Saturday, October 30, 2010

Olympia Food Co-op Board Election Update

Update: Oly Food Co-op Annual Meeting Report

Three weeks ago, I provided some information on the candidates for the Olympic Food Co-op (OFC) Board of Directors election, which ends on November 15. Since then one candidate has apparently dropped out of the race, Wally Cuddeford's name does not appear on the updated ballot.

I'll probably wait until the annual meeting to complete my ballot but at this point I'm planning to vote for all of the candidates endorsed by Olympia BDS, with one exception. I may change my mind but currently I do not plan to vote for T. J. Johnson. In his candidate statement, he says:
... I’m concerned that after 30+years the Co-op has lost focus. I want to re-energize and refocus the Co-op on its core mission - serving its members/owners, making good food accessible to more people and being the cornerstone of a vibrant, sustainable and equitable local food system.
In the co-op's online forum Johnson says:
While I conceptualluy [sic] supported [note the use of the past tense] the idea of an Israeli products boycott, I do not support the unilateral action taken by the board without member input. It was bad prcocess [sic]. The current board needs to dig out of the hole they created before the new board takes over in January. My agenda is way broader than the boycott. I want to redirect the organization's focus back to providing healthy local food accessible to all.
Johnson also claims credit for recruiting Karen Bray and Kim Henderson as board candidates, neither of them was endorsed by Olympia BDS and if they support the boycott of Israeli goods then it appears that they've done a good job of concealing it. Johnson claims to have an agenda "broader than the boycott" and while I think that is as it should be--for every candidate--I question whether supporting the boycott is any part of Johnson's agenda. Furthermore, his complaints against the current board and his emphasis on how the co-op has lost "focus" don't ring true to me.

I see no evidence (and Johnson offers none) that the co-op is not performing its "core mission". Also, support for the boycott of Israeli goods is consistent with the principles of the cooperative movement and the OFC's mission. Supporters of apartheid Israel are the people who threaten to derail things. The current board doesn't need to do any digging in my opinion. Let the boycott stand--it was passed in compliance with established procedures--move on and and ignore the racist whining of boycott opponents.

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