Ccnflict Resolution: Is fall-back voting ever necessary?
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 04:54:11 -0600
I've not read any of the books on negotiation or consensus decision-making,
but I've experienced it for six plus and three plus years in two cohousing
groups.  I find it helpful, rather than to talk about--or even think about
"blocking," we need to turn our thoughts finding a solution that everyone
can sign on to or that everyone can be okay with.  Before that point
arrives, we can always say that we  haven't yet reached consensus yet.

In the Doyle Street community, we have an agreement to work toward
consensus during three different meetings  on any given issue before even
proposing a fall-back vote. (Can't remember what the required majority is).
In 6 1/2 years at Doyle St., we've only resorted to a vote one time, and
that was at least four years ago. 

Kevin told you about the N Street system (13 households?), and now you are
hearing about another small community.  Sharingwood is also relatively
small. I can see how in a significantly larger community where many people
actively participate in the meetings, the conflicts may seem more complex
and overwhelming, making people reluctant to stick it out until consensus
is reached.  On the other hand, in a large group, it is likely that there
will be several people starting out with a "minority" position, and
creating safety in numbers for those holding that opinion. 

Joani Blank
Doyle St and Old Oakland CoHousing(s)
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