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Mulholland & Liberty
This Stopped.Watched. item was originally published on Aug. 5, 2010. Unacceptable comment below.
August 6, 2010 at 4:54 pm
It can also go straight in the trash, assholes.
Column: Email and Open Meetings
This article was originally published on June 10, 2009. Off-topic comments below.
June 12, 2009 at 10:19 am
I would like to see this kind of open discussion when it comes to the just-concluded People’s Food Co-op elections. Both of the candidates who filed before the deadline, Henry Herskovitz and Chuck Loucks, supported boycotting all Israeli products at the Co-op. So did many hundreds of certified Co-op members who petitioned the Co-op to boycott Israel.
Yet, after the deadline had passed, an un-named Co-op Director managed to squeeze in two candidates who the Co-op Board has just declared the victors. Surprise: neither supports boycotting Israel at the Co-op.
Now, the Co-op Board is asserting that it has no memory of who filed to run for the Board at what time, no records of who filed when, and also no memory of who recruited the two anti-boycott “winners”.
Even better, no incriminating e-mails, phone calls, or any records exist to show any discussion by the Board of those matters.
At least the City Council kept some records of who did what, and who said what.
By Abeer Hamzah
June 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm
I would like to see open discussions too.
Here is a piece of writing that was posted on Arborupdate several times and it was taken out immediately. It is by a 1948 Palestinian refugee. It basically talks about the fact that Ann Arbor has had major interest in boycott of Israel since the 1980’s.
Ann Arbor has been well educated about the need for boycotting Israel, since 1968. In 1968, Stokeley Carmichael, one of the central organizers of the student civil rights movement, spoke in Ann Arbor against Israel’s horrid treatment of Palestinians. He said Israel had no right to violently steal Palestinian land, and that the Holocaust, in Germany, was no excuse to rob Palestine (which is not in Germany).
In 1983-84, there was a major push in Ann Arbor City Council for a Palestine human rights resolution, to cut aid to Israel. It landed on the front pages of the Ann Arbor News, and in the back pages, throughout December 1983 and January 1984.
In 1989, there was a large demonstration in Ann Arbor, against fundraising for Israel, right outside the Campus Inn, and it was covered as far away as the Detroit Free Press.
Kerry D. has written eloquently about that landmark 1989 demonstration, which paved the way for Ann Arbor protests in the 1990’s and 200’s.
Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s, there have been constant Palestine events in Ann Arbor, demanding divestment and boycott against Israel, in Ann Arbor City Council, in the Michigan Student Assembly, in the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission, in the ICPJ, in the predecessor to PeaceWorks, and, since early 2007, in the People’s Food Co-op— all of these actions in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In 2007, a full 638 certified Co-op members petitioned the Co-op to boycott all Israeli products.
Just this year, the entire media was full of images from Gaza— Israel blowing the whole place up with white phosphorous, killing 1400 innocent, truly helpless Palestinians, like shooting fish in a barrel.
After 41 years of Palestine education, Palestine human rights actions, Palestine boycott demands, Palestine demonstraions and marches, major recent Israeli atrocities in the news, can it be that it is still too soon to demand boycott of Israel at the Co-op?
Can it be that 41 more years of “education” are still needed, before anyone may campaign to boycott Israel at the Co-op?
—Ghassan Kanafani Jun. 5 ‘09 – 11:19AM #
By Linda Diane Feldt
June 12, 2009 at 3:43 pm
Well if comment #30 would like to have an open discussion about the PFC elections, they only need to ask. I am the current secretary of the Board of Directors of The People’s Food Co-op and I have not been contacted. As of two nights ago, no other member of the board said they had been e-mailed, called, nor has there been any other formal request been made for dates or process review. One of the candidates asked the question at the annual meeting, and I give the results of that exchange below.
My personal response to the questions raised, are as follows. I am not authorized to speak for the board, this is my account. If someone would send an e-mail to the board that would be a good method of contact for a formal response. You can write to the board co-presidents at email@example.com
The deadline for the elections were extended legally and by a full vote of the board, posted in the store, and the result was three candidates took out packets. Two were handed in, before the extended deadline. I made many phone calls to recruit candidates and also to get the message out that the deadline had been extended. I found a couple people willing to run this time, a couple who are interested in doing so next year. Other board members were also actively recruiting people, and Co-op members contacted by myself and other board members were as well.
It turned out that my calls included talking to people who were supportive of the boycott, and those who were not.
The purpose of the extension was both to make the election a contested one (more than two candidates for two seats) and also to better ensure we would have quorum so that not only would we be able to seat two new board members in a timely way but also have quorum to pass the bylaws proposals. Proposals I have been trying to get onto the ballot off and on for the last ten years. There was a very good reason (based on past voting trends) to be concerned that with an uncontested election we would not reach quorum, which is hard enough when we do have a real contest.
The deadline extension has been necessary for the last three years.
Earlier this week I asked the co-presidents to have the information on the exact dates and time table available so that we could answer the question raised at the annual meeting more specifically, in case it came up again. I don’t yet have a response, but expect it early next week.
I personally apologized to Henry Herskovitz at a board meeting for what I thought was poor communication with the candidates, both the two who filed before the original deadline, and those two who filed after but within the revised deadline. Also for what turned out to be a confusing process. He accepted my apology.
The conclusion from the anonymous e-mail writer that there is hidden, missing, or withheld information is simply wrong. There are board minutes showing how and when the decisions were made, there are the staff records of who filed, when the info went up in the store, etc. One of the candidates asked for that information at the Annual meeting, and it wasn’t data that was brought to that meeting. And that is the answer he got. To now assert that the info is hidden or lost is inaccurate. To my knowledge, he has not followed up on that request to the board or to the staff.
The Co-op Board has not asserted anything about our memory or lack thereof. The board has not made any statement at all about the election. So that is another false statement. We have a corporate record, minutes on line, minutes and draft minutes at the store, and board member numbers are listed on the web site as well as e-mail contact info. Also all available at the store to any member.
The information available exceeds what is required, and as far as I am aware no request for additional information has been made to any board member, and certainly not to me as the board secretary.
Comment 32 contains one error as well, concerning the boycott vote. The petition signed by co-op members and non members (and only the members could be counted as valid signers) was to ask for the referendum to be brought to the membership. This is an important distinction which has been glossed over before. There were people who supported bringing the question to the membership, who may or may not have actually supported the boycott. I did indeed speak to some members who took that position.
The People’s Food Co-op is not subject to the Open Meetings Act, although I have witnessed most board activity conducted in that spirit. I have been one of the peoplen who has spoken out against instances when I felt the board has not been as open as it could be.
And for those new to the issue, the boycott vote was successfully brought to the membership for a vote, two years ago, and it was defeated.
All you have to do is ask. One question to the board at the annual meeting is all we have received. There is nothing secret about this election or any other, the board minutes which record decisions are readily available. The tone and accusations within this comment are frankly puzzling to me since we haven’t even been ASKED to provide the information that is asserted to be hidden.
Please contact the board (firstname.lastname@example.org will go to the current president which is not me) with your exact questions, and I will make sure you get the dates and information you request. But you will need a name, and the questions, and a way to contact you in response.
I think that basic communication will go a long way in resolving this issue, although I also suspect there will be some fundamental disagreements. But if we communicate, we can at least identify what they are. Anonymous back and forth within the comment section of a news web site is not often effective, and not something I’m willing to do. I hope (and also request) that whoever is behind the above comments will start interacting with the PFC board directly, openly and reasonably.
By Linda Diane Feldt
June 12, 2009 at 3:45 pm
Sorry – typo
June 12, 2009 at 6:12 pm
There has been extraordinary censorship of this election discussion at Arbor Update. You would almost think 600 co-opmembers had never petitioned the co-op to boycott Israel. (But they did.)
You would almost think that the main plank of a co-op candidate (boycott of Israeli goods) is an alien invasion, rather than a long-standing central issue at the co-op. After the recent destruction of Gaza, which apparently moved Ms. Feldt for a moment, this issue bears public discussion.
Since the Ann Arbor News is no more…
It is appreciated that “Ann Arbor Chronicle” covered the major Gaza demonstration, in downtown Ann Arbor, earlier this year. It is to be hoped that the “Chronicle” will cover this recent Co-op election, and the apparent muzzling of its central issue: a humanitarian boycott against Israel.
That candidate, who ran on the boycott platform, recently saw news that his friend had been shot dead by Israeli troops, while standing around in a human rights demonstration in Palestine.
June 12, 2009 at 6:43 pm
Just out of curiosity, when exactly did Ms. Feldt contact Ms. Kanner (a longtime supporter of Israel), to run against Mr. Herskowitz and Mr. Loucks (longtime supporters of the Palestinian people)?
Again, 600 + co-op members petitioned the Board to boycott Israel. Should candidates really be recruited by the Board to preserve an anti-boycott majority?
Ballot Questions: Parks, Public Art Funding
This article was published on Aug. 9, 2012. Orphaned comments below:
By David Cahill
August 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm
As the author of the initially-rejected comment [11}, I feel constrained to point out that our illustrious editor is suffering from a variety of logical non sequiturs.
[Editor's note: Cahill left a comment, still in moderation, that dealt with the issue of identity of commenters. It was likely numbered as 11 for his own screen display. From that he may have reasoned, incorrectly, that his own rejected comment was one to which "comment ” referred in an editor’s later comment.]
By David Cahill
August 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm
Would the Chronicle have felt better if I had said that Diane is a well-known member of the Council Party?
By John Floyd
August 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm
I apologize to Diane, and to David, and ask for your forgiveness. It had not occurred to me that anyone would not know who “Diane” was, given the prominence of her public comments in front of council. Indeed, I only knew of Diane’s last name because of the article on which I was commenting. We are not otherwise acquainted.
As Diane and I are not presently on familiar terms, I imagined that I was observing decorum by referring to him/her as “Ms. [last name], rather than by the more familiar use of a first name (one of the messages here seems to be that Diane and I are now on a first-name basis). For myself, if I wished to remain anonymous, I probably would not choose, “John”, as my nom de plume.
It is not my wish or intent to “Out” anyone. Clearly, I should have paid more attention to the form of address that Diane chose to use for her Chron comments. In retrospect, that I needed to refer back to the article to find Diane’s last name should have been a clue to me that Diane preferred that Diane’s last name not referenced in comments. I missed that clue, and dropped the ball.
As to the charge of “Intimidation”, if you (Diane) felt intimidated by my misguided attempt to be personally respectful, then you felt intimidated by it. I am sorry I engaged in actions that made you feel personally afraid. I do not wish for you to be afraid for your safety in your home, in your community, or anywhere else – and I do not want to be the reason you might feel afraid. I do wish for you to feel free to speak your truth in public forums without fear of personal harm – or of emotional violence. I regret that I addressed you publicly in a manner in which you do not wish to be publicly addressed, and that this resulted in your feeling fear. I ask your forgiveness.
It is now clear to me that speaking hard truths to those in power – or to their allies – is a trickier business than I had previously imagined.
Homeless Issues Emerge on County Agenda
This article was published on April 14, 2014. Orphaned comment below:
April 16, 2014 at 7:06 pm
Black populations, excepting immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, are always a huge drain on the non-black population at local, state and national level.