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Board Statement - January 1997

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La Plaza Board of Directors

January 1997 Statement

The Board of Directors of Laplaza Telecommunity Foundation, Robin Collier, George Ellison, Jose Arnoldo Lopez, Tracy McCallum, Thom Myers and George Zopf are pleased to be conducting this first Board Meeting of 1997 as a public meeting, and wish to share with the public some of the events that have occurred since they took office on December 3, 1996.

But before we do so, it is important to recognize the accomplishments of the founders, previous boards and the many volunteers and staff who have contributed their time and work to make Laplaza possible. Certainly, without their vision and self-sacrifice, there would be no Laplaza. They were the ones who galvanized energy around the idea and moved others to contribute equipment, space, time, money and work as well as expertise and the perseverance that were required to establish this "free-net" in Taos, New Mexico.

Of course, as in all things, timing is all. The time was ripe, and the community came forward enthusiastically, recognizing the inherent worth of the idea being proffered by the founders, and participated as users, members, and supporters of this organization that links the community of Greater Taos to the global technology enjoyed everywhere today.

As it is with all new and struggling non-profit organizations, things were not perfect. Differing ideas of what the organization should be doing, and how it should be structured, divided participants and the resulting conflicts began to erode the sense of unity of purpose that so invigorated the initial impulse. This was magnified, in Taos, by the numbers of strong personalities that were involved in the development of Laplaza, and the past two years have seen factional alliances and disputes, a costly lawsuit and struggles within the board itself for a clear direction and clean bill of health amidst the turmoil.

With the election of November, 1996, we believe that the majority of conflicts are being solved or are solvable. It is our opinion that the present, newly elected board represents the interests of all who are party to Laplaza, and that in our tenure, we are doing all that is possible to put the organization on the right track and to resolve the conflicts that have plagued the organization.

Although actions on the part of those executive staff members who also sat on the board previously are considered by the present board to have impacted Laplaza negatively, the present board is concerned only with saving Laplaza from possible bankruptcy and moving the organization forward to serve the community as originally intended.

Today we are pleased to announce that the following have occurred since this board took office:

Motions will be considered by the board to remove blanket confidentiality agreements for board and staff, and to lower the membership fee.

Without an Executive Director, which the Board intends to hire as soon as is practical, the Board must act in that role. Staff may also contact George Zopf, President, with any concerns generally.

We wish to thank the entire Laplaza community for its patience in this time of change, and appreciate your support.

The Board of Directors, La Plaza Telecommunity Foundation