February 9, 2012

by JKL

Call to Order and Note of Attendance
Our Maestro conference call meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler at 5:03 pm PST.  Other directors present included Secretary Jeanene Louden, Craig Dunigan, Jose  Guiterrez, Kerry Helmer, Frank Kirkwood, Christopher Ritter and Egberto Willies. Treasurer Eric Whinery missed the call. Staff present included Executive Director Debilyn Molineaux and Membership Director Billy Sears. We each did a 30 second check in.

Meeting Minutes
Per the resolution last week, all the minutes to date have been transferred to ManyMoon for review and comment by Directors and will be posted to the web this weekend. We discussed the various methods with which this might be done.

Financial Report
Our membership drive is on target with over 10% this month being new members and 20% of those choosing recurring donation memberships. Founding Member renewals are at about 7.8%. We discussed the idea of using Kickstarter to raise money for the Board Planning Meeting. There is a concern that we are not eligible to use this tool due to our being a 501(c)4 instead of a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Debilyn will schedule a subcommittee meeting for Directors willing to make calls to major contributors. This is going to be an exciting and historic year for America, and we need to be ready to do our part.

Business Between Meetings

Resolution 015  
Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Coalition  
WHEREAS Coffee Party USA agrees that the unrestricted and undisclosed corporate and special interest money influencing our political system is a detriment to our body politic, be it

RESOLVED that Coffee Party USA will be signature to Public Citizen’s Congress Watch coalition letter requesting a Senate Hearing on Corporate Governance Solutions to “Citizens United,” and encourage our community to support this goal by contacting legislators.

Moved electronically by Egberto, and  passed, 7 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain, and  2 (Chris and Jose) unavailable.

More Technology Talk
While official training has not been scheduled, Scoopit is gradually being introduced and some Directors and volunteers are using it. Billy will use Doodle to schedule a training of some kind soon. This is a great tool.

Chris asked if we should proceed or let this go. He recommends GetSatisfaction to solve the problem of inclusiveness and improve communication. It seems ironic that we cannot find the time to discuss the process of bringing new ideas to the Board, including the implementation of new processes and technology. It appears that a few of us need to meet offline to talk about GetSatisfaction.com and other possible technology solutions.

A meeting for a CrowdTangle (the occupynetwork software) committee will be scheduled for early next week.  We need at least two administrators with Facebook access and need to take precautions so there is less potential for password hacking.

Board Liaison
Craig has stepped up to be the Board Liasonto the Strategy and Organizational Development Work Group. King of the Day!

Resolution 016
Strategy and Organizational Development Work Group (SOD WG) Liaison
WHEREAS, the newly adopted organizational structure reinforced the need for each Work Group to include both a Chair and a Board Liaison, and,

WHEREAS, Director  Dunigan has expressed willingness and interest in the SOD WG , and

WHEREAS, President Eric Byler has nominated Director Dunigan as SOD WG Liason, be it

RESOLVED that Craig Dunigan serve as the Board Liason  of the SOD WG.

Moved by Egberto, seconded by Jeanene, passed 8 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain, and 1 (Eric W) not present.

Staff Job Descriptions
We’ve been introduced to overall metrics that are tied to staff positions as reporting agents, but those metrics were not included with the job descriptions.  An inclusive revision will follow. At this point, the job descriptions are up for discussion, as are the performance indicators.

We discussed the need to face the task of reviewing the metrics plan. It is less daunting than it appears, or so we are told. Only four of us have completed our review.

Presentation of Organizing Blueprint for Local Chapters
We decided it would be better to review and approve the Chapter Development Work Group proposal before the Chicago meeting, so we asked for a briefing at the next meeting.

Management Team Call
The Management Team call happens Tuesdays,  Noon ET / 9am Pacific. We were reminded how helpful it is to staff and super-volunteers when Board members participate at this level.

Branding Survey Synopsis
The discussion of the Branding Survey results was intense and informative. Given our wide range of experience with such things, those who had knowledge and talent in such matters all but held a teach-in on the subject. The intent of the survey was to answer questions like, “Are we successfully messaging ourselves?” It became clear that we needed to proceed to next step for successful messaging:

  • What are our core values?
  • What is our value-added to our members?
  • What do we do?
  • What business are we in?

Core Values from Citizen Now (the Former Coffee Party Principles and Purpose WG)
We discussed the article, “Draft Guiding Statements For a Community Convening a Democracy Movement for the United States”, as published on the web. We have a good feeling about this work and will discuss it further next week with an eye toward incorporating it into our strategic plan. Debilyn requested we review the Civility in Action (Participation Guidelines) document for relevance in the same conversation.

Board Planning Meeting UPDATE
The “non-retreat” has been firmly set for March 2-4, 2012, in Chicago. Rumors of massages and luxury are greatly exaggerated. Lynda Park found a great Bed and Breakfast that will hold us all if some sleep on couches and air mattresses. And, by cooking-in we can keep the cost down enough to come in at the crazy low budget, so Directors that need to be reimbursed for their travel just may be in luck! Good work Board Development Work Group! A final budget could not be set without Treasurer Eric W in attendance.

Voting by Email Between Meetings
As was demonstrated by the Public Citizens Congress Watch Coalition vote (see Resolution 015 above), the Board may need to act quickly between meetings, even while we are meeting weekly. The PC vote took three email threads over four days to complete, and involved amendments to the original motion that were eventually discarded. In trial-by-fire, we have worked out what feels like a good solution.

Resolution 017
Process for Email Votes
WHEREAS Resolutions to take action often need to be voted upon in a timely fashion, and WHEREAS we want to avoid rushing decisions without properly vetting them, and

WHEREAS a nine member board of directors is our best guarantee against rushing into actions without consideration from many perspectives, it is

RESOLVED THAT resolutions proposed via email require a majority vote,

AND that any single Director can request a discussion by phone before a vote is held,

AND that a Director may submit amendments to an email Resolution based on a motion, requiring a second by another Director.

Moved by Eric B, seconded by Chris, and passed 7 yes, 0 no, 1 (Egberto) abstain,  and 1 (Eric W) not present.

Introduction of Resolutions for Future Consideration

Coalition Action for Tax Day Events
Egberto  and Eric B will introduce this resolution in the near future and request that Directors read it during the upcoming week for email vote, or scheduled discussion next week.
WHEREAS, achieving a more equitable tax system is an organizing goal of the Coffee Party USA; and

WHEREAS, Coffee Party member Will Rice has taken the initiative to focus our community on injustices in the tax code and propose remedies; and

WHEREAS, for the past several months Will has been coordinating the Coffee Party CommonWealth project, the purpose of which is to engage people in sharing their own stories as a way to promote tax reform; and

WHEREAS, Working Families Win, a permanent community organizing project of the pioneering progressive organization Americans for Democratic Action, has also made tax equity an organizing goal; has supported the CommonWealth project (including by providing Will with a modest stipend) and is actively seeking outside funding in order to provide more support; and

WHEREAS, the CommonWealth project is currently planning several events in the early spring to publicize the need for tax equity and wise public investment, including two Capitol Hill panels, and a rally at Lafayette Square on the weekend of Tax Day; and

WHEREAS, the CommonWealth project intends to grow into a broad coalition of organizations in support of its mission and events;

Therefore be it RESOLVED, that

1. The CommonWealth project may be described “a joint project of the Coffee Party USA and Working Families Win”; and that

2. The Coffee Party USA specifically endorses the Capitol Hill panel on the role of public investment in broad-based prosperity (scheduled for March 14); the Capitol Hill panel on tax equity (scheduled for April 11); and the “Rally and March for Tax Justice” (scheduled for April 17); and that

3. The Coffee Party USA will help publicize these and other related events, will encourage our community to participate in the above events, and offer volunteers and advise to help ensure the events’ success.

Voting Rights Act of 2012
This future submission by Jeanene and Eric B, does not require immediate vote, but it requires a discussion because it involves fundraising for a specific purpose, something that was rarely done in previous leadership structures. At that time, Jeanene and Eric B will introduce and request that Directors read it during the upcoming week for email vote, or scheduled discussion next week. Chris suggested an idea of using an alternate community for this effort.

WHEREAS a caller named Christopher Lewis-Ewell phoned into Jeanene Louden’s radio show to share his concern that he may not be able to obtain a Voter ID Card under South Carolina’s harsh new law restricting the franchise to those who can obtain a state-sanctioned ID, and,

WHEREAS participation in the political process is the most important tool that the Coffee Party encourages in order to achieve its core objectives, and,

WHEREAS the special interests seeking to shape or limit turn-out in elections are often the same interests that seek to perpetuate the cycle of corruption that impedes the achievement of the Coffee Party’s core objectives,

Be it RESOLVED that, Coffee Party USA will promote a personal essay by Christopher Lewis-Ewell, written at the invitation of Jeanene Louden and Eric Byler, and:

  1. Coffee Party USA will research the status of Voting Rights in states that have passed or proposed laws that require Voter ID’s
  2. Coffee Party USA will take actions to support, and if necessary purchase the right to vote for minorities, the poor, the elderly, and students who may be adversely impacted by Voter ID law.
  3. Coffee Party USA will implement a fundraising drive to support this initiative
  4. Coffee Party USA will encourage members to volunteer to coordinate this initiative
  5. Coffee Party USA will assign a Director, and/or Work Group Chair, and/or Committee Chair to oversee this initiative.

Authenticity and Clarity 
There is, at times, opposition between consistent messaging (money & politics, the Rootstrikers concept) and our “Freedom of Authenticity” (additional issues we each hold dear). This is only problematic because the Coffee Party strategic plan included “other” issues with a tie-in to “follow the money” and worked to demonstrate how money influences every issue. Today’s question is: is this the right strategy for this Board to continue to take?

It allows people to work within their passion (the branch) and still connect with the “root” problem of systemic corruption (money). But does it violate what we see to be our commitments to the Coffee Party members and followers?

The Remainder of the Agenda Was Suspended

Schedule Next Meeting and Adjourn
Our next meeting will be held Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 5 pm Pacific Standard Time. We all had a 30 second check out. Eric B adjourned the meeting at 7:05 pm PST.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jeanene Louden