Omni Delegates' Meeting - Thursday, October 1, 2020 7pm-9pm
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2. URL of these notes: https://omnicommons.org/notes
3. Please add items to the agenda below and send any proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting
4. 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
- 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
- Jane she/her GWS
- Robb - finance wg needs help
- MaryAnn CSC she/her
- Yar she/her Sudoroom
- Patrick he/him CCL
- Joe FNB he/him - new speaker helps, back from a break
- Mai she/they SudoMesh - wearing mask in common space
Access Check In
Is everybody able to participate fully in this meeting? Do people have unmet needs or concerns? Someone from Sudo is "waiting for host" to be able to join the Google Meet. Host is Jenny?
- Explanation of hand signals: "deaf applause", "raised hand", "point of process", "direct response"(wildcard), etc.
- URL of this pad: https://pad.riseup.net/p/omninom
- Vibe Reader:
- Who will out next meeting's agenda beforehand:
- Next meeting's facilitator(s):
- ANV: Roya
- CCL: Patrik
- CSC: MaryAnn
- FNB: Joe
- FYE: Asaad
- GWS: Rachel & Jane
- LL: active but not present
- Sudo Room: Yar
- Sudo Mesh: Mai
Conflicts, Mediation & Safe Space
- Updates for any ongoing issues
- Has anybody been asked to leave? asked to leave
Proposal: Apply for EIDL Loan
- Proposal to Apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan through the SBA
- This is part of the CARES Act. It offers businesses that suffered economic losses the opportunity to apply for loans to cover economic losses caused by the pandemic. Terms for the loan are 2.75 interest rate for a 30-year loan.. Inasmuch as it seems to be a way to repair economic damage, we would hope to obtain a loan in the amount of how much rental income we lost.
- This proposal was made verbally at the September 3 Delegates Assembly. It didn’t make it onto the Agenda for September 17th. Delegates, please discuss with the collective you represent so that we can vote at the Oct. 1 Delegates Assembly. Thanks!
- Marc concerned about whether it'll affect our ability to refinance
- MaryAnn: it'll actually help. Lenders will be more confident in us since we'll be able to start repaying the Mulberry loan sooner. At half the interest rate.
- Robb: better to wait 6 months?
- MaryAnn: no, now, because congress may change or defund loan program before long. opportunity also expires in December
- Consensus: YES: ANV, CCL, CSC, FNB, FYE, GWS, SR, Mesh. Abstain: Nobody. Block: Nobody. Liberated Lens is not present. PASSES!
Proposal to Accept Additional Forebearance Terms
- Mulberry Trust received your email dated on August 17, 2020 in which Omni Commons is requesting an additional forbearance. In the last correspondence dated on May 21st, Mulberry Trust agreed to a complete pause of monthly payments (no unpaid interest or principal added to the loan) until November of 2020. We carefully considered the two forms of forbearance options in your letter and are proposing the following terms:
- Mulberry Trust agrees to extend the maturity date from December 1, 2021 to December 1, 2022 and pause payments until May 1, 2021 provided that:
- OC will provide brief quarterly status updates containing: steps and actions it has taken to refinance or repay its loan, including for example, research performed, loan applications filed, and responses received. The first quarterly status update will be due on December 15, 2020, and they will continue on March 15th, June 15th, September 15th annually until the loan is repaid or the term ends.
- OC will also develop a Plan B proposal to be provided to Mulberry Trust by June 30, 2021. This backup plan will be implemented in case refinancing cannot be obtained. Plan B might involve a proposal to sell the property to another nonprofit organization in accordance with the IRS guidelines and restrictions, and satisfy the outstanding loan balance to Mulberry Trust in the process. Mulberry Trust understands that OC has full discretion with creating and implementing a Plan B.
- Mulberry Trust reserves the right to foreclose before December 1, 2022 if no concrete and reasonable steps are being taken to obtain financing or implement Plan B, or if it becomes apparent that neither option will be available.
Please let me know if these terms are acceptable to your client. I will send an official letter on behalf of Mulberry Trust once we have finalized these new terms.
- MaryAnn summarizes "Additional Forbearance with Mulberry Trust"
- Marc: any way we can rent omni out instead of sell it? could that be plan b?
- Robb: says we have full discretion
- Robb: backup is only "in case refinancing cannot be obtained"
- MaryAnn: if we submit stupid reports, they can foreclose. We've already taken measures, contacted banks/lenders/etc plus fundraising and saving for when payments restart. As long as we submit reports of what we're doing, there shouldn't be a problem. I think this is in good faith.
- Mai: motivation for us to keep reporting, backup for them to know they're not just delaying payments forever. hard to negotiate that point.
- Patrik: I think every clause is to our benefit
- Yar: Yes but we need a solid bookkeeper
- MaryAnn: Bookkeeper isn't as relevant but we do need one
- will discuss more next time
- Consensus: YES: Mesh, CCL, CSC, FNB, FYE, GWS. Sudo Room, Sudo Mesh Abstain: ANV. Block: Nobody! PASSES.
== Proposal: Updates names listed on "Real Vegan Cheese" sponsored project
- Based on conversation with Jesse: currently in a "gray area" regarding associated CA corporation. Best course of action is to abandon and set up all new accounts
- Names on the "Coordinating Committee" have not been updated sine 2016 - preventing us from doing critical work, such as changing bank and paypal accounts
- Original Grant Application to Omni from 2016: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I4uzHxWLM2Hu0E6B69uIqfjwxxnLIWyS_14ec4UQrwM/edit
- Original Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement w/ Omni Commons from 2017
- Original Coordinating Committee of Real Vegan Cheese:
- Marc Juul Christoffersen (treasurer)
- Craig Rouskey (chair)
- Carl Crott
- Maria Chavez (secretary)
- Johan Sosa
- Moises Cassab
- Lafia Sebastian
- Meenakshi Choudhary
- Rachel Linzer
- Advait Patil
- New list:
- Chair: Maria Chavez
- Treasurer: Tal Globus
- Secretary: Patrik D’haeseleer
- Advait Patil
- Adam Hoffman
- Lance Lively
- Optional: add some governance rules for the Coordinating Committee:
- Quorum for board meetings: 50%
- Decisions made by majority rule
- Adding members: ⅔ supermajority vote of board
- Any board member who does not attend three successive board meetings will automatically be removed from the board without board resolution unless:
- (a) the board member requests a leave of absence for a limited period of time, and the leave is approved by the directors at a regular or special meeting (if such leave is granted, the number of board members will be reduced by one in determining whether a quorum is or is not present),
- (b) the board member suffers from an illness or disability that prevents him or her from attending meetings and the board by resolution waives the automatic, removal procedure of this subsection; or
- (c) the board member who has missed three meetings may be reinstated by resolution of the majority of board members
- Patrick summarizes it: we're in a legal grey area re: dissociated corporation. Jesse suggested we abandon the old one and set up all new accounts. But we can't do that because the names on the old organizing committee haven't been updated. Need new treasurer, officer, etc before we can get new bank accounts.
- Mai: how does it concern us?
- Patrick: the bank will want to see a resolution by the board updating the info.
- Jane: will you keep the same bank?
- Marc: no, it's been terrible, will change banks
- Robb: we're looking into moving everything to self-help, who we might get a loan from
- This is a project of Omni Commons since the beginning
- consensus: YES: Sudoroom, ANV, CCL, CSC, FNB, FYE, GWS, Sudomesh. Abstain: None. Block: none. PASSES!
Discussion about Accountability
- Mai: last week concerns started just about open doors and rats getting in, but that opened up a larger conversation. Goal of tonight is to come up with a plan so we feel good about who's accessing the building and how, and for what purposes. Some have come up patchwork in the past, and we had some solutions, but we should have clear expectations so we're all on the same page. I know it may be a touchy topic, and if this gets heated, I will interrupt you and tell you to take a breath. We will end by 9, but I think we should take a break at 8:15. First let's hear concrete concerns, then solutions in the latter half. Comments under 2 minutes please, I will time you! Also taking stack.
- Yar: basically summarizes her email
- Patrick: Rodents only part of the problem. Safety of building is a bigger issue. Anybody can walk in. Building should be closed right now, other than a few essential activities. Anybody from the city or with ill will, could really shut us down for not following pandemic rules. Habitation is a serious risk to omni. Nobody should even sleep there, definitely not living there. We'd fail upcoming fire inspection, even get closed for good.
- Robb: I can remind people but when I enforce, it comes down on me. So I just play informer. That's where I'm at. I don't have any teeth. I shut the door.
- Roya: important to not just define essential service but how omni's playing into a larger context of sustainability during pandemic. Fulfilling mission of omni, and also helping each other out. maybe expand what it means. Things at omni need the appearance of "habitation" or people spending too much time, but not everybody has a home or a stable place to move their operations to, so that should be considered. Within reason, with pandemic concerns and everyone's safety. But it definitely needs to be talked about by shutting down, and who you're excluding by doing that. Analyze that on a privilege narrative.
- Robb: when we first decided to shut down the building, we had a long conversation about it. Consensus was that for security, since there's so many ways to get in, we should have a presence here regularly, and we used to not have to worry about it because people were alwyas here. But it's empty 75% of the time. I think we have a serious liability on our hands.
- Roya: there's people who play a massively integral role in keeping omni secure who are not usually thought of as inhabiting those roles. Like my coworker Chicago, who's a pillar at omni. He's there a lot, and majorly tuned in, and plays a big role in keeping shit regulated around there. He does an amazing job at it.
- Marc: yeah and I don't think I've ever seen Chicago sitting at the computer for hours
- Yar: and I've never seen him sleep there
- Ramy: some concerns - a lack of signage, clear expectations. Need signs in entrance expressing what we talked about. Nod to the privileged narrative about who gets access. Also think OTOH that unoptimal human behavior would put people like Chicago in danger. Being around without a mask puts him at risk. There's people who are doing a lot and based at omni, but can we do this smartly?
- Robb: sounds like Doug, who's a friend of Tom's who's in a strange situation. Helps out ANV & FNB a lot. Takes trash out. They share shelter. I told him people are only supposed to be here if they're helping. I gave him the option, but he didn't take initiative. Just volunteers with ANV and then sits upstairs without a mask, approached me without mask and i told him to leave. idk if he volunteers anymore.
- Roya: Doug has been bottomlining ANV still. agree with mask wearing. but we need to define essential service. a lot of grey area, people have different ideas of what that means.
- Marc: seems to be disagreement on mask wearing.
- Yar proposes we supply masks
- Roya: there's a box of masks in entrance hall
- CCL can provide masks for limited numbers
- Marc: so, FYE is there on video without masks as we talk
- Asaad: shido has a mask, I have a bandana. There's a disconnect. Concerns are valid, I respect people, but there's this idea of coming from a place of privilege, being able to say certain things, having expectations, letting important things slip through the cracks. Hard to not be on the defensive, cause we do feel targeted. Honestly, we've been pretty consistent with our behavior since pandemic started. We did have a consensus, that I was going to be as presesnt as I was on condition that I was  which I have. On top of that, I pay rent, as we have today. It's far fetched to hound us for this idea of paying rent. Now that we have, it's now covid, and that's why we shouldn't use the building while we pay rent. It's poor judgement, we consider what we do essential. In our agreement to activate media lab, we have not used it as much during covid but we still do. we've been consistent. if there's tangible problems, moments we're doing something wrong, then it'd be helpful for us to change behavior if we're doing anything wrong. The overall feeling we're doing something wrong is not productive. It drains us.
- Ramy: I appreciate that, AB. Biggest concern, aside from housing stuff, is - would it be possible within your workspace, to wear masks inside? For me, the issue is a liability, if people were to get hurt, I worry about that. If a member in the FYE room isn't wearing a mask, is asymptomatic, puts you at risk, you get sick. I hope mask wearing is a uniform safety idea - CCL, sudo, everyone.
- Asaad: I'm at fault a lot, I alawys have a mask around my neck, but in the office sometimes I take it off my face. I can try my best to have it every time, even in the office or media lab. I can commit to that, I appreciate you bringing that up. I want to open it up and say we're not the only ones. I think it'd be a lot more broad, at this point it feels targeted.
- Ramy: my concern too. There's no notices around. It's about keeping everyone in the building safe. Museums are opening. What are we considering essential? Good question.
- Patrick: i don't think anybody has disputed your use of the media lab.
- Asaad: there's a context, I haven't heard my name. In FYE, to be clear, we have 7 active members. Only 4 people have access. Others in Houston & Vacaville. We're trying our best. Also, how do we fundraise? To do any activity, we are doing things externally, and for that we need to access the building. Sorry for being defensive but that's what it is.
- Mai: might be worth identifying concrete things. We need signage, right?
- Robb: and maybe verbal agreement that if there's someone else in the room, put the mask up.
- Yar: no. masks in every room. if you're in the basement and I'm in the disco room, you're still putting me at risk.
- Helen: entire building is an enclosed space
- Patrik: some signage is legally required, especially concern for ANV because they have staff in the entrance hall with door open, so they need to follow county rules. (Roya: what rules?) You need a site-specific protection plan, a training plan, documentation of that training. Bunch of other things I can't remember, can talk offline. Will follow up after meeting with specifics. Omni itself is in grey zone.
- MaryAnn: and doors being open?
- Roya: ANV does CSA distro 2-6 weds & 1-5 sat, doors need to be open. People only walk up to tables, nowhere else. we also need them open to hear when trucks arrive. we also work inside all day and it's nice to have the breeze & skylight when you're working inside for 8 hours
- Patrick: not a problem as long as you're watching the door. But it's been wide open after hours, that's the problem
- AB: I prop with the cone way less, usually just when I step out and smoke, I have eyes on the door, see if rats are coming in. I understand it's a concern. I will commit to be more diligent with that.
- Robb: all the other smokers use side door, just leave it cracked so a mouse or rat can't come in
- MaryAnn: what happened to our keycards? Do they work or not? I thought policy was cancelling keycards, meaning some of us no longer have access. If they were cancelled, I think one person from each collective should be able to get in in case they need something from the office. I guess we were considered nonessential.
- Marc: can we agree on mask policy? Always have adequate mask that convers your nose. No drinking or eating. Can we agree on that?
- Roya: I think the drinking water part is a little much. Maybe for having a meal you can go outside.
- Patrick: At CCL we said no food or drink whatsoever. Maybe an exception for water.
- Jane: ANV was concerned about bathrooms too
- Yar: I take a deep breath before drinking so I'm not exhaling droplets during that
- Mai: Omni has bad circulation, we don't want to be a hotspot. I think that's a reasonable ask.
- Robb: ballroom ventilation is great tho
- Yar: it may just move droplets farther within the building
- Roya: specify that meals should be taken outside? Any objection?
- Robb: what if you're the only one in the room?
- Mai: droplets can stay in the room for hours
- Yar: and the rooms are not isolated, air moves within the whole building
- Helen: seems to be good agreement, you were talking about signage, maybe a volunteer can make some nice signs
- any opposition to the rule, wear a mask inside unless you're drinking? No opposition
- if you're leaving to smoke or eat outside, don't leave door open unattended
- Marc: also, travel and symptoms? You should not come into omni with symptoms, and if you've recently traveled you need to get tested or quarantine for 2 weeks.
- Patrik: Should be some reporting requirements. If someone has covid19 you should notify a designated contactperson who can contact everyone at omni.
- Mai: that can also go on the sign. "If you have any symptoms - fever, cough, can't taste or smell, refrain from going inside"
- Robb: but USA is the worst
- discussion of specific countries and travel clause, or even prisons
- Patrik links to https://covid-19.acgov.org/covid19-assets/docs/shelter-in-place/20-14c-appendix-a-protection-plan-guidance-and-template-eng.pdf
- if we were a normal business that had a single building we'd have to follow this
- This is especially relevant for Acta Non Verba - they are closest to the default scenario the County cares about: staff working out of a building, and interacting with the public. Ditto for CCL when they plan to reopen with restrictions
- Here is CCL's own almost-completely-filled-out Site Specific Protection Plan: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wyAXk007jn8UZXgSzL9m5LZSlwv30PfQQ2vkqM38TKk/edit
- if we were a normal business that had a single building we'd have to follow this
- Yar: also please no aerobic activity (Robb's shoulder rolls notwithstanding)
- Signage template recommended by Alameda County: https://covid-19.acgov.org/covid19-assets/docs/business-flyer-covering-order-2020.04.20.pdf
- Jane: it's still getting pretty gross
- Robb: if ANV sweeps & mops entrance hall & ballroom, I can do bathrooms. doesn't have energy for both, felt demoralized
- All the other bathrooms are fine, they don't get gross these days.
- people from outside use the bathroom too. Robb thinks that's 90% of the traffic in entrance hall.
- Roya: for ballroom and entrance hall, CSA team does clean up after ourselves. More so since ANV transition, ballroom is cleaner now than a year ago. we can pay more attention to entrance hall as we use it twice a week. sometimes food scraps or leftover stuff, we do our best to clean up. but what do you mean by ballroom not being clean? what are we missing?
- Robb: there's never been the mopping part. food stuff does create need to mop. you do the pushbroom, but overripe plums fall on the ground.
- Rock The Bike pays $200/mo
- Yar: this can't keep happening, concern for people who are living at omni, they need to find someplace else to live. we are not a project for housing, we can't be. we can't house everybody, and we don't have capacity to do that intentionally. It's not fair for people to take it upon themselves to break this rule and dare others to do something about it.
- fire inspectors ghosted us but may call us anytime
- we'll talk more about this at another meeting. meanwhile let's look at housing & job opportunities
- Patrik: also good idea for people with omni access to sign a paper saying they agree with these rules
- Maybe ask lawyer about what legal language to use?
- Marc already asked, Jesse says he'll respond tomorrow
- May already be language in lease about that
- asking Biden/Harris to support caregivers, but google marked the email as spam https://omnicommons.org/pipermail/consensus/2020-October/002198.html
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