Event:2020/03/05 Delegates meeting

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Omni Delegates' Meeting - March 5, 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 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 - sudoroom. joining remotely from home because i have cold symptoms. probably not covid19 but i'm being extra cautious.
  • AB - fye
  • juul
  • ish - fye
  • jane she/her global women's strike
  • mary anne delegate chiapas support commitee i have trouble hearing. speak up / project please
  • ken - ccl and i need a jacuzzi
  • dennis from ll he/him - no special needs
  • robb - he/him - access needs met
  • matt, he/him, sudo
  • John, gws, they/them, he/her, and I'm a wage slave and a debt peon, access needs met
  • Mai, sudomesh (not a collective yet), she/her, they them, access needs met

Access Check In

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

Meeting Roles

  • Facilitator/s: AB
  • Explanation of hand signals: "deaf applause", "raised hand", "point of process", "direct response"(wildcard), etc.
  • Stacktaker: ish
  • Timekeeper: jane
  • Notetaker/s: juul
  • Vibe Reader:
  • Who will out next meeting's agenda beforehand:
  • Next meeting's facilitator(s):


  • CCL: ken
  • CSC: mary anne
  • FNB:
  • FYE: AB
  • GWS: jane
  • LL: Dennis
  • Phat Beets: Roya (sp?)
  • Sudo: yar, remotely (or juul)
  • Quorum:

Brief Announcements

  • somebody recently lost a 'black backpack with a blue "Eversight" logo'. If you find it, please email info@omnicommons.org
  • CCL is missing a package, 'probably a white cardboard mailing envelope', addressed to "OMNI", sent by "IDT Integrated DNA Technologies"
  • ken: for june the 14th the temescal street faire will be that day. oit's put on by the business improvement district. omni has participated in that. ccl has participated in that. deadline for early bird apps is march 15th. there's a coupon for early bird discounts. they gave us a nice spot last time and one of the businesses gave us power.
  • AB: it would be good to do like an omni thing with all the collectives. maybe we can collaborate on having a booth.

Working Group Report-Backs

Building & permits

  • Meetings: only the kitchen group meets regularly, new times tbd
  • https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/building
  • yar & dk walked through building last week with an OPD sergeant. it went as well as it could have. he seemed to accept the building is safe. pressured us to apply for a cabaret license, which is probably a bad idea (long story)
    • keenan: OPD sergeant only went in the ballroom for about 15 mins. david keenan knows more about the Cabaret license
  • mary anne: my understanding: they were walking through to determine if we have to continue getting individual permits for each event. cabaret licenses are very expensive and we can't afford one.
  • matt: it's complicated. let's get feedback from David.
  • robb: it was my understanding that our public assembly permit was up for review. he was looking around and got the impression that we should have a cabaret license because he waas thinking we do more night-time events. we have a grandfathered conditional use permit
  • juul: but the city lost the paperwork
  • matt: in a fire
  • mary anne: it's a long story. we haven't had a decision if we want a liquor license. and we can't afford it.

<discussion about putting up a sign since the balcony is now up>


Robb: We're switching over to a better platform: Airtable. It's working except some things are still manual. Anyway that's too much grain. We need volunteers. It's skeleton crew and it's a lot of work. We could use some help. Mai; Do you mean intake or? Robb: Setting up contracts, figuring out insurance, whether there will be alcohol, be there for the event, ensure they clean up afterwards. But it's fun. There are lot of cool events. John: If you're look at event management planning and skills training this would be a wonderful opportunity to develop those. Robb: we're paying him for commons propaganda /s After the proposal was amde at the last meeitng to hire someone (omni director) i got a call from someone who is interested in that position. Natash sagaio (sp? and she's worked with a lot of groups that are similar and rent out spaces and she would know how to bring people in. My son has known her for a really long time and she has a boat next to him down at the marina where they're living on a boat.


Matt: We need more people to come. I offered the challenge to bring at least one person who's new to this meeting. Most important update: I started creating an outline of a plan for how to fundraise both an small and large scales. That includes updating the Omni business plan. AB: So you created a fininacial plan as an update? Matt: There is an outline of all the things we need. One task that's integral is updating the business plan. Long story short: No funder, banker, institution will talk to you if you don't have years of taxes (matt mentions many other documents) which include things like a business plan ( Robb: and an independent audit, which can be pro bono apparently Matt: We can talk more about this at the fundraising working group meeting Robb: it's during the liberated lens meeting Matt: We can maybe move it? Maybe a Thursday meeting instead depending on who shows up. <AB and Robb talking over> Matt: Mary Anne is following up with insurance brokers. Plan is to call and figure out what the price is to include alcohol in the insurance, which would also protect us. Robb: Maybe excercise too because we get a lot of requests for stuff like thai chi and physical things and they turn away because we require insurance. Per event is rediculous (like $ Mai: Have we looked a release waivers. Robb: Those don't hold up in court Matt: I really hope that this body learns to move away from these day to day operations discussions. To move to the discussions about the overall budget and stuff like: Do we want to lovwer the barrier to entry and what would that entail. juul: I propose a bikeshedding discussion interrupter Ken: I'm a member of several 501c3s and this is far more collectively rancarous or mayne not rancarous but fermenting dynamic. To address this sort of thing, the bikeshedding thing, usually we have an agenda and follow the agenda. AB: I think bikeshedding can be even with stuff that goes on the agenda Ken: It wouldn't go on the agenda AB: <repeats the last point> AB: <repeats juul's point> juul: is there a hand signal for it already?


matt: When they were having the meeting Jenny was makin a lot of progress on The Village and banking and was getting help from Katrina cleaning up the finance stuff. Mary anne: What happened to the proposal that you brought last time matt? matt: it's still on the table i think. i don't it's super duper important that we decide but it'd be great to talk about it again.

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?


  • Ken: Basically the number one thing we would discuss is that we have an art and science grant thing coming through where we're collaborating with quite a few people, including Fye
  • AB: everyone wants that money
  • ken: So there's money coming in. One of the meetings will be next monday evening at 6:30 over zoom and in CCL. If you want to be on the list you can contact Ken or AB.


  • Mary-anne: We have a gathering this weekend of people who are participating in or interested in the zapatista movement in mexico. 9 am to 6:30 pm saturday sunday 9 am to 6 pm. part of the women's march on sunday in the evening. there will be a speak out circile. silver arranged some events saturday evening. GWS is involved.



  • AB: steady moving. ish as a musician has a bunch of musical performances going on this month.

ish: i plan. my bday is coming up and i plan on having a jam session down here in the basement. i haven't put a request up for the event but it's something i've been thinking about. if you or anyone you know wants to play music or listen to music in a chill setting, come by.

  • sheedo (sp?) and me have been going to first friday in very guerilla way. literally just walking down with a rack of clothing and an easel and selling art and paintin. he was able to secure a partnership with first fridays officially so tomorrow he will have a booth officially and will have live art. right in front of the official first friday office where the sears used to be across from goji (sp?) office. we accidentally set up in front of their office. the first time they said "you can't be here" and the second time they wanted to charge us on the spot and sheedo turned it around to this official partnership.
  • AB: i also am planning a clothing drive which will also be a swap. come by, bring clothing to swap or donate. it's on the 22nd.


  • Jane: we've been working with GWS and poor people's campaign. reverend barber of poor people's campain is coming by on hegenberger:

john: tuesday march 16th 8400 enterprise way. reverend janis summervile. see occupy oakland facebook. also happy to talk more offline


  • did the bank account name get changed yet?
    • robb: no we're waiting for the delegates to agree in our meeting notes so we can show the bank the meeting notes.
  • robb: we'll get to it in the proposal
  • dennis: we're tring to get our films out there for showing. film festivals and stuff like that. been having discussions about things we can do in the near future. we don't have anything specific yet but hopefully soon. i do have one thing i want to talk about. LL is part of NOBAWC. they put out a map every few years of worker coops, democractic work places, inlcuding the omni commons. I brought some copies of the map. I don't have too many
  • AB: achilles simba (sp?) from FYE designed these.

<everyone admiring the maps>

  • matt: how are you coordinate the memorial? (Mike Zin)
  • robb: brass memorial band. there will be some shorts. give people a chance to talk. have some music. open mic.
  • when? Friday 14th 4 to 9pm.
  • john: what's the procedure?

Phat Beets

  • We are starting our fresh fellows program next week. We had interviews. Having some problems with reqruitment: Teenagers earn $200 to garden with me for 8 weights. We're still running

Matt: age range?

  • One 19 year old and three middle schoolers. There's an 11 year old in the program. Age range is, middle school to haven't graduated high school. We're gonna paint a mural a dover park


  • matt: sudo room's "clean". the 3d printer is working again.
  • juul: the vending machine is more or less working. tuesday evenings if you want to come
  • robb: yar called it a monument to capitalism
  • mai: sudo mesh is considering becoming a collective. by next meeting we'll have the application ready. march 14th we're having an event in the ballroom. it's gonna be a panel discussion with workshops. build your own antennas. build your own sudo mesh swag. the talk will be about oakland internet choice: should landlords be allowed to e.g. force you to only have the option of comcast. we're in a coalition fighting this.
  • AB: what is the reason for becoming a collective?
  • mai: because we use the space. last year we gave $30k to omni and $10k. we're here every week. we use the space. i don't have a good answer for why we're not a collective yet. we definitely have a different group of people running.
  • robb: sudo mesh was a project of sudo room but sudo room changed status and sudo mesh became its own organization

Conflicts, Mediation & Safe Space

  • Updates for any ongoing issues
  • Has anybody been asked to leave? asked to leave

Proposals & Discussions

requirement of bank accounts

juul: We should decide on this from last time

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 15th 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.

Liberated Lens bank change proposal

  • In order to modify the signer(s) on Omni Commons's UNIFY Financial Credit Union Share 006 checking account for Liberated Lens Collective, the delegates approve the removal of Liz Ray from said account and the addition of Dennis Terry & Robert Benson to same due to changes in participation & active membership considerations.

robb: we need this for the bank. printed on omni letterhead for the bank to accept this change. we would just concent on it and i'll print it on letterhead.

  • Abstaining: none
  • Apposed: none
  • Consenting delegates: All present

man caves

  • held over from previous meeting - what to do about man caves?
  • AB: Let's make a definition
  • yar is confused reading these notes, must be missing a lot
  • Robb: Let's not overlook the value. All you have to do is [ ... ]
  • Robb: Phil is here a lot, Tom is here a lot but not even that much. The last week or two it has been empty in here. I don't think it's very smart to have a two million dollar building on shattuck empty to anyone walking in. I think you're being classist by bringing this up. You're de-valuing the security that people like this provide. We can't leave a building like this open for kids or whatever to bring in and do whatever. Sorry about that. A lot of these people do the day to day work. To de-value that is shooting your own foot.
  • AB: I'm here a lot. I'm here very late and very often. Realistically i maintain the media lab. I clean up a lot. In perspective the byproduct is that by spending a lot of time here i care a lot for the space, in tangible forms. If you are here you'll see me. I don't have stable housing. I'm here often early in the morning, sleeping every other night. Reading the statement on the omni door I do I feel that I... (notekeeper unable to keep up)
  • Mai: I think it'd be good to define what the problem is. I've been part of a couple of hackerspaces. I've seen the problems of people who live there. I've seen what marc describes where youy just don't feel welcome or safe in the space. It feels weird to put a limit on how much time to spend here. Going from the impact and how to resolve the problem.
  • yar: the problem isn't people spending a lot of time at omni. the problem is when particular parts of common areas start to de-facto feel like they are "owned" by individual people. that is not stewarding space, that is enclosing space. I would also challenge folks to consistently ask themselves *why* they appear to be alone in a space. Perhaps it's because everybody else is busy, perhaps it's because you alone are dedicated enough. Or perhaps they are feeling alienated by you. We all must ask ourselves these questions when we accumulate social power and do our best to share it. further, "I do the work because I'm here a lot and have nowhere else to be" is not sustainable for omni, because there's more work to be done than there is room in the building for all our volunteers to create their own nests. we simply can't rely on that transaction long-term and if it's happening, we should interpret it as a problem that needs fixing. it is not our mission. we are a commons. the bottom line is that PEOPLE TAKE UP SPACE and in a patriarchy women in particular are made to feel guilty for taking up space while men are taught to take the space they take up for granted. that's why this is a gendered behavior.
  • yar again: mancaving is also the far extreme of a spectrum. in the middle is manspreading, or the tendency to have "assigned seats". at the last sudoroom meeting someone who's not here very often sat down to talk. later on someone who's here all the time asked him to move to another seat because that was "his spot". this happened to me in previous years even though I'm not a man - I sat in the same place too much and people started calling it "Yar's desk". You don't have to be a man to do this stuff, it just helps.
  • yar more: also, when people spend all their time at omni, there is a risk of losing perspective and conflicts become more bitter and entrenched. everything goes smoother when people have a life outside of omni. it's a release valve for peoples' energy and the tempurature of our interactions. it is something we should encourage from every volunteer. that is not classism.
  • matt: recommend that we table this discussion until yar can be present.
    • yar: fine with me, sorry for the self-quarantine

transitional governance

  • continued discussion of matt's proposal
  • matt: <lots of words> who wants to work with me on a revised proposal?
  • mary anne: the real question is: how do you write the job proposal. first we have to reach consensus on the question of "do we want paid staff" and then we need to figure out how to do that and how to pay for it. i have something that has been bothering me for months now: we don't even have officers. we need to hold an election. we need to hold an election of officers and we need to see if we agree on the basic proposal that matt is making.
    • yar: i think you won't get consensus on the general idea without the details being fleshed out, so the first step would have to be meeting and seriously talking about those details
  • AB: we have a lot of stuff going on
  • mary anne: we have a lot of management that needs to happen. both jenny and laura have done a lot. it's kinda a conflict of interest as well for jenny to be both treasuerer and accountant (maybe not what she said) and she should have a treasurer that she can work with.
  • dennis: we need to discuss the future of omni, if it needs to restructure itself, and have election for officers.
  • mary anne: we would have a nomination period. if each collective comes up with a nomination (hopefully), then it comes back to us and then we make the decision. we need to get the specific process that laura created cause i'm paraphrasing. there was also the "shadow person".
  • robb: that proposal never passed. almaz. marc blocked almaz and the shit hit the fan.
  • mary anne: the shadow part didn't but i think the process passed.
  • AB: where is it
  • Robb: in the wiki bylaws
  • mary anne: if someone can find the process in our docs and send it out.
  • yar: the root problem IMO isn't the process, it's the shortage of enthusiastic people who want to be officers
  • juul: who is willing to find the info and send it out
  • robb: i will do that
  • robb: i believe we need to find more quality, or at least less self-interested on the commons working group and i think we have to compensate people because you're asking a lot and you're gonna burn people out and the big events are on friday and saturday am i really gonna give up my fridays and saturdays. i think we should start with stipends because it's less complicated than employees. start small but move toward a full time, but that's pretty far down the road unless osmeone throws a bunch of money at us.
  • mai: i don't want to assume but it's probably better if the board of officers are not paid for legal reasons. the second part is that we should really talk to experts in cooperative governance when we're bringing money into the equation. SELC give advice and legal tools for how to govern. we more urgently need this board of officers. we don't even need to give them much power. we don't need to reinvent the wheel. other orgs have figured out how to have people who are paid and who aren't and we should talk to other orgs about how to do that equitably.
  • john: for about a year i have been in conversation with laura and jenny and that is a role that i understand would not have any actual power but being for helping to facilitate consensus among orgs. i would be willing to take that on if i was selected. i would be happy to talk about why i would be good at it but i just wanted to put that out there.
  • matt: for the fundraising efforst it will be very valuable, not to necessarily have the final plan, but if the delegates can come to some agreement about the kind of staffing. It will help with fundraising if the board has articulated its plan of what it wants to do. E.g. some orgs will only fund orgs with paid staff

I totally disagree with everything robb just said. This is a conflict of interest issue. If there are any emplpoyees they need to be people who are not currently volunteers or people who are not involved and have not been involved with the omni. Continuing the discussing, making some agreements about what people can agree on. Someone to work on what i call Rental Coordinator, they can be exclusively focused on external events, but in any event most people seem to be ok with the idea that something like this needs to happen. Just to be totally frank about the exec director controversy. I can't imagine my friend to interview to be a rental coordinator if they report directly to the board/delegates. That's like throwing meat to the wolves. We need someone they can work with, they can report to, another employee. AB: I agree that someone like an event director and an assistant to the board. Robb: Also agree. Someone needs to oversee, make sure the agreements to the collectives are being met. Someone needs to hold the collectives accountable. We always had julio. Served excellent role of oversight of the events. He would go through notes and check if e.g. there was insurance needed. That was a crucial role but he just kinda quit. I've taken some of that on but I don't think people appreciate my input, I'm getting a lot pushback. Trying to hold your peers accountable is a difficult thing to do. If it's just one of two people there's that social pressure, like "who are you" and "maybe you shouldn't even be here". John: With permission: Close stack after these two. Ken: He was volunteering (john) to be one of the candidates. I just want to be clear that these are required by the state. They will have to do certain things like sign paperwork. They have certain state responsibility.

    • John: I'm an ex laywer and I do understand the requirements

Ken: I'm gonna toss the suggestion out there that a certain portion of all event income should be set aside for people who do the event/renting work. I'm not sure of the practicality. It would be incentive to get more events. Mary-anne: Whatever you're gonna call the role, event coordinate or whatever. I mentioned that I actually know someone who's interested in the job. And it wouldn't just be taking on events that come in It would be going out to find e.g. speakers who fit with our mission. Creating events and booking folks for those events. That ballroom is money. For it to sit empty as much is it does, we're loosing money. We need an audit which costs a lot of money. AB: If we can make a lot of money from this, then if people who help make these events happen they should be compensated. Whatever shape or form this takes.It doesn't make sense to try to generate money from events and not paying people. Robb: One thing would be to give people compensation toward their collective instead of directly paying people. Matt: Thank you to Laura and Julio for all the work they've done on this stuff in the past.

statement of compromise

  • continued discussion of this
  • yar: After weeks of discussion, I still don't understand what this is supposed to say or why it needs to be appended to the statement of solidarity. Matt called the SoS "utopian", but it is far from utopian - to be honest, I wrote it to express the BARE MINIMUM of shared values I would expect from others at omni for me to continue being involved. If it had not been accepted I'd have probably left the project in 2014.
  • (notetaker wil let matt type here)
  • matt: It seems I may have miscommunicated or conveyed ideas that are different from my intentions / conceptions. If I used the words "utopian" I meant this in a very different sense -- better words might be that the SoS is a statement of positive values. All I mean by this is that, alternatively, the Statement of Compromise is an attempt to communicate practicalities and limitations (you might even say negative, or of boundaries). The idea being, instead of repeatedly going through interactions, exchanges, collaborations, etc, that build up expectations and desires, but ultimately get tied up into conflict because of compromises and limitations of Omni Commons, why not just communicate clearly beforehand about there being compromises and limitations inherent to the project. Many compromises have been made and limitations imposed on use based on ensuring that Omni Commons is able to continue exist, despite that these limit some of the ways the SoS can be performed. For instance, many activities are great, but not all activities are wise, appropriate, or practical to perform within the Omni Commons. Currently, to me, it seems that this concept is unclear and results in conflict.

Last Meeting Notes


End of Meeting