Membership Committee Report

Board Meeting

September 15, 1998

The membership committee has worked for approximately one year to develop a plan to increase voting membership in La Plaza.  The plan called for the elimination of any extra costs associated with the voting privilege but that users should be informed about La Plaza issues.  That plan was approved by the Board of Directors.  The committee developed a list of rights and responsibilities for user-voters which was put on-line and approved unanimously by the board. A subcommittee of the membership committee including Tom Myers, George Zopf and Ira Schwartz met with Judith and Mike to develop an implementation plan for the new user-voter policy.  At that meeting we agreed on the following:
  1. The <lpgovern> list would be converted to a "bulletin board" of voter issues and information from La Plaza to voters.  Based on the R and R document, subscription to this list, at least 30 days prior to any vote, would be a requirement for voting status. The <members> list would be optional for those wishing to engage in dialogue about voting issues.
  2. We agreed that an e-mail note would be put on line advising each current user of the history of the committee and advising them of the new user-voter policy.  We also agreed that registration to become a voter would be put on the web with a link to it from the e-mailed note.
  3. I was asked to prepare that note and the content was put on-line to the membership committee and the board, and was generally greeted with acceptance by the few board members who responded. Two board members made suggestions about including a little "glitz" and I did so.  One member voiced concern about limiting access to the registration via the web and I asked him to bring this concern to the board directly.  At no time did the subcommittee exhibit any need for the implementation process to be brought to a vote by the board and in the interest of expediting the process it was put into effect on Thursday, September 10th.
  4. Since the process was implemented a few problems and questions have appeared that require resolution.  They are:
    1. Several users (and non-users) were already subscribed to the <lpgovern> list when it was converted to a "bulletin board."  There is some sentiment that they should have been removed first and that a note indicating the change in use of the list should have been sent.  This probably needs to be done now.
    2. The <members> list was previously limited to registered voters.  It probably should be opened up to anyone who wishes to subscribe whether they are voters or not - though non-voters are not likely to be interested.
    3. Should a check box for subscription to the <members> list be added to the registration process?
    4. Should the box for <lpgovern> be unchecked so that the registrant has to check it?
    5. Should users be able to register without using the web?

The membership committee met on Friday, September 11th.  The meeting was attended by Jim Clayton, John McLaughlin, Chris Gunn, Marty Meltzer, Tom Myers, Peter Stazione and Ira Schwartz.  The following is a summary of that meeting.
  1. The committee has agreed that to expand the number of voting members it must attempt to increase the base of possible voters by increasing the number of users.  Accordingly, we have listed several possible activities to accomplish this. They are:  develop a survey of users, develop a survey of non-users, develop a list of special volunteer activities, reach out to the Hispanic and native American communities, develop notices to be placed in newspapers and announced on various radio stations, and develop fliers and one page bulletins for posting around town.
  2. Committee member, Jim Clayton, has volunteered to work on the design of a 1/3rd page flier.  He will write his vision of the contents and share this with the committee on-line.  He is also considering such flyers to be designed for specific target audiences such as public school students.
  3. To explore the idea of creating a list of volunteer activities we need to ascertain what La Plaza needs that could be satisfied by volunteers.
  4. The committee agreed to expand its ranks by adding two additional user-voters.  At the present time the committee consists of 5 board members and 3 voting members.
  5. To begin to consider the development of a user survey each member of the committee agreed to assign himself the task of listing the types of information that we hope to learn from such as survey.  Each member will put his list on line and the chair will compile the list for discussion at the next meeting.
  6. The committee will consider methods of distributing the new La Plaza flyer shown to us by Tom Myers.
  7. The next meeting of the committee is tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 2, 1998 at 1:30 p.m. at Café Tazza, depending on the scheduled date of the next board meeting.

Respectfully reported:

Ira Schwartz
Chairman, La Plaza Membership Committee