Event:2020/02/20 Delegates meeting

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Omni Delegates' Meeting - February 20 2020


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 noncomforming 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

  • Yar she/her, sudo room
  • Michael, he/him, CCL
  • Joe he/him booking/fnb
  • juul/Marc sudo/ccl
  • AB he/him
  • Matt sudo pasta vegan gluten free
  • Mary Ann CSC she/her hearing impaired so please speak up & project
  • Rachel she/her GWS
  • Jane she/her GWS
  • John Torok they/them/he/him GWS not a delegate
  • Phil FNB he/him
  • Roya PB she/her
  • Michael CCL
  • Mylan - Phat Beets, she/her no access needs
  • silver, commons wg, media lab
  • bunker, liberated lens delegate

Access Check In

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

Meeting Roles

  • Facilitator/s: yar
  • Explanation of hand signals: "deaf applause", "raised hand", "point of process", "direct response"(wildcard), etc.
  • Stacktaker: phil
  • Timekeeper: Assad
  • Notetaker/s: yar, joe, marc
  • Vibe Reader: joe
  • Who will print out next meeting's agenda beforehand:
  • Next meeting's facilitator(s): AB & Marc


  • CCL: Michael
  • CSC:Mary Ann
  • FNB:Phil phil
  • FYE: assad
  • GWS: rachel & jane
  • LL: bunker
  • Phat Beets: Roya
  • Sudo: yar
  • Quorum: yes

Brief Announcements

  • occupy oakland has its monthly feed at OGP 2pm and vestige general assembly at 3pm this coming sunday! - john
    • meeting is every sunday, food is monthly
    • sierk helps w/ed and provides food
  • sudo & ccl are buying/setting up air filtration units (not big hvac stuff) - if anybody else wants to do that, we have research to provide on what's good
  • 51st anniversary of peoples park will be april 26 this year - music food, no student housing
  • intl womens day march 8!

Working Group Report-Backs

Building & permits

  • Meetings: only the kitchen group meets regularly, new times tbd
  • https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/building
  • we had our insurer inspection. it was a week ago. and it went probably as well as i could have expecte it to go. the person wasn't here very long. didn't ask a lot of questions, probably 90% of the questions were for CCL
  • arent: was there for 5 minutes maybe asked three questions. took some notes. took pictures.
  • Marc: what caused questions & notes?
  • arent' he asked about flammables and we stood right next to the flammables cabinet. and i showed the flammables cabinet and pointed out that it meets the fire code.

questions were about other thiings related to flames and heat. we walked to the autoclave and he asked about the biosafety cabinet. pointed out that we're a BSL-1 lab and are primarily working with e. coli and yeast.

  • yar: city fire dept inspection unscheduled but happening in a few weeks probably.
    • joe: I hope we can keep going on the painting. it would look really good if we can get the second floor windows blue instead of brown.
  • matt: so i mentioned at the buldig wrok meeting. if we want to ensure that we keep working on it: join the building mailing list and come to the meeting. last meeting was just three people


  • Meetings: 2nd & 4th Mondays at 5:30pm
  • https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/booking
  • joe: it's me, roberto, robb, laura has resigned, silver, shido, not AB, lucas i guess
    • joe: we've had a big situation. working on it, getting better. gonna keep refining it.
    • there are other things that we need to do before we discuss that so i'm not gonna go into it but the requests have really slowed down. don't know why that is. biggest thing that's coming up is teacher's conference 29th february, anarchist book fair 25th of april
  • phil: how can omni maintain our current state since inspection rather than falling apart again

Finance & Fundraising

  • Meetings: 1st & 3rd Mondays at 5:30pm
  • https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/finance
  • matt: restarting fundraising group. please reach out to everyone in your collective to find out who's willing to join. need to raise more money. finish kitchen, long term deferred mantainence, refinance, buying off building, serious projects like elevator, etc
  • michael: is there gonna be a published list of what you just talked about? so we can show it to our collectives
  • yar: i just wrote down what he said
  • and marc just wrote down what yar said
  • matt plans to send a doodle for people who want to participate. there's quite a bit of bookkeeping and accounting work but i'm trying to exclusively focus on
  • can you get foreign mortgages? negative in denmark
  • matt plans to convene a second meeting, will report back. marc, mary ann, AB could contribute creativity
  • rachel: to get an elevator, is there no grant?
    • not exactly clear


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?


  • inspection went well as reported
  • marc: one piece of equipment left in the basement. atomic absorption spectrometer, left behind for us! it was using oxy-acetelyn gas to run, so we had to tell them not to


  • mary ann: march 7 & 8, national meeting of folks who work with zapatistas. in ballroom all day sat & sun. there'll be a panel of speakers, actions in solidarity with intl womens day, against violence against women, & workshops about dealing with capitalism
  • fnb will provide food, jose asked


  • rolling along fine, lots of new younger people working hard & getting along, berkeley food network (in old premiere crew building @ 9th & university, was gonna be a shelter but didn't work out) getting tons of food from Chefs to End Hunger. Friday cookhouse doesn't cook anymore, just delivers! trays and trays of really good food. sad because kitchen is a community space but they've been doing so much. But when we need stuff, Friday picks it up.
  • new truck bought! just needs to be retrieved


  • AB: cool events upcoming. music show this saturday w/local artists. upcycling workshop at creative reuse next wednesday 3-5 called Trash To Treasure.
    • marc: is it kid focused?
    • AB: all ages. pin press for making pins from paper. cutting canvas to patches that you can decorate & stitch on. wood panels & recycled pieces to make art
  • marc: creative reuse is probably gonna shut down this year. their rent is now 10k/mo, they lost a funder. may be opportunity that CR's building could host them. CR's not ready to renovate yet. wants contacts w/CR to make that connection.
  • AB: we're close to ppl there, especially in management. i wanted to get a part time job there. but they're falling apart internally. ownership is 2 ladies going rogue on employees, big disconnect, human rights violations.


  • There's an international call by women in latin american particularly. There's a network that coordinates every year to coordinate these events. Have you seen these chilean flash mobs that do these dances. This one was about rape. This particular one was in new york in front of harvey weinstein's trial.
  • It started in Chile and then New York women kicked it up. Some chilean women are interested in doing it here.
  • maybe incorporating poor peoples campaign's call & response format
  • fundraising to get impacted people from bay area to DC. more & more of PPC bay area supporters are showing up to encampment defense in oakland & elsewhere


  • Bunker showed up late,
  • Change name on bank account for Liberated Lens Collective to Robert Benson and Dennis Terry.
  • Bunker would like to install
  • bunker: things are pretty slow. people are pretty busy.
  • bunker: film festival: follow the drinking gourd. happened a few weeks ago. connected black farmers in fresno w/oakland
  • bunker: working on a video with phat beets that we're trying to wrap up as well. at the speed of community.

Phat Beets

  • roya: we've been chugging along w/CSA every week (tue & sat). group of volunteers from twitter (twitter employees) on tues. very helpful. starting fresh fellows garden internship hopefully early march. moving along!
  • joe: commons group really appreciates your flexibility moving spaces for events
    • that's all chi


  • matt: it's nicer & cleaner! every day!
  • sudo & ccl bought shop vac w/hepa filter. really improved air quality. less than $100
    • AB: basement needs one too!
  • yar: it's the dust on the rafters

Conflicts, Mediation & Safe Space

  • Updates for any ongoing issues
  • Has anybody been asked to leave? asked to leave
  • AB: did jake ask robb to leave?
    • yar: i don't recall anybody saying "robb harassed me, i'm asking him to leave"
    • joe: DK reached out to julie shackleford bradley at UC RJ and she's willing to talk to Robb and Jenny and Lucas if necessary. The communication just started last night. I said I'd be willing to help. Yar said she'd do what she could you. She actually said she had time available Sunday. Julie and David have already reached out to Lucas and Jenny and are meeting with them on Sunday and Robb at another time pending scheduling.
    • let's ask DK if he will formally be conflict steward
  • AB: was laura's initiative legitimate? in asking robb to limit his hours?
    • joe: I think it's subsumed now by mediation.
    • AB: If at any point someone feels someone else should spend less time at Omni is that a legitimate thing to suggest.
    • mary ann: i had a conversation with laura today. i asked her about that. she never put that email out, robb put it out. she summarized a number of one on one conversations she'd had. people complained to her and talked to him personally. he's the one who put the email out. i think that particular issue is more something for mediation. that was her feeling too - no more serious than that.
    • AB: it was worded more as a demand than a suggestion
    • mary ann: email is hard to interpret, don't need to dwell on it
    • marc: i don't think this is a good time to get into this, but it'd be good to have a conversation around this. we decided a long time ago that people can't sleep here. maybe we should expand that to domestic use of space where people do everything but sleep here. we've shied away in the past, it's hard, how do you enforce it.
    • yar: i have'nt shied away from it. when we moved into the Omni i put up signs saying "no man caves" and this is a reference to something back at the old space sudo room had where one of the "tenants" in the building had a literal "man cave" sign in their room.
    • yar: if someone feels like they're afraid to sit in a spot: it's a man cave. if a place starts to smell like someone: it's a man cave.


Fiscal sponsorship bank account requirement

All 501(c)(3) sponsored projects/orgs must have their own bank account.

For new projects/orgs the bank account must be established, with appropriate access granted to appropriate Omni finance folks, at most 30 days after the collective receives sponsorship.

For existing projects/orgs this must be completed before April 1st 2020.

If either of these deadlines are not met then sponsorship will be immediately cancelled.

For project-based fiscal sponsorships this bank account can be a sub-account of Omni or an account at another bank (not one of the banks / credit union's used by Omni since there will be an EIN collision) but if at another bank then there must be a co-signer on the account from the Omni finance committee.

For grant-based fiscal sponsorships this bank account _cannot_ be a sub-account of Omni. Grant-based organizations must get an account at a bank of their choice.


  • marc: we're not voting on this today. basically all sponsored projects & orgs need to have a bank account and setting deadlines for that. for potential future collectives & existing collectives. if you're grant based sponsored org then you have your own EIN. if you're project based you don't, you're using omni's. in this proposal i say the action depends on what kind. mostly it's to set a deadline for the village but also to prevent this situation in the future. proposed deadline april 1.
    • AB: shido & i don't have a residential address, bank wouldn't let us open an account. but we found someone else who's willing to do it, just need to set up a meeting
  • marc: new sponsored orgs have 30 days, otherwise they lose sponsorship until they do it. existing ones deadline would be april 1. we'd be voting on it in 2 weeks
  • main reason for this right now is the village. they've been poked but we need to formally set consequences.
  • matt: i just got off a project bank account recently. we didn't have enough people there. might be good to get another bank account specifically for subprojects that may not have the same requirements for signing folks on. how do other folks do it who sponsor hundreds of projects?
    • jenny has a ping out to Jose from Chiapas and Brian, both of whom have worked for large fiscal sponsors
      • Jose recommends Amalgamated Bank, which is also majority-owned by Workers United
  • marc: maybe the evil banks have better systems (like chase or boa). also hard to hook bank systems into ours
  • matt: QB does every major bank & CU
    • jenny: QB not the problem, Unify is I believe. but have also had troubles w/ Self-Help (LibLens) and Community Bank of the Bay (Village) despite jumping through all their hoops over the course of weeks of in-person meetings and email threads..
  • AB: what's the concern with a collective not having a bank account?
    • marc: if it goes on long enough we get into a situation where we lose track of money. harder to file taxes, trace through all transactions. a lot of extra work.
  • AB: do we need to provide full accounting to this day?
    • marc: for every 501c3 that's the case, i assume so, but idk
    • matt: you maek a document saying you lost records but you ahve to account for all money spent in & out

Liberated lens bank account name change

  • on ll's bank account the main person is liz. people who use it are robert benson and dennis.
  • jenny could do it. might need to arrange a meeting with everyone present at the bank? might be annoying.
    • jenny: requirement at Unify is that every checksigner on every account needs to be physically co-present at the bank (with ID and proof of mailing address) in order to add or remove any checksigners. has only been done once before (there are approx 15 cosigners, some no longer involved such as Kazoo from ABDC, though they were very responsive!). Dennis and I tried to set up an account at Self-Help, somehow that stalled despite meeting all of their requirements. Would be helpful to have him follow up w/ Self-Help, I sent them all the docs they asked for..
      • Robb - I spoke with unify on the phone & they said we just need the signors' change in our meeting minutes on letterhead to change signors. We, apparently, don't need all signers to be

how to keep building looking good after inspection

  • phil: it's really hard working here. i try to spend less & less time for a variety of reasons. hard to keep my work going. feels like people want to be the boss and i'm the employee. not just robb it's other individuals. not just hierarchical, hard to expect people to put up with that.
  • yar: is that part of the "how to keep the building keeping good" discussion
  • nobody but phil cleans restrooms. especially before events. maybe other people don't want to help here because ... idk
  • joe: whoever's responsible for event is supposed to do that. i usually stock them with toilet paper & towels. i don't mop but i pick up papers, change the trash can liners. what bothers me the most is people treat you like a second class citizen.
  • tom wants to help a lot but then it gets to be a lot. prone to doing strange/dangerous things. got hit in the face with a cabinet.
  • joe: worthwhile supporting him. certainly willing to help mediate the burden he puts on you.
  • phil: it'd be great if he could sometimes sit at his computer and maybe do a little less a couple of days a week
  • food not bombs - composting unused produce. clean refirdgerators. sunday kitchen takes a lot of hours. garbage, recycling. cleaning restrooms. sweeping & mopping floor.
  • marc: should we have each collective be responsible for bathrooms on certain days?
    • bathrooms are volatile, especially during big events
  • AB: maybe once a month having a monthly cleanup day. i was amazed and humbled seeing people come together. so many things i learned about what it takes. really beautiful. it was under fear but still. maybe last sundays?
    • john: i like the phrasing. monthly basis, showing love to the omni
    • marc: maybe a potluck
    • AB also wants to do a potluck for feeding the cleaners
  • do we need a proposal? at least communicate it to collectives
  • AB: if we frame it as a congregation that ends at a potluck it won't feel as mandatory. just naturally in the spirit.
  • marc: also will need a dump run the next day
  • AB: march 13th?
  • phil: village situation's really improved
  • yar: sunday march 15th is pretty empty?
    • there's
    • joe: i'll get some of those trays of food on friday and put them aside from sunday
    • yar: 12 pm to 6 pm is free

bookkeeper role

  • yar: after talking with jenny. I get the sense that jenny is happy to continue doing the books but would also be happy to train someone else so she can do something more fun with her life. people should reach out to anyone who would want that job and be good at it. right now we pay jenny $25 an hour. and also what the hiring process would be like.
  • matt: is there a job description?
  • yar: that's a good question
  • joe: we're hoping laura & jenny would help train this person. we think there's a situation incumbent to relieve her.
    • marc: do you want to expand on that?
    • no
    • marc: i think it's problematic that there are unknown allegations at least pressuring someone to resign, but idk how to deal with that necessarily
  • phil: i thought the biggest problem was oral agreements that didn't happen. classic problem, that's why we have contracts. i said this and they said this.
  • AB: I personally with regards to the Omni. This is a general thing: I don't believe anyone who is professionally working with the Omni, or anyone who is at the Omni at all, should be intoxicated to the point where you can't have a conversaion with them or they can't stand up.
    • jnny: sez dude whose first interaction with me at first event was offering me a beer, which i refused... hm, possibly some ulterior motive here...?
  • matt: see my proposal below. i proposed committees for hiring staff - 3 delegates each for HR & hiring. each group would be totally seprate, no overlapping membership. to deal with personell issues and have a process without having to have delegates meetings about that.
  • marc: for me, the attitude AB brought up is strange. i come from a different culture. people have parties at their jobs where they get totally smashed. to them it's a normal saturday evening at the pub. so this looking down the nose is very strange to me unless it's happening in a professional setting where they're supposed to be doing something else. odd to me.
    • AB: so you're saying it's ok for people to get smashed here? professional
  • marc: for a future agenda: alcohol and drugs at omni? we need written guidelines
  • joe: we first have to have some agreement from the current bookkeeper that we're not pushing her off a cliff. we need to know that she agrees.
  • mary ann: yeah, i can't approve anything until i know that she agrees.
  • mylan: i'd want the job description to be specific about expectations for hours and amount of work you'd be doing. not just a list of duties.
    • jnny: this is difficult for bookkeeping - entirely contingent on number of transactions, significant changes in assets/liabilities/expenditures/income, issues that may arise (eg, Home Depot returned $5,000 in Village egift cards last month and only returned half, this has taken up at least 5 hours so far trying to get funds returned), and time of year (first 5 months ways more busy than the latter half of year)
  • joe: could we do this now?
  • mary ann: it sounds to me like instead of having a closed meeting, behind the scenes people are talking to jenny and then reporting it. i don't want to push jenny out.
    • yar: i'd be happy to get confirmation
      • mary ann: i hear you and i don't doubt you but i really need to get confirmation.

matt's 2 proposals

  • please read. definitely not ready to vote tonight.

statement of compromise

  • https://omnicommons.org/pipermail/consensus/2020-February/001929.html
  • https://omnicommons.org/pipermail/consensus/attachments/20200219/7e7471cd/attachment-0001.pdf
  • came out of discussions, things i was perceiving in the background around GCEA, commons wg issues, long experinece i've had. statement of solidarity is utopian... (yar: no it's not) i think it's great but often a lot f folks will be disappointed in my experience (that we can't support their project) and that can be frustrating but what many people might not realize is that we risk everything by supporting their project.
    • founders generation was explicit about that, we talked about it a lot -- is this gonna be worth it? what compromises will we have to make?
    • if there's some way to communicate that people should expect in some way to compromise: and that we can still work in solidarity with each-other because things come back around. shockingly more so than you'd expect.

transitional governance proposal

more practical about what's going on. going trough burn-out and going through burn-out myself. i started thinking what omni can do to address this. one of the most simple bits to flip is "does omni run on all volunteer effort or not". my take is that running on all volunteer labour will lead to burn out of everyone and ultimate failure. i'd be willing to run that experiment, why not.

  • i'd rather support taking on some staff and transitioning delegates to thinking about long-term planning rather than day to day operations. more about what do we want to do here, what do we want to be, manage long term relationships, keep collectives engaged?
  • the summary of the proposall is: 1 to hire an interim director. to start to get a plan and some resources together to make proposals about how to run the omni. 2.
  • someone with experience operating nonprofit spaces or venues even to say, "this may not be obvious to you but people on the outside would want to see this change"
  • solidify revenue streams, create path to staff the omni in general
  • mylan: it'd be amazing if we had long term goals. maybe we could do once a month instead of twice! be clear about delegates' time commitments for this.
  • matt: in general, i'm banking on kicking the can down to this interim ED. exactly what we should work out together and see what makes sense.
  • mylan: do we have the money yet to do this? not yet
  • yar: i wanted to call it volunteer coordinator, not ED
  • marc: i like the idea of paying people a lot. but not idea of a person having this much responsibility & power. maybe spread it out?
  • matt: one qualification is people who've never volunteered for omni before. and ED position is limited to 1 or 2 years.
  • jenny: friendly amendment suggestion to add either a paid cleaning org or "bug bounties" (or both) - small disbursements to tackle various cleaning/maintenance issues (eg $300 to install LED fixtures in basement, $50 to fix a window, etc)
  • mary ann: alternative title you'd be more comfortable with?
    • marc: it's nice & honest.
    • mary ann: seems we need a coordinator. need more money. a whole lot going on, whole lot of people. it's a full time job. if someone's paid and it's time limited and we're working together with them, hopefully that wouldn't be top down. i think all of us had problems playing a landlord role, nobody comes here to be a landlord or an employer
  • matt: to segue, there's a class of roles around admin & exec assistance who're staffed to support the board. any employee's job is really that. maybe it builds in idea of too much control or power?
  • mary ann: i know an example where that worked. guatemalan news & information bureau, changed name to nisqua
  • AB: assistant coordinator? coordination assistant?
  • matt: assistant to the coordinator?
  • silver: maybe offered to someone with experience but no ties to omni? maybe after a year we could rotate among omni people?
    • rotate paying people? whoa
  • joe: i think collectives want to maintain individuality. this is what commons is doing on top of & for the benefit of collectives. we do it sometimes on cleaning days & work parties, but mostly that doesn't happen.
  • roya: i think rotating paying people could be good but you're offering temporary employment, which is stressful for a lot of people
  • AB: potential conflicts of interest
  • marc: i'd be ok if we're very specific about... we have all this space, we need to rent out for events for income, needs maintenance, city puts pressure on us. if we really define a way where all colectives' space is totally separate and this person's job would be over external stuff, event rentals and common space maintenance, maybe that could be ok. basically making 2 different orgs - a standard top down one to subsidize our stuff.
  • matt: helpful feedback. people seeing that assumptions/observations for me bringing this proposal, we seem to see the same things. i think something like this is pretty much inevitable. but i'm agnostic. doesn't have to be like this. maybe assistant to the board is more appropriate. i thought about operations manager is needed but realized figuring out what that job description would be, is a year's work! and nobody's willing to do that. basically spend a year in service at omni not even doing anything but assisting board in developing a business plan and goals. about the business & rental structure, it's just 101 for operating in capitalism. revenue stream is important, reducing expenses, or turn it into revenue. rent from collectives + rentals is income. event coordinator funds itself.
  • mylan: i think there's a reason for 2 positions. rental coordinator could happen almost immediately to alleviate stress on commons wg, and better experience for renters. director position is different - having a long term plan (5, 10 years) - an OMNI PLAN - how can we do things for that to happen? does it make more sense to have a contract position but more project based? keep it separate. maybe at the end we could see if we still need that positoin or something else?
  • AB: i like the project-based idea. if all spaces are well managed with clear expectations, i think they can all make income, not just commons.
  • rachel: moving in that direction sounds ... laura played that role pretty extensively. she did that work of holding everything together. when are things due, etc. she got burned out.
  • mike: yes. i'd call it a facilitator. holding all the pieces together. the glue, or manage the glue.
  • yar: i was picturing something like libby cohn from 2015. her school paid her to spend the summer
  • matt: subexecutive assistant, it's a zapatismo word apparently?
    • jenny: fwiw, fully support and have some job description drafts i'm down to share when i can be present at omni without some live-in dudes shit-talking me because i threaten their power.
    • robb - any shittalking I've done is due to the basement parties threatening the building
      • jenny: yeah? how about fye publicly advertising tomorrow's party and splitting the door with "many people"? spaz parties had contracts delineating splits to charitable purposes - as well as event insurance for BYOB (no serving/selling) - fye events do not have any fiscal oversight, refuse event insurance, and are for all ways and means public. (no insurance- aka they've just given me shit when I've informed them it's needed). also, again, the only basement parties that got noise complaints were not pp'd by spaz nor myself)
    • robb: FYE events have less than 50 people & are hella chill.
      • jenny: not a single FYE event I've seen (all) has had less than 50 people. and define "hella chill", plz - cuz I'd describe all SPAZ events the same way.

stop being an asshole and recognize - no, you literally can't -

postponed for next time


  • aside about inviting shifra to omni
  • maybe a saturday?

man caves?

alcohol & drugs at omni

Last Meeting Notes


End of Meeting