Event:2018/09/20 Delegates Meeting

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Omni Delegates' Meeting - Day Month 2018 7pm-9pm

for instructions on preparing and archiving these notes, please see the bottom


  • Introductions, Meeting Roles, and Delegates Count [10 minutes]
  • Access Check-in [5 minutes]
  • Brief Announcements [5 minutes]
  • Bans [5 minutes]
  • Working Group Report-Backs [15 minutes]
  • Member Collective Updates (10 minutes)
  • Proposal X: [15 minutes]
  • Proposal Y: [15 minutes]
  • Discussion Z: [10 minutes]


Introduce yourself: Name; Preferred Pronoun; Affiliation; any brief announcements; say whether you're a delegate; let us know about any access needs you have†

  • Julian - BAPS
  • Mary Ann - CSC
  • Laura - working groups
  • Lynn - working groups
  • Steve - BAPS
  • Carol - Poets House/BAPS
  • Robb - sudo
  • Rachel - GWS
  • Jane - GWS
  • Phil - FNB
  • Ken - CCL
  • Yar

Access Check In

Is everybody able to participate fully in this meeting? Do people have unmet needs or concerns?

Meeting Roles

  • Facilitator/s: Phil
  • Explanation of hand signals: "deaf applause", "raised hand", "point of process", "direct response"(wildcard), etc.
  • Stacktaker: Rachel
  • Timekeeper: Lynn
  • Notetaker/s: Laura, Julian
  • Vibe Reader:
  • Next meeting's facilitator(s): Ken, Yar


  • BAPS: Steve
  • CCL: Ken
  • CSC: Mary Ann
  • FNB: Phil
  • GWS: Rachel
  • LL:
  • Sudo:robb
  • GCEA:
  • Quorum:yes

Brief Announcements

New Bans

  • Robb - SudoRoom banned Mitchell McNeely aka Syn who came up at last meeting for harassing people
  • Add to list of people asked to leave

Working Group Report-Backs

Building & permits

Meetings: 1st & 3rd Mondays @ 6pm

  • Laura - called Waste Management 2.5 weeks ago to add a trash pickup, and they haven't - but as of next week - there should be 2 weekly trash & green been pickups
    • this week, they're allegedly coming (tho belatedly)
    • will update on when compost gets picked up on Monday.
    • Laura - recycling is still once a week, Thursday morning, to be taken out on Wednesday night
  • Ken - I just saw a rat in CCL the other night
  • This group needs help; https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/building


Meetings: Second and Fourth Mondays at 5pm


Meetings: Second and Fourth Wednesdays at 6pm

  • There may be a new COmms volunteer
  • Julian wants to start up the orientations again
  • There have been a lot of sign ups to the announcment list serv


Meetings: Currently conjoined with Fundraising, 2nd & 4th Mondays at 6pm

  • Laura - we're doing OK, collectives ought continue paying their monthly rent


Meetings: Currently conjoined with Finance,, 2nd & 4th Mondays at 6pm

  • Laura - we got a big grant that Jenny wrote via Handshake (a crypto-currency org). She originally wrote it for about $2million. they awarded the omni $100k. it will be divided up in the same proportions originally proposed. $10k to sudo, $60k to sudomesh, $30k to Omni
    • Of the Omni ammount, it will go to kitchen & perhaps lighting

Member Collective Updates

What is going on with your collective? What are you working on? What have you accomplished? Any events coming up? Any difficulties you are encountering that you need help with?


  • Poets House is going to become part of BAPS
    • Steve gave a talk at the Beat Aesthetic class
    • new classes perhaps
    • Carol - for now the Beat Aesthetic class will be in November.
      • we're seeking a grant to pay for a 10 week course
      • doing outreach to college students, we expect that offering to go


  • Ken - HAd 5th anniverary celebration 2 weeks ago in the ballroom. Lots going on on wednesday nights.


  • MaryAnn - we'll be resuming our Waffles & Zapatismo clases on Sept 29th, via a discussion of the Mexican elections' aftermath
    • we received a request to fund a $20K project in Chiapas
      • not sure how we'll do that, but we've been brainstorming


  • Philip - FNB has been responding to complaints about rats (in the Omni). Proposal to share space with Berkeley Emergency Shelter.
  • Situation has improved but we need another round of rat catching.



  • Rachel - we're doing an invitation event to talk to a young journalist who was shot. He is coming to reprot on what is going on in Haiti. They are raising fund for an attenna for their youth radio station. 10/7 Omninoms invited.
  • Rachel - we have been fighting legislation to further criminalize sex worker clients. Will send an action alert about the hearing in city hall.



  • Robb - SudoRoom is planning a big clean up in about a month. Getting organized.



Example Proposal Title

  • Name of person, and/or, collective. and/or working group making this proposal; Date the proposal was sent to the consensus email list
  • Text of proposal

Proposal 1: Criteria to become and remain an Omni Commons Member Collective


  • Submitted by Laura, 9/17/18, developed with input from Almaz, Lynn, Ken, Jenny, Matt S, Brian, and maybe others I am forgetting at this moment...
    • 1. Have a minimum of 5 active members. Active members are those who participate in the organization’s decisions by participating in meetings, responding to email or other online decision-related discussions, performing administrative work, and leading programmatic activities. People who only attend events are not counted as active members.
    • 2.Be a collective: a non-hierarchical group (5 members) with a participatory decision making process.
    • 3. Fulfill requirements to delegate a board member, and to send members to serve on Omni working groups:
      • Each member collective should have a minimum of 2 members active in working groups. Collectives should make an effort to send 1 additional WG participant for every 10 active members.
        • (Previously: Each Member Group of the Omni will be required to populate at least 3 seats in at least 3 committees. Member Groups with more than 12 members will be required to populate at least 5 seats in at least 3 committees. (Passed 2014/08/28 Delegates Assembly))
    • 4. Endorse the Omni Commons statement of solidarity, statement of purpose, and safer space policy, and demonstrate how the activities of the collective contribute to them.
    • 5. Be or become either a tenant or a fiscally sponsored project of Omni Commons.
    • 6. Contribute materially to the Commons via rent, fiscal sponsorship fee, or other resources. If a collective fails to uphold their material commitments for more than 2 months, they are considered “inactive” and forfeit any benefits provided by their membership (such as use of common space and a vote at Delegates Council meetings) until previous commitments are met.

(Note 1: If an existing member collective's meeting schedule doesn't fit into the delegates meeting schedule for a new member application, it MUST hold a special meeting/consultation to deal with the application, out of respect for the new applicant group.)

(Note 2: Groups using space at Omni Commons can also be just tenants or fiscally sponsored projects without having the additional benefits and responsibilities of being a member collective. However, it benefits OC to have as many groups as possible contributing to the work and decision-making, and we should set a maximum ratio of non-member resident groups to member collectives, perhaps 1:4.)


  • Laura - the criteria has gotten the most feedback. I ask that people also pay attention to the process proposal and give feedback on that before the next meeting.
    • I do want to share one thing, in terms of the criteria, that I wasn't sure if it was clear.
    • a group that is a member collective would only lose delegate representation in the consensus process if they had fewer than five members
  • Steve - I just wanted to reiterate Yar's question. What problem is this designed to resolve?
  • Yar - the answer Laura wrote addressed the new collective process. the question is why we're adding new requirements to existing collectives
  • Laura - part of making the process of new collectives coming on board is to clearly tell groups "these are some things you need to be or have". if we are going to apply these criteria to new collectives, it should apply to current collectives. it seems there is a power imbalance in terms of representation (small collectives having equal consensus power to larger), that's why i said 5 active members.
    • the criteria mainly aren't new requirements, they just haven't all been specifically articulated or enforced.
  • Philip - the working group critiria is obviously not being strictly enforced
  • Yar - I was against the original proposal of requiring mandatory working groups. its a scarcity model - one more reason not to be a member collective at omni. I agree having standards for new member collectives makes sense. each new collective should be weighed one at a time, case by case. even if its a recommendation, we shouldnt make that a requirement for current collectives. there is an existing process for adding member collectives, but there has never been a process for removing member collectives due to not passing a criteria test. there aren't that many collectives here.
    • we don't "vote" - we consense. the delegate is representing everyone else, and that's ok. we're not comparing each other's height - its total consensus. no one is knocking down to get to the delgates meeting. its important to err on the side of letting collectives keep status. even the extra step of requiring some collectives to reconsider their status. it already takes out of people's lives. i'm against anything that adds more to the process
  • Steve - I really like what Yar just said. my understand of this body is that this is not a power center but a collective that handles the administration of the Omni as a whole. But, the whole idea of taking over this building from the beginning was to put it to the use of people that's what was exciting about the early years. there was a sense of this being a resources for the general society. In that sense, I continue to look at this delegate assembly as how some delegate, not represenative, of each member group comes togehter, not to govern but to take care of what arises. Yar's question is directly to the point. the more that use and participate in this space, the better. there should be some sense of being against the corporate structure, critical of corporate culture and its politics - which has been the foundation.

Proposal 2: New Member Collective Application Process


  • Submitted by Laura, 9/17/18, develeoped with input from Almaz, Lynn, Ken, Jenny, Matt S, Brian, and maybe others I am forgetting at this moment...

(What follows is more or less what would appear on the wiki and in the handbook as instructions to new potential MCs. It would be presented in a more graphically clear format.)

    • Decide if your group meets our basic requirements.
      • Please read about our vision / governing principles, to determine if your collective is willing and able to collaborate within the structure and culture we have co-created so far.
      • Review our criteria for becoming and remaining a member collective.
      • If you don’t think you meet the Member Collective criteria, there are other ways your group can participate in the Omni. Talk to the Finance Working Group. ----->
    • Let us know you are interested in joining Omni Commons by talking to a delegate or the finance working group.
      • A process guide will be assigned to you to help you navigate the member collective application process.
      • They will give you the information you need and answer your questions.
    • Write your application using the questions below. Keep it as brief as possible while still answering the questions:
      • What do you do that makes a difference in the world?
      • Briefly recap your history as an organization.
      • What is your incorporation status? (501c3? Unincorporated Association? etc)
      • How do you make decisions?
      • State your goals for becoming an Omni member collective.
      • How would your presence in the Omni contribute to its purpose and Statement of Solidarity?
      • Explain how you will finance your Omni membership dues/rent.
      • Describe what dedicated physical space (if any) you need. What will you do in the dedicated space? What can you do in shared space? Will you need to make any modifications of the building? Include floor plans if that makes your proposal clearer.
    • Application review process:
      • Submit your application to the Omni Delegates in writing at consensus@omnicommons.org and discuss@omnicommons.org
        • Present your application proposal at the next Delegates meeting (First and Third Thursdays at 7pm). Delegates will ask questions and give you preliminary feedback about the proposal. In the 2 weeks following the meeting, delegates will discuss your proposal with their collectives.
        • Attend collective meetings if invited to further explain your proposal. Incorporate feedback into your application proposal.
        • Legal and financial review

1. The Omni Finance Working Group will review your financials (Budget, balance sheet, P & L), size, incorporation status, space needs, and reach an agreement with you about your financial contribution and legal relationship to Omni Commons. 2. If you need to make modifications to the building, Finance may ask you to get preliminary inspections, consult with the Building Working Group, or provide other information to determine if the changes are possible and advisable. 3. If necessary, the Omni legal advisor will advise about your legal relationship to the Omni. 4. Update your proposal with this agreement.

        • Attend a 2nd Delegates meeting to discuss your updated proposal. Ideally this would be the next Delegates meeting, but if the delegates and you agree, it may be scheduled for the 2nd meeting following. Delegates will report on and discuss the feedback they received from their collectives, and if there are any blocking or serious concerns that can’t be resolved at the meeting, contact information will be shared so that further discussion can happen between you and the groups or persons with the concern.
        • Before the next Delegates meeting, attend collective meetings, and/or communicate with Omni members as needed to discuss any remaining issues.
        • Attend the next (3rd) Delegates meeting and present your updated application proposal for a final discussion. You will be asked to leave the building and the delegates will reach a decision. The process guide will notify you of the decision.
    • If approved, finalize your membership
      • Sign a contract with Omni Commons, either a lease or fiscal sponsorship agreement.
      • Obtain insurance coverage as described in your contract
      • Read Member Collective Handbook. (Sign document stating that the collective members read the Handbook?)
      • Select a delegate to the Delegates Assembly (Board of Directors)
      • Pay deposit/rent/fiscal sponsorship fee, per agreement
      • Move in!
      • Have at least two collective members join an Omni Working Group.

    • Internal Considerations for Deciding upon New Resident or MC Organizations
      • Does the group meet the member collective requirements?
      • Groups consisting of affected people doing liberatory organizing should be recruited and given priority.
      • The ratio of Member Collectives to non-member collective resident organizations should stay above 4:1.
      • Does the group understand the way OC works, especially the concept of the commons, space sharing, limitations on locked space, and consensus process?
      • A new collective is more likely to succeed at Omni if they have previously existed, are well established, have experience with consensus/participatory decision making, have spent time at OC (eg by holding events or meetings), and/or the members have worked together previously.
      • Consider if a new tenant or member collective should have a trial period and get settled before doing any construction.


  • Laura - the goal of this is to have greater clarity and timeliness.
  • Yar - I think that's great
  • Rachel - agreed, it's streamlined
  • Philip - the only issue I see here is regarding hierarchy. many non-profits operate on such models, so
  • Laura - requiring that groups be actual collectives is part of the proposal
  • Rachel - I think the topic comes down to the question of working group participation. the question first is - how does the work get done. so then the proposal for new groups coming in - new groups are expected to put. GWS hasn't been able to do 2 working groups. it's impossible because I live in San Francisco. it's a huge schlep. there's a way we would try to figure it out if need be.
  • Yar - there is a ton of work that happens online that we could get help with. doing the newsletter was cool.
  • Robb - I think it's a little unclear. some people are members of several collectives. I help out GWS as much as I help out liberated lens. I'd like to figure out a way that part of my time counts for all the collectives I help.
  • Julian - the member collective criteria have been guidelines and could remain guidelines - not things on the basis of which decisions to add or remove collectives must be made
  • Ken - the US governance example, of the Senate, etc - equal representation. Whatever we do has to be codified in a set of bylaws. I'm still unclear on how a block operates. We should have that clarified. A lot of people are surprised that certain people can come out of the woodwork and block things.

Proposal 3: Volunteer painting of dark hallways and staircases

Submitted by Laura, 9/20/18 - mostly a discussion question at this point

  • Ron, a person who has been attending CCL events, has volunteered to paint the dark hallways and staircases. He would like a brighter feel in the building halls and would like to contribute to Omni. That is why he is offering to paint those areas that are particularly dark. They also happen to be the areas that are splatter painted. (He is not proposing to paint the ballroom.) SOme people have expressed that they like the splatter paint areas, and the desire to preserve some or all of the splatter painted areas. The question before the assembly is which splatter painted areas should he be allowed to paint, if any?
    • Pros of painting most of the splatter painted areas:
      • I appreciate that Ron is offering to do something concrete and following through on his offer. By allowing him to do this we will be encouraging the participation of a new active volunteer, something we really need right now. He is also willing to work on other construction projects, but seems to feel particularly enthusiastic about the painting he has proposed.
      • Dark hallways and stairwells may be safer if they are painted a light color and building may feel more inviting to some people.
    • Cons of painting mos of the splatter painted areas
      • These area represent historical use of the building as a music club
      • Many people like it
  • Is there any dark area of the building that people who like the splatter paint are amenable to having painted? Stairwells from entrance hall to mezzanine? Stairwell to basement/ballroom? Hall to bocce court?


  • Yar - has Ron been a collective member?
    • Laura - he's beeen in CCL for a few months
  • Laura - do people have other suggestions about how make those hallways brighter?
  • Carol - we hold our Beat Aesthetic class down here. I have slight vision impairment- I could not see coming out of the bright light. This wasn't at night. To me, when I read that this was a discussion tonight. The stairwells should be lighter paint for reason of safety for vision-impaired people such as myself. If they were painted, they could be decorated again. it's a good deal to go with someone volunteering.
  • Ken - I'm in favor of painting. Racing stripes along the steps. 4-6 inches along the wall. to help us know if there are rats, also to help for vision impairment. could be alternating black & white. if we don't change the walls, at least change the stairsteps.
  • Yar - I've been wanting to raise that low part of the ceiling, so we could have a wheelchair lift install. we'd need a structural engineeer.
  • RObb - Sudo is ok with painting the black hall going in to the ballroom from the EH. We also liked the idea of CCL to put a blacklight in the bocce court hallway. Didn't cime to consensus about any splatter areas. I will take the comment here back to the Sudo meeting.
  • Lynn - is Ron likely to find these proposed jobs fulfilling?
    • Laura - I'll talk to him about this
    • Mary Ann - if something gets painted white, finger prints are hard to clean off. people touch the wall going into the ballroom at all. I've got 4 boys, I've
  • Julian - I just want to underscore the dimension of safety and ableism with respect to painting
    • Yar - if I had been at Sudo I would have definitely tried t
  • Philip - its true about the filth
  • Laura - enthusiasm about playing up the splatter paint for the flat Hallway.
    • Yar - including that bit in the proposal orginally derailed other places.
  • Robb - we could get a clear coat gloss, it would be good to use generally


last week's meeting

  • The September 6, 2018 Delegates meeting ended after an angry, emotional, and personal shouting match occurred between Almaz, Jenny and Robb over current and past issues. It disrupted what should have been a productive meeting of collective representatives working together for the purpose and visions of the Omni.

As delegates/board members we need to acknowledge the situation and 1. Take action to deescalate it. 2. Reaffirm expectations of behavior of delegates (and all Omni members) to reflect the Founding Document’s statement that “The Omni is an open and diverse community. We love and value every person. “ 3. Insist that delegates act as spokespersons, chosen by their collective to act on behalf of/in accordance with their collectives’ instructions 4. Insist that delegates speak truthfully & refrain from personal attacks when the validity of their statements are questioned. (this point suggested by Robb)

  • Lynn - there were only 6 of us here last time; we had maybe 4 delegates. not a good representation. it's easier when in a small group for things to go ary. fewer people means, emotionally, less serious meeting
    • in many years of political meetings I've never seen such intense personal attacks, in addition to direct divisiveness over issues
      • I didn't feel I could stay as a participant, due to the degree of intensity. the people involved are people we care about and that are critical to the success of the organization. so that's why I put it out there.
  • Phil - what i fee is that allegation of drug use/behavior issues, this meeting isn't the proper forrum for those personal issues. Its for mediation or other forum.
  • Ken - I wasn't present and I was unaware of what happened. I have seen the tension building up. I would like to hear more about what happened
  • Yar - I wasn't ther eso it seems pretty mystifying.
  • Steve - same. I would like to hear 2 brief descriptions of what happened and how. When I heard this happened, I wasn't surprised.
  • Mary Ann - everyones accoutn will be different. What I recall is that someone came into the meeting and announced that she was going to put a lock on a door and said it had been previously approved by the delegates. After the assertion and the response that she was wrong and it had never been approved. Then it deteriorated into personal attacks about drunkeness, rent being paid or not being paid, being fairly collected or not.
  • Lynn - there was the issue about the room, and then there were counter charges of dues not being paid, unfair treament (some dues aren't payed and it matters, some arent and it doesnt matter). The conflict was beyond the pale of collegial conversation.
  • Robb - I'd prefer not to give my account because I am biased, but it became personal after the topic of locking the room.
  • Phil - The discussion over locking the room got intermixed with other business issues.
  • Ken - I'm still interested in collecting information about what happened.
  • Steve - I suggested that two people give an account because I thought it would be valuable to hear different accounts. I ask Roob to continue your account. I'm not so sure that the issue of the lock on the door is the key here, but rather that it would be how we might be needing self-accountable with respect to a dynamic that pre-existed that meeting. Feelings that pre-existed that meeting that the explosion really presprsents. Could we shortly braacket hed locked-door matter.
  • Ken - Idid see the emials from Robb and Jenny that they are open to mediation. Has anyone communicated with Almaz about her openess to it?
  • no
  • RObb - I loaned a 2 50ft XLR cables to someone who needed it for an event Almaz was the point person for. We usually get a deposit to insure that people return stuff. Omly one was returned. Whe I asked about it she said it wasn't her responsibility. She said she did or didnt' get a deposit at different times. At the delegates meeting there was a mention in the bans section about someone has been found in the kids room and was asked to leave. Then the discussion about the lock started and the blow up. There were issues brought up about GCEA owing money in back rent.
    • yar: she also said by email that she did get a deposit.
  • Lynn - That seems accurate to me - regarding the comment about classroom getting used leading to Almaz's concern that children were exposed to, from Almaz's perspective, mis-use of the space (people sleeping, undergarments).
  • Rachel - From the sound of it it does sound like there are underlying issues that need to be sorted. This isn't the place for it. WE have to deal with lack of accountability to the collective and people not fulfilling their responsibilities. That shouldn't be tolerated.
  • Julian - I have an objective question - what was the understanding with the with GCEA about back rent? also, BAPS once had a ton of backrent owed that was forgiven
  • Steve - the original status of BAPS, the tenancy ended after it collapsed after not paying rent for a long time. An agreement was reached to change to a fiscally sponsored project and almost all the money we raise in the classroom. In my understanding, GCEA had become a fiscally sponsored project, prior to vacating - but returned with there being back-rent owed. I had a confused sense of the period, and that there was confusion among others on this matter. This could be one of the dimensions of what needs to be dealt with here.
  • Laura - GCEA signed a lease when we first approved them to move-in. They did not immediately get insurance. After 6 months, in February of that year GCEA left. There was a month of back rent, and no rent for the period of out-of-town. When she got back - we understand groups can have rent difficulties. We can restart/rewrite the lease, if you were unhappy with the terms of the last lease. My understanding was that we wrote off the old money. During the course of a new lease, they eventually became fiscally sponsored (by another group). She signed a new lease and now is currently behind, but. After a period of time, Jenny kept bringing up some other mobey being owed- but money that is not actually owed according to my understaning of the agreement.
  • Steve - I think we should stop now. If when we discuss it again, Almaz and Jenny need to be there. We should think about, what do we do - each of us. So that we each can have ideas and suggestions.
  • Ken - as far as suggestions go, I don't think it would be productive to put everyone back into this context. Almaz has
  • Julian - I have talked to Almaz
  • Mary Ann - I really feel, based on witnessing that exchange, what we need is for there to be mediation. We can't as delegates resolve a conflict that has been deeply resisted to.
  • Laura - I will talk to Almaz if she would be okay with Lynn/Joe.
  • Lynn - I don't think the personal things are the only matter. I have some things I'd like to bring back in the way of structural proposals.
    • Yar - I'm OK with incendiary proposals

Example Discussion Item

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