Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2nd Carrboro Community Forum On Policing - Personal Recap

The Second Carrboro Community Forum on Policing was a success. There. That was the easy part. Now, for the messier part. It was a success because a lot of very different views were expressed. People went away frustrated, anxious and despondent because there was next to no meeting of minds. But they were all determined to come back and continue the process. That was the success.

Anyone who wanted a quick fix was thwarted by the complexity of the human condition. That’s life. And that is precisely why we need to undertake this process here in Carrboro. To build a model that improves the relationship between police and the community going forward. Both in Carrboro, and for America.

It is always difficult to concern oneself with designing a process that appears to deal with apocalypse, when the worst-case scenario isn’t knocking at the door. You plan for doom when the sun is shining. That is the nature of good planning. But it is a tad surreal. And so it was last evening.

This is also why it is terribly important for people to turn up and to stick with the process. And there were too many people who have been loud on this subject who were absent last night. Folks, change takes time and hard work. Not the occasional rant on Facebook.

Now to specifics. I’m not going to try to offer minutes of the evening. But rather, a very personal commentary upon the different points of view I heard expressed.

First, I was very encouraged that no less than six police officers attended, and almost all contributed. This is good.

It is my opinion, as expressed last evening, that, once all the initial posturing is over, and that posturing may take several more meetings to find satisfactory expression, once it is sated, on all sides, these forums, if, as I hope, they become the focus of the discussion on policing in Carrboro, then they will turn to meaningful review and design of policing policy.

That review and design will only be meaningful if it is an equal and respectful conversation between police, elected officials from their funding agency (the Board of Aldermen) and concerned citizens. And that conversation will only be meaningful if it includes an articulate police presence.

The Carrboro police, if last night was an indication, are worried. And defensive. Not unlike many good police departments across the nation, they feel offended that the years of training and experience and good policing that they feel they can evidence is not immediately, honestly and fully acknowledged and supported.

Police Chief Walter Horton at one point asked, rather plaintively, if there was anyone who could explain what his department had done so wrong as to warrant such close and critical examination. When it came my turn to speak, I answered: nothing. That isn’t the point.

The point is that we are all one bullet away from a Ferguson. That this process is not just about Carrboro. It is about building a model in a reasonably successful borough, where the relationship between police and policed is reasonably healthy. Such that the model can provide a precedent for those communities around the nation where there is tension between the police and the policed. While improving the relationship in Carrboro itself.

That, whatever the reason, the improving of that relationship is predicated on the view that, over the years, police and community have become separated. That the police have begun to feel that they are an authority unto themselves. And that, even if, for the most part, that works for now, it is not the model upon which policing was originally predicated.

Namely that the police undertake their mission on behalf of society only with the consent of the people. That in many parts of this country, that consent has been withdrawn, for good reason. That even in Carrboro, there are sections within the community who feel their consent tempered. That this requires an analysis and perhaps a reconstruction of the social compact between police and policed. And the first step is to re-iterate the subordination of police to the citizenry. A step which necessarily might grate with many police officers, who have acted without review for so long.

Do we say, tough, suck it up? No. That would be the response of an irresponsible and ungrateful community. We stick to our guns. But with magnanimity to accompany the firmness. And demonstrate understanding that it will take time for the police to learn to trust those civilians who would wish to exercise control over the police.

There were some last evening who wondered why there was this all-fired interest to have civilians become involved in designing police policy? How on earth could civilians possibly know what was involved in proper policing?

My input was this: as a community, we ask certain of our citizens to take on an onerous and dangerous task that I would not choose to undertake. To protect us. To enforce our laws. To maintain the order we demand. They have my respect for the job they do.

But it is a job. They are employees of a government department. Beholden to elected officials. Who are the servants of the public. Who are the bosses of all police officers. The police perform a service on behalf of the people they perform it upon. Those people are entitled to set the rules. And they need no specialized knowledge beyond knowing how they want to be policed. Period.

Why should citizens design the policy for the police department when they seek no interest in doing so for transport departments or the fire service, as one lady anxiously asked last evening? Because those folks do not have the right to put me in handcuffs or to shoot me. That’s why.

Do I want my police to be any less trained? No. Any less dedicated? No. Any the less interested in treating their career as a vocation, not just a wage? Heck no. But. At the end of the day. The police have each chosen to dedicate themselves to a profession which, ultimately, exists only if the public say so.

The public have become concerned. They are quite rightfully trying to find a way to overcome their concern. They are attempting to do so in conjunction with the police. But the police do not have a veto. Excellence in training and years of service will not of themselves serve as remedy, although they are a prerequisite for execution of the remedy. And Coffee Time With Constabulary is not the answer.

Chief Horton expressed concern that this new complex interactive approach to policing will require more personnel and resources. Yes it will. And those who demand the new policing approach are going to have to expect their taxes to rise. Period.

But it will require something much more. It will require a sea change in culture. Among police officers. And among those in the community who are currently expressing concern. For when this conversation has advanced. When there is truly a process where all can participate in designing and monitoring the police approach, then those who have expressed concern will need to step up and become active partners with the police in advocating for full respect for those the community have asked to enforce the law.

I raised this in conversation with two police officers after the meeting. It was nigh on impossible for every single speaker to express all their concerns in several minutes of input. Myself included.

All they likely heard from me was: blah, blah, police on a leash. I wanted to share with them my vision for several years down the road. When police officers, attending in civvies, would sit around a table with citizens and elected officials, and in a relaxed fashion, tweak this or that policy.

Where the police would no longer be required to defend their position. Where civilian members of a process demonstrably responsible for police policy design, performance and review would step up and take the flack for any consequences of police faithfully following policies designed by civilians in the main.

This I said was the pay-off for police of the renewed social compact between police and policed: the community would be comfortable with their police, and the police would be protected by their community.

Not sure those officers saw my vision. Not surprising. Again, this will take years of unraveling of current misconceptions to achieve.

Most probably, those officers did not see the vision as clearly as I do because of the experience of many in the audience last evening maintaining that the primary problem with policing, in Carrboro and elsewhere, is racism.

I do not denigrate their stance. I can not minimize their experience. For it is not mine. It is theirs. Maybe seminar after seminar on implicit bias will help. Maybe rigorous training will make things better. But I have a concern. It is mine. It may provoke an antipathetic reaction. So be it.

We engage police to police. Not to be agents of socio-economic change. I want us to reach a point where there are clear rules of engagement. With all citizens. On an equal basis. I hold the very firm view that, if there are clear rules, laid down by citizens, for interaction with citizens, if those rules are enforced, then ultimately, the color of the other participant becomes moot.

Does this mean that there are not police officers with an unacceptable attitude? No. But with civilians taking the prime role in designing and monitoring, it means that the behavior resulting from that attitude can be reviewed and disciplined. The focus is on the behavior not the attitude.

Does this preclude relying on a police officer’s discretion? No. Just as you can not legislate a person’s feelings or attitude, you can not design a rule for every last second of interaction. You have to rely on a police officer’s discretion ultimately.

When, asked a police officer of me last evening, when do/will the public allow discretion? When we trust you again, came my response. When will that be? When we know you better. Really? Really.

But there is a flip side to this. And it needs to be addressed. There were folks at the forum last evening with reams of data relating to race. I may have used a cuss word in front of a police officer when describing data after the meeting.

We can set up conversation. We can design rules. We can implement review and monitoring. We can increase resources for improved policing up the wazoo. But nothing we do with police can change socio-economic reality. And we can not, absolutely can not ask police officers to demonstrate differing policing approaches to similar situations simply because they perceive a different socio-economic group standing in front of them. Down that path lies chaos.

We can only ask our police officers to follow the rules we have written, without any special favor being shown to anyone. That is how you make policing color-blind.

We can have, and should have, lengthy discussions about income disparity. How whites are richer. And blacks are poorer. How rich whites can do things away from the gaze of police, because they have a large house in five acres of ground. How poorer folks have to undertake the same activity, in full sight of passing police officers, on the balcony of their small apartment, in a low income neighborhood. How this likely leads to a higher reported rate of crime in low income as opposed to high income neighborhoods. How this sucks. How this likely leads to a situation where police, targeting areas of perceived high rates of reported crime, may end up spending more time in areas of low income, which exacerbates the problem of high rates of reported crime and arrest in those low income neighborhoods.

Should there be a discussion about policing in low income neighborhoods? Yes. Should it lead to a change in police tactics? That is a matter for democratic decision, which democratic decision I will not pre-empt. But we can not currently expect our police to exercise that judgment. That’s not fair.

And again, it is why we need this process. Civilians enact the policy. In conjunction with the police. So that the police can confirm the policy is enforceable. At which point, it is the community which takes the flack for enforcing the policy, not the police. Subject to that community having the proactive right to monitor and discipline police for misbehavior and breach of the agreed policy. And all community leaders will need to be prepared to support the police in enforcing a policy those community leaders have had a hand in effecting.

And that means those same community leaders, all of us, turning around and making quite clear that everyone in the community obeys the law, everyone in the community respects the manner of enforcement of the law, when the manner of that enforcement has been designed by the community.

No more screaming at police officers in parking lots. If you have a legitimate beef, and there is a legitimate community forum for policing design, calmly bring your beef to the forum. This process is not and can not be an excuse for people to break the law. And it can not be an agent for socio-economic change, or a shield for the inadequacies of socio-economic inequities. Those are matters for a different forum.

Phew. Yes. It was that kind of meeting last night!

We ended the evening with discussion of next steps. I wanted to make sure that we didn’t just disintegrate into never-ending chit-chat. I wanted there to be progress. That requires purpose. I proposed my motion to give context to that purpose. It was non-binding. We were running out of time. Folks were exhausted. But they listened. They heard. And there was a vote of sorts. And it didn’t fail:

"This meeting of concerned Carrboro citizens believes that, henceforth, policing policy in Carrboro should be designed by the elected officials of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, in conjunction with the Carrboro Police Department, and that such design should take place in an open and transparent manner, involving those concerned Carrboro citizens who wish to participate."

Which is not to say it passed overwhelmingly. But that it made people think. We will revisit regularly. Meanwhile some people wanted to get more specific, and spoke of a civilian oversight board. I have a problem with that, on two counts.

We are at an early stage. I think we want a conversation to develop into a process, before we discuss specific structure. My motion stands. It had more support than detraction. I will keep it in front of people as an ambition. Let’s see where it goes.

Secondly, existing civilian oversight boards have a specific profile which is not what I think the current situation requires. I do not want a disciplinary board. Or an advisory board. Or a reactive board. I want police, elected officials and citizens to meet regularly, proactively to design what police can and will do. I think that is how you avoid bad interaction. Not by reviewing it afterwards.

Bottom line? It would have been wonderful if, at one meeting, all the various hundreds of individual interactions between police and citizens over the years could have found instant satisfaction in one expression of common interest in one motion. But that isn’t how complex human interaction works.

What we have at the moment is the apparent willingness of citizens (including the police) to sit down with each other, and talk, and explore. It will take time for the very different outlooks and experiences in that gathering to feel that they have fully expressed their concerns, feel that they have been understood, and then feel confident enough to reach out and see someone else’s point of view.

Only at that point will the gatherings evolve into meaningful conversation. And from there, into a stumbling, entwined, messy advance into some sort of coherent consensual process for designing and monitoring policing policy, that offers support to the police, and comfort to those policed.

People. This is going to take time. What it needs more than time is your active participation. I spoke with a couple of Aldermen after the forum. We will be meeting to discuss how to keep things moving along. I am especially concerned, as I mentioned at the forum itself, that these forums are held more regularly, and that they become the focal point for citizen review of policing in Carrboro, for open discussion between police, elected officials and citizens, and ultimately the primary platform for policing design and monitoring. I will be raising all this in those meetings. And I will be letting everyone know about those meetings, because I remain dedicated to keeping this process – all of it – open, transparent and accessible.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Who Moved My Mission Statement?

I hear on the grapevine that, at the last Weaver Street Market Co-operative Board Meeting, it was suggested that the Board might want to change WSM's Mission Statement/Ends. Sigh. Do the powers-that-should-not-be in our co-op have absolutely any idea of what co-operation, democracy and owner-control actually mean?

I have written to the Board. If you care to be involved in any process to review the Ends of WSM, I suggest you write to them too - board@weaverstreetmarket.coop:

"Dear Board,

I do wish a response to this e-mail. I understand, although I was not present, that, at the last Board Meeting (in June?), the subject of the Mission Statement (otherwise known as Ends) of the Weaver Street Market Co-op arose. I hear that the suggestion is that the Board may want to change them.

That Mission Statement was put together after an intensive and extensive exercise undertaken by the owners. It should not be for the Board arbitrarily to seek to change those Ends, simply because they are irritating. They are the owners' guarantee that the Board and management of WSM maintain the vision of the co-op as determined by those ultimately responsible for that vision, namely the owners.

I notice that the new WSM web-site no longer even makes mention of those Ends. Indeed, that web-site is singularly non-reflective of the fact that WSM, as a co-op, and in accordance with the international definition of co-operation, should be democratically controlled by its owners. Not by the Board. And not by management.

If the Board think it an appropriate time to review the Ends, then the proper process is to set up a Board Task Force of Owners, and give that Task Force the authority to recommend any changes. Not for the Board to undertake changes itself.

I wish to hear from the Board that the Ends will immediately be posted on the WSM web-site, and that no change to the Ends will take place unless the process of change is driven by the ownership at large.

Your truly,

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Second Carrboro Community Forum On Policing - June 29

Yes, folks. After six months of waiting, it is finally here. The Second Carrboro Community Forum on Policing, being hosted by the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and Chief of Police, Walter Horton, this coming Monday, at the Carrboro Town Hall, beginning at 7.00pm.

I will, at that forum, be proposing that Carrboro adopt the concept of 'citizen design of policing.' Ok. By the stages. What is citizen design of policing?

Very simple. It arises from the belief that, even if your own community is an oasis of calm, there are communities in this country where there is deep distrust between police and those they are policing. The notion is that the distrust might end if it is citizens who design policing methods, not police on their own.

How does this work. Again, very simple. People forget that police are employees of the agency funding them. You demand of the elected officials of that funding agency that they start to take the lead in designing policing policy, not leaving it to the police themselves. And you make the design process open and transparent and totally accessible to concerned citizens, so that aggrieved citizens have the opportunity, not merely to complain, but to design away those aspects of policing they do not like.

Will it work. Who knows? What I do know is that it won't even get a chance if you don't turn up.

Why Carrboro? Not because it is a hotbed of tension. Precisely because it is not - even if there are some difficulties. Better to implement and test the process in a small, friendly community, so that it can then be available for those larger communities more at risk.

but once again, we can't design that template if you don't turn up. As some of you may know, I have been trying to lay the groundwork these past several months, by advocating, blogging, explaining and meeting with Carrboro Aldermen and other concerned groups. I have now followed up with an e-mail dealing with the logistical nitty-gritty of next Monday. Tucked away in that e-mail, you will also find useful links to all that groundwork, explaining, advocacy, etc., for more background information:

"Dear Carrboro Board of Aldermen and Chief Horton,

I do not think I need to re-canvass here what is citizen design of policing, and why I think it is urgent that we move towards such a concept with our policing in Carrboro, not just for Carrboro, but as a part of our nation, where there is considerable tension between the police and community, even if that tension does not exist in our community. You can remind yourself of a summary of my thinking with this link:


I have discussed, both in meeting and on blogs, how I think this concept might look in its beginning stages:


The purpose of this e-mail is to get down to the nitty-gritty of the second Carrboro community forum on policing next Monday itself. And I think I am not alone in believing that the meeting next Monday should be the beginning of a process. Not a stand-alone event.

I am one person. Owed no particular favors. I have some thoughts. So do other people. But I would hope that the meeting is not too taken up merely with reporting by the Board and the Police Chief. I think folks want interactive involvement.

I would like to suggest the outlines of a working, citizen-oriented agenda. We have brief reports from the Police Chief and the Board on what they have been doing since the first Carrboro community forum on policing. You then invite groups which have been taking an interest to report, also briefly. I know that the local NAACP and Orange County Justice United have certainly been holding meetings. Perhaps get a sense of who else might want to report when those present confirm the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. After that, open the floor. And let those present drive the meeting.

I certainly will wish to have citizen design of policing on the agenda. I have a motion I wish to propose, and will be open to answering questions on the concept and how I see it working.

The final point is that I think it would be useful to have an item at the end of the agenda where the meeting determines what happens next. Once again, my sense is that people want an ongoing process. I think it would be useful if the meeting was given a chance to set a time period for what happens next, when another such meeting should be held, and so on. How we might want future meetings and process to be different. If there is anything specific we might want on the agenda, so that folks have a chance to prepare. And if there are any side issues people might want to be researching or undertaking.

I am happy either for you to propose something like this, or I can propose it from the floor at the start of the meeting.

The motion I will be proposing is s follows:

"This meeting of concerned Carrboro citizens believes that, henceforth, policing policy in Carrboro should be designed by the elected officials of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, in conjunction with the Carrboro Police Department, and that such design should take place in an open and transparent manner, involving those concerned Carrboro citizens who wish to participate."

It may well be that some folks will want some idea of how I think citizen design might work in its first steps. I refer to that in the second link above. I also set out some thoughts about what I personally might want citizen design to address early on, in this link:


There is one last link which includes some thinking about citizen design, just to round out the information (!):


I look forward to the meeting next /monday, and the beginning of a process which I hope may serve as a successful template for other, more troubled communities in our nation.

All the best,

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Worker Co-op Plan Events - Ours, Not Theirs

We workers in the Weaver Street Market Co-operative finally received notice in our bi-weekly Market Messenger of the series of meetings (called 'Co-op Plan Event') at which we WSM employees are told we will be able to engage meaningfully in decision-making concerning goals, plans and the budget in our co-op for 2016.

I am perfectly prepared to believe that pigs will fly. But I like to check with the WSM General Manager on the details first. And so ...

"Hey Ruffin,

Many thanks for the post in the 'Market Messenger,' and the far-reaching efforts to get employees to attend Co-op Plan Event.

I don't think it is any secret that I am concerned that, in accordance with co-op policy which requires that employees be included in decision-making which affects them and their workplace, these rather short meetings are not given over primarily to meet 'n greet, with a bit of show 'n tell.

If this is a genuine platform to allow employees to help fashion plans, goals and budget for 2016, then there must be clear opportunity for employees to have impact upon the same, and be seen to have impact.

That is not going to be the case if most of the get-togethers are given over to presentation of matters that have already been set, and employees feel they are merely giving feedback on decisions that have already been finalized.

I, for one, and in addition to one other more general matter, want to invite discussion about the amount of the funds (I don't want to get bogged down in technical terms) that remain after all of the set costs are paid (cost of goods, rent, utilities, etc.), where options are discussed, and we determine the amount of funds to be set aside for employee remuneration and benefits. That's a pretty pointless discussion if you have already decided that amount for 2016.

I know you keep saying that at a 6% average pay raise per year, we do better than Wal-Mart at 3%. Well, I would hope so. But, I think it is fair to invite employees, in line with the afore-stated co-op policy, to be involved in the decision that says, something like, huh, I look at sales in my department, they are up, year-on-year, by 20%, so where is the money going, and could we have more in the pay packet please?

The point is not providing me with a specific answer to my question. The point is, in accordance with co-op policy, giving employees all the information they need to be able to engage in such a conversation meaningfully, and then permitting them to make the decision consensually with management and administration.

If we cannot be involved in such a basic exercise as this, then what is the Co-op Plan Event for, actually?

Now, I understand that including employees in a conversation such as this, leave aside all the other conversations that we should be or should have been included in, like whether we wanted the Hot Bar doubled in size, like how much should be spent on what capital plans, like what wines to discontinue in the specialty department, and so on, being involved in all of these conversations is not going to happen in one series of 1 1/4 hour Co-op Plan Event meetings.

It is why at the meeting I attend, I will specifically be raising that general matter I referred to. Namely, is this a one-off; will it be repeated; and very specifically, how, on an ongoing, organized basis, are employees going to be regularly included in decision-making that affects them and their workplace?

In other words, nice as this Co-op Plan Event is, if it is not too taken up with food and raffle, what plans are there fully and meaningfully to implement the co-op policy which says that we employees must be included in the decision-making determined in the consultation exercise in 2007 - not just the occasional look-good chit-chat?

One final issue about logistics, and to encourage attendance. Gas is expensive. Time is money. You are saying that the meetings themselves will be on-the-clock. But for those living in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and further afield, there is the not inconsiderable cost of traveling to these 1 1/4 hour meetings in Hillsborough. Has some, will some consideration be given to allowing travel to be on-the-clock? And announced in the next 'Market Messenger'?

Looking forward to the Event I attend, and to other folks having good experiences with their meetings.

All the best,

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Maggie's Hammer: The Galley

Yup. It finally arrived. The first galley of the book. Next up: the beginning of the pre-launch promotion campaign. Meanwhile, you can pre-order your copy on Amazon ...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Worker Co-op Plan Events

First of all, thanks. Then, the caveat. Thank you Weaver Street Market​ Co-operative powers-that-should-not-be for finally, after some years of campaigning by some of us, finally offering WSM workers what appears, on the face of it, to be a genuine opportunity to be involved in forward planning of the co-op we half own.

In this week's WSM employee Market Messenger, you will find the announcement that we workers are being invited to take part in a series of sessions in July, where the plans and budget for WSM next year will be discussed.

Now, the caveat. For those of you who are interested in being so involved, be very, very careful not to be sidetracked by the manner of the presentation, so that you leave feeling that you were 'handled,' not involved.

The sessions are limited to 25 people each. They last only 1 1/4 hours each. There is a lot of talk about food tasting, meeting people, etc. Is this part of the 1 1/4 hours? You know how these sorts of sessions are normally run. We get coddled, fed, given a raffle ticket, listen to Ruffin for an hour. And then, just when we are ready to offer our pent-up thoughts about the past ten years of our co-op turning into Wal-Mart Lite, we are told, sorry, Q&A is only ten minutes.

Don't let that happen. These are OUR sessions. Management is not doing us a favor by holding them. They are OUR right. They are being held because co-op policy demands we workers be involved in ALL decisions that affect us and our workplace. You can find the proof of that assertion in this link.

So. If you actually want to take meaningful advantage of the opportunity to be involved in decision-making going forward, use these sessions to ask for the answer to one very important question: what are WSM management going to do to implement the co-op policy referred to in that link, the co-op policy which requires that WSM employees be involved in all decision-making that affects us and our workplace - and when?

You don't have to ask that question. Up to you. But, I fear that, if enough of us do not ask, then WSM management will pretend that these glorified meet 'n greet sessions will meet the requirement to involve we workers in decision-making, and that will be that for a long time to come.

Do I overstate the case? Ok. Leave aside the 1 1/4 hours. And all the food and meet distraction. Look at the wording. We will be present to 'learn' about co-op opportunities. To give 'input' to business plans. To 'discuss' budget.

Just stop. Step back. Take a deep breath. Whose opportunities? Who came up with these initiatives? These plans? Who made the decisions crafting the budget? The size of pay raises? The amount set aside for capital plans? I mean, when exactly were any of we workers involved in any decisions that led to all of the stuff that will be laid before us as a tantalizing buffet at these sessions in July?

My very good friends. I welcome even the smallest opportunity to be allowed to be involved in planning the future of OUR co-op. But it will be only a very small opportunity, no more, if we simply accept what we are given, and do not stand on our rights.


1) Question why we were not involved in the decision-making that led to all of these plans, opportunities, initiatives and budget. Ask if anything is set in stone. And if it is, why is it? Make your own suggestions. Demand that we receive feedback, indicating that our input has been taken into account. Demand reporting on such at the unit meetings to be held later this year.

2) Demand that this be a process. Not a one-off. Demand that we have the same meetings next year. And that, next year, we be involved in the crafting of all of the plans, initiatives, opportunities and budget, before they are presented to anyone.

3) Ask that important question. Take copies of my documents with you. Ask how and when WSM management will be implementing the co-op policy that demands that we WSM employees be involved in all decision-making that affects us and our workplace.

Or. You can enjoy the food. Meet people. Stay quiet. And accept the continuing diktat from the powers-that-should-not-be in the co-op you half-own. Your choice. You've been given an opportunity. Why not use it?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pop Voxx - Beguiling

Just finished the most amazing session with my production team at Nightsound Studios, with whom I am recording my six-song debut EP as Pop Voxx / Geoff Gilson, which EP is provisionally entitled Beguiling, after the lyrics of the song Kisses, for which we tracked backing vocals today.

Kisses is the most finished of the tracks. And. It. Is. Sounding. Awesome.

You guys know it for the fun dance - video here. Soon, you will be able to hear what it is you're dancing to!

And what you will be hearing is a cross between the B-52's and George Michael (the Wham days), with a hint of Hawaii, and a sprinkling of Do You Love Me.

Many, many thanks to Chris Wimberley, Adrianna Villa, Geneva Walata and Meghan Puryear for their patience and their skills. We have a ways to go yet. But these guys are bringing me safely home! Thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2015

June Employee Strategy Meetings - Redux

Shout-out to all my fellow co-workers at Weaver Street Market Co-op. You will remember that I wrote recently that I had written to the WSM General Manager, to remind him that he had promised us meetings in June, as a follow-up to the WSM Employee Communications Survey, at which meetings he had promised that we workers would have the opportunity to give our input on the goals, plans, strategy and budget of Our Weave.

I got a response back from him:

"Hi Geoff,

The meeting schedule will be in the Market Messenger next week.

Thanks, Ruffin"

I replied:

"Thanks, Ruffin. I'm not sure if they are going to be unit meetings. But, if not, and they are optional meetings, are we going to take the same approach as with the communications survey? Namely that, managers will be encouraging all to attend, efforts will be made to accommodate schedules, and attendance will be on-the-clock?

Many thanks,

Not heard back on that one yet. But, chase up with your own managers, why not?

In the meantime, my merry band of Weaverites, you may also remember that I gave you the opportunity to arm yourselves with the information necessary to quiz Ruffin at those meetings about when and how he intends to implement the co-op policy which demands that all workers be regularly involved in the decision-making which affects us and our workplace - not just from time to time, when it suits

Once again - if you want to see that policy implemented, that is - you can find that information here.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

June Employee Strategy Meetings

What was missing from this week's Weaver Street Market Co-op employee's Market Messenger was any reference to the meetings we employees were promised would be held in June, and at which meetings we employees were told we would be able (finally!) to be involved in discussions about strategy, goals, plans and budget for the co-op we workers half own.

Yup. E-mail to our esteemed General Manager:

"Hey Ruffin,

You mentioned in a recent 'Market Messenger' that there would be meetings in June to allow employees to be involved in discussions about WSM strategy, goals, plans and budget. I wonder when they are going to be held?

I would like to give you notice that I will be attending at least one of those meetings, with copies of the documents produced in the link below (copied at my expense), in order to get an answer to the question: when will you be implementing the policy in question, and how?

All the best,

It's a long bloody hard slog to get these folks to comply with the co-op policy which demands that we WSM employees be involved in decision-making in our co-op, isn't it ... ??

Weavestock 3 -- It's Official !!

And in this week's Weaver Street Market Co-op employee Market Messenger. It's going to be held on Thursday, July 23, between 5.00pm and 8.00pm. And will be featuring talent that includes at least one employee from WSM.

There is room for more talent. It can be any sort of performing art. Music, poetry, comedy (family), juggling - if you can do it, you can appear. Contact Linda Fullwood (Linda@weaverstreetmarket.coop), to let her know you are interested.

And folks? This is our event. We organize it. We perform. If you aren't so hot on the creative talent, but are great at organizing, promoting, stagecraft, sound, lights, etc., get in touch with Steve Carter (Steve@weaverstreetmarket.coop), who is heading up logistics - everything from organizing and promoting, to arranging the sound equipment on the day.

The first two Weavestocks were huge successes. For audience and performers alike. Just great big WSM family parties. Why not be a part this year? And yup. Pop Voxx / Geoff Gilson will be there ...

Indy 2015 Awards, Bakery, Bread, Pies and Canine Heart Sounds

Huge shout-out to all my co-workers at the Weaver Street Market Co-op Food House in Hillsborough, NC, for winning separate Indy (Indy Week) 2015 Awards for their Bread, the Bakery and their Pies. Well done!

I also note that my very good friends in Canine Heart Sounds have been honored by being chosen as one of the bands to perform at one of the Indy Award parties. Congratulations! CHS will be performing at the first of two such parties, on June 6th, at Person Street Bar, in Raleigh.

CHS will also, by the way, be performing this coming Friday, at 9pm, at The Cave, on Franklin Street, in Chapel Hill. Along with The Wyrms, featuring co-worker and friend, Derek Gude.

I will be arriving with a filthy right hand, which I promise no longer to wash, since I have touched every member of CHS (Matt McElroy, Matt Peterson, Zach Hegg and Dan Westerlund) with its index finger - some more intimately than others ...

In the meantime, with all this honoring going on, I couldn't help but engage in a little teasing, and wonder whether our old FIFA mate Sepp might not have had something to do with handing out all the honors and awards. I mean, were backhanders involved? Right or left hand. I know. Wash my mouth ...