East Bay DSA Local Council Meeting, February 18, 2018
February 18, 2018
Introductions and Opening Statements
Present and chairing the meeting was Molly, the chair. Also present were co-chair Mary Virginia, Jamie, Robbie, Zach, vice-chair Frances, Hannah, secretary Ben (recording the minutes of the meeting), Ari, and Jeremy (attending by phone). Absent from the meeting were Jeff L., Meagan D., and Ahmed K.
Approval of Agenda
The agenda was approved following revision.
Approval of Minutes
The Local Council unanimously approved the January 14, 2018 notes.
Molly gave the finance report in the absence of the treasurer.
The chapter received a new member national. We currently have 968 members. There are still questions of when we are receiving data and the quality of the data from national, and Sean has a plan to discuss data concerns with them. There is also a question about active membership and eligibility to vote. He also plans to raise the question of monthly dues.
The CARA request has come in for renewal. The secretary suggests the external organizing committee (EOC) discuss rates and representation with CARA. The EOC has agreed to take this on. The secretary will not be able to attend the upcoming bylaws meeting due to health issues. Jamie will substitute for the secretary in taking the minutes at the upcoming bylaws meeting.
External Organizing Committee
A representative from the EOC provided updates on the local and large canvases. There has been a huge success so far with the amount of canvassing. An upcoming meeting will focus on electoral work and shaping it prior to the June primary. The labor fundraiser raised considerable money and another labor social is coming up. March for our Health, which we voted to endorse, has moved to May 12. We endorsed the Bay Resistance campaign, and we're working with members of the Immigrants' Rights Caucus to invigorate rapid response networks around the Bay Area.
Internal Organizing Committee
The new member handbook is in the hands of many members. A designer and a writer are ready to do a quick turnaround once we have new bylaws so that the new handbook can be ready by the time of the next big canvass. The mobilizers program continues to move forward, and there is ongoing effort toward an evaluation. Four head mobilizers and 12 mobilizers are currently working on the project. The dues campaign is in full swing with phonebanks occurring every other weekend. Efforts are in place to reduce the confusion caused by difficulties in the data from national. Phonebanks have been a success and the people contacted have been generally excited about being members. Socialist Night School is happening tomorrow. The last session was huge. A pilot session of the census has been worked on, and the census is nearly ready to go out. The newsletter continues to go out regularly. Web development is being passed on to a group that is working on getting the website to be even more functional and more beautiful.
The Convention Committee is too busy with the bylaws to plan the convention at the moment but is looking forward to having the bandwidth for the convention planning once the bylaws meeting has concluded.
The Bylaws Committee is working to develop a strategy for making a tenable meeting with a workable agenda. The committee has sent out a message to the membership explaining how we will proceed. Jeremy proposes that the Local Council (LC) affirm the process put forward by the Bylaws Committee and the parliamentarian to limit the agenda of the bylaws meeting to six amendments of a reasonable size so that the meeting will keep to the stated time. The motion passes unanimously.
Special Meeting Proposal Quorums
Motion to Lower the Quorum Required to Agendize Proposals at a Special Meeting
Whereas a threshold of ten percent of members is required for a general membership meeting as described in our bylaws,
Whereas the requirement to add an item to the agenda of a general membership meeting is the collected signatures of ten percent of members,
Whereas this produces an undue burden on the motivator of a proposal to achieve the threshold before the membership can debate or discuss the proposal,
Therefore be it resolved that the threshold required to add an item to the agenda of a general membership meeting shall be twenty members.
This will take effect after March 1, 2018 and will not pertain to the agenda of the local convention.
Reasonable deadlines for submission shall be determined by the LC or Steering committee.
Clarification of Roberts rules policies on agenda creation and approval and the policies of time limits and extension of meetings shall be provided to all members in attendance at general membership meetings.
The majority of the LC voted in favor. The measure passes.
The vote count is one abstention, one against, eight in favor.
Endorsement of International Women's Strike
Proposed by Robbie N.
Endorsement for International Women's Strike Bay Area
Whereas The International Women's Strike organization has called for coordinated international demonstrations on International Women's Day to demand reproductive justice, labor rights and full social provisionings, including healthcare, and
Whereas DSA values reproductive freedom for all people, including universal access to abortion, as a part of our commitment to healthcare as a human right, and
Whereas DSA understands the importance of women (46% of union members in the United States) in its commitment to a revitalized labor movement, and
Whereas DSA is committed to building relationships of solidarity between diverse groups of people, and all those who seek to build a feminist, working class movement,
Whereas this march presents an opportunity to enact DSA's commitment to internationalism, and
Whereas a substantial demonstration is to be held Thursday March 8th, 2018.
Be it resolved that the East Bay DSA officially endorses and resolves to support the International Women's Strike Bay Area.
Be it further resolved that said support shall include driving member turnout through means including, the Socialist Feminist caucus, the newsletter, calendar, and social media.
Be it further resolved that such support will include developing messaging connecting the International Women's Strike Bay Area to socialist feminist principles more broadly, and to the Medicare for All campaign.
Be it further resolved, that the Local Council appoints Maura McDonald as a liaison to represent EBDSA in the organizing meetings of the East Bay strike planning coalition.
Be it further resolved, the appointed liaison will make regular reports to the EOC on the status of strike planning, as well as coordinating an EBDSA presence at the strike action itself. However all substantive organizing questions or decisions shall be brought back to the local Council before commitments are made.
The measure passed unanimously.
Naming a Single-Payer Liaison
Proposed by Zach M.
Motion to Appoint a Single-Payer Healthcare Liaison
Whereas EBDSA has been organizing on behalf of single-payer healthcare legislation for more than a year, starting with SB-562, the Healthy California Act, backed by the Campaign for a Healthy California, a coalition that includes California Nurses Association and more than a dozen other unions and non-profits.
Whereas the EBDSA membership voted to adopt DSA's national Medicare for All campaign.
Whereas EBDSA's work in support of SB-562 and DSA's national Medicare for All campaign includes extensive communication and coordination with numerous DSA chapters in and outside of California, as well as other organizations fighting on behalf of single-payer healthcare.
Therefore be it resolved that the EBDSA Local Council will vote to appoint a designated liaison to communicate with the Campaign for a Healthy California, the California Nurses Association, other DSA chapters, and other organizations like the East Bay Single Payer Coalition.
Therefore be it resolved that the appointed liaison will provide regular summaries of pertinent developments to the EBDSA Local Council and provide further information to council members upon request. The liaison will seek the guidance of the Local Council before committing to significant political decisions on behalf of EBDSA and its membership.
Therefore be it resolved that the EBDSA Local Council appoints Matt Stone to fulfill the role of official single-payer healthcare liaison.
The motion passed unanimously.
Naming Richard M., Maia A., and Miles L. Appointed External Organizers
Proposed by Zach M.
Naming Richard Marcantonio, Maia Averett, and Miles Lincoln Appointed External Organizers
Whereas Richard Marcantonio has been a valuable and dedicated contributor to EBDSA's canvassing rap training program, the January 13th Big Medicare for All Canvass and Social Housing Caucus.
Whereas Maia Averett helped to launch a new neighborhood single-payer canvassing group and has proven herself a skilled and reliable external organizer.
Whereas Miles Lincoln has been an highly active and productive contributor to the single-payer canvassing program and is one of the lead organizers of EBDSA's new Medicare for All Open Strategy Meetings.
Therefore be it resolved that the EBDSA Local Council will appoint Richard Marcantonio, Maia Averett and Miles Lincoln as Appointed External Organizers.
The motion passed unanimously.
Medicare-for-All Starter Kits
Ari moved that we allocate $540 dollars to purchase three Medicare-for-All starter kits at the solidarity level from national.
The motion passed unanimously.
Editorial and Email Calendar
Hannah proposed the development of an editorial and email calendar and that the current Internal Organizing Committee (IOC) appoint a member who will serve as an email coordinator and develop a system for tracking our communications and their impact on our work.
The motion passed unanimously.
Jacobin Launch Party
Jeremy proposed that EBDSA cosponsor a launch party for Jacobin's upcoming healthcare-related issue. The EOC will be tasked with identifying a main organizer for the event. Costs would be limited to printing. The target date for the event would be mid- to late March. The LC approves up to $400 for costs.
The motion passed unanimously.
Close of Business
After a strong reminder to the assembled members of the LC to use the Google Calendar, the chair adjourned the meeting at 5:29 p.m.
On February 26, 2018, co-chair Molly put the following proposal to the local council for an email vote.
Whereas, a democratic socialist organization that doesn't have a rich and accessible internal educational life will not develop a core membership who can tribunes for socialism.
Whereas, a focus on the political education of DSA members is a priority of the national organization.
Whereas, the Local Council recently approved a proposal and budget for the EBDSA Socialist Night School
Whereas, the first two classes of the recently approved School held at Niebyl Proctor Marxist Library have been at, or over, capacity with between 60-70 members at each class
Whereas, the outreach and advertisement for the school has been limited to internal EBDSA social media and email communications meaning there is potential for continued growth in attendance at the school
Whereas, it may be in the best interests of the school to move to a larger venue that can accommodate 75 or more members comfortably with breakout out group discussions.
Therefore, the IOC members tasks with political education propose moving the school to the East Bay Community Space on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of March, April, and May of this year, with re-evaluation no later than the second week of May (or before, if attendance lags).
EBCS is asking the chapter to sign a 3-month, pay-as-you-go contract for $225/night; $100 security deposit; and one time fee of $50 for training on house rules and procedures. The chapter could break the contract at any time but would lose the security deposit. The per night cost is $150 more than previously allocated in the school's budget.
Total cost for all 6 nights plus additional fees= $1500
These costs could be offset by the following: 1) incorporating a dues drive component into each class 2) passing the hat for donations or make this more formal with a "suggested donation" at the door 3) increases the number of attendees through media outreach thereby increasing donations 4) selling EBDSA swag and/or refreshments and/or other merchandise at the school.
Point Persons: Ahmed Kanna (Elected IOC organizer), Daniel Deck (Appointed IOC organizer)
The measure passed with 11 in favor and none opposed.
On March 1, 2018, co-chair Molly put forward the following proposal for an email vote by the local council.
Proposal to Appoint Costa-Hawkins Repeal Campaign Representative
Whereas the membership of EBDSA voted to approve a resolution to endorse the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Housing Act at its Feb. 25 meeting; and
Whereas EBDSA has been invited to designate a representative to join monthly calls, hosted by ACCE, of the statewide coalition backing the repeal of Costa-Hawkins, beginning Thursday, March 1, 2018.
Therefore be it resolved that Jeremy Gong will represent EBDSA on the March 1 statewide coalition call; and
Therefore be it resolved that Jeremy Gong or his designee will represent EBDSA as appropriate on future statewide coalition calls and meetings.
The measure passed with 10 in favor and none opposed.
On March 5, 2018, vice-chair Frances Reade put forward the following proposal for an email vote by the local council.
Proposal for Reimbursement for 2/25 General Membership Meeting
Whereas, our February 25th General Membership meeting required significant expense on event venue, printing, and food in order to make the meeting accessible and democratic to our members
Whereas, we have gotten the bylaws packets printed at a commercial printer
Be it resolved, we reimburse up to $1,350 for the total meeting expenses
Be it resolved, we reimburse up to $650 for the printing of the agenda packets
Be it further resolved, we reimburse $600 for renting the Omni Commons Ballroom
Be it further resolved, we approve up to $100 in food and drink costs
The measure was approved with 12 in favor and none opposed.
On March 2, 2018, co-chair Mary Virginia put forward the following resolution, initially motivated by Zach M.
Budget Resolution for March Mass Canvass
Whereas a March canvass will be held with a turnout goal of 150 people.
Whereas affordable space for a group of this size can be costly to secure in the East Bay.
Whereas the January Big Canvass raised $468 in donations.
Whereas a permit is pending with the City of Berkeley to hold a canvass in March in a public park instead of an indoor venue, which will cut costs but still requires spending for permitting, event insurance and other costs unique to this new venue.
Whereas donation sources of materials, and printing will be secured wherever possible.
Whereas food will be provided to canvass captains at the canvass captain training and data entry volunteers at the data entry party after the canvass.
Whereas it is likely that the city of Berkeley will opt to waive the $135 parks permit fee and that the $350 event deposit is likely to be returned in full. This would bring the likely final cost of this canvass to less than $800.
Therefore be it resolved that a budget of up to $1241 be allocated for the canvass to occur in March, to be spent roughly as follows:
Parks permit: $135
Event deposit (to be returned if no damage to the park is done): $350
Required $1,000,000 liability insurance policy: $176
Food/water/snacks day-of: $100
Food for captain training and data entry volunteers: $130
Table and chair rental: $50
Miscellaneous materials (pens, clipboards, blankets, nametags, etc…): $200
The measure passed with 12 in favor and none opposed.
On March 8, 2018, co-chair Molly put the following proposal to the local council for an email vote, originally motivated by Robbie.
Whereas, our bylaws state that EBDSA's Annual Convention is the highest body of the chapter, and needs to include both Steering Committee Elections and the ratification of a Priorities Resolution
Therefore be it resolved, the following timeline, process, and budget will be approved by the Steering Committee/Local Council
Therefore be it further resolved, the Steering Committee/Local Council empowers the Convention Planning Team to carry out the following plan
March 17 (at the latest)
- Announce Convention process to membership
March 24 (or 25)
- Informational Meeting
Week of March 25-31
- Submission period for draft Priorities Resolutions opens
- Opening of period for candidate nominations (require 5 nominators)
Week of April 1- 7
- Draft Priorities Resolutions (with 20 signatures) due April 4
- Draft Resolutions are published on the website and immediately open for member feedback to the submitters
- Candidate nominations close on April 7
Week of April 8-14
- Member feedback on the draft Priorities Resolutions close April 9
- Submitters can decide to incorporate this feedback, or not, and re-submit their final Priorities Resolutions by April 14
- In this window, submitters can also decide to reconcile their own Resolution with others who have submitted a different Resolution. If the submitters so request, the Convention team will provide them with the contact information of other submitters, but the Convention team will not be directly facilitating any such reconciliation.
- Candidates submit candidate statements, as well as responses to candidate questionnaire
- Release the Convention Agenda
April 17 -28
- Candidate Forum sometime during between the 17th and the 24th period. It will be an in-person forum, and the priority is to hold it on a weekend.
- Position papers opened up on the website about Priorities Resolutions, as well as support statements for candidates.
- Do an absolutely herculean amount of turnout
April 28: Convention!
- Proposed timeline-- 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
- Three sessions with two breaks: 10:00-12:00, (12-1), 1:00-3:00, (3-3:30) 3:30-4:30
- Priorities resolution in the morning, candidate elections after lunch, tabled bylaws amendments late afternoon.
- We will get through as many tabled bylaws amendments as possible, and make sure to clearly communicate to members that Bylaws amendments are not restricted to the Convention, but can be brought to any future General Meeting
Big Picture considerations
- Emphasize to members that the priorities resolution is about advancing a political vision and prioritizing how we allocate our resources in light of that vision.
- We need to come together to decide some number of priority work areas where we want to devote the bulk of our collective institutional resources (money, but primarily volunteer labor hours) during the next year
- A Priorities Resolution does not say that the Chapter can't engage in work outside the parameters of the Resolution, but it broadly instructs the newly elected Steering Committee about where the membership wants them to devote the bulk of their time and attention.
- Priorities resolutions are one of the most important mechanisms of accountability between members and leaders. Members set the broad direction for our organizing work, and leaders are elected to carry out that program.
- Priorities resolutions can be "political priorities" like Labor, Healthcare, Housing, Electoral Politics, etc.; or they can be "organizational priorities" like Political Education, Social Activities, Cadre Building, Fundraising, New Member Recruitment, etc
- 1,000-word limit
- Each resolution will propose some number of priority work areas, as well as broader political and strategic analysis.
- Each priority work area will contain a simple "headline" word/phrase, accompanied by a short strategic argument for them, which can include specific tactics, coalition partners, and organizational goals
- Priorities resolution submissions will require the signatures of no fewer than 20 members in good standing to be considered for the Convention. No member can nominate more than one priorities resolution
Timeline and Submission/Feedback/Revision Process
Convention on April 28th!
- The submission period for draft priorities resolutions will be March 24-April 3
- We will announce this process by March 17, (at the very latest) which gives people at least 17 days to write a draft resolution and gather the requisite signatures
- The draft resolutions will be published on April 4
- Members have the opportunity to submit feedback to the submitters on those draft priorities resolutions. This way, submitters can see which of their headline priorities and which of their strategic considerations is popular, unpopular, etc.
- The feedback submission window will be April 4- April 9
- Submitters will be allowed to change their resolutions (or not) based on the submitted member feedback between April 10-April 14
- The Agenda (with final priorities resolutions) will be sent to membership on April 16
Convention Process for Voting on Priorities Resolutions
- We have open discussion (akin to "committee of the whole") on all of the submitted Priorities Resolutions
- Each set of submitters will have up to 5 minutes to motivate their resolutions, then we will move to Q&A and discussion of all of the Resolutions
- We will use Robert's Rules' "Filling the Blank" process to collectively decide which submitted Priorities Resolution becomes the "base" for the Priorities Resolution.
- To make this concrete: We begin with a resolution that says "The following will be adopted as the Priorities Resolution of the April 2018 EBDSA Convention: ____"
- What we are then deciding is which of the submitted Priorities Resolutions should go into that "blank."
- When we have finished our discussion on all the Resolutions, we move into the initial voting process
- What Robert's Rules lays out is the following: We move through the different Priorities Resolutions, and the first Resolution to gain a majority vote "fills the blank" to become the "base" resolution.
- The Resolutions will be voted on in order of the number of nomination signatures they received, highest to lowest.
- If no resolution gains a majority on the first round of voting, we go through the voting process on each resolution again (with more discussion, if it's called for) until one gains a majority.
- The majority-approved Priorities Resolution moves on to the Amendment process
- Upon consideration, we came to the conclusion that the best process for this would not be to have pre-submitted Amendments, since it will be impossible for Amendment submitters to know which of the Priorities Resolutions will become the "base" resolution to be Amended. Also, we don't want to engage in a process where we have to deal with processing large numbers of Amendments ahead of time, attempting to reconcile them, place them in some kind of sequential process, and ruling some "in" or "out" of order.
- So all the Amendments will be coming from the floor
- The thinking behind this is that we want to move more of the Convention out of the "technical" and into the "political." Instead of having interminable debates about Amendment-submitting process ahead of time, we want to move towards trusting the members to be able to think through these processes in the context of the meeting itself, read the room, etc.
- The most recent General Meeting I think demonstrated the growing sophistication of our membership in a politicized meeting scenario
- Amendments will be "in order" as long as they don't change the "headline" Priority in the Resolution. But, they can significantly change the tactics, strategy, or coalition partners mentioned therein. A ⅔ vote to suspend the rules at the meeting could permit the Convention to change the "headline" Priority
- After we've gone through all of the Amendments (or after we've run out of time, called the question, etc.), we will vote with a majority threshold on whether to adopt the Priorities Resolution as amended.
Candidate Nominations and Elections
March 24-April 7
- Nominations period open
- 5 nominations from members in good standing required
- Any given member can nominate multiple candidates
- Candidates submit official candidate statements, as well as their answers to a brief candidate questionnaire, for inclusion on the website/Convention packet
- Final list of candidates (with candidate statements) is officially sent out in the Convention Agenda on April 16
- Candidate Forum (sometime between the 17th and the 24th)
- Striving to do an in-person Candidate Forum, with opportunity for Candidates to lay out their political and organizational perspectives, and with live Q&A from members.
- Ranked-choice voting on paper ballots
- Each candidate gets ~4 minutes to give a speech, depending on number of candidates
- If we estimate that there will be roughly 26 candidates (2 for each position on the 13-person SC), that will require ~1 hour 45 minutes total for candidate speeches.
- We will be reiterating throughout the Convention that the Steering Committee will be elected to broadly carry out the Priorities Resolution passed by members.
March 24th (25th) Informational Meeting
- Probably can do at Niebyl-Proctor or EB Community Space
April (17th-24th) Candidate Forum
- Could do at Omni or the large room at EB Community Space
April 28 Convention
- CNA Office (I think this is the best option)
- It's free
- It has a good set-up for a convention (i.e. large, bright space with tables, a reliable and up-to-date AV system, fully accessible, separate rooms for quiet/childcare/sign-in, close enough to public transportation)
- We need to get this down ASAP
- Emeryville Center of Community Life
- It's nice to use a public facility that's brand new
- It's relatively inexpensive (Building A Multipurpose Room, which has a capacity of 564, has ~$150 flat fee for application/insurance, and is $82/hour for Emeryville residents or $109/hour for a non-profit org)
- It's not easy walking distance from BART stations
- Omni Commons
- There is an event in there already on April 28th
- Suggestions for other possible locations?
- Maybe some place at UC Berkeley?
- Revive the sub-site (elections.eastbaydsa.org) or make a similar one (convention.eastbaydsa.org) and make it the one-stop for everything Convention related
Other (To be handled by the Meetings Team)
- Materials (agenda, sign-in, etc.)
- Vote Counting
- Proxy voting
- We will allow proxy ballots for the candidate elections, but by request rather than sending out a convention packet with a proxy voting form.
Budget Proposal and Estimates
This is the biggest potential variable, if we can get the CNA office for free/cheap. I'll be making the proposed cost estimate on the higher potential range, so we won't have to go back and approve more. First I'll make an estimate for space for the Informational Meeting, then for the Convention
EB Community Space: $300
EB Community Space: $300
Emeryville CCL cost estimate: $1,100
CNA cost estimate: free
Printing cost estimates: $1,000
Miscellaneous material costs (name tags, markers, signs, etc.): $200
Food Cost estimates: $500
Total Cost Estimate
$3,300 (with the Emeryville CCL)
$2,300 (with the CNA office)
The measure passed with 10 in favor and none opposed.
On March 15, 2018, Mary Virginia requested that the local council vote to endorse the following statement initially drafted by Ari regarding the recent assassination of a comrade in Brazil.
March 15, 2018
On the night of March 14, 2018, Marielle Franco, a member of Brazil's Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), and a city councillor in Rio de Janeiro, was brutally murdered, along with her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. All the evidence so far available, even that reported by the press, suggests that this was a politically motivated assassination.
Marielle, a black woman who was born and raised in the favelas, was one of the highest vote getters in Rio's 2016 city council race, taking office with over 50,000 votes. Her mass appeal was due to a long history of fighting for the rights of workers, the residents of the city's favelas, and being an outspoken critic of the horrific police and military repression that plague the working people of Brazil.
When she was murdered, Marielle was returning from an event she had organized called "Black Youth Moving Structures." Her murder came in the wake of her pointed criticism of the military presence in Rio in the past month. And yesterday, on the day of Marielle's murder, public workers attempted to occupy the Sao Paulo city council in protest of a disastrous pension slashing bill proposed by that city’s mayor. The police repression was so bad that numerous workers were hospitalized.
Marielle was not just a fighter for the working class, for people of color, and for women, she was a symbol of a rising tide; she was a representative of the mass discontent and willingness to fight that will persist among the working class of Brazil in the face of abominable exploitation, corruption, and terror. Her murder is a crime against the working people of Rio, Brazil, and the world.
While we here in East Bay DSA may be thousands of miles away, we know that our struggle is deeply intertwined with that of our comrades in Rio and all people who fight for liberation from the cruel machinations of capital. We stand in solidarity with PSOL, Marielle, and the working people of Brazil.
We demand an investigation of the utmost transparency and rigor. The truth of this horrible crime must be brought to light and those responsible must be held to account.
EBDSA Steering Committee
The statement was approved by a vote of 11 in favor and none opposed.