Event:2021/02/18 Delegates

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Omni Delegates' Meeting - Thursday, February 18, 2021 7pm-9pm

1. Joining info:

2. URL of these notes: https://omnicommons.org/notes

3. Please add items to the agenda below and send any proposals to consensus@lists.omnicommons.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
    • Working Groups
    • Member Collectives
    • Conflicts, Mediation & Safe Space
  • Proposals & Discussions


intros, name, pronoun, group, delegate status, access needs, any non-omni announcements, anything you'd like to add to agenda

  • maryann csc fin/fun she/her. i retired from executive board of chiapas support committee, and not privy to their deliberations anymore, and won't be the delegate anymore. arnoldo garcia will be the delegate tonight. will still work for omni and come to meetings though. time to step back.
  • john gws
  • yar she/her sudo
  • rachel gws she/her
  • jane gws
  • roberto martinez CSC he/him
  • shido fye
  • joe fnb he/him
  • vicky they/them noma
  • patrik he/him ccl
  • arnoldo garcia he/him they/them csc
  • helen fnb she/her, connectivity problems
  • robb he/him fnb fin/fun commons wg

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


  • ANV: inactive
  • CCL: Patrik
  • CSC: Arnoldo
  • FNB: Helen
  • FYE: Shido
  • GWS: Rachel, Jane
  • LL: inactive
  • Sudo Room: yar
  • Sudo Mesh: inactive
  • Quorum: yes

Working Group Report-Backs

Building & permits

  • Meetings: only the kitchen group meets regularly, new times tbd
  • https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/building
  • patrik: one of our former ccl interns is asking if she can come take samples for lead testing at omni. she's doing a graduate course with an exercise on lead testing. maybe ~6 locations, having them professionally tested. can write an official report.
    • no objections
  • robb: we may want to start reattaching some boards to south exterior wall. you can see wall, it's pretty bad
    • maryann's son was gonna help with that? perhaps. nobody's contacted him about it yet. we thought natasha would but hadn't yet.



  • Meetings: Email for now
  • Join! https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/comms
    • roberto: we've met twice already, every week tuesday 6pm at this url. we're looking to do another newsletter, gonna put out a call pretty soon for content. be on the lookout for that. "it's going down" podcast (https://itsgoingdown.org/category/podcast/) offered to do an episode with us, but we need time to prepare, maybe late march. also thinking of doing a video. and a survey of active omni members, to get a sense of who's involved currently and a pulse of what people are thinking. a census. try to fill the working groups to get people active in different responsibilities we need to do.

Finance & Fundraising

  • Meetings: Tuesdays 2:00 - 3:00 pm
  • Join! https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/finance
  • Join! https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/fundraising
  • robb: started working on loan app to self help credit union. today we got a notice that omni's tax exempt status got revoked from the state. apparently they sent us a letter in october, i was able to download it but don't remember ever seeing it. basically it says we have to comply with "the registry requirements" and it looks like what that means is when you file taxes, you also have to file some "RRF1" and maybe that didn't happen? and if you don't get your notice, they just cancel you. seems abrupt.
    • maryann: i think you got 2 letters from attorney general. 1st had a long list of things we didn't do. but today what you sent was a revocation letter because OOC taxes for 2016 to franchise tax board were never filed. we did get that letter in october and nothing was done about it. that's what we discussed on tuesday, asking if the person who said they'd do it actually did it.
    • robb: no, that was for 2016 ooc issues. this is for omni commons, not ooc. omni commons got its status revoked. we got a notice to file a statement of info, but finished that quickly.
    • john: we should appeal the revocation immediately, and make corrections providing the info that was requested. it's administrative rule process, so you always appeal. i'd run it by a bookkeeper, they'd be familiar with this process.
    • joe: this... never mind
    • check with jesse
    • jane: we got another denial letter from sba yesterday for request from a loan with very vague wording about what they need and what we didn't give. I sent an email today asking for more specifics, and telling them that we really need this, so i'm waiting to hear a response.

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?


  • nobody here


  • patrik: planning on doing livestreams in a week or two


  • arnoldo: in planning mode, want to continue events like comparte, zapatismo education. getting ready for 2021 work. blog has good readership, updates on mexico etc. https://chiapas-support.org/home/blog/


  • helen: nothing new to report


  • shido: no updates atm. cruisin.


  • rachel: major campaign to get through a piece of biden's rescue plan, refundable child benefits / tax credits. really good, hoping it'll go through. $3600/year for caregivers per child. monthly payment! action alert to call offices and put pressure.


  • not present

Sudo Room

  • pass

Sudo Mesh

  • nobody here


  • not a member collective yet. in the process of formalizing relationship with fiscal sponsor. benefitted from informal relationship with ocuej for passing money through them, and from omni's generous hosting. need to sign a memo of understanding to move forward with omni.

Proposals & Discussions

event contracts - 10 min

  • john: it's mostly about typos. contract is fairly standard. name was written wrong (as ooc) at the end. difference is primarily in paragraph 5. the event presenter gets a 1099 from us for presenting the event, whereas in the fiscal sponsorship agreement there's more of a set of requirements for how the accounting will work. #2 involves a bit more accounting on our end. paragraph 7 of #2 says "this is not intended to extend any rights...." but then the final sentance is "event present is... in conducting the event or the project". that makes it ambiguous. i though these were event sponsorship, not project sponsorships? so we should remove the word project. otherwise looks standard. just requires different accounting. if others have experience, please speak.
    • No objections - John will pass changes to Jesse.
  • roberto: does this replace the previous contract we had people sign?
    • no, that'll still apply to groups that are 501c3s. new contracts will apply to grassroots or unincorporated assns, or to a for-profit that has a non-profit project without any status
    • maryann: let's say the warriors decided they'd have a "clean up north oakland" project and wanted to present about that at omni. they're for-profit but what they want to do is a nonprofit project. so we can let them do that by using that special agreement. there's 2 different kinds of issues we ran into. as long as orgs are 501c3 or fiscally sponsored, we just use the regular one. but due to property tax laws, what do we do if it's a for profit org? or unincorporated assn without any nonprofit status? so these 2 new contracts cover both those situations
  • robb did the numbers of what we owe over how much time if we pay full property tax. even just the ballroom, that's several thousand per month in property tax if we don't deal with this
  • CONSENSUS: YES (patrik ccl, helen fnb, rachel gws, shido fye, roberto/arnoldo csc)ABSTAIN (yar sudoroom). passes!

rj for white supremacy - 25 min

  • roberto: idk what the exact proposal was, no written proposal presented
  • maryann: that email you sent me, kind of a long email, at the bottom it said what you wanted. I simply read it into the minutes. i didn't know enough about it to reword it or anything.
  • roberto: there was an original discussion that was had at CSC board meeting regarding noma wanting to be a collective, so that item was on the table, we were discussing it. we were briefed that there was some tension happening with noma and omni, kind of vague, hard for us to understand, gist was there was issues of mistrust building due to finances, other relationship issues. so within that conversation, the proposal was to have a RJ approach to try resolve mistrust issuesthat were building, before we can move on, because these issues sort of come up and we can never resolve them. but it seems part of that musunderstanding got resolved. in that hour-lon gconvo, we also talked about power dynamics in omni, its relations to race and how that relates to power, and we also talked about how - maryann explained this i think - we wanted to see the process of noma coming into omni to be a process that was ... to make it explicit that we wanted them to be here first and foremost and were willing to help them out in that process. so yeah, that's the background, that's where the call came from. although in talking with the board and arnoldo again, we don't know if that's the best approach. because it's already been resolved, but also that conflict is symbolic of something bigger at play at omni, that deals with power, with race, and so we're not entirely sure if RJ is best suited to resolve that issue. we're also in some ways talking about that with another mediator, and so idk how our proposal fits right now within that.
  • arnoldo: some of it was, we just need to get more info to figure out what happened and where things stand. our ongoing concern is not just an omni exclusive thing. we are a collective here, we want omni to thrive, be able to figure things out so that when things come up we hav ea way of [] them as smooth as possible. conflict is normal, a good way of clarification. but how we resolve them we need norms. RJ process is specific when harm has taken place and parties involved are willing to come together to make things right. not sure that was the case. but what roberto says we're concerned about... want some conversations together so we create more understanding of issues of whiteness, race, accountability, power. we're all here with a deep commitment to making this our place, everyone's place. that everyone's welcome here - the people we want to work with. how we embed this in regular meetings, in retreat processes, how we look at proposals. more of a curiosity at this point. i try to figure out where do things stand and what should be a collective/inclusive appraoch we can all do together.
  • roberto: idk if we have a specific proposal now. probably want to retract it and go back to our board and have another discussion about if we want to continue that. but that doesn't mean we can't continue that conversation. i think it's important.
    • Yar- acknowledges need to address issues of race, gender and power in the omni's operations and space and to find a good way to receive and acknowledge complaints and concerns regarding any mistreatment especially
  • robb: i think this strikes to the heart of the matter. we should take a RJ approach to reviewing our mediation process cuz we have a process that's online (https://omnicommons.org/wiki/Conflict_Resolution_Policy), starting it is simple, you just send an email that you're requesting mediation to an email list (https://omnicommons.org/lists/listinfo/mediation), and then there's a number of mediators (hopefully i think so) on that list that cna respond to it. we have 2 problems. 1) our mediation process isn't ever engaged 2) it can be improved. i know arnoldo is an RJ counselor at a high school. don't wanna strap him with more work but if we could assist him in improving our mediation process, i think we'd be greatly benefited. i feel like we have a safe space policy, we can ban people, but we don't have a process for "someone's offended me" or "someone's violated this rule" or put the building at risk. all the issues that don't have a clear avenue other than direct communication other than "hey you're not supposed to do that because xyz". that can come off as "you're policing me". it's a perennial problem.
  • silver: i'm disappointed in the mediation process, was asking for 1.5 years, things just get brushed under in the name of "keeping the building", a building that means nothing, it could be demolished. it seems like people are disposable on this basis. it tends to be poc, women, trans folks. that's just my remark to what robb said.
  • vicky: i think the conflict resolution policy is part of the ecosystem of the dynamics at omni, but i do think i'd love to see this group of people commit to analyzing power dynamics in the group. AORTA http://aorta.coop/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/anti-black-bias-packet-print-1.pdf is a bay area anti-oppressive resource training alliance. gonna take training. was hard to see pockets felt tight even around hiring a mediator. i felt nervous. it'll be a commitment emotionally and financially to address white supremacy here.
  • arnoldo: the csc proposal for me, is i'm hearing the need to look at the [] we have. they have to be transformative. the process is part of the ecosystem. the default [] is what we have to work on & change. we have to really hav ethe same values about how we think about dismantling whiteness, for example, adn racism. omni has that inherent value that... csc over my dead body would be part of an org that allowed racism to be aprt of their relations. that doesn't mean we don't have racism at omni. i think it's a shortcoming. hasn't transformed the main dynamics of power. it's more about commitment and accountability. who you're accountable to and what your commitment is, to the issues that are most important to our collectives. in our collective, the issues around zapatismo antiracism solidarity, idk if that's been discussed as a way to really come up with new understanding of how we're gonna be together. a mediation only works when the issues are solved and come back to community, and community has to be rebuilt, restrengthened. the individuals involved reflect our relationships. that has to be changed. you cna have a circle process to discuss issues. you can also use existing structures like working groups. a lot of room to approach this. let's all go back to our collectives nad figure out how we want to work togehter on this. make new relationships. how do we recruit poc collectives, create space that's seen as antiracist and poc space. that'll take work. won't be piecemeal. we can do it. that's why csc is part of omni. it's a big responsibility for everyone. we have to figure out how to change this dynamic. bring ot collectives: "what is our job as delegates, what do we want to bring to this?"
  • the request is to have serious discussions at our collectives about how to address whiteness and power within the Omni Commons and to make it both anti-racist and people of color centered space and to bring these discussions back to the delegates for further reflection and action
  • shido: i'm still updating information... i agree with the general consensus of restructuring the mediation. i do feel like a lot of issues, whether they be racial or not or just relationship basis, they don't get handled thoroughly. to a point of a plateau, until it tumbles over. think about the presence of omni - we should put it into the context of not just keeping the building, but who'll inherit it afterwards. if you awnna carry those values, it's whoever comes next, who this building will house & cultivate. being a black artist, one of the youngest of color individual, it's been interesting to me in this space, which is mostly white, having a subconscious standing of, "idk if my voice could truly be listened to at the point where i want it to". that's not anything personal, that's just the life i've been living, the reality of my existence. i'd want more transparency on those levels, and ultimately, we could constantly say we're all on the same team, but it's another thing for those actions to follow thoroguhly. that spans from delegates to individuals, to be following in those moral codes. it's really nice to have those values posted in the front, but also very performative on the same tip. a fine line between actuality and performing. let's think about the future as well as the now. these are the roots we're planting. the people who follow will have either a shitshow or a solid structure to build upon. my 2c, thank you
  • Yar, we should think about make it an agenda item to talk about white supremacy at Omni as a regular part of the meeting agenda.
  • joe: it needs to be more than that. everybody's grappling with. must be workshops, workbooks, lecturers. institute something that really deals with this problem. takes much more than mentioning things, and take it out of the individual realm. when it is, it has to be dealt that way. but every individual thing can also be used as a leanring tool about the leements that make it part of a systemic problem.
  • silver: this process of accountability, i want it to be as safe as possible, without folks being defensive, quick to be victim blaming. folks don't speak up cuz they're afraid of getting banned. just a question, i don't have the answer.
  • Vicky: https://www.dismantlingracism.org/uploads/4/3/5/7/43579015/okun_-_white_sup_culture.pdf

The above is a reader to study about how the behaviors of a white supremacist culture show up in organizing groups

report back on healing circle & conflict mediation

  • silver & robb have been contacted by seeds folks. gonna have an hour long discussion. excited about that, nice to feel heard. robb is meeting them monday.
  • robb: notes last week between yar, vicky & jenny were biased & problematic
  • silver: i appreciate erica who pulled up as facilitator, thank you everyone who showed up and listened. feel bad that not much ... i want robb ot hear me and i feel like he still hasn't. i hope the mediation will help.
  • vicky: just want to speak to the fact that we weren't finished by the end of it, didn't come to any resolution, other than silver & robb were going to enter mediation. but it did seem like it was a much more involved conflict than just 2 people. we didn't get to engage everyone that wasn't involved.

meeting weekly

  • If so spend 1/2 hr next week to continue discussion on conflict resolution
  • jane: wednesdays and mondays work for me
  • maybe we could send a doodle poll?
  • Meet at least next week? - Thu Feb 25.
  • missed notes
  • arnoldo: the agendas would have to be organized so you can dedicate time for things, and they're not optional. it does seem like a lot. there's a lot of work that has to be done. does seem like a lot.
  • we can at least agree to meet feb 25 7-9pm

executive director - 15 min

  • maryann: as part of the application to refinance, we need to submit a business plan. this has been discussed for over a year. matt senate introduced a proposal last year, but it was abandoned. for applying to loan, we need to revisit what our business structure is. part of that, we believe, is to hire a person who'd essentially replace the duties that laura performed when she was acting as more or less a cross between ED and i guess general manager. she was a jane of all trades. this is basically an attempt to hire a position that would perform most of the work that she performed, plus place an emphasis on expanding our outreach and our rentals in the ballroom/lobby/wherever to bring in more money. because refinance will mean our monthly payments go up by ~2k. need to bring in more money to pay it. seems like that's probably the one place where we have room to grow our income. i wrote this .. it's just a draft, not set in stone. [reads proposal]
  • john: thanks for that wonderful draft, comprehensive and thorough, gives a good idea of what's needed. i'm new to omni, been involved in governance less than a year. good to have a draft from someone who's been around a lot longer. it's a very complex and requiring of a great deal of diplomatic finesse skillset. but hopefully we'll be lucky to find someone who has everything we'd like them to be. i think it'd be helpful to get as much feedback as possible from every collective. it's super, thank you maryann.
  • rachel: i used to be on a hiring committee in a coop. there was specific language about disability you have to put in there
  • roberto: i think we're at that stage where we need to think about workload and possible transition to paid staff. but i'm still a bit concerned about how that'd change the dynamics of an all-volunteer-run space with a paid staff, specifically because omni was envisioned as all-volunteer. i understand there's a lot of work that needs to be done. we need to pay someone to deal with paperwork, bureaucracy, i agree with that. for example, description says they'll have an emphasis on "outreach on event rentals", things the wgs are already doing. idk how to phrase this. i'm afraid of giving an ED or any paid staff, the position to singuarly push their vision because they have the ability to do so because they're paid, and have the time & dedication to that, as opposed to a collective vision that comes because we're all volunteers. yar said we hire a lawyer, plumber, etc. but a plumber's doesn't have a vision they push for as a singular person. their work doesn't affect our collective work as omni. what kind of work are we delegating that we should not delegate, that should stay as all-volunteer work.
  • vicky: i want to clarify this would be the first paid position ever at omni? was laura paid?
    • robb: laura was never paid. the only other omni member we paid was jenny.
    • vicky: it's a beautiful proposal, thanks for writing it. a few years ago i was hired into a very similar position at an all volunteer org. it was terrible. the issues, the dynamics, the reason they needed me in the first place to do the outreach was due to much bigger problems internally. no amount of outreach i did could build the trust and repair the issues they had. i'm worried about this too. what if that money was directed to building up the kitchen, etc. but i'm new.
    • Yar: i resisted this for years but changed my mind. we are drowning in paperwork and we need help
  • helen: fnb had similar concerns, they shouldn't be in a position of leading and setting the direction of omni
  • silver: omni's existed for a year without laura. she didn't get paid. we can all be like laura. empower & trust & care about each other. "ED" sounds gnarly. maybe just the paperwork part.
  • jane: it became obvious in fin/fun that we don't have the skills and ability to keep afloat. we need someone to do that. we'll lose the building. things slip through the cracks. like our nonprofit status has been lost. property taxes. all these ridiculous capitalist issues we have to deal with.
    • Clarify: we didn't lose federal 501(c)3 status - just CA nonprofit status
  • john: is that sufficient feedback for revision?
    • maryann: i'm not really clear what revision it means, what i'm hearing is the concern has to do with the relationship between the collectives and an ED. whether or not we're giving up our ... whether it's our vision or their vision. i guess the only answer i'd say is, the ED reports to the board. (us) it's our responsibility to give the ED the vision that omni holds, and we become the people who direct what the ED then carries out. i understand the concern. there's been many discussions since matt first proposed it. nothing new or different, but i wonder if it isn't up to us to make it work. i've seen it work and work well. i've also seen it not work well. that's the only answer i can give you. there's no intent to take away that vision, except that aperson with experience might have ways of bringing in either people or performers or orgs that we haven't thought of because it's an additional person with experience. i'm speaking to events. we have to expand them to bring in more money. so idk how do you write that? somebody with ideas please send them to me or fin/fun. this isnt' going in tomorrow, it'll still be around next week. the duties & responsibilities, it specifically says the ones that are listed, it's not limited to those, we don't know what's gonna come up.
  • roberto: omni already has a structure of how we do the work. the working groups. perhaps the ED (i don't like the title, whoever) can work on bureaucracy and work with wgs to get the work done. i'm afraid that how it's being written is the delegates give direction to ED. i don'tthink that's how it should be. delegates are part of that, but it's everybody at omni. ther'es power coalescing at the top, rahter than bottom up.
  • patrik: let's not get hung up on title of ED. let's figure out what tasks need to be filled and then figure out what label should be. fundraising should be a part of it. making sure paperwork doensn't fall through cracks. but not making strategic decisions or coming up with visions. just thinking 24/7 about what's about to hit us next would be useful. but make sure they earn their pay, and that's fundraising
    • maryann: only people with authority to hire are the delegates assembly, which is called the executive board in our bylaws. so that's the employer. wgs are not employer but wgs work with the delegates assembly to give their reports, input, decisions. your concern is abouut delegate sassembly?
  • robb: it's so confused idek what my original thought was

business plan - 15 min

  • john: 1st draft based on a model we received, being written for the redstone building, plagiarized & edited. it's hard to articulate a business plan without a common shared vision of our project. that's part of the reason it's circulating now. so we can get more perspective, info, find a way to come up with a collective shared vision of the future of OC. so aprt of me was thinking, all the former socialist countries used to have 5 year economic plans they articulated and tried to attempt to follow. i was fantasizing we could get 5y plans from collectives that we could incorporate and mash together a collective vision for all of us. where we want to be as collectives & as oc 5y from now
    • yar appreciates the 5 year framing. limits us to realistic stuff, not so much in the clouds. less idealism, more brass tacks. thank you.
  • roberto: try to incorporate more peoples' voices and ideas to have a much more representative vision of what we wanna be
  • john: thank you for
    • yar: you're welcome for

End of Meeting

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