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Present: Andy, Azzurra, Burgess, Carey, Corey, Cynthia, Donny, Frankie, Gatlin, Georgette, Marilyn, McAllen, Michael, Mike, Nolan, Richard, Ryan, Vanessa
Michael: I live down the street. In a sober house right now. I choose to live a spiritual type of lifestyle. My house is similar to this; we all have jobs. No pets or allergies.
Vanessa here for her second meeting. Interested in sharing an apartment with someone. Has a cat.
Vanessa accepted for membership.
Permanent or semi-permanent alterations to common areas should be passed by a meeting. (Georgette)
Georgette: The lease says no alterations to interiors and such. My issue is that I should have been asked if alterations are to be made. We need permission to do things like everything else. I don't want to look at psychedelic bricks; I want to look at them in their natural state.
Frankie: If you go to any other coop in Austin, there's a lot of free-form art. I don't want anyone to feel super-hindered. It's much better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. This place is a little boring. It could use a little bit of color. The way the rock painting was addressed was very aggressive and inappropriate. I think there should be a little bit of leeway when someone tries to beautify the coop.
Azzurra: The area surrounding an apartment, I wouldn't want anybody to ask permission. In general, I think that painting and beautification is an improvement. I'm tired of people coming to house meetings asking for permission to things that don't need permission. Then people don't want to come to house meetings because they last four hours. Graffiti artists work this out all the time. If you don't like someone's art, then you can cover it up. We've all made improvements to our unit, and God bless everyone who has. My concern is that it will stop people from beautifying the coop, and I feel that it's a personal issue that has been turned into an agenda item, and this is a waste of time.
Ryan: If you paint the apartment and the person who comes after you doesn't like it, then we can take money out of your deposit for repainting. I think it's appropriate to set up a rule for the common. Beauty is subjective. I think art can take control away from people in the coop, since people don't feel empowered to reverse the art. Sometimes there are projects that are half-finished and that people forgot to finish.
Cynthia: We were making it look nice. We've been here a year trying to make it look half-way decent.
Corey: I don't see paint as a permanent thing. If someone started removing garden beds outside, that's something different. Something like that I think we should talk about.
Georgette: Tabling; will vote next week.
Allow rock painting project to continue (Frankkie)
Tabled since Frankie left the meeting.
Discussion of systemic labor problems (Beth)
Tabled since Beth wasn't present.
Choose a date for Labor Holiday (Beth)
Allow Gatlin (201) to cede his voting rights, labor obligations, and rent obligations to Anna Thames and Karena Therrien from 1 August to 1 September, 2014. Effectively, this would be a cooperative sub-letting situation.
Gatlin will be traveling, Anna and Karena (both associates) need a place to stay, and Richard is fine with it.
Gatlin: I'm going to be gone for most of August. Conveniently, two of my friends who are associates need a place to stay for August. They can see what it's like to live here, and I have less to worry about while I'm traveling.
Would they establish rights here?
Gatlin: Yes. They would sign a one-month contract.
Who would be on the hook if they flake out on labor? We've had people come on a temporary basis and flake out.
Gatlin: They would be, since I would cede voting rights and labor obligations.
Will they pay a deposit?
Are you sure they can pay a deposit?
Have you discussed how tech will be handled while you're gone?
Gatlin: A lot of things can be done remotely. Richard or any other interested party could handle things that are hardware-related. Would like to tie up loose ends before I go.
Concern that they'll come in for August, have paid a deposit, and then in September there's no place for them to go. Could be a heart-breaking situation for the house.
Gatlin: They're totally fine with the ramifications of that.
Frankie: Friendly amendment to delegate the responsibility of how the contract transitions to memco.
Passes with the friendly amendment.
(Hannah) Approve $105 from Membership/Steward budget to purchase from Cooperation Texas and frame 7 Rochdale Principles posters.
Tabled. Some discussion of whether it was necessary to bring this up as a proposal. There was also an objection to spending the money for the posters.
(Donny) Approve child credit policy.
Donny: There are a number of families living here that did not know about coops and labor. Do we want them to do less labor than us because they're raising kids? We need to explicitly decide how we include everybody in it.
Marilyn: I'd like it if these adults only had to do one hour of labor per week, regardless of how many kids they have.
McAllen: If I had kids, would my labor requirements change? I don't think we should give anybody special treatment. It's unequal and kind of insulting to them. Whatever we would expect of any of us if we have children, should be applied to the families.
Azzurra: I prefer the idea of having it be per child, and I think there should be an age cap put in, for children under the age of 18. Concern that allowing someone a three-hour credit for having a 16-year-old kid seems over the top. If we give labor credit for taking care of your children, then I'd hate for it to imply that children need to be taken care of in a certain way, but, if we don't, then they can't be no-showed.
Nolan: I feel that the presence of children creates more labor for us. If kids trash the courtyard, will create more labor. If I'm hanging around with Sarah, she starts taking care of them. I don't think it makes sense to give them less. Concerned that a lot of these folks haven't met with us at all. They're not here advocating for themselves. I can't believe that they don't have an hour or two a month to talk to us about this stuff. If they're going to get the benefits, they should participate or go to another apartment.
Frankie: It might be good to recruit people with families by saying that, if you have children, you'll have a little less labor.
Ryan: I don't think it's fair to expect the families to be here and interacting with us since two of the three families don't speak English.
Donny: It was my intention to only apply to the families that moved in here before we came. Recognition that they didn't ask us to buy the building.
Azzurra: If we make this exemption, I think it should be for anybody coming in. If the intention is to enshrine people who were here before we started the community, then it should just be a grandfather clause. I agree with Corey that it seems to be about people who were here before us. Apartment complexes get bought and sold all the time. Especially if the complex is going to be remodeled, everyone can get kicked out.
Ryan: it's kind of a compromise situation between the previous land owner not having sold the building and a commercial developer buying the building. People don't feel comfortable taking advantage of the services because they feel they can't contribute.
Marilyn: I would like to see them come in individually and make a proposal. I'd be in favor of tailoring the solution as we do for many of us under different circumstances.
McAllen: One or more people should draft a concrete proposal.
Burgess: I'm not that attracted to the per-child approach. Having kids is hard. I can see a grandfather approach but not one that takes kids into account in the future.
Nolan: I'm much more okay with somebody on the hook for 4 hours doing 2 or 3 than someone who does none. My understanding was that people who aren't doing labor were committed to moving out. It's demoralizing to me as a co-oper that, if I only do 90% rather than 100%, I'll get no-showed, and other people are doing none, and we're looking for reasons to excuse them doing none. If people want to live here, they should do something, even if it's a fraction of what we require.
Cynthia: Agree with Nolan. Everyone should do something.
Ryan: I'm not in favor of writing a policy. I think that coops will often try to solve problems by writing policies instead of solving the problem. I'm in favor of an individual approach. All we have to do is member review them.
Frankie: Would they come to the member reviews?
Ryan: They don't have to.
Donny: A member review is a reasonable thing; it is a discussion. I wanted to get the house talking about it, and it's happening, so great. I'd like to just table this.
Azzurra: Would like to propose to give a jubilee to previous tenants for labor that is currently owed, and tenants who are not doing labor will not be allowed to renew their lease, and can request a change in the number of hours, with the understanding that they'll now be no-showable. That will allow us to member review tenants who have come in since the coop began who haven't done labor. We need to make sure we're stating the problem we're trying to solve.
Donny: I do not accept that as relevant to my agenda item. We don't need to solve it in one meeting.
Frankie: We don't seem to have a consensus. We should table until people can hash something out. It's not right to kick people out because they don't believe what we believe, but there are plenty of people who want to come in and participate.
McAllen: If we have to kick people out because they aren't pulling their weight, it's unfortunate but not our problem. I think we should do everything in our power to make a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation is made for people who want to participate, but there's a world of difference between an accommodation for people who need it and letting people just not do anything. Grandfathering people who weren't part of the coop is entirely unacceptable.
Georgette: I do my labor, and I do other peoples' labor because it needs to be done. You need to do what's expected of you, what you signed up for.
(Hannah) Raise deposit amount to $420 for a single room and $840 for an entire unit to correspond to current monthly dues rates. Require associates operating on the $5/month plan to pay $25 for deposit without key, $60 for deposit with a commons key.
Tabled. Ryan felt that officers could do this and it didn't need to come before the house.
Azzurra: We have a bucket of condoms. We have the option, if we can show that we can move through these and serve and under-served population, of joining the condom distribution network. They will re-fill the bucket as needed.
Georgette: Are people being educated, or are you just giving them out? A lot of people aren't aware of how to keep them safe. You don't just keep them in your wallet.
Azzurra: I've just been giving them out. If you want to bring some literature, that would be awesome.
Cynthia: I don't know who was upstairs the other night, but it was ridiculous. People leave bottles out. They attract flies and mosquitoes.
Richard: I was going to make a proposal that the occupant of 201 should have some say in what goes on in the breezeway, as the person in 106 has some say over what goes on in the commons.
Azzurra: That's my favorite space in the coop, and I've also been concerned that it's getting dirty. Is it part of courtyard clean labor?
Burgess: I've been doing it up until four weeks ago. This last round was overwhelming, and I've lost enthusiasm for it.