Dear NYC REIC Members,
We’ve had a busy month with lots of updates to share. Read on for news about our upcoming steering committee elections, our charter, and much more!
Recent Events – Past Meetings
On November 18th, REIC met at Judson Memorial Church to talk about where we would like to be as an organization and how we’d like to get there. Right now we’re an unincorporated group of volunteers, but to accomplish our goal of securing permanently affordable space for civic, cultural, and cooperative use in NYC, we’ll need to get more organized. This means creating an official structure and making some key decisions about how we’ll make decisions as a group going forward.
Case Studies opened the meeting with a beautifully illustrated card game designed to get everyone enthusiastically talking about the cooperative principles underlying REIC’s mission (more on that below). Following that, Eliza and Sam of the Governance Working Group described the exciting steps that REIC is taking towards holding its first democratic election, including holding nominations for the democratically elected Steering Committee and drafting a charter setting forth what the Steering Committee will be empowered to do.
Photo by Paula Z. Segal for NYC REIC.
HOW WE’RE BUILDING OUR COOPERATIVE:
Our next steps will be to elect a Steering Committee and finalize our Charter.
What is the Steering Committee?
The Steering Committee will be REIC’s first democratically elected governing body. It will help govern the REIC and act on our behalf while we continue to work on a longer-term governing structure. As part of this work, it will be responsible for “steering” the REIC to the point where we put in place a permanent governing body (such as a Board of Directors in the case of a NY Cooperative Corporation). In the next couple months, the REIC will open nominations for members interested in serving on the Steering Committee, and we will hold elections for those seats at our next General Meeting in January.
What is the Charter?
The Charter will be a short document (1-2 pages) defining the rights and responsibilities of the Steering Committee. It will say, for instance, whether the Steering Committee will be able to sign contracts on behalf of the REIC, whether they will be able to spend money collected by the REIC, and whether they will be empowered to file the necessary documents with the State to form the REIC as a business entity. It may also specify how the Board will be established, or it may require the Steering Committee to bring this decision to back to the membership. The Governance Working Group invites all members to join us at our next meeting on December 14 to discuss what the Steering Committee’s rights and responsibilities should be. Based on this feedback, Governance will present a draft Charter prior to January 14; we invite all members to provide additional comments at that time as well!
Here’s how the process will work:
How will this all come together?
- December 14: The Governance Working Group will draft a Charter and send it to all members for feedback. Following the meeting we’ll revise the Charter, and send out a proposed final draft. Please email us at email@example.com to RSVP and to get important updates regarding the location of the meeting.
- January 5: The nominations period for the Steering Committee opens. We’ll send out more info on logistics as the date approaches.
- January 14: We’ll hold a “Meet the Candidates” day! We’ll incorporate final comments to the Charter and members will have the opportunity to make floor nominations
- January 28: We’ll hold elections for the Steering Committee at our next General Meeting.
Please come to the December 14 and January 14 meetings, as your involvement is critical to the success of this work! This is a huge step for REIC and the result of a huge amount of effort and input from many of us, particularly the members of the Governance Working Group. Many thanks to Governance and everyone who’s participated in this process!
SAVE the DATES!
January 14th, 6:30-8:30 PM: Meet the Candidates day. (Location TBD). This is the night where all nominees (who accept their nominations) will show up and introduce themselves to members of the REIC. We will also be able to nominate members from the floor. This meeting will allow us to close the ballot for vote and allow people to make informed votes on Jan 28th.
January 28th, 6:30-8:30 PM. Our next General Meeting and Steering Committee elections. This will be the meeting where we elect our Steering Committee, so it’ll be important to have as many REIC members turn out as we can.
ARTS & MEDIA
The Arts and Media Group met on November 21 and has several projects in the works. To follow up from the Governance Meeting, we’ll be posting one Governance Card a week on the blog. Please read AND comment! These questions are great discussion generators and it would be great to hear from folks who couldn't make the meeting.
More: On the topic of REIC’s blog, we’d love to see more posts from Workgroup Members.
The blog is a very efficient way to keep other Workgroups, general Membership AND anyone who happens to read the REIC blog updated on your work and outside ideas/events related to your Workgroup areas of interest. For reference, here are the BLOGGING STANDARDS AND STYLE GUIDE
Please contact Leland at firstname.lastname@example.org to post on a topic specific to your workgroup or anything else related to REIC.
Why you, why REIC? Doron will be initiating a project to gather statements from as many members as possible regarding the question: What brought you to the REIC? More news on this in next month's Newsletter as Doron finalizes plans for making this happen.
Calling all audio mavens! Caroline and Susan would appreciate being contacted by any REIC member who knows how to turn audio files into podcasts. You can reach us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Our next meeting will be in January 2016, exact date and time tbd.
Photo: Stephen Korns
MEMBER DATA MANAGEMENT
Member Data Management created and implemented a phone tree for the membership and, thanks to Caroline of Art & Outreach, followed up with text message reminders for last month’s Governance feedback meeting (did you get a call or text message?). Calling other REIC members is fun! Have a few minutes to spare over the holidays? Plug in here and chat about the future of our city.
We are putting together a system that we hope to implement before January 28, 2015. We could greatly use some more technical help to join our crew - we're looking for someone who has great data / web skills. Ideally you're great at using CMSes with a solid grasp of HTML/CSS under your belt, have a good understanding of data formats (CSVs, JSON, etc), maybe some familiarity with databases and web development, even? We really want to make sure we have good systems in place for communication, decision-making and tracking our inputs. Email email@example.com with the subject PHONE TREE if this is you!
In addition to our work getting the Charter and steering committee going, the Governance Work Group has also proposed the idea of forming a new Working Group dedicated to promoting social justice within REIC and in our relationships with the communities where we will work. If you would like to facilitate a meeting for the Social Justice Working Group, or if you just want to be a part of the conversation, send us an email or come to our next meeting.
Please send us your thoughts, questions, and insights at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CASE STUDIES - REIC U
In November, Case Studies worked with Arts and Media to produce a card-based discussion for the November 18 Governance Meeting that allowed members to navigate some of the basic tenets of a cooperative enterprise. Attendees at November’s meeting were split into eight groups based on the cards they received, where they discussed the values on each card and how the REIC might structure itself to ensure that values such as “democratic member control” and “autonomy and independence,” among others, are retained as more community partnerships form and more members join. Members then rearranged into new groups in which everyone had the opportunity to discuss what they had learned in their last group.
At a November 21 follow-up meeting, Case Studies members met to discuss, among other topics, how to improve upon the cards so that they can be used in the future to acclimate new members and community partners to the values that the REIC hopes to maintain as we move forward.
To reach Case Studies Workgroup by email: email@example.com
PBIG (Public Buildings Inventory Group & Community Outreach)
Over the summer, we identified potential properties for the REIC. These properties are all vacant, city-owned, and geared toward commercial or manufacturing uses. By focusing on buildings that are owned by the city first, we insure that publicly held assets are utilized to the benefit of the neighborhoods they are located in.
We are now gearing up for community outreach, conducting further research, and connecting with the relevant government agencies.
Here’s where we are with each of these properties. If you’d like to get involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Department Building in Jamaica
Rafael sent around a video of the interior of the building. He is looking for help putting together a flyer for door-knocking in the neighborhood, and ideas for potential uses of the space. Add your ideas here, and reach out to Rafael if you can help with the flyer. We are working on the text and collaborating with the Art & Media workgroup on the design.
Coney Island Pumping Station
Adele is planning to meet with the the gardeners who use the lot the building is located on. She is also going to reach out to the council member and local community groups about the property. Let her know if you can help.
Former PS 90
Unfortunately, this property will likely be torn down, but we will keep our eye out for future plans for the site.
Former CB10 Office in Bay Ridge
Caren is looking into the future plans for this building. There seems to be some sort of activity around it in the past couple of months. Let the group know if you have contacts with any local groups in Bay Ridge, or contact Caren if you want to help out with contacting the City.
1337 Jerome Ave in the Bronx
The local Community Board rejected the Jerome Ave rezoning. Let us know if you would like to reach out to the Community Board. Rafael, Oksana and Robert are also working on outreach.
South Bronx Warehouse/Historic Gantries
Oksana is talking to a group organizing a Community Land Trust in Mott Haven and SoBro, a Community Development Corporation in the South Bronx, about this property. Let her know if you want to reach out to the Community Board.
Former MTA Substation in Midwood
Scott is checking out whether a former substation on Avenue H in Midwood is still up for sale/city-owned.
Former Police Station in East New York
We are also looking into the current status of this beautiful building.
At our meeting last week, we agreed to keep a running list of additional properties that may be appropriate for the NYC REIC (both publicly and privately owned). If you come across a building that you want to add to the list, email the workgroup.
Photo: Robert Chin.
Thinking about how REIC could support a community land trust to ensure spaces are kept permanently affordable.
If you are interested in securing permanent, community based uses for these properties, have ideas for organizational engagement, or know of another building we should explore for NYC REIC, please send an email to the group, or come to our next meeting!
Our email: email@example.com
Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 22, 7 pm
Please RSVP if you are interested in attending.
Become a Member of NYC REIC
There are 4 requirements for active membership in NYC REIC:
(1) Reading and signing the member agreement;
(2) Contributing a membership fee of $10;
(3) Attending a quarterly All-Member NYC REIC meeting (next chance: January 28, 2016!);
(4) Endeavoring to conduct membership in accordance with the principles of cooperation.
We maintain a Google Calendar with all workgroup meetings. Please add this to your gCal, or look at http://nycreic.com/meet to stay updated with our meeting times:
Please Help Cover our Current Operating Expenses!
You can support REIC’s development by making a charitable donation during this incubation period for very basic expenses, like the monthly charges that must be paid to circulate this e-newsletter. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to make a charitable contribution (not an investment) during the incubation period of the NYC REIC.
REIC Learn and Share
What the REIC? Check Out Our Video:
Please take a minute, literally, to check out this amazing video that NYC REIC members produced to explain the REIC in under 60 seconds, and share widely.
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New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative