Event:2020/01/02 Delegates

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Omni Delegates' Meeting - 2 January 2020 7pm-9pm

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


  • Introductions [15 minutes]
    • Meeting Roles
    • Delegates Count
    • Access Check-in
  • Check-ins, Updates & Report-Backs [30 minutes]
    • Brief Announcements
    • Working Groups
    • Member Collectives
    • Conflicts, Mediation & Safe Space
  • Proposals & Discussions


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

  • WHY DO WE ASK PRONOUNS? To make space for people who are trans, nonbinary, gender or otherwise vulnerable to being misgendered. It's not an invitation to make jokes or trivialize the idea of pronouns. If you are fine with the gender and pronouns society generally assigns to you, please just say what they are without fanfare or embellishment. Conversely, please don't pressure anybody to give their pronouns, as that can harm trans people who are closeted or questioning. The point is to prompt and normalize asking, but not to mandate or enforce. Thank you! <3 Yar
  • Niki
  • Jenny
  • Mary Ann
  • David K
  • AB
  • Shido
  • Ish
  • Jane
  • Tim
  • Gwen
  • Ken
  • Phil
  • Laura - remote

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:
  • Timekeeper:
  • Notetaker/s: Jenny
  • Vibe Reader:
  • Who will out next meeting's agenda beforehand:
  • Next meeting's facilitator(s):


  • CCL: Ken
  • CSC: Mary Ann
  • FNB: Phil
  • FYE: AB?
  • GWS: Jane
  • LL: N/A
  • Phat Beets: N/A
  • Sudo: Jenny
  • Quorum?: Yes - 6/8

Brief Announcements

Working Group Report-Backs

Building & permits


  • Meetings: 2nd & 4th Mondays at 5:30pm
  • https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/booking
  • AirTable new booking system underway
    • We may beta test it by having all the internal requests and regular outside space users use the system first.

Finance & Fundraising

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?


  • calendar: https://www.meetup.com/Counter-Culture-Labs/
  • holiday season, basically nothing rn.
  • lots of things going on but nothing in particular. mushroom group we work with - Nightlife / Fungus Among Us @ Cal Academy on Thursday, Jan 9th @ ~6-10pm


  • Mary Ann: Burnt out from end-of-year fundraising
  • February 8th reportback from Zapatista Women's Gathering - in the ballroom around 7pm! Expecting a pretty good group of people


  • Big issue is that there was a grant to get a vehicle, Needs at least a radiator. Trying to get it towed over here. Looking at new vehicles
    • Jenny offers AAA tow if needed


  • Last Saturday did first ball - ballroom event - was amazing. Lots of people in Omni involved - LibLens livestreaming, Phat Beets catering.
    • Noise complaint albeit from Lynn
  • Just put in new request for monthly mental health event


  • Supporting Moms For Housing - next court date is Jan 6th at Hayward Hall


Phat Beets


  • Sudo Mesh - got a tiny grant to put on a workshop on DIY antenna construction sometime in the next month. Ongoing current project is prototyping off-grid 4G wifi hotspots for deployment at organized homeless encampments. first instantiation is currently at People's park, next for first prototype of completed setup is Here/There. We meet every Tuesday here in the den - join us!

Conflicts, Mediation & Safe Space

  • Updates for any ongoing issues
    • Update on Village Storage and fiscal sponsorship:
      • Phil: Seems there was a definite planning wrt the theft of blankets. Very unfortunate. However definitely stuff is not being moved out weekly, bags starting to reek.
        • AB: Asks if they're a member collective - possoible collab with SPAZ on moving to a new space in the basement?


Event Sponsorship

  • submitted by Jenny/Commons WG
    • mostly for property tax exemption app
    • mary ann: you don't need to be a fiscal sponsor to sponsor an event. why isn't it possible to avoid all this paperwork and just have the omni as the
    • I(Laura, remote) sent an email to the consensus list explaining that there was some conflation of different issues that led to the CWG developing the proposal. I don't thing there is any proposal necessary to resolve the conflated issues. We discussed them at the Commons meeting and I think we are all clearer about what the WG needs to do. Since no one seems to have read the email or remembered that I sent it, I will paste it here for posterity:
      • "There was a discussion about event sponsorship last night at the Delegates' meeting. Reading the notes I see that there is conflation of different meanings of the word "sponsorship", and a lack of clarity about the various issues and considerations that have triggered the need for new agreements and policies.

Event sponsorship and fiscal sponsorship are completely different things. Fiscal sponsorship is an option in a situation where an unincorporated group or project needs to be associated with a 501c3 (to qualify for a grant or to offer tax deductions to donors, for example). We already have a clear process for fiscal sponsorships and have used it many times. The conflicts and questions we have been having are about event sponsorship - when and how OC or a member collective takes on an outside event as their own event because of aligned missions. Event sponsorship only has a little to do with the incorporation status of the outside organization. There are 2 aspects of the event sponsorship that have to be taken in to account in an event sponsorship process: 1. When is it appropriate for an OC MC to sponsor an outside event? How does that happen? What are the responsibilities of the MC? What happens if there are problems at a sponsored event? These questions have arisen because of problems at events that were sponsored by a MC that wasn't clear about its responsibilities in in doing so, and questions about how to ensure all events meet the same requirements for safety, risk mitigation, care for our building and equipment, etc. 2. How do we make sure that an event by an outside unincorporated org qualifies as charitable for our property tax exemption? In this case, all we have to do is document how the event is aligned with the public benefits we exist to promote and indicate to the tax examiners that we have agreed to put it on at an accessible rate (in a sense "sponsor" the event) BECAUSE THAT IS HOW OC PROMOTES THOSE PUBLIC BENEFITS - ACCESSIBLE SPACE. We are a 501c3 that supports various types of public benefit by making space available for aligned activities. There doesn't have to be any other 501c3, or legal fiscal sponsorship, involved. I hope this helps clarify the issues underlying the event sponsorship question."

(Discussion of proposal gets off track onto conflict over SPAZ and use of the basement. See that discussion below)

  • Mary Ann: Where does this all leave us wrt the proposal?
    • Ken: Think we should not include SPAZ in any kind of decision. If working group is going to do anything with SPAZ, i vote against.
      • Mary Ann: Why - this is undermining good faith effort to avoid paying property taxes that we can't afford
      • Jenny: This is not about SPAZ, it's about sponsoring events
        • Ken: I vote against it. Until SPAZ comes here.


   Yes: FYE, CSC, 
   Abstain: Sudo
   Block: CCL


Basement use/SPAZ

  • Ken rants about SPAZ
    • Jenny gets upset at strong, repeated narrative she believes to be erroneous.
      • AB: Have a lot of love and appreciation, but do understand the sentiment regarding vandalism and droogz - these are things that happen with these kind of parties and it's not per se SPAZ - but re: use of the basement, but they're not a member collective and nothing on their end to advance that. They have a lot of stuff in the basement and re: space use in the basement we've gotten a lot of heat and they're getting in through a loophole or whatever. We have done everything legitimately and would love our desires and contributions and events here to be facilitated. That's mostly what I have to say.
      • DK: The agenda item brought up was to make it easier for the Commons WG to make it easier for events that are obviously within Omni's mission (eg MASK Oakland), to be facilitated. All for making that easier, and think people should support that. Issue of SPAZ is a separate issue - in terms of the basement, from what I've heard a perpetual problem is that events are understaffed when they're volunteer-run. Has always been a problem, from the beginning, which leads to the lack of security, things getting tagged, etc. That's a problem whose likelihood of happening increases in tandem with # of attendees. In terms of SPAZ, just want to say as a community stakeholder - they have a long track record of doing great things for the community that should be acknowledged. Their sound system has been core to actions across the Bay Area for decades now - the port, etc - they also throw ragers. They have been part of this project since Day 1 - - just didn't become a member collective as they had members in Sudo from day 1 and didn't need permanent space. Obviously they should not be ______ redacted - all the logistics around insurance, alcohol, etc and how that overlaps with the property tax exemption - license. Unless it's a private event - and what makes it legally private - whole bunch of bureaucracy that comes around it. Easy to blame others, almost always something that isn't quite right - eg missing Waiver of Subrogation. Honestly it's a failure in Omni's mission that our own insurance can't cover these risks. Eg New Parish which covers it and is fully staffed AND cheaper than Omni... Support practices of mutual aid, for the sake of FYE AND for SPAZ - don't want fucked up events that put everyone at risk and destroying the bathrooms etc. This project is based in mutual aid, let's try and support each other and -
      • AB: Have nothing but love and admiration for SPAZ, learning more about their history every day. But personally, the hazards of them throwing raves - I'm indifferent to a lot of it - understand the bathrooms etc and what goes down at raves. But what I do want to say about SPAZ is that that space, the annexation of it, and i personally have convos with Lukas - appropriating the space wrt the sound system, wrt making it more complicated for us, makes it really hard. They should just be a member collective and have that space or something. We work it out if we want to use the sound system or whatever. Haven't limited any space to one use, the Media Lab etc is for everyone - external parties would love to rent it out.
    • Laura: There should be a meeting with FYE, SPAZ, Commons, Village, and any other interested folks to discuss and resolve the various issues about the basement. Come up with a proposal if necessary, or just an agreement on how to operate with less conflict.
  • Ken - only had negative experiences. not approving anything until they come here and have policies in place and make clear commitments. and clean up the graffiti.
  • Jenny: Discusses the several-ton dump run lukas did a few weeks back, on his own dime, and painting of exterior graffiti as we had an active blight complaint to abate and so that was prioritized. Also recent workparty for rewiring of all cables, ongoing member collective proposal, wiring of exit sign to hallway w/ phat beets storage and general audit of our electrical, significant financial contributions, mentorship of younger stewards and collectives that draw new energy to the space, close collaboration and responsiveness to Commons WG concerns, etc. Also, to say that "parties aren't mission-aligned" is absurd. people - especially young people - are going to party. except there's hardly anywhere left to do so safely. it is absolutely mission-critical to create safe spaces for connection, for collective joy and creative expression..
  • DK - the original conception of "omni" was for the org to be not a gatekeeper but rather a thin umbrella org that handled bureaucratic crap so groups like those represented here tonight could have more capacity to focus on their important work. goal should be to work with each other to make our collective projects succeed. did you know the ghostship event - we received a request to host that event. it was a crazy time - we literally almost went belly up out of funds and then closed the building sale the same week as the fire - but imagine if we had hosted it? 36 people would still be alive - we have put so much work into prioritizing life-safety in this building, and these kind of events are exactly the reason why.
  • AB: Not saying anything negative, but just on FYE have gotten a lot of heat, having to justify our actions and show good faith. Don't try to glorify our own work but we do a lot for the community. Having gotten a lot of heat wrt the media lab space and our use of it.
    • Jenny: What is the magnifying glass/criticism?
      • AB: Esp from Silver re: appropriating space, but have never gotten a tangible response - dont get along with Silver, not gotten constructive feedback as to how we can improve. wrt just using the space that SPAZ has occupied - shouldnt be dealing with micropolitics and nonconstructive responses, would really like for some kind of appreciation on that end to be stated, we're a member collective, we pay rent.
      • "don't think it's fair to be getting any kind of heat that SPAZ isn't getting"
    • Niki: Feel this totally, that a common space that's not really common - not a criticism of SPAZ, but sorry you've been getting bad energy about the use of the media lab. Someboody here that could facilitate some kind of convo with Silver about it
      • AB: Have good energy and cordial but not very constructive still.
    • Ken: Been here 5-6 years and had never heard of SPAZ, not an entity.. part of the problem comes with some of the founding members right here - full understanding of all the work it took to get omni set up. problem comes in with culture of founding members compared to brand new members. takes a long time to get up to speed. think it helps when founding members are around to kind of clarify - every now and then it might help to have an annual meeting and invited founding members to give better context and history of the project. Hearing good testimony wrt SPAZ now but - seems like some founding members can just come in and have veto power. `

Front Door

  • Ken: Dante reported to me that someone had put a piece of glass in the door latch. Someone may be sabotaging the door - keep a look out that the door actually latches.
  • AB: Have counted twice that the door has been kind of bypassed with a prong mechanism - like a fork. Ian found one once, right in front of the door. Whole mechanism was just cut at one point. May be / probably is locals, but we should address door issues. Focus on added security. Re: the window smashings of cars along the street - now personally caught someone who does this - right outside here, ~3am - 3-4 friends have gotten their windows smashed. Epidemic in Oakland, but folks who hang on the steps said they didn't know much, but did bring up idea of a camera. Camera right by the ballroom entrance - does it work at all? Can use it as an intimidation factors.
    • Jenny: can ask sudoers who originally set up that camera
    • AB: one of our members reticent to come to meetings anymore after car window smashings
      • Jenny: Recommend glass coverage on insurance and leaving doors unlocked... mentions cop at corner in front of dog groomers whose purpose is to mitigate car breakins at request of neighbors
        • Ken: Temescal BID also covers local breakins etc, if you want to attend their meetings they tend to be Weds mornings


  • Mostly discussed earlier - how to best use common space and do so with more ótopic of the basement and centralization of storage as DK mentioned.
    • Jenny: offers to help coordinate a meeting with basement stakeholders
      • AB: Made a lot of progress with CCL & Ken & Marc, clearing space. Making use of the space more broadly. For that meeting - going to check in with Mylan who was typing up a proposal with regards to that.

Last Meeting Notes


End of Meeting