I think in future communications with the media you may wish to present the minutes that were recorded from the GA, as additional evidence.
AGENDA ITEM 3: Emergency Proposal from Nan about Housing
F: An emergency proposal is one that has an immediate external deadline that was not knowable.
Nan: The proposal that I brought was an incident that happened and certain groups did not properly address it or handle it. When we had the park, we had an 18-year-old who got raped. She was drug raped. That individual who raped the 18-year-old raped five other girls in this park. My group dealt with rape victims in the park and still does. We have a court date for the 18-year-old in February. She doesn’t live in this city but she comes here. She was occupying one of the churches. The person that raped her also got out of jail. He was in jail for 30 days, paid $50,000 and he went to the same church the victim was. Keep in mind that victim worked with us and we had a restraining order against that guy. The victim voiced her concern to let them know she didn’t feel safe in that place because of this gentleman. Rather than calling me or other women’s working groups, Housing took it upon themselves to have a jury of about 15 and more people between the victim and the gentleman. And they asked for both them to basically give details out. That’s a concern to us as women, and this is an emergency proposal. The GA needs to come together to protect each other, especially women, gays, lesbians, all together. We are here together to make a movement to become one. We have been targeted by police, outsiders, we don’t want to keep being victimized by rapists. My proposal’s emergency the reason is because we have a court date, we have the court system involved, DA is involved, and that person and about the rape that happened was disclosed to certain people. They could come after us or the church, we need to figure it out, we need to figure out what we are going to do. What I would ask is to have a breakout session, come back to me or come back together to figure out how we are going to work this out. Because we are dealing with a system that doesn’t like us very much. This is very serious.
POP: What is the proposal?
A: The proposal is this: I would like a breakout session to figure out what we are going to do about the situation that took place and it was brought to the Spokes Council. We felt like it wasn’t properly addressed, so we need to address it tonight.
POI: Last night at Spokes Council, we decided to enforce that we ask the people who were asked to leave the park, three of them, because of being accused of sex assault and regular assault, not to come back to our meetings, even though we don’t live in the park. And SC consensed.
Nan: It was not three rapers, it was a total of nine guys in the park.
Q: I heard before the meeting that the point people for Housing refused to remove the person from the church, so is the issue not to allow these people not just to come to meetings but to be housed and so to hold Housing accountable and make sure they are not housed?
F: SC consensed that those people are not allowed in the community, including places people are housed.
POI: What Spokes consensed to was that these people would not be allowed into space until the Community Agreement is finalized.
Nan: There were nine people and we need to have something in place …
POI: Based on something I heard today, the point people from Housing were trying to claim that the GA did not consense that this person was kicked out.
Nan: That’s why I’m here.
POP: I heard a proposal to have a breakout discussion and then whether people will be banned … so there’s no proposal.
Nan: We will break out and then we will vote on it.
F: There’s a rule in the GA that proposals are supposed to be posted for 24 hours unless it’s an emergency … So we can do the breakouts and come back but if we want to do a proposal, we have to do a check to see if this is an emergency.
POI: The two point people in Housing, Jeff and Jason who have been handling more of the responsibility and choosing who gets onto the list for housing or not, never in GA did we have a discussion about who was kicked out. … When I was in the park and was assaulted, I talked to the cops and made fliers and everyone knew that he wasn’t welcome here. … I don’t think we need to go through GA to decide that rapists are not … If we are going to have a discussion here, it should be about how to hold the point people for Housing accountable.
CQ: Since these people are known to be offenders, can we not just let the churches know that these people are not safe people to have there?
Nan: They knew, but the point people just decided to ignore it.
F: Temp check on whether this is an emergency proposal?
F: I want to do 10 seconds of silence because these are hard things to talk about and I know for me it triggers a lot.
F: What isn’t clear to me right now is what the GA’s role in this is, because it sounds like there’s a lot of work to do outside this meeting unless there’s … What is the proposal?
Nan: The point people for housing, consense on asking them to step down. … [Nan gets emotional about the person who was raped … we take a second]
F: Can I get a temp check on if we think this is an emergency proposal?
Q: When we are saying people have raped people … one thing about the system the way it is now, we just want know about that …
Q: Are we having breakout groups?
Q: How would you like us to enforce making them step down? How do we make sure that is implemented?
A: WOW and Safer Spaces will make that happen. I brought that concern last night to Jeff that he should step down and he said I didn’t have that power.
Q: Would the GA say to them that you are simply not allowed to be the …
A: … [missing]
Q: I spent an hour at the church … and talked to a person …being penalized before the legal system.
POI/POP: Yesterday the SC, which is a decision-making body, said no one who has been kicked out of this park … I was one of the 5 people who kicked him out, he was a rapist, … the discussion now is not whether or not he is kicked out. We don’t do convictions, … we finished this discussion …
F: I want us to not try to dig so much into what happened but …
Q: If there is a restraining order …
Q: Are those people here ?
POI: I was in Housing and we asked Jeff and Jason to step down and they did take vacations … I was willing to come back to Housing if Jeff was removed and I think Zack might also. There are people who are willing to come back to Housing if these problems are alleviated. …
Q: I don’t think it matters. If we need to make a list perhaps that Jeff should be removed from …
Q: I’d like us to clarify that if the GA comes to a decision about this that the GA is allowed to enforce that? That we don’t need WGs … that it goes into minutes, that the GA is empowered to enforce this?
A: Once GA consenses to that, it goes.
Q: How does the proposer expect us to consense on this when we are only getting one side of the story? And is there any precedent for the GA asking WG point people to step down?
F: The first part of that sounds like a concern, and should be brought up then. As far as the second question, no.
Q: Have we talked to Legal? And can we add a friendly amendment that they are banned from meetings?
POI: This is an emergency proposal … There has been a rape trial held in the church by Jeff and he’s probably not here because he is making deals with the church.
Q: How come since we have drummers that we have the drummers do something for housing …
[Facilitation deals with person making off-process remarks]
Q: Last night you requested of Housing to find housing for this person, I just wanted to clarify that now you are asking them to leave?
A: Last night I was not a spoke, my spoke made that request but we are not talking about the guy but Jeff and Jason.
Q: Is this about Jeff and Jason or just Jeff?
Q: By what authority do these two individuals hold their existing positions with regard to housing?And the basis for that question is, if their authority is self-created, then they have no authority. I don’t understand—who appointed them or what?
A: They appointed themselves as authority and they don’t want to back out. So I need the GA to say, hey, we are a community, we are not going to tolerate it and we are not going to let people be raped.
C: I think that this may be a necessary conversation, but I really do have a blocking concern that we not have trials in absentia. Nan, how would you feel if on a night that you are not here, you are asked to leave? I think that this should be tabled until a time when they can be here.
FA: This FA is not going to be simple that you can just do it as I say because ultimately you have to decide if you like it or not. I think this problem is endemic to the systems we are setting up. Whoever we put in this position is going to get these complaints leveled against them. Whoever you put there is going to be another Jeff. We should say we acknowledge that centralization of authority or responsibility ends with people becoming exhausted and abusive, so we need as a community to instead of knocking people down a position, provide them a support structure of assistance so they can step down and when they are ready to step back up they … don’t have to hold on to their authority. … This is a volunteer movement and in a volunteer movement when someone comes and says, “I might be able to do your job better than you,” the response should be “Thank god!” and step back. So my FA is we set up a system to support a person to step down and not do that job again but still have a voice in how that job gets done.
A: No. Amendment not accepted.
FA: I was the one who was going to come here and do this to ask the GA to ask Jeff and Jason to step down. I have thought about it and I chose not to do it for a couple reasons. I am not sure about it, but my FA is 1) WG autonomy is an important thing. The GA is the ultimate authority but I don’t think the GA has the authority to remove someone. I also don’t think this GA is trying anyone. Jeff knew I was coming here. No one has the right to be here and be heard. My FA is we say this behavior is unacceptable and the both of you step back and allow someone who has wanted to do this, can do so.
FA: Might it not be more appropriate to ignore them and ask the church …
FA: What we do should be communicated to the churches what our decision is.
A: We did voice that at Spokes Council.
C: If we do not ask Jeff and possibly Jason to step down because we feel their behavior goes against OWS, I worry they will continue to abuse the roles they self-appointed themselves.
POP: That is not a concern.
FA: If Jeff and Jason do step down, the Housing WG will become an equally distributed group, that it is a group effort the way it was designed in the beginning, and I think it will allow more people to join Housing because it seemed there were a few individuals doing everything. The Housing WG be reformed and the responsibilities be re-designated.
FA: 1)That Jeff and Jason not just be asked to step down but be told they have no authority and are no longer heads of that WG. 2) That anyone who assaults anyone at OWS be banned. 3) That anyone who abuses their power … or … be taken from that position. Also, that we realize that this is the most we can do by law.
A: Accept 1st and 3rd amendment.
[discussion between Facilitation and Nan to clarify]
C/FA: Anything that relates to sexual assault or rape has to be given a lot of attention immediately. Already these issues are days, weeks, months too late to be dealt with in the best way so it has to be dealt with now. However, Jeff, Jason I haven’t met them but from what I hear they sound like psychopaths, sociopaths … [disruptions over using language like that]. My proposal is that they be held accountable for enabling this rapist/sex assaulter be allowed to remain where they are.
Q: By removing those two people right away are we going to break the chain of command or if they could slowly step down and give other duties to people?
A: [from earlier FA proposer] My proposal that was accepted is that the GA as a body say it’s unacceptable, we don’t want you there. We are not forcing them to step down, but …
C: If we ask them to step down they may not, so I recommend a new point person be recommended to be taking those roles and they recognize the Housing group is a horizontal group but the point person is not in charge.
C: This infringes on WG autonomy. Last week I brought a proposal to ask WGs to stop WG meeting during GA and there was a lot of response that people didn’t want o step on WG autonomy. So we are asking the Housing WG to reorganize. My FA is to table this and allow the housing WG to work this out on their own.
A: Not accepted.
POI: The Housing WG has already asked Jeff to step back multiple times and it’s been tabled by Jeff himself. Multiple people asked us to go to the GA.
C: My concern is that the proposer of this yesterday insisted that Housing find a place for this person to stay. I am concerned that whoever is put in this position is …
C: My concern is about precedent, My FA is there be some mechanism that if people are kicked out there be an appeal process.
POP: That is outside this proposal.
C: If Jeff and Jason have any GA-granted power, it’s the ability to communicate with the churches in order … so I see GA as having plenty of power to appoint someone else as the point person between the GA, which is dispensing the funds, and Housing, which is receiving it.
POI: Jeff is not the financial point person for Housing. He just deals with the 86th St. church.
POI: The funding does not come from here; it was passed by Spokes last night.
C: As a male involved in OWS, it is easy to vilify … I’m not comparing it to anyone else’s experience but saying a person is the problem shows a lack of … . It seems like it’s very intelligent to villainaize a person because it’s … But Jeff and Jason, I know if you talk to them they will invite you to talk to the pastors and you can find out what they know. … I know that I have disagreements with them but I know they say, “Come meet this person, come do the job I’m doing” because I know I don’t want to do that. This villainizing a person and calling a person a problem when it’s obviously a cultural and systemic problem is very cutting and I don’t trust it.
F: That’s the end of stack on concerns and friendly amendments. Can the proposer restate the proposal?
Nan: The GA recommends to the Housing group that Jeff and Jason be removed from their point-person positions. The GA expresses its support for the Housing WG functioning on a horizontal basis with no elevated leaders within the group and that there’s an expectation that any change of point person will be communicated to the churches.
POI: Also that the GA highly recommends that Lauren be appointed as point person.
POI: Lauren: I said I would be willing to come back to the Housing WG and I would be willing to come back and recruit several others.
Nan: Okay, the FA is withdrawn. And whoever becomes the point person is going to take the Minutes to the church and let them know what happened.
F: Temp check on how we feel about this?
F: Are there any stand asides?
F: We are going to hear from any stand asides who want to express their position.
Standaside 1: The only thing I have a problem with is they are not here.
Standaside 2: Why do we have to have Housing and who are the people who are affected by the housing and how many of the people that are affected by the housing are here?
F: Based on that number of stand asides in this group, it appears we do not have consensus here.
F: Are they any blocks?
F: [asks proposer] Do you want to try for modified consensus?
Nan: Yes, because this is an emergency.
F: We are now going to hear from the blocks.
Block 1: Because this infringes on WG autonomy.
POI: You are presenting a falsehood. We are not removing anyone. The GA is simply saying we recommend you step down.
BLock: Still holds.
Block 2: Because what kind of people … . How many people are housed at 86th street?  What kind of people are these? People without houses? How many of those are here right now? [people raise hands] About three? Also, it’s my understanding that …
Block 3: The reason I’m blocking is this problem is not a person but a system, so instead we have a system that holds people accountable that all of us understand. … This proposal does not solve the problem, as I see it. I see it as opportunistic and I don’t think it solves the problem.
F: I would like to take 15 seconds of silence.
[15 seconds of silence]
Block 3, cont’d: Neither of them are here. It’s in absentia. I think that’s bogus. We need a grievance process. I know Eric from Mediation has come up with one, but so far they have been a dead working group. I’ve had my share of issues with how Jeff goes about his business but he does a fair amount of work and the reason he’s not here is he is doing work at 86th St. … The person should be here to defend themselves in these situations.
Block 4: When Yoni put forth a proposal to ban you, Nan, I stepped up to say it was inappropriate. This is the same principle. We can’t do this as a movement. We need to do this as process. Last night WOW accused about this I asked Sean from Town Planning when the Community Agreements would come to GA. This is a situation that needs to be addressed by the Community Agreements but we don’t have them yet. Fundamentally, I would never let what ‘s happening here, happen to you. I wouldn’t let anyone recommend to interfere with a WG.
POI: Housing has been trying to deal with this for a week. Housing cannot remove Jeff because he won’t respect our process. This is our attempt to get help from the GA. … All we are asking is the GA support democracy within this group.
Nan: I hear your concern and I respect that you stand up for me. What I feel is how Jeff and Jason, they knew my WG was about rape victims. They knew that girl got raped. And it hurts me for her to have to relive that again. I feel … and I … for him to continue to be head of Housing … it hurts me. I have to make the decision … and …
[Break while Facilitation speaks with Nan]
F: We are now going to test for modified consensus. I will ask if you are in favor or opposed. We will require you to raise your hand. Stand asides and blocks do not count. This is a whole new proposal.
[23 in favor, 9 opposed]
F: This proposal does not have modified consensus.
Nan: Monday, 3:30 60 Wall, Housing meeting. We will make this an agenda item.
Sage: Thank you, even though it was intense. We celebrate when we have consensus. I am going to celebrate even when we don’t.