Re: Governance
From: MelaSilva (
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 10:41:03 -0500
In a message dated 96-05-16 11:17:15 EDT, you write:

>Is my explanation of what happened with these groups somewhat accurate?
For Southside, yes

>Who has a system that they think works particularly well?  Particularly
Our system seems to work better than just a bunch of committees, but it still
has taken a LOT of work. It works better if the facilitator of the cluster
has a lot of TIME and is very focused. We still have to go through a slow
process of ideas in the cluster - posting ideas for the whole community -
bringing it to the general meeting - refining it again in cluster- reposting
- bringing it back to general meeting. We have started keeping track of how
much time certain things take - it took Common House/Meals cluster 16 people
hours to shop for new chairs for the dining room. The Comunity Life Cluster
is finally saying "Look, not everyone is going to be happy about this!"  

>Does the construction period require the same type of governance  structure
as when you¹re actually living in cohousing?
No. Construction took very strong people pushing through with lots of written
proposals - in many cases people who were working 10 hours a week on 1 part
of the process. Proposals that stated the pros and cons of each part were
especially well recieved. It saves lots of valuable meeting time to see that
your concern is already heard, but is not the only consideration. Because
there was too much to do and not enough time, people who devoted more time
and came to meetings well prepared were the ones who got to have it their way
most of the time. Small ad hoc committees were critical, and many times one
person alone did what 10 could not have. 

>How many hours per month does the average member spend in meetings?
I would say it ranges from 0 ( we have 2 people who refuse to go to meetings)
to 10. That's per month. During construction it was 2-10 per WEEK if you
include 1 to 1 meetings with architects, bank and government bureaucrats,

Good questions. Good fortune to you!

Mela Silva
Southside Park
Sacramento CA

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