Local Council Meeting Minutes: Nov. 26, 2017

East Bay DSA Local Council Meeting, November 26, 2017

Approved December 24, 2017

November 26, 2017
4–6 p.m.

6501 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94702

Introductions and Opening Statements

Molly Armstrong chaired and informed the assembled group of the form the meeting will take.  The secretary was present and recorded the notes of the meeting.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous local council meeting were approved unanimously.

Reports

Finance

Jeff L. provided a finance update regarding our current costs and balance. He also updated us on the work of the finance team. We now have a swag manager, Emily A., and Nicola G. is working on a venues worksheet. An incorporation compliance group is working on issues surrounding our nonprofit status.

Data

Member Sean M. discussed data work and upcoming CRM trainings and shared efforts to work on a number of issues and analysis of data.

External Organizing Committee (EOC)

Ari announced the launch of two new neighborhood canvassing groups. Leaders have been identified and canvasses will occur before December. A mass canvass is planned for January, which will include the RPA and whether the membership endorses Medicare for All. The committee has engaged in lots of thinking about leadership development processes. It also provided updates on the upcoming labor event and other upcoming events. Zach provided updates on work with the LA chapter on the Healthy California campaign.

Internal Organizing Committee (IOC)

The committee provided an update on the recent endorsement meeting and the new members meeting. The bimonthly informational meeting is coming up Tuesday and will include a new member orientation and a single-payer event. In place of an IOC working meeting there will be a phonebank 101 meeting this month in order to also support turn-out for the upcoming meetings. The committee also discussed the first round of Socialist School and the mobilizers program.

Convention Committee

If there is one thing you do in DSA this year, it should be to coming to the convention on April 28. This is the first convention of East Bay DSA. The bylaws meeting will ratify the bylaws before the convention on February 24.

Consent Calendar

The council unanimously approved the consent calendar. The following items were present.

Proposal for Census Guidance

Proposed by Ben F.

Draft Proposal to the EBDSA LC:
Motivated by Benjamin Fife, Secretary EBDSA
11/11/2017

Be it resolved that the EBDSA member census shall take the following form.

The census shall consist of an online survey
Where the answer to each question
is tied to a individual member
(no data would be de-identified),

Clear justifications for why EBDSA is collecting the data
will be provided to members along with the survey.

The survey would be administered with a first round
of inexpensive (email, requests at meetings)
data collection techniques. 

People who don’t complete the census survey
will be outreached to with a  follow up organizing rap
where the survey is part of the justification for the contact and/or a leave behind,
but where the member contact itself is part of a larger membership drive and organizing conversation.

Motion to Establish Data Lead

Proposed by Robbie N.

Motion to establish the role of ‘Data Lead’ and formalize commitment to data collection and organization

Whereas the Data team, once part of the erstwhile Communications Committee is now housed under the EOC, yet maintains organization-wide connections

Whereas the timely and accurate collection of EBDSA member participation data are necessary for effective communication and membership engagement

Whereas the task of data collection occurs at myriad events across the organization

Whereas delineation of roles and expectations facilitates work and creates accountability

Whereas a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) provides mechanisms for storage, communication, and security

Therefore be it resolved that EBDSA establish the position of Data Lead. The Data lead shall be the architect of data collection, organization, and analysis in support of the Local’s organizing efforts. The Data Lead must be a Member in good standing and either a member of the LC or an Appointed Organizer. The LC shall designate the Data Lead and the Data Lead shall report to the LC.

Therefore be it resolved that Sean M. be appointed as Data Lead.

Therefore be it resolved that sign-ins shall occur at the following types of events:
General Meetings, Informational Meetings, Conventions, EOC/IOC meetings, Trainings (eg. rap trainings), Canvasses, Social Events, New Member Meetings, Educational Events, and any other open/public meeting

Therefore be it resolved that sign-ins shall always collect First Name, Last Name, and email. Sign-ins may collect: further contact information such as Address, phone number; interest in committee, projects, trainings, events, and campaigns; information useful for organizing purposes such as union affiliation. Sign-ins shall not collect more personal information such as income, gender, and race.

Therefore be it resolved that event show runners are responsible for managing sign-ins and IOC/EOC leaders are responsible for determining which supplemental data to collect at a given event.

Therefore be it resolved that the Data Lead shall be responsible for the creation of sign-ins and their timely and accurate import into EBDSA’s CRM.

Therefore be it resolved that The Local shall use its CRM to support its organizing work and consolidate and organize membership and attendance records. The LC, under the guidance of the Data Lead will  develop and implement secure data storage as a backup to its CRM.

Motion to Define Permission Sets in Nation Builder CRM

Proposed by Ari M.

Motion to Define Permission Sets in Nation Builder CRM

Whereas the Local respects the privacy of its members and recognizes the threats of doxing, harassment, and law enforcement

Whereas the Local’s CRM can facilitate organizing work and allow many people to work within it on disparate tasks

Whereas accountability in a Member’s use of EBDSA resources and data are important to a democratic organization

Whereas delineation of roles in a CRM improves security and data hygiene

Therefore be it resolved that the Local’s CRM - NationBuilder - shall have the following Permission Sets: Admin, Organizing Leader, Importer, Web Developer, Web Editor, and Data Entry. The detailed definitions of the access and functions allocated to each Permission Set in Nation Builder can be found in the attached ‘Matrix And Definitions

Therefore be it resolved that Members should receive the minimum Permission Set necessary to fulfill their roles

Therefore be it resolved that EBDSA shall seek to consolidate CRM activities to minimize the number of users with assignments other than Data Entry

Therefore be it resolved that Members who receive Admin, Organizing Leader, and Import permissions must receive a CRM training as soon as possible after assignment

Therefore be it resolved that the Local’s CRM and its data only be used for work sanctioned by Local Council and/or General Membership

Therefore be it resolved data security and data-use guidelines will be developed by the Data Lead or someone designated by the Data Lead, for approval by the LC.

Therefore be it resolved that initial Admins shall be the Treasurer, one co-Chair, one elected External Organizer, one elected Internal Organizer, and the Data Lead

Therefore be it resolved that only Admins may assign Members as Organizing Leaders, Importers, Web Developers, and Web Editors. New Admins may only be assigned with a majority vote of the LC.

Therefore be it resolved that the initial Organizing Leaders shall be any non-admin Local Council members and any Appointed Organizers who could otherwise not do their work

Therefore be it resolved that Importers shall be identified by the Data Lead and assigned only with majority vote of the Admins

Therefore be it resolved that Web Developers and Web Editors will be identified by the Data lead and assigned only with majority vote of the Admins

Therefore be it resolved that all Admins, Organizing Leaders, Importers, Web Developers, and Web Editors must be Members of the Local in good standing.

Therefore be it resolved that the Data Lead shall revise old and develop new and/or additional permission sets as Local organizing needs require.

Naming Hannah Ehrlinspiel and Cooper Rogers Appointed External Organizers

Proposed by Zach M.

Naming Hannah Ehrlinspiel and Cooper Rogers Appointed External Organizers

Whereas Hannah Ehrlinspiel and Cooper Rogers have demonstrated exemplary competence and commitment as socialist organizers—including but not limited to their roles as co-leaders of the North Oakland Single Payer Canvassing Group.

Whereas the External Organizing Committee’s needs to add leadership capacity to handle an expanding canvass program and EBDSA’s work in support of two endorsed electoral campaigns, as well as future projects.

Therefore be it resolved that the EBDSA Local Council will appoint Hannah Ehrlinspiel and Cooper Rogers as Appointed External Organizers.

New Business

Newsletter Submissions Criteria

Newsletter submissions guidelines proposal
Motivated by Meagan Day, At-Large Member of the Local Council

Whereas the EBDSA newsletter is an official communication organ of the chapter,

Whereas the newsletter reaches the entire membership, including inactive and paper members, and therefore must be taken seriously as an official communication,

Whereas the newsletter team has, over the course of the past year, been learning through trial and error how best to reflect the official nature of the communication in the content of the newsletter,

Whereas there has been some confusion over submission guidelines, and the newsletter team would like to codify them to clarify the confusion,

Whereas the newsletter team, which consists of a combination of rank-and-file members and appointed and elected leaders, has built consensus around submission guidelines over the last few months,

Therefore be it resolved that:

  1. Content shall be approved for inclusion in the newsletter if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
    a) Events that have been endorsed by the Local Council or General Membership,
    b) Events and announcements submitted to the newsletter team by elected leaders representing standing committees and working groups. In this case, the submission must fall under the purview of the committee or working group,
    c) Events and announcements submitted to the newsletter team by Local Council
    members acting in their official capacities.
  2. Submissions must come from appointed and elected leaders, and they must specify on the form which of the above criteria their submission meets.
  3. The newsletter team is empowered to reject submissions that do not meet the submissions criteria, and shall inform the submitter of the decision with an explanation.
  4. The vice-chair and/or secretary of EBDSA must review each issue of the newsletter to confirm that all approved submissions do in fact meet the submissions criteria.
  5. The vice-chair and/or secretary has veto power over submissions that have been approved by the newsletter team.
  6. If an event or announcement is rejected by the newsletter team or vetoed by the vice-chair and/or secretary, the submitter may appeal to the Local Council by writing a formal request to the chairs. With a 2/3 vote, the LC can override the veto. In this case, the newsletter team will issue a special correction to the newsletter by email and include the event or announcement.
  7. The submissions criteria shall be explicitly stated in both the call for submissions and the form through which submissions are solicited.
  8. Each issue of the newsletter shall contain a link to the “Caucus Corner” section of the website, so that readers interested in unofficial activities of EBDSA members can easily retrieve more information.

The proposed was approved unanimously.

Compliance Working Group

EBDSA proposal
Compliance Working Group
2017.11.7
Motivated by: Jeff Lee
Background:

  1. On 2017.10.29, EBDSA’s general membership approved the endorsement of electoral candidates Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin, and committed the chapter to support these with substantive resources.
  2. During the 2017.9.17 meeting, the LC approved the pursuit of 501(c)(4) status for East Bay DSA, as part of the consent calendar.
  3. Organizations with 501(c)(4) status must comply with numerous constraints and regulations related to electoral activity. For example, organizations with this status must limit expenditures on activity related to electoral campaigns and endorsements, and must prove this with appropriate reporting to the IRS and/or other government bodies. For more information, please consult this guide.

Resolution:

  1. The LC establishes a Compliance Working Group, initially co-chaired by Sophia Skowronski and Jackie Andrews. The working group will prepare the chapter to comply with legal constraints imposed on non-profit organizations, including but not necessarily limited to rules related to 501(c)(4) status. Concretely, the working group will:
    1. Conduct research on laws/rules related to compliance.
    2. Perform retroactive bookkeeping for regulated activity conducted by the chapter to date.
    3. Create and document a reporting process on political activity spending.
    4. Publicize compliance rules and processes to EBDSA organizers.
    5. Seek opportunities for knowledge-sharing with other DSA chapters.
    6. Provide an in person training for elected and appointed leaders.
  2. In her function as member of Finance Team and co-chair of the Compliance Working Group, Sophia Skowronski is recognized as an appointed organizer in EBDSA. She will report to treasurer Jeff Lee.
  3. Project leaders must consult with the Compliance Working Group during the planning phases of any project that involves endorsements (both external- and internal-facing), candidate campaigns, ballot measures, get-out-the-vote, or anything else that may be construed as "political activity" as defined by federal and CA state laws governing 501(c)(4) organizations.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Proposal for New Online Member Forum

Motivated by Frances Reade

Whereas the EBDSA MEMBERS FACEBOOK GROUP POLICY resolution passed by the Local Council on September 18, 2017 stated that “In order to satisfy the requirement of a safe and facilitated environment to debate ideas and grow as socialists, the IOC will explore opening an alternate moderated discussion space to be made available for members”;

Whereas the East Bay DSA Members Facebook group was originally created without approval of the members or elected leadership of EBDSA, and has since become the de facto hub for online discussion and organizing in the chapter with little intentionality or oversight from membership or elected leaders;

Whereas the Facebook group was converted to a bulletin board model in the aforementioned September 18 resolution as an interim solution in the absence of an alternative moderated space for thoughtful, comradely, and robust discussion and debate;

Whereas a central online space, in addition to serving as a community organizing tool and discussion platform, is a potentially valuable channel for members to gain insight into the governance of the chapter and the decision-making of its leaders;

Whereas a robust moderation policy for EBDSA’s online space has not existed in the past, and the demanding work of moderation has fallen ad hoc on individual members;

Whereas moderating an online discussion group is a difficult, emotionally demanding, and time-consuming role, and simultaneously a position of power that should be subject to democratic oversight and should not be entrenched in a small number of members;

Whereas a Facebook group is a problematic and dysfunctional platform for conducting chapter work and discussion online, for reasons including:

  • The Facebook algorithm privileges posts with high levels of intensified engagement, disproportionately highlighting controversy and divisive interactions;
  • Facebook’s moderation tools are unwieldy and open to abuse, such as deleting posts and comments with no trace of their existence;
  • Posts are not organized by topic or chronology, and older posts are difficult to find;
  • We cannot know if the information being shared on our private Facebook group is in fact private and/or secure, and we have good reason to believe that it is not;
  • Some unknown number of members choose not to make Facebook part of their lives for reasons of privacy or personal preference;
  • Facebook is a massive, globe-spanning organ of capital that exists to monetize our engagement, often in the service of an anti-worker political agenda;

Be it resolved that the IOC will close the existing East Bay DSA Members Facebook group and create and administer an official EBDSA discussion forum (the “Forum”) on a platform other than Facebook that allows for robust and transparent moderation and useful organization of posts.

Be it resolved that the old Facebook group will remain as an archive for users who already have access to it, but no new posts will be approved and the sticky post will direct users to the new forums.

Be it resolved that the Forum will substantially meet the guidelines for accessibility put forth by the W3C (https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/glance/), and attempt to address member feedback about accessibility in a timely fashion.

Be it resolved that access to the forum will be granted only to EBDSA members in good standing.

Be it resolved that in the process of first launching the forum, Local Council and appointed leaders will be the first users of the system, and members from the Facebook group will be gradually added in over the following weeks.

Be it resolved that the process and timeline for inviting new chapter members to the Forum will be evaluated in conjunction with the IOC’s plan for a new member handbook, and members may not receive an invitation to the online-only space as part of their immediate introduction to the chapter.

Be it resolved that membership, expected conduct, and moderation within the Forum shall be governed by the rules laid out in the EBDSA Online Code of Conduct and Moderation Policy (“Code of Conduct”) and the “Responsibilities of EBDSA Forum Moderators,” attached, which shall be posted prominently on the Forum.

Be it resolved that the IOC will review and modify the Code of Conduct and moderator responsibilities periodically to ensure the Forum remains a safe and productive online space, taking frequent input from members on their experiences and needs for the Forum.

Be it resolved that the IOC will appoint members to serve as moderators of the Forum, in accordance with the following:

  • An ongoing open call for moderator applications will be made available to members, and the IOC will outline the procedure for being approved as a moderator in a dedicated forum post.
  • Any EBDSA member in good standing may be a moderator, provided they affirm their ability and willingness to undertake the required time commitment (expected to be 45 minutes per day or less) and to abide by the Forum Code of Conduct.
  • Appointed or elected IOC organizers will provide moderators with instructions and documentation necessary to carry out their role.
  • The Forum will be staffed by at least two moderators at all times, with a goal of having a crew of four moderators.
  • Each moderator is expected to serve a two-month term and then rotate out, subject to the availability of new volunteer moderators.
  • If there is evidence that a moderator is failing to meet their responsibilities, including failing to abide by the moderation rules laid out in the Code of Conduct, the IOC may remove that moderator immediately.
  • The IOC will consider implementing a member voting system for moderators if it becomes necessary to select from a large number of would-be moderators.

Be it resolved that the Forum, unlike Facebook, will be treated as a working space for conducting official East Bay DSA business, and is thus a suitable place for conducting Local Council, IOC and EOC planning, organizing and non-critical voting in the appropriate subforums.

Be it resolved that the Local Council will use the Forum to communicate with members and to conduct minor business, as follows:

  • The Local Council will commit to posting all Local Council meeting agendas, proposals, minutes, and results of in-person and out-of-meeting votes in a timely fashion on one (or more, as needed) dedicated subforums that are readable by all members, but only writeable by Local Council members. Notes of closed sessions will not be posted to preserve member confidentiality.
  • The Local Council may post draft agendas in advance of final approval
  • The Local Council may post draft notes of meetings in advance of final versions
  • The Local Council will use the Forum to solicit member comments on proposals with significant political implications.

Be it resolved that caucuses who are formally recognized by the Local Council per the bylaws will receive a sub-forum dedicated to their caucus, where they can organize and discuss with members of similar interests.

Be it resolved that caucus subforums will provide an initial post containing information about the members of the caucus (at least the names/handles of initial 5 members) and an address for contacting the caucus via email.

Be it resolved that creation of additional dedicated subforums focused on specific topics, interests or projects will be done at the sole discretion of the IOC, and should be a tool used to better organize discussions in ways that will become evident as the usage of the Forum evolves naturally over time.

A motion to table passed nine in favor, two opposed, and one abstaining. The motion will be added to unfinished business.

Close of Business

The closed session started at 5:30 p.m. The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

Addenda

Addendum 1

On November 30, Molly A. requested an email vote on the following resolution motivated by Jeff Lee.

The measure passed with a vote of 11 in favor and 2 abstaining.

EBDSA proposal
November 2017 revision to bank account signatories
2017.11.28
Motivated by: Jeff Lee
Background:
Per rules stipulated by Beneficial State Bank, which maintains EBDSA’s bank account, EBDSA must authorize a change in bank account signatories via a decision recorded in the organization’s official minutes.
Account signatories have a wide degree of authority over the bank account. Among other things, they may individually make deposits and withdrawals (including signing checks).
On August 20th, the Local Council approved a proposal to revise the list of signatories to include the incoming co-chair Molly Armstrong and incoming treasurer Jeff Lee, and to remove the outgoing co-chair Jeremy Gong. To ease the transition, the outgoing treasurer Jess Dervin-Ackerman was left in the list of signatories. Although this proposal was approved, the procedure to revise the list of signatories was never completed, and the original list of signatories remain.
Jess Dervin-Ackerman’s resignation from the Local Council was recognized by proposal on October 27.
Resolution:
As a matter of course, EBDSA should retain the following roles as bank account signatories:
Both current co-chairs
The current secretary
The current treasurer
No more than one outgoing officer (treasurer, secretary, or chair), for no longer than six weeks after the end of term, for the purpose of easing the transition to a new set of signatories.
The list of signatories for EBDSA’s Beneficial State Bank account shall be exactly:
Molly Armstrong (co-chair)
Mary Virginia Watson (co-chair)
Benjamin Fife (secretary)
Jeffrey Lee (treasurer)