Re: Consensus Fallbacks
From: Stevenson/Bitner (
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 20:34:45 -0600
>  Most of the Northeasterners in the group were knee-
>jerk anti-gun primarily because they felt that any gun in the community would
>undermine their security. 
I believe the term "knee-jerk" is quite loaded, and tips your hand as to 
your own bias.  It sounds to me as if Sherri has alot of responsibility 
in your group, and doesn't like meetings very much (my own conclusion, 
nothing more). Perhaps she doesn't feel that the process is working for 
her.  A group can go too far in trying to get new members in.  If they 
didn't feel welcome enough, maybe cohousing isn't for them.  It takes a 
certain amount of intestinal fortitude to live in cohousing and deal with 
thorny issues without running away.  People who can't handle it usually 
give a reason like they didn't feel welcome, instead of owning up to the 
fact that they really didn't want to give up what they consider their 
inalienable rights, but which are, in fact, luxuries of living on their 
own- i.e., three cars, lots of space, guns, roaming pets, whatever. (My 
first meeting with Southside Park Cohousing was a very contentious affair 
involving money and our architect and builder.  Everyone said at the 
evaluation that they were afraid that they scared us out of coming back.  
My answer was that, on the contrary, people who could disaggree in such a 
respectful way were people I wanted to live with.)  Treasure the people 
who are already in your community. You have to live with them.  Don't let 
desperation, either with the process or with unsold lots, fool you into 
thinking that you need specific people to be placated in order to move 
them in.  My guess is, if they had gotten their way on the gun issue, 
there would be another issue, and another, down the road that would make 
them feel "unwelcome".  Every person who we ever let into the group who 
felt that way has been a problem. *Every single one*.  All of those have 
left, or are trying to leave.  In their places, we have gotten people who 
can deal with decisions that have already been made, and respect the fact 
that we worked hard to get to those decisions.

As for patronizing old members, I think that stems from new members not 
being brought up to speed, and someone needs to pick up the ball on that. 
We have a buddy policy for new members so that they won't feel like they 
keep asking stupid questions.  A volunteer takes a new member under their 
wing, and the new member can ask the buddy any and all questions without 
feeling silly.  It is a simple and very useful solution.

And so, I will close by using an awful pun. Sherri, stick to your guns!

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