TALES FROM THE COOP

foody.org/coop.html


MEMBERS BASHFUL AND BABBLING

Can't go to the coop's general meeting? Read about the fun parts here! Some of them are even true!

It began with a complaint about "professional shopper" members who charge around $15 to illegally buy the coop's cheaper food for nonmembers, and a debate on inconsistently dry salad greens. Wet salad greens will be donated to a soup kitchen to "become nutrients."

A coordinator (that's a paid employee to some, a conspiratorial dictator to others) who presents the financial statement said it wasn't ready. No one cared. It's always the same. The coop breaks even, or loses a petty few thousand dollars. Sales are good. Theft is bad.

The first order o' business was electing three Disciplinary Committee candidates. The DC judges and sentences members accused of violating coop rules. The committee representative seemed to have a panic attack when asked to explain what the DC did. She was duly rescued by a coordinator. One hopeful candidate said he was a "naturopathic physician" who counseled many coop members. When asked how he'd handle a conflict of interest if a patient was investigated by the DC, Dr. Naturopath said that, if elected, he'd hang a sign telling his patients that "anything they said could be used against them." The other two candidates were approved by votes of 40-0. Dr. Naturopath was rewarded for his stupid joke by being approved only 30-0, with 11 abstentions. Maybe the coop newsletter reporter will print his joke and hurt his business. Should naturopathy be a business anyway?

The next orders o' business were two proposals by an erratic member who lazily hijacked the next half hour. He wanted to offer four proposals, plus a 13-minute monologue, but the chair tried to keep him coherent. After a wandering preamble that would make Andy Kaufman jealous -- whining about short notice, computer failure, and a vague phone call -- he proposed that coordinators, coordinator reports, and committee reports not be allowed at general meetings. This would eliminate the coordinators as the leading voting power at the coop, and sacrifice information-giving in favor of "time for discussion." Almost all discussion of this, virtually none by coordinators, condemned the proposals. One person begged that the coordinators be kept as representatives of the "silent majority."

The proposing member, who always complains about being ignored, had been given what became half of last night's agenda for his own issues. Instead he spent less time on his proposals than he did wandering through nebulous issues and whining about being unprepared, and he ignored the discussion that followed by chatting privately. His two proposals were defeated 0-40 with 4 abstentions -- he didn't even vote for his own item! -- and 2-33, with 4 abstentions. I wonder if he even wrote his proposals, as he had trouble reading his own handouts and he is a member of the overthrow-the-coordinators Democracy Initiative Group, none other of which showed up. Another member chided the proposer for not bothering to invite anyone he knew might support his proposals -- not even the Democracy Initiative Group.

The third order o' business proposed that the annual financial report be printed for all the coop, maybe with explanations, instead of being printed for and presented during the annual meeting. The earnest proposal faced mixed discussion, including coordinator concern that broadly publishing the figures would make the coop less competitive and accounting schedules impossible to meet. The proposer seemed bitter that none of the coordinators had responded to her request for input weeks before. A coordinator said that all the coordinators had thought the proposer had been called by one coordinator who was not at the meeting. The motion was withdrawn, to be resubmitted in the future.

Thanks to Andy Kaufman's waste of time, we could not discuss the last and only kickass agenda item, on plastic bags, which was tabled till next month's meeting.

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jkarpf@echonyc.com