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Omni Delegates' Meeting - June 3, 2021 7pm-9pm
- Talk at https://meet.google.com/diw-hszw-msr or 515-428-1108 (PIN: 465814905)
- Type at https://omnicommons.org/notes
- Send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting
- Facilitator/s: John
- Stacktaker: Robb
- Notetaker/s: yar arnoldo
- Next meeting's facilitator(s):
- ANV: inactive
- CCL: Patrik
- CSC: arnoldo
- FNB: joe
- FYE: asaad
- GWS: Rachel,Jane
- LL: inactive
- Sudo Room: Yar
- Sudo Mesh: marc
- Quorum (2/3 of active groups):
- We are front-loading most of the meeting into these intros! Now is the time to put forward any of the following things, many of which used to have their own meeting sections
- introduce yourself: name, pronoun, affiliation, if you're a delegate
- do you have any unmet access needs at this meeting?
- what meeting roles you'd like to help with
- discussion topics or proposals you'd like to put on tonight's agenda
- report-backs from any of your working groups
- updates from your collective
- any brief announcements
- updates on any conflict mediation
- if you've asked anybody to leave the building due to safe space issues
- please be BRIEF! Less than 4 minutes per person! Anything that might take longer must be put on the agenda as a discussion item
- yar she/her
- arnoldo/AG he/him they/them, CSC delegate. CSC's doing slow work/planning; looking to hold the community festival, CompArte later this summer (august or so).
- john GWS he/him they/them. fundraising team, with meredith l & larry d, to do prospect research for omni. will present to next thursday's fundraising meeting. development plan. kickstarting summer project.
- next thursday June 10th at noon 12pm using this pad. fundraising meetings are now 2nd & 4th thursdays at noon.
- juul or marc / he/him / sudo mesh delegate / all access needs met / helping with notetaking but will have to head out at 8 pm / that's it - sudo mesh has been buying and testing new access points in preparation - sudo room got some donations which i've been testing and will be selling. sudo room will be re-opening with a 6 person maximum this coming wednesday with safety procedures based on what CCL did but somewhat different (no safety quiz required, vaccination requiered).
- daniel donated switches. installing some, selling some. reopening with 6 person maximum on wednesday with safety procedures based on ccl. requiring vaccines but not proof. read a safety manual but no quiz.
- asaad/ab he/him fye
- question: hanging our artwork around omni? community canvasses created at events
- question: how to get involved in free store?
- question: event to share space with omni folks when we reopen?
- wana (all pronouns), organizing with Fruits of Labor, birth collective in east oakland. reproductive health needs. berkeley free clinic. grantwriting experience.
- rachel: gws / she/her / delegate / on the fundraising committee / access needs are met / gws is really busy and we're also part of the national poor people's campaign, involved in a big press conf outside nancy pelosy's office to call on her to propose a big resolution that deals with war economy etc. nancy pelosi hasn't signed on yet. introduced by barbara lee out of oakland. monday at 11 am in sf mission and 7th at nancy pelosi's office. i'm on of the coordinators and it's been going well
- maryann: chiapas support committee, not a delegate, part of fundraising commitee, john gave report on that. several items on agenda that relate to fundraising. and to building that are on the agenda and we can address that in the regular agenda items.
- robb: member of fnb, he/him, member of finance/fundraising/building. update form
- building wg getting ready for fire inspection. doing things they told us to do in 2019. david keenan says free store threatens conditional use & fire inspection.
- jane she/her gws. golden rule (israeli ship) landing tomorrow morning @ oakland, go picket
- patrik - he/him, delegate for ccl, looking forward to talking about re-opening. also want to talk about upcoming power outage. one of our members has a project that she's working on on mitigating air pollution using activated carbon and would like to hang 5 lb bag out of one of hte windows at omni (i usggested disco room). i will make sure it doesn't leak any powder. she's already done our covid training so she's already approved to be in the building. plan is to put it up this saturday afternoon. just let me know if you have any issues
- joe fnb he/him. showed someone from capoeira brazil east bay today. will need to rearrange the ballroom. shuttles to port from west oakland bart.
- sarah bookkeeper finance/fundraising/commons/building, safer DIY spaces.
- today's finance wg meeting: proposal to waive back rent by collectives whose income was negatively affected by covid.
- letter to the delegates
- jenny: thanks again and sayonara: "to hire staff that could replace the work Laura did."
- jane: if you think something we're doing is wrong, please tell us
- maryann: one example of what jane just said. what we've experienced, not in the beginning but sort of towards the latter part of the work we were doing on fin/fun, was what we feel is a negative vibe. maybe some actual opposition or hostility to the work we're doing. one example of what we saw: i saw an email from somebody i've never even met, referring to us as "the old white ladies in finance fundraising", which is sort of ageist and perhaps sexist idk, but certainly negative. that was shortly after the rumor was started about us not correctly spending the money from the SFF grant. there was also i think a problem that occurred... i wrote it down... there were comments at delegates meetings like referring to some of the work we were doing. we're bringing this up not to necessarily criticize any individuals, but to ask that... first of all, that this kind of stuff stops. secondly, if you think there's a better way we can do the work or you have suggestions, be upfront so we can deal with it and know what it's about, and not just an undercurrent in the background. i'm gonna let jane & rachel say some other things we've expereinced in hopes that we can improve communication in the delegates assembly.
- jane: there's an implication by some that people who take on the responsibility for admin work for policies we agreed on, are acting like () or police. it's hard to do work when you're accused of wanting power, when you're just trying to preserve the space.
- rachel: what we felt, as we were trying to put omni on a more financially stable path, we didn't feel a sentiment of solidarity & support. all these vibes about "the old ladies trying to have power", it's really outrageous. i feel like it's a bigger problem than just us. contentious relationships among people of omni. it's really bad. we just long for a place where we work together, respect each other, no backbiting or nastiness. a lot of unpleasant stuff at these delegates meetings. who wants to work in that kind of environment? any new people would pick up on that hostility, treating each other like enemies. why is that happening? it seems to be pretty deep in the working relationships. this person accusing that person of this or that. i haven't worked in other orgs that are so unpleasant to each other. i really want it to stop. i want a different kind of omni. people to treat each other with respect, and not get away with calling people old ladies. nobody objected to that, it was cool. speak up when these things happen, they happen a lot. we're not gonna survive if we have these rumormongering and gossiping. that's gotta end. the only way we're gonna survive is by pulling together and having each others interests, mutual accountability & respect. i hope omni moves in that direction, otherwise we're not gonna make it because we have huge financial challenges, and we spend all this time accusing each other of this and that. it's just not acceptable.
- marc: i feel like the people who take on responsibilities and do a lot of work end up being seen as the people who're in power. in a way they are because they're doing work, they know everything's that going on. i think this happens every time... people put more work on them. they get hit with all the criticism and end up having to act like cops or landlords, asking people to pay rent. not new for me, iv'e seen it in other orgs. best way to deal with it is to ensure that it's not just a few people. hard to get more volunteers. need the roles to be split & rotating.
these exact complaints that your'e saying, are a big part of why jenny quit. she's not the first person i've seen quit because of stuff like this. the letter you wrote is ... it's annoying to see that jenny got relegated to the role of bookkeeper. we should deal with this.
- rachel: so it's been happening for years! that's bad.
- sarah: this has put some interactions into perspective for me. i do notice ther'es a tendency for people to be defensive about things and not necessarily just assume good faith when someone suggests or mentions something. i've been in the position where i have felt defensive and felt like things have been... a suggestive criticism/proposal made me feel attacked. hard as a new person to bring up things that've been tried & not worked, there's history between people. the defensiveness is not the most welcoming sort of behavior. i've felt like maybe i shouldn't say anything because there's baggage. for example, at fundraising i brought up that commons wg could play a role in the reopening event. and there was conversation about peoples' experiences, could be integrated. i felt like i was somehow criticizing rachel & maryann's proposal or plans, which wasn't my intent. that rankled with me. but if you've been feeling that pushback from others, maybe that's why it was directed at me. we should give people mroe benefit of the doubt and more pleasant towards one another.
- yar paraphrased: there was a thorough rejection of the idea that you would have to spend time at omni talking about your conflicts. that has persisted until kinda this moment. i think it was the last finance fundraising meeting where i tried again to build some sort of bridge and i felt shut down again. i felt that people where saying get on with the meeting. and you (?) said we need to be able to talk about things and i asked when and you ignored me and i got the clear message that you were not open to talk about anything. to the extent other people have gotten that expression i dont blame them for resorting to gossip because gossip is what people resort to when they can't talk to people directly. i would like to talk about this, i realize we don't have time. i'd love to have more meetings really whenever you're available.
- AB thanks all for the work and the writeup of the work of fundraising/finance and for bringing up concerns, discomfort and unpleasantness and defensiveness, and taking things personally. Separate meeting is a good idea.
- sometimes criticism means that someone's truth is being said. very sad when it's taken personally sometimes. and hard to hold space for everybody if we don't allocate some time to do so. when people feel attacked, it's important to nuance not gaslighting people, when someone's saying something that's especially... being a poc in this meeting, i think any topic assocaited with race should be considered with great importance. see what people are saying with nuance, not take it personally. maybe you could be doing something with more mindfulness, it's not the end of the world. sometimes the best way is jsut to say "ok my bad, i hear you, let's move forward". constructive practical mindset. when we enable fragility we can make less tangible change. i'm speaking from my experience, important to be affirmative. when someone's being disrespectful, nip that in the bud. but when someone's being truthful, don't take it as an attack. we should take the time to be more assertive. take time for peoples experiences.
- jane: doing all that work in fundraising, it was painful to feel like we've put out so much energy and to be bad-mouthed and under attack at the same time. pain leads to defensive feelings. like "this was undeserved". i think maybe ab's right, we could have a meeting to try and sort out some of that. part of the problem is we're all looking at these screens and not interacting (cuz covid). we're not seeing each other. when joe pulled together that circle, something would move.
- maryann: we mentioned a few things but there were a lot. some were big. we're trying to keep names out of it so we don't create more bad feeling than there already is. we do get defensive. there have been situations where we felt very attacked, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if, wehether we intended to or not, we put up some defenses against that. i'm perfectly willing to talk in a group. sounds like we should talk about it in a fundraising meeting, as far as how we're gonna conduct that meeting. but i really believe that, although it hasn't happened in this meeting, the delegates meetings have been the worst source of these problems. nobody even asked for a vibe reader. it's that person's responsibility, either that or the facilitator, to stop that stuff. it's been allowed to continue and continue. we got to the point where we can't take it anymore. when that happens to people, they don't perform as ewll. it's debilitating. we've got hard work.
- john: i'm very intentional in my ending communications with the phrase "love & solidarity" precisely becaues i think it's easy for miscommunication to result in hurt and misunderstandings. good to assume best intentions. as a CoC we're extremely stressed & invested by the scope of the challenges. i'm glad you brought these concerns. be kind.
- yar's fav poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/58264/a-ritual-to-read-to-each-other
- rachel: i wish we could be heard without a backlash, but anyway... i don't find theoretical discussions useful. in gws, we call "internal work", dealing with resentments, is the most crucial work. if there's festering resentments it's not gonna work, we're not gonna get along. i feel like a lot of time is wasted in general theoretical discussions that go around and around and dont' get anywhere. concrete resentments is what .... not just general things that i don't feel producive. concrete, "you said this". say what you felt.
- President: John Torok is down to stay on
- Secretary: Jane would like to be removed, but no other applicants.
- Treasurer: Jenny rescinds candidacy, guess we can eliminate this topic.
- the officer election process will be restarted with other folks and happen another time
- treasurer shouldn't be sarah. self-dealing waiver can be signed but it's generally a bad practice
- patrik: it's also not best practice not to have a treasurer
- Reopening doc Patrik has been working on: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lINDe6awkBxiTrXc280A23OKCEp46iKTf2PegIX9Mgw/edit
- What will change on June 15 (major change in CA reopening guidelines): https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Beyond-Blueprint-Framework.aspx
- No restrictions on capacity, physical distancing
- Still masks required if unvaccinated?
- patrik: they're still saying on june 15th it'll be no restrictions on capacity, but probably still masks. we don't necessarily have to exactly follow state guidelines. county might have separate ones. we should figure out what we're gonna allow june 15. that's coming up very quickly.
- yar: next delegates meeting is june 17!
- robb: when shelter in place, we arbitrarily (without proposal & review) shut it down. maybe we can circumvent that process and say on june 15 we're essentially open according to certain guidelines. we can't have events with 50+ per room without fire department inspection. in this meeting...
- patrik: ccl will go to 50% (12 ppl max in CCL) but still with masks and social distancing, check-in form, training required, no social events/workshops, no food/drink
- ab: thank you patrik. we'd like to do the same. fye was on momentum before covid, reopening is important to us. we'd like to do more workshops in media lab, curated small events <50 asap. whatever the process is, just know we're willing to comply as long as it seems reasonable. we can write a plan if that's required. we want to contribute.
- sarah: inspection is just the annual certification for assembly permit? was there an expiration date on our previous one?
- robb: we were planning our recertification last year and then pandemic hit. we were scheduling an inspection then but that never happened.
- sarah: so it's an annual thing that needed to be renewed?
- robb: yes. they told us you can't have public assembly so there's no sense certifying you
- sarah: unless you're dealing with event permitting, it's not strictly enforced.
- yar: reactivating keycards? i need guidance, don't like playing gatekeeper. but it's not hard to get access now, you: https://omnicommons.org/keys/ but what on that form is still necessary/relevant? do we still need it?
- joe: small gatherings, classes like capoeira that stay 6ft apart with masks, could we go ahead without hesitation and go through the booking process? start getting income. i'm asking delegates to voice objections to renting that space under safe conditions outlined now. event won't actually happen before june 15. floor exercise 6 feet apart without masks, but when they're face to face they wear masks.
- robb: as long as people are vaccinated it doesn't really matter
- patrik: we should strongly recommend vaccination and social distancing even if we don't require it
- asaad: it's cool to have a suggested policy, but pressuring people or even establishing a requirement is overstepping on a lot of levels. important conversation to have in itself. idk, we could go in a lot about this. i respect perpsectives, but it's delicate to navigate / not cross any lines pressuring people to get a vaccine. i stand by patrik's proposal
- rachel also doesn't want to punish people for being vaccine hesitant
- Not everybody is able to be vaccinated - people who are imune compromised, folks bringing young children, etc.
- asaad thinks we should look at the list and not reactivate people who aren't involved anymore
- yar was going to make a list but hasn't done it yet, sorry
- replacing main panels sometime early july, maybe 3-5 days without power, $6k allocated so far
- Rob: our insure requires us to replace the Federal Pacific panels, but Main isn't one?
- Yar: replacing any of the other panels without Main would be even more complicated
- Patrik: Plan is also do get rid of panel A, which is a FP panel
- will we get a generator? If so, any $ estimate? CCL is willing to chip in
- will door access and emergency lights work? Who should be allowed in building while power is off?
- Will also need to notify FnB
- some sudoers have done bulk of work on panels re: original quote, about $7500 worth
Self Help Loan App Response: "To recap our conversation re: your loan application for refinance and some cash out:
- Its going to be very difficult to get approval on a loan request until we see improved revenues and things start to open up. Since your existing loan is coming due in about 1 year I’m recommending holding off and approaching the loan request in 6 months. Hopefully at that time there are some positive trends and we can point to an improved ability to service the debt.
- If you have a board member or other community member with some personal wealth, who is willing to guarantee the loan, this would help. I realize that may not be attainable.
- I recommend not pulling cash out of the building to go towards working capital. Given your non-profit status this type of expense should be raised via fundraising/grants.
- The improvements on the building can be included in the loan request. Putting an itemized list of these, along with estimated cost will be important (see attached worksheet).
- The most recent 2 years (and 2021 interim) don’t show a very strong ability to even pay your existing debt. Let’s go back further to see whether previous years can help your case. Essentially the case that as things open up, you will be able to afford the debt payment moving forward. It would be very helpful to be able to show that years prior to 2019 you has this ability.
- I’ll set a tickler for 2-3 months out to followup. If you want to introduce the incoming treasurer to me when the onboard I’m happy to schedule a meeting with them"
- maryann: it's not a rejection. telling us what they need to see before they can approve the loan. they'll come visit in 2 months, so need to look good then. 2019 didn't look great, so we need approval to pay sarah to go back and review 17 & 18.
- robb: that came up at tonight's finance meeting. we thought that since self help specifically asked for it ... 2019 says we only netted 10k. 2020 & 2021 are a wash. 2018 is ~170k, 2017 is ~90 i think. we can show we made a lot of money before. pandemic made it skewed. need sarah to go back and fix some of our errors.
- lots of thumbs up. agreement.
- robb: this work should be done anyway
- sarah: would it be useful to produce a written report explaining what the changes or mistakes were? and what changes i made? just for everybody's reference and for the sake of transparency. it might not be as popular a document as the village one.
End of Meeting
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