Monthly Meeting - 2007-11-13

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=FG General Monthly Meeting 13 Nov 2007 @ 6:30pm=

Contents

Roels

  • Facilitator: Ryan
  • Scribe: Jeff
  • Regulator/Speaker's List: Sabina
  • Consensus Primer: Joe
  • Minutes Checker: Ifny
  • Candy Granter: Joe T.

PRESENT

  • Ryan
  • Scott
  • Joe T
  • Richard
  • Sean
  • Teresa
  • Joe B
  • David
  • Simeon
  • Ashley
  • Ifny
  • Dennis
  • Phillip
  • Sabina
  • Francis
  • Simon
  • Jeff

INTRO

  • Free Geek Vancouver's first meeting was one year ago this month. Happy Birthday to us!


OLD BUSINESS

  • Joe B had proposed a sustainer program (similar to Spartacus Books and Co-op Radio) where people donate a set amount each month to financially support FG.
  • This should be done ASAP since we are getting into the “giving season”; people are less generous/flush in Jan/Feb.

COMMIT: Follow up with the bank on how to do this -- SEAN

  • Ifny said Media Democracy Day went well. [1] [2]
  • Telus add-on service: David's contact from the Public Learning Network is in hospital so we're still waiting to get information from them.

COMMIT: Follow up on free ISP/T1 options -- ASHLEY

COMMIT: Follow up with VCN re: CAP funding -- SCOTT


FINANCIAL UPDATE: Sean presented

  • Sean's helping clean up the accounting. He passed around a printout showing the current state of FG finances and explained some elements of it.
  • FG has $2100 extra of unknown origin
  • When we dump FGDB into a spreadsheet, we should check it against the current financial books since we may be able to account for some of the extra money that way (donations and sales that are still in the database

but haven't been printed.)

  • The books can then be vetted by an accountant.
    • Joe B is working on getting FGDB data into format acceptable for a ledger.
    • Sean said FG should do a proper, regular daily balance with a separate float, daily records etc. Ryan confirmed this is already in place.
  • Overall financial picture is good: sales are going up, FG has good money in the bank, rent and other bills are getting paid on time, we had the highest sales and donations ever last month -- we're in the black!
  • We will be moving from a spreadsheet to proper accounting software (GNU Cash), which will make for a more reliable financial picture.

COMMIT: FGDB data transfer done by the end of November – JOE B.


MONITORS: Presented by David

  • 10 skids of monitors still taking up space.
    • Background: The monitors in question are only the ones where people paid a $10 fee, until Free Geek changed its policy in September.
    • We originally had this policy because we expected to have to pay to recycle them, but plans with that recycler fell through.
    • $6-7 was the projected cost of recycling unreusable monitors, while the remainder would go to FG's programs/operating costs.
    • Free Geek has been trying to find a way to use those funds scrupulously.
    • 2 months ago we decided to use the monitor fees to ship them to another recycler who fit our ethical policies, and whose practices were similar to those of the last recycler we were considering.
  • Sending to Calgary has fallen through because of prohibitive shipping costs & uncertainty about the cost of recycling (due to market fluctuations)
    • also we are uncomfortable with their level of transparency regarding downstream vendors.
    • David looked at recyclers in Seattle, but due to NAFTA & the lack of an e-scrap category, going over the border would require tons of customs paperwork.
  • Various proposals were put forward, and discussion ensued:
    • David proposed giving the monitors to the provincial program and perhaps donating the money from monitor fees ($1600) to a good cause.
  • Scott proposed publicly announcing the situation and allowing people to ask for their $10 back.
    • Other members suggested that this would be difficult, since we don't have all the names of people who dropped off

monitors, nor do we know who gave us working monitors.

    • Also, many people wouldn't hear about the refund, and most people didn't take receipts for

their donation.

      • Sean observed that the monitors in the provincial program ultimately go to Teck, which perhaps defeats the original purpose (ethical recycling).
    • He also pointed out that not all of the $10 was intended to cover recycling.
      • Simon noted that most people won't ask for their money back and we can probably afford to lose $10 to the odd fraudster.
  • Joe B said that if the monitors go to Teck, the money should go to people who are working to mitigate the environmental damage Teck has caused in the past.
    • Joe T proposed posting an explanation on the website and having people vote on what the best option is. This would get people involved, leading to interest, education, and engagement.
      • Ifny proposed using the monitor fees to offer a grant or scholarship
      • (e.g. environmental project/advocacy group in Trail BC; a student in Trail wanting to pursue environmental studies, etc).
  • Simeon and others commented that we should always be looking for better options, innovations & practices. Ifny said we're still auditing downstream vendors of the provincial program, & we should always do our best to get current intelligence on all recyclers we use.
    • David said truck already booked and we can ship Thursday if we want.
    • Teresa suggested that we use the monitor fees to make a campaign to raise concern about abandoned alley e-waste and lack of a more proactive program to deal with it.
  • Ifny commented that whatever we do with the monitor fees, it should not be something that directly benefits us. If an education campaign seemed likely bring us more hardware donations, it's somewhat self-serving.
  • It was agreed that we need to proceed sensitively and thoughtfully.

CONSENSUS We will give the monitors to the provincial program and give the $1600 to a yet-to-be-determined good cause; continue to look for better options for monitors and other materials.

COMMIT: Plan publicity on this within the Communications workgroup: ASHLEY, RICHARD, SCOTT, JOE T, IFNY


RECYCLING UPDATE: Presented by David

  • Overall, things are going well; we recycle monitors, printers, scanners, plastic, and steel with the provincial program, and have done 10 tons so far.
  • Circuit boards: A recycler in Mount Vernon (highly recommended by BAN) is a good option: they will pay us well for small loads which they consolidate from multiple sources and ship to a state-of-the-art smelter in Belgium (also recommended by BAN); the paperwork is reasonable.
    • David hopes our stuff will be gone by next week. This would mean we would have a recycler for everything in the shop and could get certified by BAN.
  • CD-ROM drives: We've sent what we had to the provincial program, and hope to send them to Seattle in the future for $$
  • Round wire: Not classified as a hazardous waste under Basel. Therefore we have more choices where to send it. There's no processor in North America.
    • There is simply no great option: it will eventually end up in China, directly or indirectly.
  • David emphasized the need to free up space
  • Joe B proposed letting electronic enthusiasts go through the good round wire. We do separate out good usable stuff, but even components of unusable wire could be useful.
  • Let's think of groups who would benefit.
    • Ifny pointed out round wire can be a good source of revenue for us.
    • Sean proposed a "scrapper's membership" for those who want stuff like this.
  • Ashley proposed that if we have to do stuff we dislike (like sending waste to less-ethical recyclers because there's no better option), maybe we can take a chunk of money and try to offset the environmental cost.
    • Simeon said we should make it more explicit, somewhere on our site, what we are currently doing with to-be-recycled materials and why.
  • Ifny suggested that due to time restrictions, further discussion be TABLED (discussed on the mailing list and/or at the next meeting), but that for the moment, we ship out non-Basel materials to the best current option.

CONSENSUS FG will do what it needs to do in the short term (in other words, stockpile Basel-listed stuff but ship non-toxic/non-Basel materials to the most ethical handler we can find) while constantly looking for new options. Round wire, steel and aluminium can be shipped to Phil at Norstar Recycling for the moment. Topic TABLED for future meetings.

COMMIT: Find out what FG Portland is doing with round wire -- IFNY COMMIT: PHILLIP knows some enthusiasts who would probably like access to scrap wire for projects; he will contact them.


NEW SPACE/MOVE: Presented by Ifny

  • We have outgrown our space, and in order to grow, as well as take on larger donations, moving is fast becoming inevitable.
  • We're more or less all clear to move in to the proposed space (e.g. with old landlords, new landlords)
  • Ifny circulated a floor plan and a list of suggested uses for each floor.
    • Location: 1820 Pandora, 2 blocks north of Hastings and 1.5 blocks east of Commercial.
      • 3 floors (including a mezzanine and separate floor with offices), a front & rear entrance with alley parking and a loading bay.
      • Dimensions: 3050 sq ft + mezzanine 650 sq ft + 2nd floor 500 sq ft (total 4200 sq ft) (current shop 1670 sq ft for the current shop; with entrances the total is 2000 sq ft).
      • Cost: Rent is $2800 + GST, plus utilities that are expected to be $500-$1000+ (current space: just over $2000 incl utilities).
      • Details: heat/hot water, kitchen, 3 washrooms, better layout, windows & great view of the mountains, no roof access.
      • Newer building (70s) and has fantastic wiring (formerly a sewing factory). We will need to make the space more accessible.
      • Ifny went to City Hall & they approved of the new location. The zoning is the same as our building now.
      • Ashley asked if it's in a "dodgy neighborhood." Ifny said not really. Light industrial neighbourhood with artist neighbours and working people.
      • There is a cafe, pub, diner, liquor store etc within blocks of us.
      • Also Maritime Labour Centre, ARC & Commercial Drive are nearby.
      • Joe B asked about the cost of moving, which won't be too bad. About $200-300.
      • Sublease: We may sublease to Pedal Depot. We are still negotiating the details with them. [Background: we talked about this last time we were looking for a location, but we didn't find a suitable space for sharing back then.

More info on Pedal Depot: [[3]].

      • Only warehouse would be shared (FG section will be Receiving, Eval, Dismantling, skids/gaylords).
      • The mezzanine and the 2nd floor to be exclusively used by FG.
      • The mezzanine will probably be for Build, LTSP computer lab, meeting and testing. The 2nd floor will probably be the FG thrift shop and office.
  • We will pay more electricity than the Depot since we use way more of it. We will get the sublease looked at by a lawyer; it's a 1-year sublease with automatic renewal unless something bad happens.
    • We will probably have 15 days of overlap from move-in to having to be out of our current space. Once we move everything out of our current space, Ifny proposed that we have one or two nights of fun at 117 to raise money and create publicity.
    • This could include movies, music, dancing etc. She will ask for volunteers later.


CONSENSUS Yay, we're moving in mid-January! New address: 1820 Pandora. Sharing with Pedal Depot is ok.

COMMIT: Helping with the move (& attending a moving meeting to work out the details): -- PHILLIP, SABINA (+her car), FRANCIS, SCOTT, RICHARD, SEAN H., SIMON, SIMEON, IFNY, DAVID (JOE B. will try).

COMMIT: Getting the word out about the move (please join Communications Mailing list): -- PHILLIP, SABINA, RICHARD, (JOE B. will try)


==> DECEMBER (holidays + running the shop): - Both Ifny and David are planning to be out of town Dec 7 - Jan 8. Ryan will be running the shop but he'll definitely need people in the shop to help him. - Everyone is encouraged to make an extra effort to help out!!! - There was discussion about what days to close the shop: - Joe B suggested staying open on Boxing Day; others felt this would be good but that a break was probably more important. Next year we should have a Boxing Day Sale. - Ifny said she needs help with publicity for the holiday shopping season. Jan & Feb are traditionally lean retail months, so we need to prepare for that. - There will be a monthly meeting in December despite David and Ifny's absence.

///CONSENSUS\\\ The last open day will be Sat. Dec 22. FG will reopen the first Wednesday night after New Year's (Wed. Jan. 2) for a Windowsless Wednesday.

      1. COMMIT: Tweak our existing scheduling application to extend it a few

months & give it more features (critical task roles like answering phones, colours, legend) -- RYAN

      1. COMMIT: Start publicity for holiday shoppers – IFNY


==> SAFETY IN THE SHOP: Presented by Ifny - There's a decorated wire-loop gate at front of shop. It's silly-looking but essential to our agreement with the City. It separates retail space from warehouse space, and keeps the innocent public from wandering into places where they could trip or worse. Please get into the habit of closing it after yourself, unless actively moving gear through it. Yeah. - Volunteers need space/safety orientations before they start their volunteering, but that hasn't been happening consistently. It's not okay to get to it later. - Several people said they don't feel confident giving an orientation. A suggestion was made to have a handout sheet, for new volunteers to look at later, and for people giving the orientation to follow. - It would be good to record people's completed orientation in the database

      1. COMMIT: Make an orientation how-to document/take-home sheet (with

waiver incorporated) - IFNY, SABINA, & SIMEON

      1. COMMIT: Add an orientation checkbox to the database: IFNY


==> UBC Thunderbird Robotics: Presented by PHILLIP - Phillip attended on behalf of this group, which makes smallish autonomous robotic vehicles. He proposed a PR opportunity: the group could advertise Free Geek on their vehicles. - The robotics group also wouldn't mind access to the parts bin. The membership had no objection to letting them do this. Ifny felt this could be considered a hardware grant. - There was some concern about FREE GEEK's name being advertised on the side of an SUV - Francis raised a concern about this group's relations with DARPA (since they've applied for DARPA-sponsored contests in the past). This concern was echoed by many other members. - Phillip said that the relationship with DARPA is not likely to continue, since DARPA appears to have developed the technology intended to be drawn from the contest; he added that UBC Thunderbird Robotics was next hoping to go for Google's X Prize. - Ifny suggested that although FG Vancouver has permission to use the Free Geek name, it would be considerate/prudent to consult the Intergalactic Federation of Free Geeks. - Ryan said we need to develop an advertising policy. This was acknowledged as important but not urgent & TABLED for doing in the New Year. - Theresa suggested putting a link to this group on the FG website - Ifny said prominent links can be perceived as endorsement/affiliation. We don't know this group well enough. - Sometime soon we need to clarify the media contact/spokespeople issue and maintenance of our media presence (with reference to recent confusion). Communications workgroup can discuss this.

      1. COMMIT: Send a revised proposal to Free Geek (via Ifny) -- PHILLIP
      2. COMMIT: Float this proposal past the Intergalactic Federation of Free

Geeks -- IFNY


==> OTHER SUBJECTS: - Teresa proposed having a community garden. - David thanked Mark (Jax) and Bernie for fixing the toilet. Kudos from everyone! - Communications meeting (publicity, fundraising, outreach): CHANGED to Tues Nov 20 6:30pm @ Free Geek - Operations meeting (day-to-day running of Free Geek space & operations): CHANGED to Tues Nov 27 6:30pm @ FG

Commits

  1. COMMIT: Follow up with the bank on how to do this -- SEAN
  2. COMMIT: Follow up on free ISP/T1 options -- ASHLEY
  3. COMMIT: Follow up with VCN re: CAP funding -- SCOTT
  4. COMMIT: FGDB data transfer done by the end of November – JOE B.
  5. CONSENSUS We will give the monitors to the provincial program and give the $1600 to a yet-to-be-determined good cause; continue to look for better options for monitors and other materials.
  6. COMMIT: Plan publicity on this within the Communications workgroup: ASHLEY, RICHARD, SCOTT, JOE T, IFNY
  7. CONSENSUS FG will do what it needs to do in the short term (in other words, stockpile Basel-listed stuff but ship non-toxic/non-Basel materials to the most ethical handler we can find) while constantly looking for new options. Round wire, steel and aluminium can be shipped to Phil at Norstar Recycling for the moment. Topic TABLED for future meetings.
  8. COMMIT: Find out what FG Portland is doing with round wire -- IFNY
  9. COMMIT: PHILLIP knows some enthusiasts who would probably like access to scrap wire for projects; he will contact them.
  10. CONSENSUS Yay, we're moving in mid-January! New address: 1820 Pandora. Sharing with Pedal Depot is ok.
  11. COMMIT: Helping with the move (& attending a moving meeting to work out the details): -- PHILLIP, SABINA (+her car), FRANCIS, SCOTT, RICHARD, SEAN H., SIMON, SIMEON, IFNY, DAVID (JOE B. will try).
  12. COMMIT: Getting the word out about the move (please join Communications Mailing list): -- PHILLIP, SABINA, RICHARD, (JOE B. will try)
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