Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oly Food Co-op Annual Meeting Report

So, a friend and I attended the Olympia Food Co-op's (OFC) annual meeting today. The meeting was generally quite well run.

However, at the outset, there was an earnest apology for selecting a venue that was not accessible for people who cannot climb a long flight of stairs. A site inspection should have been conducted before the meeting location was finalized. There was an effort to accommodate people who could not climb the stairs but that left them in another place linked by a video feed--a poor substitute for actually being at the meeting.

Another more minor shortcoming was in monitoring the length of board candidates' speeches. Each board candidate was allotted three minutes to address the membership. The thirty-second warning and time expiration notice were basically whispered to the candidates. Those need to be clearly audible/visible to everyone present.

I was close enough to the timekeeper that I could see and hear what was going on as Susan Godden Trinin demonstrated that she thought she was special and the rules that apply to everyone else didn't apply to her. Trinin, who spoke twice--on behalf of herself and fellow candidate Linda Sternhill Davis--defiantly went over-time both times.

Trinin wasn't alone, other members of Olympia's local Zionist whiner squad were also present today trying to perpetuate the dissension and division that, mainly, they have created over the boycott of Israeli goods. These people are playing, in no small part, to the timid, benighted souls who, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King put it, prefer "a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice." Zionist kvetcher (but I repeat myself) extraordinaire Tibor Breuer tried but only briefly succeeded in hijacking the Q & A period.

However, it was clear from the financial overview and staff and committee reports that the co-op is moving forward. Membership and sales revenues were both up at both stores in the third fiscal quarter, most of which was after the passage of the boycott resolution. Kudos to OFC members, staff, and directors who have stood strong as Zionists far and wide have vilified them for taking a stand for justice and peace.

There were no stunning revelations when board candidates spoke. Vilification of the current board was the theme of the day in the remarks of pro-Israel candidates Kent Davis, Linda Sternhill Davis, Susan Godden Trinin, and to a lesser extent, Andrea Lipper. Lipper would actually be a worthy candidate if she had not aligned herself with apartheid Israel.

It was announced that another Zionist, Susan Schaeffer, had officially withdrawn from the election. There was no word on what part this blog's exposure of the "no-preconceived-notions, no-rigid-allegiances" candidate's dissimulation played in her decision to drop out.

Joshua Simpson, who informed me late last month that he was not an active candidate, was absent from the meeting and did not have a statement read there on his behalf. I saw him about an hour later at Coffee Strong.

T. J. Johnson's remarks only confirmed my earlier misgivings about him and his informal slate-mates Karen Bray and Kim Henderson. Like Lipper, Johnson has an impressive background but his unfounded criticism of the boycott process left my friend and I convinced that BDS Olympia had probably erred in endorsing Johnson. My first four votes went to Rochelle Gause, Erin Genia, John Regan, and incumbent Eric Mapes, who was, perhaps, the most articulate defender of the boycott of Israeli goods of all the candidates.

My final vote went to another incumbent, Suzanne Shafer, who also did not attend the meeting or have a statement read on her behalf. I understand that Shafer may now be an opponent of the boycott, and, if true, that's too bad, but she supported it or stood aside when it first came to the board for approval. For that and the other reasons discussed in the November print edition of Works in Progress (p. 13), Shafer got my vote.

In other circumstances, I might have voted for Teresa Young. Although I believe her to be sincere in her profession that she has "no position" on the boycott that wins her no points for integrity or moral courage. As a candidate for the OFC board, Young had the opportunity to make a public stand of conscience on one of the pressing global issues of our day. Today, in Rachel Corrie's hometown, she failed to answer the calls of justice and peace.

If you haven't voted yet, don't forget the election period ends November 15. If you have voted then feel free to forget it. ;-) Finally, thanks to the editors of Works in Progress for referring readers to this blog for information and updates on the election (November edition, p. 13).

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