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Present: Andy, Hannah, Burgess, Richard (facilitating), Corey, Ryan, Marilyn (minutes), Paul, Don, Michelle, Andi, Delia, Sam
None; no agenda items were presented last week.
Corey presented the new policies on referrals and assistance from a partner organization and also on revised Outreach Coordinator position. Items accepted.
(Richard on behalf of Sam, facilitated by Andy) Extend Sam's contract through the end of January. Richard: he would like to grant this with the goal of getting Sam back into the co-op as a member, giving him labor as a grill-man twice a month. If this is successful we could consider Sam becoming a member at the end of that time.
CQ: WIll you be able to pay the rent and will you still get vouchers for two more months? Sam says yes but is not sure he can get it past December, and Corey says they are not behind on the rent for this month. CQ: Did we not the week after approving extension reduce monies owed? PI: We also waived all potential labor fines. This has been an ongoing issues, and 75% of people voted for eviction and loss of co-op membership for Sam. CQ: He is not a member, so any labor he does would be done in good faith and to reintegrate into the community. CQ: Did we not also reduce his expected hours, and is this not one of many accommodations? Answer: Yes. CQ: If he wants to participate in other labor, would that count toward this obligation? Answer from Richard: Yes. PI from Cynthia, presented by Michelle: We should give Delia a chance because they are having a hard time finding a place, it's hard to move schools, they should get special exemption as a family, and Delia has been sick. PI from Michelle: The fact that they are a big family with a lot of responsibilities we should continue to help them out. Concerns: If we extend to January will you continue to look for other places? Will changing schools help the kids? Answer from Sam: They'll be fine.
Concerns: Ryan: “I was okay to forgive the fines given that you were leaving, but if you plan to stay I would like to see those reinstated.” Reply from Richard: That could be considered if we invite him back in. Paul: Ad hoc labor may also pay back labor. Corey: Will we have to go back through membership acceptance. Burgess: A lot of people who think extending the contract might give him the opportunity to be a different person, but I think he will be the same person. Marilyn: As MemCo I have people waiting who will participate and pay rent, and it is hard to put them off to try something that has failed over and over. Andy: We have membership reviewed Sam, and waited a long time to do it, so I don't see how this will lead to progress or change. Paul: The decision to evict was done under different circumstances, an outstanding notice to vacate. Ryan: What if we extended to late Dec, as with the school break that is a good time to move. Richard: If there are people who would support this wouldn't otherwise I would accept it as an amendment. Delia and Sam: Would accept December. Richard accepts it as an amendment.
Friendly amendment: Extend to the end of December. CQ: Is two months significantly better than one month? Richard: Yes. Richard chooses to table.
Back to proposal, concerns: Burgess: Those of us who have raised kids are not thinking that we have to feel guilty about their kids. Richard: They can't move just anywhere, they have to use a voucher, and we are asking them to move late in the semester. Marilyn: They have put themselves in the late semester problem by deferring move beyond October 31. Megan: Social justice restoration – acknowledging that some people have been at a disadvantage, but you can take action to improve the quality of other peoples' lives.
Andy: suggests secret ballot. Ryan: suggests closing the session for discussion without Sam and Delia. Closing the session is not adopted. Secret ballot: 10 Yes, 1 No, 3 Blocks. Sam and Delia leave for discussion of the blocks. Ongoing problems with labor, no change in two years, we have given them a block time and again, we had set an expectation for labor, we are tracking more but Sam has not picked up his labor, and I don't believe this will change his behaviors, and they have said they would move in October and again in November, and this could happen again. I don't trust anything they've ever said. Understood that they had to go through a change with this becoming a co-op, but he has done things that are unsafe. Sam has made comments about racism as an excuse. Additional comments: We should be help their kids by making it easier for them to move later. Would the blocks make you uncomfortable about staying in the co-op? The blockers responded in various ways, including the idea that the c-op requires labor for membership, so this feels like continuation of the membership review because much of it had to do with nonperformance of labor. We gave them notice to vacate, then an additional month, and there is concern about a possible legal quagmire in continuing the extension.
Concerns: There have been rumors about Sam that have been proven untrue, e.g., blaming him for something someone else did, so she hopes that these are not the reasons people have blocked. The no voter didn't block because s/he believes we will get the rent and because there is a creative solution to the labor problem but doesn't believe anything will change and would not be comfortable with Sam becoming a member again. Concern that there may be micro-aggressions here, displacing problematic elements, not solving problems. I moved in to solve problems, not displace them. There has been prior discussion of grill labor, and at that time he was not reliable, but now he is more so in the last month (has held a full time job for 2 months). Everybody has issues; the speaker has been significantly behind in labor and has made it up, and that is the expectation here. We can give more chances and also yellow cards.
As far as procedure goes, the only thing that is going to change the vote is a vote to challenge germaneness and 75% would have to uphold that challenge. Richard challenges all three blocks. All three are found to be germane and the blocks are sustained, the proposal defeated.
(Burgess and Nolan) Replace our existing Visitors Policy with the following:
Visitors are welcome as guests of Resident co-op members. There are limitations set on the length of and substance of a welcome stay.
Visitors staying longer than 14 consecutive days or staying on site 15 days out of a 30 consecutive day period are defined as being unwelcome. Our Steward will, without Agenda Item requirement, present a “Notice to Vacate” (maximum of 7 days notice) to unwelcome visitors in a timely fashion so as to avoid any question of 30 day tenancy rights that may require eviction. It is not the sole responsibility of Steward to have knowledge of Visitors/Guests Rules violations. A visitor wishing to stay longer than 14 consecutive days may be allowed an additional 7 day grace period with which to complete our New Member Application process. But, the process for becoming a Resident at LaRe is “open membership”...meaning there is no fast track to a co-op Residency Lease available for visitors that is not also open to the general public.
Visitors will not camp on co-op property, and visitors will not use Commons #106 as a bedroom without the advanced, expressed consent of the co-op through an Agenda Item. The right for a Resident Member to host guests, including the Resident of another LaRe apartment, is subordinate to the rights of any roommate who is contractually obligated to share the costs of the apartment in which that guest is visiting. There is no issue relating to a spontaneous, overnight guest. There is no issue concerning repeated overnight visits, assuming the approval of any roommate(s) contractually sharing the host member’s apartment. The hosting member is responsible for the behavior of their visitors while on, or any damage their visitors may do to, co-op property: this liability includes all costs of eviction resulting from subterfuge or ignorance of these rules. Members hosting a guest or guests in violation of these rules are subject to Yellow Cards.
Should a Resident Member wish to give advance notice of arriving visitors, using New Business at our weekly Membership Meeting gets the word out. Except for our policy of “open membership”, LaRe recognizes the likelihood of special circumstances and may choose to approve a Variance against any of the Visitors/Guests Rules through an Agenda Item.
Presented by Burgess: Motivated by the lack of any policy other than 14 day limitation. Nolan's concern was that as adults we should be able to have visitors.
CQ/PI: Why is there comment about spontaneous visitors? Answer: To allow us to make adult decisions about having guests. Could someone getting a letter here give them squatters' rights? Answer: No, in Texas it is 30 day residency.
Concerns: Do we think it might be a problem in the future, to have people staying here for 2 weeks? It has been a problem in the past, so the other alternative to the 14 days is to reduce that number. Corey: Language issues: lack of definition; parts go into house manual; parts are friendly advice; parts will need to be written into the lease; this may not be consistent with Texas legal code. We would need to clarify in the lease the length of time visitors can stay, add a clause that tenants cannot sublet without house approval. Then someone would be in violation of their lease if they have someone stay, and we would not need a notice to vacate in order to handle this. The property code may say that the resident can give a guest a one day notice to leave. We should have a lawyer look at this, especially for changes to the lease. Richard: We've not had a problem with the policy, but we've been loathe to enforce it, though the caveat is that some members have gamed the 14 day limit by having the guest move out and back in. Not sure we need a lengthy revision to the policy. Corey: current policy is not very clear about enforcement and penalties. Richard: we have the yellow card process. We can only get someone out by penalizing the co-op member. Paul: having a detailed policy should make enforcement easier, and this helps address the issue of the roommate's opinion about the visitor. Burgess tables the item for further revisions.
(add… “Present a Notice to Vacate to all visitors defined by Visitors/Guests Rules as being unwelcome.” to job description of Steward.)
(Meg) Describe NASCO Institute this past weekend. CHEA was awarded a $950 scholarship for travel fees and registration for the five members who attended the Institute. She has the program that describes NASCO and the workshops. A good place to meet others if you are considering starting a co-op. It is student oriented and it would be helpful to have more non-students attend in order to show the need for offerings more relevant to our needs. Meg is now the NASCO properties representative to the education board planning the next institute. Worker co-ops also need to have their interests addressed. How many others are non-student co-ops: Meg names about five others. Ours is the most valuable property NASCO owns right now.
(Meg) Discuss Co-Op dynamics, how we use our resources & how we'd like to see our co-op develop. In this co-op we do a lot of work on current issues, but NASCO encourages looking at the future, educating and developing leaders, involvement in the wider community. She would like to have a discussion about this. Appreciates Hannah's efforts at involvement in the wider community. She discourages e-mail communications about serious matters in favor of face-to-face meetings. She wishes rumors and personal stories were not shared. She would like to see more males take notes, mostly females do it and therefore can't participate as much in meetings. Usually 2/3 of attendees are men. (Molly would like to see credit for meeting attendants.) Marilyn offers to help facilitate any visioning meetings. Meg asks if an administrative position is still in development; the CHEA Board has been occupied with other matters, and Daniel Miller is looking for funding for the position. Paul adds that our house policy allowing some single occupancy units was widely dissed, but we were appreciated for taking housing vouchers. Overall he appreciates the quality and depth of our discussions here, working toward social justice and addressing ableism. Ryan believes that how we present our policy will determine how it is regarded.
She has seen some illegal dumping of trash in the recycling bin. Our recycling bin is next to the curb, which encourages that. Ryan agrees, and will try to get our dumpster provider to move them; he also says that all the multi-family units on this block should be having a their own recycling bins by now, and we can call code compliance to get that accomplished.
Hannah: The co-op bike tour is next Sunday. Please make every effort to attend. Board rep Abby put it together; there can be scholarships. Ride is about 7-8 miles. It will end at Blackstar Co-op at about 4 p.m. and then come here. Is this the same time that the trainings are being held by Daniel Miller? NO! His workshop is Friday night and Saturday.