Re: handling donations
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2015 10:34:55 -0800 (PST)
Thanks for your answer.  It illustrates the point I was trying to explore:  
There is a delicate balance between avoiding bad or unpopular choices by 
getting everyone’s input, and wearing everyone out by making everything — even 
the tossing of junk — a laborious communal decision.  I imagine most cohos are 
constantly seeking and adjusting for the best balance point — some, with more 
success than others.

At Cornerstone, we are (in my view) tilted too far toward the “nothing happens 
until everyone has discussed in full” mode.  Some of us are working to move the 
pivot toward the other end of the scale.  I’ll let you know if we ever go too 
far, and have the problem of Lone Rangers persistently throwing out valuable 


> On Jan 21, 2015, at 1:21 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
> wrote:
>> On Jan 21, 2015, at 1:09 PM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> wrote:
>> Do you mean literally, one person?  That is, a single individual acting 
>> alone, without reference to any community-recognized group officially 
>> charged with indoor pruning?  Is this really a problem of failing to check 
>> with the donor of origin (an identity often lost to institutional memory) — 
>> rather than a unilateral behavior out of sync with communal policy?
> It has happened with no notice to the community. There might have been 
> someone present who said, that is fine. We have people who think the person 
> in charge of a room should be able to do whatever they want. In an effort to 
> get people to take charge, some people want them to have absolute authority.
> One of the things that discourages action is having to go through what I 
> believe is becoming a bureaucracy. People want everyone who wants to do 
> anything to come to their meeting and it usually takes two meetings for them 
> to make a decision. At two meetings a month that means at least a month to 
> get permission from a team. Then the action may require approval of the 
> membership. Wait for a membership meeting.
> We used to do much more decision-making on email. Part of the problem is 
> fatigue. I hope it is temporary, but administering a community of 87 people 
> is hard. Particularly when everyone wants to either be involved in all 
> decisions or can't be bothered--until it affects them.
> We were much easier to govern when we were smaller.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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