Proposal Package: Opening Omni (DZB) 2014-08-20

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2015-08-20 Proposal:

Proposed by: DZ Brazil

Delegates meeting minutes (link)

Proposal text

Proposal discussion

2015-01-08 Revised Proposal

Delegates meeting minutes (link)

Proposal text




The Omni is already a dynamic and exciting space, and will become even more so when it is opened to the public in September. In order for the Omni to be a functional, safe and autonomous social center, it is important that we establish the framework for public use now, before we open the doors. This will head off a number of predictable conflicts and problems, and hopefully save us all some headaches.

This proposal outlines seven areas of a public use framework : hours, public areas, staffing, ground rules, expulsion, bathrooms, and after-hours access. All of these provisions will be publicized through adequate signage.

Hours. The Omni will open to the public with the regular hours of 12noon to 6pm. These will be our public hours seven days a week going forward. From Wednesday through Sunday, La Commune staff will open the front door at 48th & Shattuck, as well as La Commune and the public areas of the Omni, in the morning, and close the public areas, La Commune, and the 48th Street door at night. Other Omni members will be responsible for opening the space on Mondays and Tuesdays until La Commune opens up daily, within the next few months.

Public hours will be extended as appropriate for special events as long as adequate staffing is available.

Public Areas. The public areas of the Omni are defined as La Commune, the basement, the upstairs kitchen and hallway, and the upstairs den and ballroom (if not previously reserved). All other areas of the Omni (Sudo Room, CounterCulture Labs, Rise Above and ground floor hallways) will be considered members-only areas and restricted to active members of the Omni collectives.

Staffing. The Omni will require staffing whenever it is open to the public. The initial open hours of 12noon-6pm, Wednesday through Sunday, will coincide with the shifts of La Commune, so the La Commune staff can be in part responsible for opening and closing the building. This proposal requests that one other person from any of the collectives be present every day the building is open, to act as a greeter, help orient people in the building, answer questions, and deal with any problems that might arise. All member collectives are requested to put out a call to their membership asking for volunteers to staff these shifts. Each collective is expected to be responsible for at least one day a month, regardless of its size. We will be dealing with many challenges in having such a large building open to the general public, including crime and antisocial behavior of various kinds, and staffing is absolutely essential. This volunteering will be coordinated through the Welcoming Committee.

Ground Rules. The Omni must have clear and posted rules about what is not permitted in the space. We need a sign prominently posted at each entrance, in the bathrooms, and in other places as appropriate. These rules include : NO DRUGS; NO SLEEPING; NO STORAGE; NO VIOLENCE; NO HARASSMENT; NO THREATS; NO SHOUTING; NO SOLICITATION; NO UNLEASHED DOGS; NO MATERIAL DONATIONS WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL. We can word the signs however we like but these things have to be crystal-clear. Every community space in Oakland and elsewhere has dealt with these issues and the Omni will be no exception. With compassion and love, we have to deal with these things strongly from the beginning.

Expulsion. We need to be able to kick people out for violation of our ground rules, or at our discretion. This is sad but totally necessary. Day staff (La Commune staff and the rotating volunteer) are empowered to expel people from the space for violations of the ground rules or according to the good judgment of the day staff. We can form a conflict-resolution group to deal with appeals to expulsions, but we do need to be able to expel people for violent or antisocial behavior, drug use, threats, or as necessary on a case-by-case basis, as soon as we are open to the public.

Bathrooms. Public bathrooms are always a tricky issue. Organizers of other community spaces have told us many stories about bathrooms being used for drug use or prostitution, or simply of people locking themselves inside and refusing to come out. We also need to deal with the issues of safety and comfort in unisex bathrooms -- that is, the possibility of antisocial behavior in such bathrooms. Bathrooms are part of the commons that we offer, and it's a very important human rights issue to have access to them, but we need to make sure that our bathroom system is functional.

All of our bathrooms need to be refurbished so that Omni staff can enter them with key access if someone has locked the door. The Omni should allot funds to pay for this. The La Commune bathroom and the Sudo/CCL bathroom should be redesignated as single-occupancy unisex bathrooms so that those who would feel more comfortable not using a multiple-occupancy unisex bathroom are able to do so. Urinals in the bathrooms should be covered up so that they are not used by men in bathrooms that are intended to be unisex.

After-Hours Access. As per the section on Hours, the Omni will close to the public at 6pm. The Omni will still be available to members of its collectives, including those, like Sudo Room, that require 24-hour access. Members will be furnished either with a key (following a lock-change at the Omni's expense) or a magnetic card or fob (if an appropriate access system can be developed).

Signage. All provisions of this proposal will be articulated in large & legible signage distributed throughout the Omni. The Welcoming Committee will be responsible for writing & producing this signage, which will aim to strike a balance between safety and a welcoming atmosphere.

Opening to the general public every day of the week is a great fulfillment of the Omni's mission to be a radical social commons. Let us make  strong decisions now about how we receive the public, so that this wonderful project can most fully flourish.

Proposal discussion

Discussion from 2015-01-15 Meeting

  • The whole thing as it is hasn't followed the process (it isn't on the consensus list)
  • It's not formatted well as something that the delegates can pass - we already have conflict resolution and safe space policies
  • We need to discuss w/our collectives and come back to vote next week
  • Perhaps we can unburden DB by distributing each section among the relevant working groups.
  • Agree it's not formatted well as something that the groups can vote on, can we agree to have it stand as a working document
  • Most of the issues that this document tries to address are things that we are in dereliction of a framework for
  • Reiterate that this is a great deal of urgency
  • Accept this as a working draft, identify a group to shepard this forward, set deadlines for a revised version
  • Working group should include people who have difficulty / issues with the proposal as it stands
  • Sense of urgency scares me, these things are already happening and the awesome people here are already dealing with them w/in the structures that we have in place
  • Agree that a lot of things are being worked out but it's helpful to have a summary
  • We've already passed a ban reciprocity, all members are already empower to expell someone
  • How to do you imagine this existing as a working document
  • Does this document need to exist? In this form? We could agree that this is purely a working version that will be amended
  • Would like to see a Working Group tasked specifically to draft this w/ a dedicated thread
  • We have a wiki!
  • Proposal will reduce work for everbody
  • Could act as a TL;DR for all of our other policies
  • As a visitor, signage and posted clear value statements is desireable. There's a lot of confusion when one wanders through here
  • We need a clear policy, in one place, that's legible to everyone. More than just a proposal to be open to the public.
  • Worry about the building in the evening, not during the middle of the day. Thanks to David for refocusing us on this.
  • All of our documents are amendable, let's put something in place and then set a deadline for revising it.
  • From a safety perspective, can see how important it is.
  • Let's end with some kind of an action plan. DB should not bear the burden. Can we identify a committee?
  • Every delegate needs to take this back to their collective and work on it. Yes, a committee can shepherd it.
  • This is something that would concern a newly forming group called Ebb and Flow
  • Maybe How We Organize would be a good place to work on this
  • David, Joe and Kwic agree to shepherd the proposal
  • Let's agree to set a date to bring it back - 2 weeks from now?
  • Might need a little bit more time. But let's shoot for 2 weeks.