Re: Consensus, Majority Vote, "Blocks"
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2011 09:09:17 -0700 (PDT)
On 3 Oct 2011, at 11:46 AM, Michael Barrett wrote:

> When you say they "step aside" that presumes they always will. 
> The step aside is, of course,  used by many communities.  But if they won't 
> step aside they must be eventually "put aside", or overruled, or in effect 
> "voted down" (even if with no votes actually cast).   Maybe you have the 
> good fortune to have never reached this point.

We have one person who frequently expresses her intention to veto an action. 
She usually raises a fuss then doesn't attend the meeting where we make the 
final decision. We have found that what she really wants is more attention to 
her concerns and there are people who talk with her privately to resolve them, 
when possible.

Once, however, she said she would stand aside because someone voluntarily came 
and fixed her screen door the same week. She said it made her feel so good that 
it was worth it to her to let the unrelated proposal go forward. She now felt 
that the community would support her if what she feared from the proposal 
actually happened.

This is what I meant a few days ago when I said vetoes require more attention 
to community feelings that may be totally unrelated to the proposal. It's not 
so easy to separate feelings about different issues because one hardens the 

I tend to view policies as things you follow unless you ask permission for an 
exception or explain why you didn't follow it. The majority, however, seem to 
feel that a policy is a hard and fast rule that they will be hanged for if they 
violate it, and are afraid to ask for an exception. Or it never occurs to them. 
A few do as they please no matter what and have to be "supervised."

As Moz said, sometimes they just don't want to sort out their real feelings or 
needs and veto because they don't want anyone telling them what to do or 
spending their money. If they are feeling good about the other people in the 
room, given to and not taken from, everything is cool.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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