Thursday, September 14, 2006

Co-opportunity Elections

Well guys, Co-opportunity, a consumer co-op located in Santa Monica, California - one of only 3 in all of southern California - is having their Board of Directors elections this month. There are 3 seats available on the board.

I got a chance to interview Kelly Jon Landis, one of the candidates, whom refers to himself as the "Reformer" on his campaign literature.

In the brief interview, I asked him some questions that may be of importance to those of us that like to use there bicycle to get to and from the co-op to do our shopping, and thought you guys might like to see his responses.

Here is the interview, an email response back to some question I sent to Kelly Jon Landis:
(CSM!=Cycle Santa Monica, KJL=Kelly Jon Landis)


Thanks for forwarding the press release about you running for the board of directors at Co-opportunity.

As you may know, Cycle Santa Monica! mission/vision shares some of the same ideals and interests as Co-opportunity.

Perhaps you can clarify for the Cycle Santa Monica! community forum readers what kinds of things you would like to accomplish on the board
that directly benefit the bicycling Co-opportunity shoppers/customers?

There has been some discussion on the CSM! forum about placing bicycle parking, and more of it, closer to the entrance to the co-op, as a way to encourage, and make it more convenient, and secure, to come to the co-op by bicycle, when shopping at the co-op.

And there has been some talk on the CSM! forum about the co-op creating or supporting a carshare co-op or program for co-op member/owners.

One suggestion was to arrange to have a carshare car/truck or two with permanent designated parking at the co-op, in which co-op member/owners could access at a discounted price.

There was discussion about making arrangements with Flexcar, to manifest that. And now with Zipcar, a successful nonprofit carshare organization with carshare vehicles at many big cities, considering opening business in Los Angeles, we may be able to get a couple zipcar vehicles for co-op members/owners.

Also, there has been some discussion about providing electricity for Co-op shoppers that come by electric bicycles and electric scooters, so they may charge their vehicles while shopping.

Would these be things you may have an interest in manifesting at the co-op?

What other ideas do you have?

I welcome your comments and comments from anyone else.
I believe I am the only board member who currently uses public transportation on a regular basis and does not own a car, so I support the items you mention. I have worked on repairing a couple of bikes I bought online through the police auction http://www.stealitb at the LA Eco Village. I am interested in this car sharing and called ZipCar to find out more. I think that is a viable option and worth exploring. Perhaps the Co-Op could even reduce costs more by starting our own car share or assist interested members in cooperatively purchase their own cars. I agree with establishing more secure and convenient bike stations near the entrance of the Co-Op. I will have to investigate establishing a charging station. Perhaps, as a part of this parking lot rethinking, we could expand part of the outdoor eating space as well as some have mentioned.

But first we need to address a few critical issues as I summarized in my flyer whose text I posted in my press release. Reducing overhead costs and increasing labor efficiency with an increased member-owner 'sweat equity' program where individuals volunteer a few hours a week or month. They could work the membership desk and do things like serve on committees and help write/edit the newsletter, and could thereby receive additional benefits as well. I am talking with other coops board members around the country on how such a plan might be implemented, considering potential liabilities, etc. The current board does not seem too keen on this idea, or others I have proposed [see below], so we will likely have to run a slate of three candidates next year, assuming I am elected this year. And I'm not assuming I will be, because I have been campaigning more than any
other candidate. I have placed fliers around Santa Monica and Venice.
For those who have a color printer, and could download my flyer and print out some half-sheet copies to pass out at the farmer's markets or elsewhere, that would help.

Next, we must make sure the Co-Op fulfills it's primary mission by establishing a Buyer's Committee to review vendor relationships of the Co-Op and to buy more locally grown, smaller farmer produced. We may even be able to contract with some farmer's coming to Santa Monica for the farmer's markets. We need to expand our bulk food section and review packaged goods sold and review divergent organic standards, especially from foreign markets. This more thorough, conscientious approach will have to be integrated incrementally to
make sure it is not blamed for fiscal irresponsibility.

Addressing these issues, along with others such as greater board accountability, access to minutes, will help us to make the Co-Op more like a coop should be and to restore and possibly increase member benefits; the most important being value [price and quality].

Hope this helps in responding to your comments. Also, my number and e-mail are available to the member-owners making me very accessible.
For more infromation on Kelly Jon Landis, see his press release.

Related Posts:
- Community Gardens (Santa Monica)

Recommended Links:
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Friends of Co-opportunity community forum

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