simon ken maryanne. abstaining: tatille matt maggie. passes.
  • yar: yay! our treasurer is a member!
    • laura: also i'm a member now

Discussion: Pest Control (20 mins)

  • Rob: rat traps are installed, holes been plugged.
  • matt: we've been languishing on this for so long. needs to be escalated to delegates. as serious as our deficit problem. huge lack of collaboration between all of us. this will make or break us. we will get shut down eventually, maybe red tagged. if we lose another 5k event, we're done. root causes? i worry we should shut down our kitchens entirely. i hate to say it because i know what it's used for. but we're in a really bad position. should we clean it out, start from scratch and give ourselves a clean slate? just throwing it out there, i have no other ideas.
  • laura: in terms of cleaning out accumulation of junk & stuff, a volunteer (lily) is coordinating another cleanout/dumprun/etc. Would like to get feedback on how to do that.
  • joe: TURD REPORT: fnb making great strides, especially in the walkin (no turds anymore) - everything is in containers. doing pretty good in the kitchen. pantry adjacent to the kitchen where the furnace is (not used by fnb) is covered in turds. everything in the kitchen is in metal or closed plastic, significant decrease in turds.
  • arthur: significant factor is that this is an old building that hadn't been used in a long time. thinks this is something the landlord has some liability for. we're paying a lot of money to him, he has to do something.
  • yar: personal anecdote - the very first day we moved in, there were stacks of old pallets that were basically rats nests. after we moved them, we swept up giant piles of years-old rat shit.
  • laura: reads in the lease that extermination is covered by the landlord.
  • matt: rats are living in the ovens. people cook in those ovens. just sayin'. at the end of the day, we feed them.
  • robb: sounds like they were previously living in various parts of the building, food isn't really accessible to them right now.
  • ken: would like to clean up the upstairs kitchen but don't want to step on toes. would like to shut it down, clean it up and get it up to code.
  • robb cleaned up there today and didn't find any food except for some limes
  • laura just read more in the lease and found out that all those expenses, if landlord pays for them, he can bill us for it. so never mind...
  • laura: we should empower anyone to throw away unattended food at any time
  • joe: putting up serious signs on our doors, and very close to locking our doors. judith has been doing a lot of work, trying to get people to clean up
  • ken: even just the state of the upstairs food could cause the health department to shut us down, food is spoiled, people getting sick. need some modicum of education for folks using the upstairs kitchen.
  • matt proposes locking the walk-in & the downstairs kitchen
    • joe: what about upstairs?
    • matt: it's smaller, not worried
  • joe: we should form a kitchen committee, possibly lock the upstairs fridge.
  • ken: how about clean the whole thing, empty the fridge completely, then take a picture saying "this is how it should be!"
    • robb: thank you for volunteering
  • Sang: Can we agree on a dump run day and someone can volunteer to consolidate proposals and bring them to the next meeting?
  • maybe focus on utility room and/or kithcen west wall
  • Robb: There's also an email list called 'rodents'
    • They appear to be roof rats judging from the shape of their turds.

Massive cleaning day?

  • Dump run (weekday following cleaning day)
  • Cover all holes
  • Clear out all junk from common areas
  • Make clear signage
  • Ask for at least one member from each collective
  • Deepclean appliances

Suggested date: February 21st

where to focus on rats

Common Spaces

  • Upstairs Kitchen (details below)
    • Stove / oven
    • furnace/utility room
    • surfaces
    • pantry fridge
    • cold fridge
    • open pantry shelves
  • Computer
  • Downstairs kitchen
    • adjacent pantry
  • Entrance hall
    • Behind front counter
  • Trash room
  • Red stage area
  • Basement Library

Designated Spaces

  • Counter Culture Labs
    • Fermentation station shelves
    • Trash cans / floors
  • FNB Basement Pantry (how's it going?)
  • Walk-in Refridgerator
  • Sudo room walls
  • Phat beets office

Proposal: Rent Roll / Rate Change


Finance / Fundraising working groups propose we adopt the following rent accounting process, where individual operating costs are explicitly and transparently listed, divided appropriately, then compiled for each collective into a round monthly rent that does not fluctuate with minor changes in costs (e.g. we all get a fixed utilities payment, pro-rated based on each group's contributions, rather than a large even split calculated every month based on whatever our bill says):


Discussion: Decision Process / Feedback Session with Mitar