Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tiny Forum Update: Signs

This should have been in the previous post. Sorry everyone!

Please, in respect for fellow Co-op members, do not bring signs to the forum. If you would like to show support for or against the boycott, consider using colored ribbons or pins. This will give you the opportunity to show your numbers without impacting other participants. Signs on sticks will not be allowed in the room.

Thank you for helping us make this a safe and welcoming place for members of all points of view.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Member Forum: Format & General Information

Doors will open at 5:30pm. Members will be seated first, and if there is additional room, community members will be invited to observe. Bring your membership card. We will have the membership database available to confirm membership.


The Board’s goal is to gain a deeper understanding of members’ ideas and responses to the question, “Where do we go from here?”

Three specific sub-topics were identified through listening to members at the stores, receiving comments by email and phone, and meeting face-to-face with groups in support or opposition to the boycott. The topics are:

1. The Israeli-product boycott: What should happen?
2. The Co-op’s overall boycott policy and process: What would make it better?
3. The Co-op community: How do we continue to talk about tough issues?


Co-op members can choose to speak publicly, complete a written feedback form, and/or contribute to a “mural” of ideas posted on the walls.

Members who wish to speak will choose one of the three topic areas listed above and sign up to comment on that topic. The amount of time that is spent talking about each of the topics will depend on how many people sign up for each one.

Each member will have up to two minutes to speak. We will accommodate as many members as possible in the time we have.

Ground rules:

The Board is working to create an environment where everyone can express themselves and be respected. Participants whose intent is to disrupt or who cannot adhere to the ground rules may be asked to leave.

The ground rules are:

Demonstrate respect for all participants through your words and body language. Avoid assumptions about others and stereotypes.

Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing (use “I” statements).

Direct your comments to the Board.

One person speaks at a time. Please refrain from applauding, booing, etc. (This will save time and allow more members an opportunity to speak.)

Press, recording, etc.:

Instead of taking notes by hand, the Co-op will videotape the Board and speakers. The purpose of the video is solely to create a record for the Board so that they can be present and listen in the moment, and have an accurate record to review afterward. This video will not be broadcast or distributed. The focus will be on the speakers, not on the general audience.

Members of the local press might attend the forum. Because our highest priority is our members, non-member reporters will be asked to wait until all members have been seated to determine whether there is room for them. As a safety precaution and to encourage open dialogue, we request that members of the press do not record or take photographs, and that they do not quote anyone by name, unless given specific permission to do so. Press packets will be available.

Recognizing that cell phone and internet technologies allow all of us to be reporters, we also request that members of the audience not record or photograph the forum.

Maralise Hood Quan: Facilitator for Aug. 12 OFC Member Forum

In addition to facilitating the actual forum, Maralise Hood Quan worked with the Board to create the format. Details about the forum format will be posted later this evening!

Maralise Hood Quan,
Executive Director of Pierce County Dispute Resolution Center

Maralise Hood Quan brought a great deal of experience in the field of conflict resolution to the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution when she became the Executive Director in May 2007. Before earning her BA in International Relations and Conflict Management, Maralise had already worked in intercultural and nonviolent conflict resolution settings in her native Washington State, primarily with migrant workers.

She moved to Central America in 1985 where she became Coordinator of the Conflict Resolution Program at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. There she was instrumental in the success of such projects as the Central American Peace Education curriculum, World Conflict Resolution Center, regional peace negotiations and as well as multiple conflict resolution training opportunities.

After years of working together as consultants to help resolve conflict, Maralise and her husband, Julio Quan, returned to Washington in 2000. Her work as a professional mediator in a small firm focused on land use, state agency mediations, and problem solving services led her to pursue her long-time interest in the law-making process. She subsequently became Chief of Staff to State Representative Dennis Flannigan, serving the people of the 27th Legislative District for five years. In her spare time, she went to law school, receiving her Juris Doctorate in 2008.

Her current projects include the Washington State Council on Traumatic Brain Injury, Pierce County Housing Justice Project, Connexion Latina, Walk the Waterfront, and the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Fund for Women and Girls.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Latest Update from Board of Directors re: Boycott

Note: Members will also receive this in our newest newsletter, which they should receive very soon.

The Board of Directors would like to acknowledge and appreciate the passion being expressed by members over the recent decision to honor the called boycott of Israeli products. Members who oppose the boycott, members who support the boycott, and members whose primary concern has been the process used to make the decision have taken the opportunity to raise their voices in the aftermath of the decision. We thank you all for your engagement.

We are honored by the level of concern and care our members feel for the Co-op, and have appreciated the willingness of individuals and groups to maintain respectful discourse and share the space at the Co-op.

How the decision came to be made by the board:

Over two years ago the Co-op staff received a suggestion from a volunteer cashier, who requested that we honor the boycott of Israeli products. Per the current boycott policy, the request was routed to the Merchandising Team to evaluate and create a proposal for staff’s consideration. Recognizing the strong feelings among staff on both sides of the issue, the team, rather than making a proposal to staff, opted to send the issue to the board of directors.

At the May 2010 board meeting, the board sent the issue back to staff with the request that staff first go through the consensus process outlined in the boycott policy. The staff rep to the board was asked to create a proposal for staff to consider.

In the process of consideration of the proposal, several staff members expressed strong support for the proposal, while several others indicated that they would block the proposal from moving forward. Most staff expressed opinions somewhere in between. All staff members were given the opportunity in their work group meetings to express their feelings and positions on the boycott. The feedback was reported to the board, and the proposal was sent to us for further consideration.

The board consented to the proposal in our monthly meeting July 15, 2010. At the same meeting we agreed to sponsor a member forum on the issue. The board also asked the staff to review the boycott policy.

Since the decision, the Co-op has received hundreds of messages by phone and e-mail, both in support and in opposition to the boycott and to the process used to make the decision. Supporters and opponents have rallied at the Co-op and spent hours tabling at the store. Board members have been in attendance at the stores, listening to members, relaying member feedback to the board as a whole, and using this information to consider the next steps.

At this time the board makes the following commitments:

The Process: We believe that we were operating within the letter of co-op policies when we approved this boycott proposal. After listening to member concerns we agree that these policies could be improved. We commit to work with staff and members to review and revise the current boycott policy and board procedures for soliciting member input such as posting board agendas on the web-site prior to each monthly meeting.

The Content: We acknowledge that some of the wording of the boycott can be interpreted in more than one way. We recognize the right of all people, including Israelis & Palestinians, to live in peace and security. We commit to working with members on clarifying the boycott proposal to be explicit with these goals.

What Next: We commit to creating a process to provide members an opportunity to express their opinion regarding the boycott. This process will include at least one member forum and may include a member ballot.

At this time the board is listening to member feedback and ideas for the next steps. Information gathered at the member forum as well as conversations with community members will help us guide the process moving forward. We commit to keeping members informed and involved as we consider what is best for our organization.

In the meantime, we encourage all members to stay engaged in the process by attending the Member Forum, Thursday, August 12th, 6:00-8:30 pm. The forum will be held at the Olympia Center, 220 N. Capital Way. Members will be seated first, then if there is additional space, community members will be invited to observe. Bring your membership card.

Check the Co-op’s web-site for other events & communication on this issue.
You can continue to contact the board by writing, or calling 360-357-1106 extension 13.