March 29, 2012

by JKL

Our Maestro conference call meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler at 5:07 pm PST.  Other directors present included: Secretary Jeanene Louden (in and out of the call due to technical difficulties), Treasurer Eric Whinery, Craig Dunigan, Frank Kirkwood, Christopher Ritter, and Egberto Willies. Directors who missed the call: Vice President Kerry Helmer and Jose Gutierrez.  Staff on the call included Executive Director Debilyn Molineaux and Membership Director Billy Sears. We opened the call with 30 second check-ins.

The posting of the last set of minutes is behind schedule.

We learned that we are behind our membership renewal targets for March. Billy asked if the Board would like daily update emails on how this effort was progressing, but we decided what we would prefer access to a Google Doc that was updated daily that we could check in on as we felt the need. Because such a document already exists, the information was immediately available. Excellent!

In keeping with both our need-to-know and our need-to-support, were invited to an already scheduled a BDS (Blue State Digital) training offered by the Internet and Infrastructure Work Group, Tuesday 4/3, at 8pm Eastern.

Debilyn reported on her membership outreach project involving thank-you calls from Coffee Party leaders. Directors and Staff who were willing to participate in this project were asked to stay on the call after the meeting ended for brief strategy session. Thanks, everyone who volunteered for this important effort!

ManyMoons, our current project management software, has been bought out by Salesforce and will be re-released as “”. We discussed whether to stay with ManyMoons while we wait for a verdict from the new vendor to see how/if it will change, or if we should use this window of opportunity to change tools.  We decided to do more research on this and continue the conversation over the next several weeks. This will include filling out comments on a MANYMOONS PROs and CONs Google Doc. Right now the alternate project management tools include: Chatter and Big Marker. We may find more.

Craig Dunnigan, liaison to our Strategy and Organizational Design Work Group asked that we create a protocol for when changes are made within Work Groups so that other Work Groups are notified.  For example, the Internet Infrastructure Work Group decided to create a new committee for the development of the Group Site Factory (a system of WordPress websites being developed by Eric Yao) and other highly technical and in-house matters so that the Work Group itself, and its weekly meetings could focus on inventive ways to use popular social media platforms such as Scoop-it, Twitter, Hoot-Suite, Blog Talk Radio, and Facebook.   This was shared with the Board of Directors and received an endorsement the week prior, but it was not shared with the Strategy and Organizational Work Group.  This resulted in volunteers in the SOD Work Group feeling like they were not properly valued. As the discussion progressed, other instances of hurt feelings and upset reactions to things we have done were reported.

We, the members of the Board, want everyone to know that nothing we have done was intended to exclude others. If we have offended by appearing to not follow some process, we apologize. We feel ourselves to be guilty of over exuberance, rather than malice, but the appearance of transgression has proven to be hurtful to others regardless of our intent, and for that we are truly sorry.

Question: How do we organically disseminate information, without relying solely on the Board of Directors as liaisons to the various Work Groups, the workflow process, and, on the Board of Directors Meeting Minutes? These processes appear not fast enough and inclusive enough to prevent upsetting some volunteers.

1) More advance notice on what is to be voted on in meetings
2) More lead time when distributing material for Resolutions to be voted upon
3) Not voting on important matters if Directors are absent, especially if the liaison to a Work Group that is considered a “stakeholder” is absent, and
4) Waiting a week for final vote when new ideas are proposed.

It was pointed out that the Board of Directors inherited and endorsed a work flow chart that could be helpful in situations like this,but it needs to be updated to include this particular situation (when a Work Group making an internal decisions that might be of interest to another Work Group), and, remembering that the work flow process, even when followed, apparently does not move information fast enough to prevent upsetting some people.


We discussed this agenda item last week, read materials between meetings, and felt we could move ahead without risk of stepping on toes.

Anti-Corruption Pledge revision

  • WHEREAS Coffee Party USA is focused on political outcome no matter who receives the credit through both internal initiative and collaboration with like minded organizations, and,
  • WHEREAS Rootstrikers is aligned with our interests, it is
  • RESOLVED that the Coffee Party USA shall promote Rootstrikers’ “Anti-Corruption Pledge”, and
  • devote social media resources and volunteer time to this initiative”.

The motion was made by Frank, seconded by Craig and  PASSED: 6 yes, 0 no,  1 abstain (Egberto), and 2 not present (Jose, Kerry).


Election Taskforce (Billy)
Interest in hosting a “National Coffee Party Week” as discussed touched upon on last week’s call and tabled for this week’s meeting. Billy made a detailed proposal available for review between meetings, so we were able to discuss the details of his plan. In general:

National Coffee Party Week- first week in May, proposed

  • Would be a lead in to Coffee Vote 2012.
  • Coffee Vote 2012 will be an update of the 2010 initiative which really didn’t get much traction based on the release date of the toolkit to local organizers in 2010.
  • Would be based upon the 2010 Coffee Vote toolkit.
  • Work already committed would be included

National Coffee Party Week

  • WHEREAS The Coffee Party USA is engaged in outreach to the many communities that make up these United States, and
  • WHEREAS Coffee Party Week 2010 was very successful in bringing together people from many walks of life to discuss our common problems, it is
  • RESOLVED that we will pursue the development of the Coffee Party 2012 plan with vigor, in conjunction with our Group Sites roll out and Local Chapter/Affiliates.

The motion was made by Jeanene, seconded by Egberto, and passed: 7 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain, and 2 not present (Jose and Kerry).

We discussed plans to share a list of Core Values with Official Members and others in the Coffee Party community for comment and collaboration.  The Board delayed this decision for one week given the recent upset that seems to come when we act too quickly.

Debilyn Molineaux let us know that the first meeting has yet to be scheduled but will be within the next 10 days.

The proposed purpose of the committee: “In alignment with the Mission, Vision and Core Values of Coffee Party USA, the PR Committee will engage in and respond to media outreach, promotion of Coffee Party to the general public, and make website design and user interface recommendations (pending Board approval) for advancement of Coffee Party USA in achieving its’ mission”.

During a previous meeting, we reached a consensus that the Public Relations Committee should focus on outreach to journalists, press releases, and coordinating messaging decisions with the Board of Directors. A motion to finish this on email was “approved” by unanimous consent.


Internet Infrastructure Committees  – Chris R
Craig agreed to assist with some of Drupal issues, email set up, etc. We may be able to call on other volunteers.

PSAs (Public Service Announcements) – Egberto
Mike Potters has asked for assistance in recruiting for the contest development team (part of Pathways work also).

Rapid Response Team – Egberto
Eric Byler explained that Billy Sears had forwarded requests from members for the Coffee Party to make a statement on the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  Eric Byler sent an email asking for input, copying the four Board Officers (Byler, Helmer, Louden, Whinnery) as well as Egberto Willies and Jose Gutierrez, two Directors who are men of color.  Egberto replied that he was already working on an essay.  The result was:

Eric B, who is the liaison to the Messaging Work Group, offered this as an example as to why it would be awkward to have a team of volunteers outside the Board making quick response decisions such as this.  He said he could probably find eight new people to make important decisions on messaging and speaking on behalf of the Coffee Party, but the need for a rapid response in situations such as the demand for a statement on a controversial issue calls for a more direct relationship between the Board of Directors and the Coffee Party’s message.  Thus, the vote last week to include all members of the Board of Directors in the Messaging Work Group was an example of positive outcome from collaborative deliberation.  NOTE: Fast Response Protocol Document Is in Development.

April 17th Tax Day- Eric B
Eric B shared that Will Rice is doing an excellent job leading a coalition of organizations participating in an April 17 Tax Day action calling attention to Grover Norquist’s “No Tax Pledge” and questioning whether or not Members of Congress should make pledges to a person rather than to the country as a whole.

For more information:

Coffee Party will send an email blast to people who live within 120 miles of Washington DC inviting them to come to the rally.

Left Forum Follow Up – Billy
Billy reported we have asked Chris of the BAB to forward any relevant items of consideration to Eric B.  He also presented a list of names to be added to our database.

501(c)3  and Advisory Board – Jeanene
These topics are being deferred to the Board Advisory Work Group.

The next meeting will be held Thursday, April 5, 2012, at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern. We closed with 30 second check-outs and then all got a chance to say Aloha to one another.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jeanene Kay Louden