Re: Consensus decision making with and without a voting override provision
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 19:18:25 -0700 (PDT)
Here Here Joani!

My opinion is that more effective cohousing groups using consensus do
delegate LOTS of decision-making - especially ones requiring detailed study
and understanding. I believe a common misunderstanding about consensus is
that ALL decisions MUST involve EVERYBODY in decision-making process.

When individuals and sub-groups are appropriately empowered, they increase
their effectiveness as they create plans that are both (1) consistent with
their mandate and (2) that truly serve the broader group - including those
with minority views.


On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 6:49 PM, Joani Blank <joani [at]> wrote:

> Friends,
> Here's part of an email exchange I had with Tim Mensch about his
> recent post on this subject:
> A good agenda or steering committee will only put on the table/agenda
> for general community meetings, items of some significance that
> really need community buy-in to be effective.  In the example you
> gave (leaky roof damaging some of the common property), a committee
> (Maintenance, perhaps) can have blanket authorization in advance to
> arrange a repair in such an emergency.
> Here at Swan's Market Cohousing (Oakland, CA), individuals and
> committees are authorized (by consensus) to make decisions about all
> manner of things after there has been an opportunity in the general
> community meeting for a variety of views on the proposal to be
> presented, and sometimes a straw vote to get the "sense of the
> meeting."  This seems to work fine, giving everyone who has an
> opinion, a chance to have their say on the matter (and to be
> respectfully heard), and not tying the whole community up on matters
> where it really doesn't matter if one or two people object, even
> strongly object, to what will probably be the decision made by the
> individual or committee that's been authorized to make that decision.
> Joani
> Joani Blank
> land line : 510-834-7399 (preferred)
> cell: 510-387-1315
> Swan's Market Cohousing.
> P Save Trees ...please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.
> _________________________________________________________________
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Craig Ragland

Coho/US executive director
craig [at]

Please try email first, include your phone number (w/time zone) - or give me
a call: 425-487-3550 (Pacific)... communicate!

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