From US Social Forum Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

<< Return to Organizing Committee page

View the OC working group reports 2-8-10

Organizing Committee conference call

Present: Reg (Comm/anchor), Sylvia (staff), Scott (Comm), Sha (staff), Maureen(staff/anchor), Rose (GJ), Jerome (Prog), Adrienne (staff), Alicia (Prog), Diana (Personnel/anchor), Michael (Res Mob), Maria (Lang Acc), Steph (PMA/Finance), Roberto (Lang Acc/staff), Cindy (Outreach), Alfredo (ICT), Oya (Culture/DLOC rep), Will (staff), B. (staff), Jen Cox (Int'l Sol), Mallory (staff), Heather (briefly for Indigenous)

Absent reps: Poverty, Youth, DLOC, Centro Obrero

  • Welcome and roll call (Reg)
  • Promoting new facilitation process and speakers list (Sylvia)
  • Update: Personnel Team--staff contracts, work plans, reports (Diana)
  • Feedback: Finance Team--core cost budget recommendation, framing political questions (Steph)
  • Feedback: Finance Team--travel policies recommendation (Steph)
  • Feedback: Framing political questions on program/logistics before, during, after March meeting (Cindy)
  • Recommendation: Mechanism for collecting political feedback on key questions (George)
  • Feedback/decision: Culture WG proposal from Leftist Lounge for USSF fundraiser loan (Michael)
  • Recommendations: what OC items do we need placed on NPC agenda? NPC approval for OC to discuss and decide on political questions? (Adrienne)
  • Decision: coordination plan and timeline for editing, printing, distributing USSF cards/materials. (Sylvia)
  • Update: ICT's milestone 4--registration, culture, website updates, new website launches, etc (Alfredo)
  • Update: DLOC Logistics Committee--latest info OC should know (Maureen)
  • Feedback: DLOC reps to the OC and NPC--who are they? how can we find them? (Will)
  • Update: OC subcommittee work: OC process questions; data policy and Internet tool usage (Sylvia)
  • Feedback: Comm WG--how we can best coordinate Comm WG receiving materials that other WG are sending out?

Promoting new facilitation process and speakers list (Sylvia)

Following transition plan from interim C-Team, we will ask a rep from each working group to facilitate each OC call and help with agenda. We’ll also experiment with trying to make sure everyone gets heard.

Update--Personnel Team--staff contracts, work plans, reports (Diana)
  • all contracts have gone out to USSF staff, Victor and Diana are making sure copies reach praxis, should be finalized soon. all staff received copies of their job descriptions and staff accountability documents.

Feedback--Finance Team--core cost budget recommendation, framing political questions (Steph)
  • hopefully folks have had a chance to look at this -- we know there are lots fo questions and implications, make sure we collect those questions and see if we can agree on who should answer those questions (most finance team), and then get back by end of week with answers
  • originally based on numbers we'd been tracking, major adjustments were made on personnel and also based on actual money in 07
  • this is meant to be a baseline cost budget for the next 6 months
  • biggest adjustments were the organizing and mobilizing section, and the working groups, if there were questions or major concerns
  • what finance especially needs is to know where some of these answers lie - with OC, NPC process? how to answer them if they are beyond the core cost budget? how do we make determinations of political questions that are tied to resources?
  • some of these political questions are tied to prioritizing the resources and costs, travel scholarships, meetings, etc. what pieces does this project need to cover? especially how it relates to people who are on as staff contractors so we make sure they're able to do what they need
  • Language Access is getting caught up and has yet to look at their piece of the budget--hopefully things will match up but we'll come back to it later on
  • Have we gotten additional feedback about fundraising efforts to add income? are we getting some of those reports? we've got some reports from foundations and grassroots fundraising, in terms of outside NPC most people are raising money for getting themselves to detroit
  • Music compilation will be raising money for USSF
  • Conversations have happened between personnel and finance and staff, particularly for travel. In Detroit, outreach WG came up with what it would take for travel costs for 2 field organizers and indigenous organizer--what's in the core cost will not cover what's needed to carry that plan out. flag for more conversation.
  • DLOC is planning a number of fundraisers to contribute to the overall costs
  • What is the turn around time for the site costs? How quickly can we pay Hart Plaza and balance for Cobo Hall?
  • $450,000 projected expenses, $250,000 in hand, $185,000 we know is coming in... lost the exact numbers but we are close to covering the core costs with what we have in hand. we're definitely in better shape than we were first time around
  • based on numbers from '07 - printing was $60,000 and we only made $30,000. gave away bags then. want to be cautious about projecting too much income
  • CD will be available in March, its money we left there to make sure we wouldn't have to worry too much
  • Evaluation working group is looking into getting someone to coordinate. Last time we said we needed to be more proactive about eval process
  • do we want to bring folks from other social forums happening in 2010 and 2011? do we want to look at a proposal for how to integrate with world social forum process? Michael will check in with folks to put together proposal
  • site costs are in hand and can be turned around soon.

Feedback--Finance Team--travel policies recommendation (Steph)
  • outreach WG presented a working budget.
  • Up to $3,000 each for 2 field organizers and native organizer. so we're talking about $9,000.
  • One major question: per diem costs.
  • General guidelines are that we ask folks to find support elsewhere wherever possible, book flights early as possible to get cheaper flights. Recommending all staff get reimbursed for travel to OC and NPC meetings. Also line for member organizations to participate in all these meetings
  • Other staff not doing field organizing would get $300 in travel each month
  • All working groups would get $1,500 for meetings, materials, travel between now and June. Basic proposal would come to full OC for those funds.
  • These recommendations and guidelines were sent out with same email as core cost budget.
  • Is there a rolling date on requests? we can use oc meeting in march when we're all together to go through all the costs. requests can come in as we go, but that can be a good time to finalize.
  • can we get consensus on idea of core cost budget? yes.
  • comments: willing to agree as long as we have money to follow through on our commitments
  • big question from our end is the organizer staff budget and also the work plan. we want to make sure we're operating on what the actual work plan is, and then if there's feedback that this isn't possible, we can go back and adjust our plan. just want to add context.

Feedback--Framing political questions on program/logistics before, during, after March meeting (Cindy)
  • recommendation is: invite key NPC members to come as observers covering their own travel and logistics needs.
  • we have certain political conversations that will unlock other pieces of our work
  • we create a facilitation team that has no logistics need, and create breaks for relationship building
  • prioritize the political discussions we need to have and the preparation so that folks come having read and prepared
  • we create a feedback loop for NPC through working groups so that there's input from the whole NPC, starts on feb 17 and continues in march
  • major question is how will we do all this? there's conflicting ideas. for example, is there a ussf 3...that's an assumption. matching what is politically important with the reality of what we CAN do. there's a list of questions cindy sent out. we want to know what is the prioritization for these questions? then we can empower the facilitation team to meet those needs
  • the last thing is that we ask that the OC be empowered - given permission - to be able to make fiscal and political decisions. we are getting caught on this. in july we agreed to a particular structure, but at this point that is not aiding us.
  • feedback? alfredo: would ask to approve this temporarily. don't want to permanently change responsibilities and structure.
  • is there a way to present this easier? cindy is open to feedback.
  • for the prioritization process: can we use the collaborative democracy tool that ict put together? or some other similar process? write out more clearly for the OC: how would we make decisions, etc.
  • jerome: im worried about the unity of the ussf itself - that is my concern about this process. in 07 we had two points that could have torn it apart - it didn't come apart because the body was unified. im worried about the division between oc and npc...who is in charge? who is political body?
  • this proposal is a compromise - taking that concern into consideration.
  • sylvia - this is the first real concerted effort to try and do this.

Recommendation--Mechanism for collecting political feedback on key questions (George)
  • George could not be on the call today but told Sylvia that the Evaluation & Documentation committee would be meeting this week and that this sounded like something they could help with.

Feedback/decision--Culture WG proposal from Leftist Lounge for USSF fundraiser loan (Michael & Sha)
  • background: the culture working group has put forward the leftist lounge that is going to be the main cultural event for the ussf happening on friday night. anticipated 7000 people. there will be all kinds of amazing cultural events happening throughout the week. we've been strategizing about how to raise money to put it on: costs anticipated are $22K. Leftist Lounge donates all proceeds to left grassroots work. asking for a loan of 10K to be advanced to be spread out over time; 1500 feb 15, 3500 march 15, 2500 may 15 last chunk june 15. goal is to raise 70K; there would be over 20K coming back to ussf.
  • groups are ussf, ggj, and detroit summer
  • 40% ussf, 25% ggj, 25% detroit summer, 10% kickback to leftist lounge
  • each of the groups are planning the event as well
  • goal for leftist lounge is to find creative ways to help fund the movement. the money comes back to community, and we get a great return as ussf on our money. we do have additional cultural events throughout the social forum--but this one is a much larger party with a large venue within a section of the eastern market to accommodate many different groups. will be good for our community and help us financially.
  • we've gotten advance notice and face to face meeting where we went over the whole idea of how this would work, and MWRO supports it
  • Ruckus has vetted it too; leftist lounge is really flawless. they've done a lot of thinking about it and its definitely a go for this.
  • this solidifies the social forum as an ongoing organization. i know what a good return is and this is a good return on our money. getting that money means that we are thinking of the organization as something going past the social forum in a way we haven't up to now. not saying its a bad idea, but we need to know we're doing it. we haven't before created an organization that is automatically supposed to be ongoing, thats a decision we make after each social forum.
  • one thing is that we will have expenses past the forum; we are going to need to keep some staff on to do some follow up functions past ussf. it is likely that we end up with a surplus; we should have discussions about what happens with any money that's left over. should have that agreement going in before june.
  • in terms of ggj, it was an agreement of mutual benefit. they needed money up front, and were concerned about time process wise for the ussf to make a decision about this being an official event of the ussf. ggj planning five year anniversary also, so my understanding of what's been reserved is a space that would allow ggj to have its celebration just before the party. we were willing to make the investment understanding that its a donation. leftist lounge offered that if we made the initial investment, we'd be a receiving organization in terms of the profit.
  • we should keep some piece of paper with explanation here. just so that we can be transparent.
  • language is also in the proposal; if it needs to be expanded, we can do that.
  • there are some major concerns: level of precedent in terms of loans, and also how to see the social forum. without a track record, the numbers are concerning. what i would need to see is a track record with a party of this size; what have past parties raised? in the event of the money not being raised, what is the responsibility? how are we designating official--this isn't the only event that ussf is sponsoring? muddies the waters when there are multiple beneficiaries. we should take some of these questions back.
  • three concerns: 1) i think about my experience with doing fundraisers and the kind of fundraisers that raise money and the kind you can't guarantee will make money. a special event is the worst guaranteed fundraiser that you could possibly have--you have no control over it. i'm concerned about putting this much confidence in this. 2) are we prepared to lose this money, given that there's no guarantees here, can we be prepared to deal with it if it does not come back 3) this is business that we're talking about, and in any business there are contracts and there are people who say that if we can't repay this loan, is there a guarantor?
  • related to the core cost budget, what do we do if other groups also request loans? do these loans tie up any of our resources before june?
  • this came from culture committee and resource mob, it's not an outside proposal. the loan for this is putting out we already have this in our income side of our budget; they need the loan to raise the money that we've already included in our budget. the leftist lounge is different from other fundraising models--in the bay it had over 1800 people and it made over 10K. they've made modest projections for what they think they'll bring in. it would be interesting to pursue thinking about investing in folks / groups that want to bring good social events to the ussf. this party is incredibly successful for us. not like other parties, it will be incredible for us and it will make it look like the ussf understands how to put its finger on the pulse of what's happening. using popular dj's that have a following.
  • we're not lending money, we're investing our 10K to make back three times as much.
  • should we take more time with the decision?
  • from program & culture: LL has taken lots of time to check in with folks and adress concerns. can we approve with a caveat that we want to guarantee
  • is the upfront money is any of it coming from leftist lounge?
  • understanding is that leftist lounge doesn't have any money to put up front
  • please add that clarifying question to the list--can they invest money up front?
  • leftist lounge has been here multiple times with meetings and setting up arrangements, so that's their investment. they have a history here in detroit as well. the money they get back is a small percentage that barely covers airfare, hotel, and travel expenses.
  • i understand angst and concern about loaning money. my thinking is that certainly a contract would make better sense, but i have an inside view on this one because of where the welfare rights office sits. i happen to know that each night when there's an event where the young people are involved, there are 5K people that can show up at an event at the drop of a hat. it's a magnet for parties. my support for this is based on the fact that absolutely once the word gets out people who know nothing about the ussf will show up at this party. if there was any potential for this not raising money, but the place is an absolute magnet for throwdown parties.
  • can we have folks putting forward proposal with clarifications and come back?
  • no, we need to make the decision today.
  • there are folks that have major concerns; have those been addressed?
  • as a fundraising activity of the ussf, we're going to participate with leftist lounge in this activity. here's our 10K investment which we're going to get back to do that. if this is the way we're treating it, that turns us into something like a bank; we're creating a concerning precedent.
  • we don't have a problem with changing that language in the proposal.
  • who has the authority to make that political decision?
  • can we put it out for a vote later on this week? ask the npc to help us make this decision on the call next wednesday?
  • let's check in with the leftist lounge to see if we can make this decision at the npc?
  • let's make the decision in the oc
  • let's get a clear sense of who's going to take this stuff back. from my understanding someone has offered to raise 20K for us, and we're coming back with a host of questions. we need an ambassador of goodwill to ensure that this is something that they want to do for us.
  • oya agrees to do this.
  • we've got to cover every cent as we do this. make sure that they've vetted contract language. we're going to have to be able to get behind this as a npc, esp with a proposal to send money back out to certain groups.

Recommendations--what OC items do we need placed on NPC agenda? NPC approval for OC to discuss and decide on political questions? (Adrienne)
  • Send stuff to Adrienne, if needed.

Decision--coordination plan and timeline for editing, printing, distributing USSF cards/materials. (Sylvia)
  • sylvia - there are many items that are multi-WG based. these cards are one of them. we're getting MANY requests. we had a big order in november, but a lot of folks are asking for edits on the back of the card. there's a proposal to have input by this friday and send to nadia. also proposal for cards in spanish, cards for the youth with diff messaging, larger prints for folks with visual disabilities.
  • is the OC the space for this conversation?
  • maureen update: by friday we're putting in a new order for cards to be ordered [we got 20k left last order]. we want an additional 20k cards - will move in 2 weeks. changes would be reflected AFTER this next order.
  • where do we determine the budget for this - what is our limit? do we allocate cards? there's money allocated for this and the program we'll need to print.
  • maureen: 20K feb, 50K mar, and then we will assess for april and beyond.
  • sylvia: and those are just DLOC numbers, ppl around the country are asking for them
  • maureen: we are mailing them out.
  • reg: sounds like we need to revise the estimate for printing on the budget.
  • amb: bring a proposal with the projections of materials needed - from DLOC, from outreach
  • cindy: we have language already - its about coordinating with disability, communications, youth
  • amb will support setting up a call specifically on this.

ICT's milestone 4--registration, culture, website updates, new website launches, etc (Alfredo)
  • milestones are available for people to see on the ICT site. continue to work on and post forms, and will report to NPC list.
  • mallory and alfredo are going to detroit at end of this month, to smooth out coordination between national and local tech work
  • is there anything on the forms that will further cause concern to the accessibility community? tech is working with accessibility committee to resolve some of these issues and make agreements. main issue is about communication, we're working out the issues.

Update--DLOC Logistics Committee--latest info OC should know (Maureen)
  • Tabled, out of time

Feedback--DLOC reps to the OC and NPC--who are they? how can we find them? (Will)
  • Tabled, out of time

Update--OC subcommittee work
OC process questions; data policy and Internet tool usage (Sylvia)
  • Tabled, out of time

Feedback--Comm WG--how we can best coordinate Comm WG receiving materials that other WG are sending out?
  • Tabled, out of time

Next OC meeting
  • Maureen has reserved a block of rooms at local hotel…should she hold discounted rooms? Yes, we should hold on to hotel rooms we have. We just need to do a count of all the people from OC coming, plus staff, and other reps from NPC.