Occupy Elkhart

A gathering place for the Elkhart, IN Occupiers

    Occupy Elkhart General Assembly - Oct. 23, 2011



    Posts : 18
    Join date : 2011-10-17

    Occupy Elkhart General Assembly - Oct. 23, 2011

    Post  Terri on Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:02 am

    Topics of discussion/vote at the GA:

    • Creation of "home phone" or other method for having central communications and way to contact OE

    • Establishing set times and dates for GA meetings

    • Creation of a Finance Committee and setting up of a WEpay account for accepting donations online

    Home Phone Discussion
    The suggestion was to purchase a cell phone or minutes for an existing cell phone so that people could be told a single phone number to call if they wanted to get in touch with Occupy Elkhart

    • Cost: This would require a minimum of $20 up to $45 a month
      One Person Speaking for Group: This might give the wrong impression that one person has all the answers for the group; the person answering might give the wrong answer/not know the correct information or where to get it

    • Basic Information Only: A "home phone" might be best used only to relay basic information with another method used to reach the appropriate person to respond to other questions/requests.

    Alternatives proposed: Matt knows of a free 800# service that might work to automatically route calls to specific people based on the nature of the question. Actual personal phone numbers would be hidden/not disclosed by the service.

    Objections: In order to approve the cost of a "home phone," we should first research what cell phone plans/options are available and make sure we choose the best plan for OE.

    Result: This proposal was tabled so research could be done on cell phone plans and other alternatives discussed.

    Times and Dates for GA
    The suggestion was to establish specific times and dates for GAs, so everyone would know when the next one would be held.

    • Choosing the best time: We discussed how having the same time for meeting each day would often exclude someone who had a conflict, such as always worked second shift.

    • Ways to include more in voting/decision-making: We discussed holding one or two GAs per week where voting would occur to hopefully allow more of the group to give input.

    Emergency Decision-making: We discussed the problem of how to reach consensus/make decisions in-between GAs if voting was less frequent.

    Alternatives proposed: The option to hold "discussion GAs" during the week was discussed. These were defined as less formal, non-voting GAs that would allow people to gather to discuss issues/questions and to gather information, but would be only voted on in the larger, weekend GAs.

    It was also discussed that the Discussion GAs would be similar to, but different than Working Group meetings, and that Working Groups should select time/place for meetings based on the requirements of their group.

    Result: Vote passed to establish the following schedule for OE GAs:
    Discussion GAs:
    MWF: 8:15 - 9:15 PM
    TTh: 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

    Voting GAs:
    Saturday: 3:30 - 4:30 PM This GA would address community issues up for vote.
    Sunday: 3:30 - 4:30 PM This GA would attempt to re-address any issues tabled or blocked at Saturday GA. If no items needed to be re-addressed, this would become a Discussion GA

    Establishment of Finance Working Group
    The suggestion was to establish a Finance Working Group that would handle the funds/donations of OE and to work to set up a WEpay account to accept online donations

    Checks and Balances: It was discussed that at least two people should be signers for the WEpay account, to ensure accountability.
    Need to establish non-profit (501c3)status: It was discussed ways to establish non-profit status, including filing for status as OE, or teaming with an existing non-profit to use their status. No immediate suggestions for an existing non-profit to approach were given. It was also discussed that 501(c)3 status was not required to accept donations, only would allow donations to be tax-deductible. 401c3 status would also allow OE to purchase supplies exempt from sales tax.

    Result: A vote was passed to have Amanda and Kaylee (please correct these names if wrong) to become heads of the Finance Working Group. They would look into setting up the WEpay account.

    Announcements/Important Information:

    A supply list for needed supplies for OE has been created. The list is available at the plaza, and will also be posted online in the forum as soon as possible.

    It is urgent to begin planning for winterization

    So far, 4 Working Groups have been established:
    • Media

    • Outreach

    • OE Online

    • Finance

    (Note that these Working Groups should provide information about their purpose, how/when they meet, and how to contact and join the Working Group. When available this information will be made available online and at the plaza.)

    A separate meeting was held with Andrew Stump (legal advice) concerning obtaining the necessary permit for the plaza. Urgent need for OE members to email the city Board of Works to request support for approval of that permit and for written verification of that support within 3 days. More information on this will be made available as soon as possible.

    Last edited by Terri on Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typos)


    Posts : 18
    Join date : 2011-10-17

    Skype or Google Talk?

    Post  Terri on Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:39 am

    One thought I had after the GA was that we might use Skype or GTalk on a smart phone or computer to take and make phone calls, since the Wifi is available. I think it is just a few dollars a month for a landline number thru Skype.


    Posts : 1
    Join date : 2011-10-18

    Re: Occupy Elkhart General Assembly - Oct. 23, 2011

    Post  KaleerMorgan on Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:09 am

    "Need to establish non-profit (401c3)status: It was discussed ways to establish non-profit status, including filing for status as OE, or teaming with an existing non-profit to use their status"

    I'm assuming this is 501(c)3 and just a typo. I have been apart of 3 formations in the last 5 years and it is a pretty arduous process - plus you need to form a board, write out articles of incorporation and must have and Employer Identification Number issued by the state.

    The second idea is a better short-term option. Operating under a memorandum of understanding with a local organization is something that most not-for-profits do as an interim solution to the problem. I don't know if local unions have 501(c)3 arms, but that might be a thing to look into. If not, there are many local community building organizations that hold them and might be interested.

    Another thing to consider: whether one is working under their own status or someone else's, once you take that step, the group can not be involved in political activities. There are work arounds, but mostly your status is at risk and officers can be liable for damages if there are political activities. Some construe that to mean partisan politics, others construe it to mean any politics.

    One can create a pac that is political - that takes organization too, but can offer a tax break to donors. You can choose to to a national pac, state pac or regional pac. You can also make the pack non partisan and have a mission of simply informing people on issues.

    Just things to think about.



    Posts : 18
    Join date : 2011-10-17

    Re: Occupy Elkhart General Assembly - Oct. 23, 2011

    Post  Terri on Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:29 pm

    KaleerMorgan wrote:I'm assuming this is 501(c)3 and just a typo.

    Yes, typos. Typing too early; thanks for catching.

    I read somewhere that NY did team with a local non-profit for the 501(c)3 status, but I'm not sure if that's a precedent we want to follow or not. Seems like there are a lot of pros and cons to consider either way.


    Re: Occupy Elkhart General Assembly - Oct. 23, 2011

    Post  Guest on Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:18 pm

    There are cons, but there are many more pros to using another groups 501(c)3. I think a great organization that we might consider would be the American Legion. Or yet, the VFW. These vets served with pride, and they are usually non-partisan in their efforts to improve vet services. I know Occupy Boston had a lot of vets stand with them. That's why it was such big news when the cops were taking their camp down because of their actions against the vets. Does anyone have a current contact with the Legion or VFW?

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    Re: Occupy Elkhart General Assembly - Oct. 23, 2011

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