June 10, 2006 Meeting

June 10, 2006

Preparation

An e-mail was sent to each member who has provided a contact e-mail address.
Susan Chu phoned other members on the phone contact list.

Acknowledgments

Susan Chu brought refreshments.

Attendees

5 members

Meeting

Agenda Items:

  • Updates
    • Viña Vieja Park status
    • No news on ice rink
  • Upcoming Area Events
    • E-waste recycling event, June 17, Brookside park
    • Household hazardous waste/E-waste collection, July 1, Altadena
    • Household hazardous waste/E-waste collection, August 12, Sierra Madre & Arcadia
  • RV storage potential ordinance
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
  • By-laws vote put off for further work.  How to move forward.

The meeting began about 11:25 am in Hastings Branch Library's meeting room.

  • Updates
    • Viña Vieja Park status
      • Top is on the picnic structure
      • Edison fence is in.  Opaque white, blocks viewing park activity from the neighborhood.  City staff not very happy about it, but Edison says this is the only non-conductive (ie plastic) type fence that meets their requirements.  Edison trying to use non-conductive fencing for all new fencing.
      • Haven't heard any complaints in past 3 weeks about pedestrian gate opening and closing.
      • Question was raised last meeting about the presence of light on the bathroom which stays on all night.  Wasn't the park supposed to be unlighted at night?
        • A light shows through the back end of the bathroom under the rafters and then there is a light outside that shines out to the west, partially illuminating the playground equipment and highlighting the picnic shelter.  Looking from east of the park it does not appear really bright.
        • Answer is that city wasn't aware of it when it ordered the prefab bathroom, but it came with the light.  Decided that rather then disabling it they would see what the experience with it is.  If at some point it is decided it is not desirable, they can disable it.  Someone who lives across Orange Grove has reported liking the light there.
        • On one hand, light can be considered a security enhancement, making it easier to see if something is going on that shouldn't be.  On the other hand it could be a security problem - an attractant to the park for people passing by that otherwise wouldn't be aware/think of its presence, and/or create a more hospitable environment for "hanging out" then complete darkness would be.
    • Ice rink
      • Haven't heard anything at all
  • Upcoming Area Events
    • Passed out half sheet flyer containing the following information:
    • E-waste recycling event, June 17, 2006, 9 am - 3 pm,  Brookside Park parking lot
      • computers, monitors, printers, disk drives, circuit boards, power supplies, TVs (non-console), cellphones, remote phones, answering machines, radio equipment, etc.
    • Household hazardous waste/E-waste collection - http://ladpw.org/epd/hhw/
      • paint, pesticides, batteries, computers, etc
        • Saturday, July 01, 2006, 9 am - 3 pm
          Altadena HHW Collection Event
          LA County- Dept. of Public Works Fleet Maintenance Yard
          252 West Mountain View Ave.
          Altadena 91001
        • Saturday, August 12, 2006, 9 am - 3 pm
          Sierra Madre HHW Collection Event
          Mariposa Ave. Parking Lot
          Mariposa Ave. and Baldwin Ave.
          Sierra Madre  91024
          or
          Arcadia HHW Collection Event
          Santa Anita Race Track (Gate 6, Colorado Place)
          Colorado St. and Baldwin Ave.
          Arcadia 91077
  • RV storage potential ordinance
    • Linda Keller, 578-0727, lives somewhere near San Gabriel Blvd.
      Trying to get input/participation/support for ordinance change that would prevent storage of huge RVs in front yards.  In her neighborhood there is an RV "almost as big as a bus" which a neighbor stores in the front yard.  Apparently there is no limit as long as it does not block garage access, is on pavement, is at least 5 ft from property line, and is not lived in.  Wanted to know if this problem exists in our neighborhood and if anybody would like to join with her and some of her neighbors in working through the process.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • discussion of what's happening where Fuddruckers used to be.  Parking lot all dug up.
      CVS pharmacy is going in on the corner.    Don't know what else.
    • Symes Toyota building is underway
    • Apartment complex being built north of Gold Line parking lot appears to be taller then expected.
  • By-laws vote put off for further work.  How to move forward.
    • President not comfortable and cannot support the current draft by-laws, and therefore do not think should ask membership to vote on them.  Had hoped to get more people involved in discussing and improving them.  But did not do a good job getting the word out and encouraging participation by bringing up specific issues and discussing.  Discussed with VP and Treasurer.  Decided better to put off the vote and work on them more.
    • It is our duty to make by-laws as clear and usable as possible to avoid unnecessary strife/grief later on. While it will surely be necessary to amend it in the future, we shouldn't start off with known and perhaps easily remediable issues.  It is supposed to be the master organizing document, like the constitution.
    • Suggest having a concentrated discussion by those interested.  If there are points where there is substantial disagreement, then we should consider putting those individually to a vote of the membership.  For example, two main points of the proposed by-laws come directly from a vote taken at the initial meeting last year (who are members and the association boundaries).
    • Possible ways to get more focused discussion:
      1. Use discussion forum capability on the test web site. Even if very few participate, it provides an avenue for participation as one has time to think things through.  Downside is non-net users would not be able to participate.  But could be some net users who can't ever make it to meetings would take advantage.
        Could link from the regular site and announcing e-mail sent to the list.  Test web site as it currently stands is not ready in general, but the forum capability has potential and this is an opportunity to get some experience with it.
      2. Have a special meeting/meetings just for those interested in discussing.  After a regular meeting or some other time.  Those not really interested would not feel obligated.
    • Passed out a revised version dated 5/21/06 containing suggested immediate modifications as follows:
      1. Split descriptions and regulations specific to Officers into a separate section from Steering Committee.
      2. Add "designate time and place of meetings" into description of President since that duty appears in the Meetings section.
      3. Replace antiquated vague language of Treasurer description ("safe-keep, disburse, and account for any funds received from members or other parties to support EEWNA activity") with somewhat more detailed and straightforward description.

Meeting attendees did not object to these changes.

    • President passed out a list of questions and issues she would like to see addressed, as follows:
      1. Why does the VP chair Steering Committee meetings?  Practice?  Just to give some official duties?
      2. Why can the VP act in place of the President or Secretary but not the Treasurer? The Treasurer description says the Treasurer could be the same person as the VP.
        • Can anyone act in the Treasurer's place?
        • Presumably "act in place" does not include "vote for", but rather "perform the duties of".  Perhaps it should say "perform the duties of" rather then "act in place of".
      3. If the VP or Secretary is also the Treasurer, it is implied but not stated by the Steering Committee description that they get only one vote.  Should it be explicit?
      4. Shall we say anything about creation of meeting agendas?  How items get on them?  Who formally creates it?
      5. Let's settle the question of when term limits begin.
        Does the 2 years start with the current one year term or with last years term?
      6. Should we say anything about how a decision to take a membership vote on some issue is decided?  For example, an affirmative vote of the Steering Committee is required to put a question to the vote of the general membership?
      7. Do general membership votes have to be noticed in advance, for example with the agenda, or can they be taken at any regular or special meeting with a quorum?
      8. By-law amendments
        • a.  Is the language clear as to whether "timely notice of the meeting including a summary of the amendments has been distributed to all residences" is necessary only for a general membership vote or also for a steering committee vote?
        • b.  Is it reasonable that the by-laws can be amended more easily then they can be adopted in the first place?  While the ratification requirement is laudable for trying to get the maximum number of people involved, that has been largely unsuccessful.  If we have the general membership vote them in and then later amend something with just the Steering Committee, doesn't that seem to subvert the membership (even though they have largely been uninvolved/skeptical of the whole thing)?  As the Steering Committee is largely the organization founders at this point, maybe we should work these by-laws down until we're all more comfortable with them, taking membership votes on any specific issues where we think we need the more specific input of the membership (as we did last year with boundaries and membership requirements).
      9.  Why is a director from an Other Committee (none of which is elected by the membership) allowed to serve in that capacity longer on the Steering Committee then an Officer who is elected by the membership?
        The three years made more sense in the original description of a "Director" simply as someone who was elected by the membership to serve on the Steering Committee.  Providing an avenue for more direct participation then general membership but not requiring as much activity as an officer.
      10. I am still uncomfortable with the "Other Committee" and their "Director" thing.  Given that many have said "well we can amend the by-laws later on when we have problems with it" - wouldn't it be better to just omit that stuff and then define the workings of "Other Committees" if and when we want to create one?  I feel like we are just asking for problems as it is.
        Alternatively, we may want to consider writing a committee article that indicates the Steering Committee can form an Other Committee to work on a distinct issue.  As part of formation, the Steering Committee shall specify the Committee purpose, membership formation, leadership determination, scope of authority, term of existence, how its activity is to be reported to the Steering Committee and membership as a whole.
      11. In the early formulation of the by-laws, I had a discussion with Scott over the meaning of "causes" in the Endorsements article.  We both have the same goal in mind, but since the meaning as written was not clear to me, and separately my Mom was confused by it, I am not convinced it will be clear to others in the future.  Is there language we can use to more clearly define it?
        The idea is to prohibit endorsing/giving money to some organization/group/person just because it also supports/opposes something our association supports/opposes.  It is not meant to prohibit our association from taking a position/stance/action on an issue which others may also be taking. It is meant to maintain our independence, focus, and control of our capital.  Others may have or later choose to take positions or spend money in ways with which we do not agree.
        I suggested substituting "organization" for "cause", but "organization" may imply too much formality.
    • Participants began going through these, with some tangential discussions as well.
      1. Seemed to be agreement that VP chairing Steering Committee was a way of providing some official duties/distributing workload.  No move to change it.
      2. Yes, it was inconsistent.  Changed description of Vice-President to "perform the duties" instead of "act in place" and to include performing the dutings of the Treasurer as needed.
      3. Feeling was that it is obvious that a Vice President "acting in place of" another officer would not get to vote for them, and the change to "perform the duties" makes it even clearer.  No change needed.
      4. Feeling of those present was that the President should create/control the agenda (as has been happening) and nothing needs to be said in the by-laws about agenda creation.  If a President is ever so controlling that they shut out items that members wish to discuss, then those members can work to get that President voted out.
      5. There were differing viewpoints on when the limit on consecutive terms should begin - as of last year, as of this year, or as of the first term beginning after the by-laws are adopted.
        There was quite a bit of discussion about term limits in general.  Good because it gets more people experience and avoids the organization becoming too reliant on any one person.  Possible trouble if there aren't other people willing to step up to taking on the officer positions.  There was discussion that this is only a restriction on consecutive terms, not a limit on total number of terms, so potentially officers could rotate positions if there aren't new willing people.
        Because when the terms should begin was a point of disagreement, there was discussion of having this point be a separate ballot item.
      • Question was raised about wording for officer removal in Article V.  How could there ever be a 2/3 vote of the general membership to remove an officer since there is unlikely to ever be more then a small subset of the membership voting.  Answer is that the intent is that it be a 2/3 vote of the membership that chooses to vote.  Decided to change wording from "a 2/3 majority vote of the general membership" to "a 2/3 majority vote of members present at a general meeting".
    • Time was up.  Decided will try the test web site forums.  And continue discussion at end of meetings until we're comfortable with the result.

Next meeting is July 8, same time, same place.

Adjourned about 12:50 pm.

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