Miscellaneous Ballot Measure Information
Two arguments opposed and rebuttals to measure one were submitted.
Election Code section 13.3 (g) provides:
If multiple eligible con arguments are submitted, the authors will be put in touch by the Board Administrator and given two days to collaborate on preparing a joint con argument. If the authors are unable to prepare a joint con argument, the Election Committee Chair will randomly select one of the eligible con arguments for the ballot. In addition to the single con argument selected for the ballot, the other eligible con arguments received will be posted on the Co-op’s website.
In accordance with section 13.3(g), the authors of the separate statements prepared a joint con argument and rebuttal. The original con arguments and rebuttals are provided below:
Argument Opposed to Measure 1 Submitted by Edward Diggs
Our co-op has nearly 10,000 members. This ballot measure would require candidates (who are rejected by the board) to obtain roughly 300 signatures.
Recently I spent 13 hours attempting to acquire just 50 valid member signatures. If I had needed to collect 300 co-op signatures, I would have spent 90 hours. Very few people to collect 300 signatures. This measure nearly gives the co-op board veto power over future board candidates.
Argument Opposed to Measure 1 Submitted by Michael Garabedian
Please OPPOSE the changes to 9.02 that would reduce access to the SNFC ballot if approved.
Vacancies on the Board occur regularly, and the board fills them. New 9.02(a) would transfer the nominating power from the Nominating Committee to the Board. Filing vacancies provides adequate opportunity for the Board to make appointments in the interests of the co-op. Vacancy filling PLUS controlling nominations could enable a Board to perpetuate itself to an unacceptable degree.
The proposal to eliminate 9.02(b) would end the current ability of members to nominate and vote to put candidates on the ballot at a meeting with 100 or more members present.
The proposal would create a new 9.02(b) to greatly increase the number of signatures required for members to get on the ballot by Petition.
Changing 9.02 (b) and (c) as proposed would radically alter opportunities members have to propose additional candidates after seeing who has been nominated in the formal process. We could no longer add candidates at pre-election member meetings and more than 50 signatures would be required on Petitions.
This measure would narrow the already limited gene pool relied upon when we make major decisions. In sharp contrast are the many day-to-day existing store decisions that are affected by member questions, comments, and product requests, member-worker participation, and all of us who in effect vote with our purchases. SNFC makes major decisions without this kind of effective round robin member involvement.
This measure would empower the Board at the expense of the members and should be opposed.
Rebuttal Submitted by Edward Diggs
I have observed that leaders in many organizations have an inflated concept of their circle of friends and fellow board members and don't believe that anyone outside their circle can competently lead. My concern is that either the current or a future board will misuse these bylaws changes to keep out good candidates.
Ultimately, voters should be the only deciders in co-op elections. We need to have confidence that our voters will be able to determine which candidates are appropriate.
In my experience, the 3% threshold, which is being proposed, would require that candidates spend 60 hours collecting signatures. Most prospective candidates will not have that much free time.
The currently required 50 co-op signatures took me 13 hours to collect. I think 13 hours of signature gathering should qualify a candidate for the ballot. Our current rules are more than adequate; lets not change them.
Rebuttal Submitted by Michael Garabedian
Boards and committees need diversity of views and strengths. The strengths make up for each other's weaknesses.
Like the August 1 Bee headline, "Caltrans 'banished' its critics," our co-op reacts poorly to member concerns about what we do.
I'm critical of preferred shares decisions. After meeting about them I learned no co-op person would spend more time on them with me.
I'm critical of new store decisions. The current new store vote was an emergency election with no ballot arguments permitted.
I'm critical of our urban environmental decision-making. Key members with this land use know-how quit because of the Elk Grove Store.
Ed and I independently submitted arguments against this measure. One statement would be dropped from the ballot unless we agree on one.
Board candidates are now required to be Nominating Committee selections. This proposal for Board candidate screening is a bad idea