MNA Steering Committee Minutes, Nov. 7, 2018

MNA Secretary Meeting Minutes, Mueller Neighborhood Association

Attending:  Lila Valencia (Chair), Preston Tyree (Vice-Chair), Luke Downs (Treasurer), Alison Raffalovich (Secretary), Andrew Clements, Bill Berman, Kathy Farley, Evan McClendon, Joan Quenan

Not present:  Bill Kirwin, Audrey Glaser, Dan Updegrove

  1. Greetings and pleasantries [Lila Valencia] (2 mins)
  2. Approval of previous meeting minutes [Alison Raffalovich] (2 mins) – Bill Berman approved the General Meeting minutes as updated, so we now have majority approval and Alison will post the minutes this week.
  3. Treasurer’s Report [Luke Downs] (5 mins)

Luke has opened a savings account at Frost and moved $5,000 from checking to that.  Luke proposes moving MNA account keeping from the Treasurer’s personal computer to QuickBooks Online so it is in the cloud and doesn’t move from personal PC to another when the Treasurer changes. The cost for QuickBooks Online is $20/month. There is more effort in getting accounting records back out of the cloud than going in. Luke can look at other options, like Intuit. The current QuickBooks record of MNA accounts goes back 9 years. It was decided to let the incoming Steering Committee, including the new Treasurer, weigh in (presenting him or her with some options) before making a decision and talk to some of the past treasurers for their opinions.  Although we use QuickBooks we don’t apply double-entry accounting practices.

  1. Committee Updates
  • Neighborhood Engagement
  • Rainbow Mueller – discuss interfaith panel and letter of support [Joy Butler and Jasmin Patel]. Joy and Jasmin provided copies of some related Austin Chronicle articles on the Georgetown-based Celebration Church, which rents Austin PAC on Mueller for Austin services on Sundays. Their stated “Policy on Marriage and Sexuality” is intolerant of LGBTQIA people.  Joy is also involved in the Austin Pride Interfaith network. Four citizens including Joy spoke at an AISD Trustees meeting asking why an anti-LGBTQIA organization would be permitted to lease AISD properties. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton subsequently sent a letter to Trustees threatening to sue them if they terminated the contract with Celebration Church.  At the next Trustees meeting, citizens again reminded the Trustees that Celebration Church’s hostile policy towards LGBTQIA community members is contrary to AISD policy and practice.  The neighborhood formed Rainbow Mueller to support an inclusive neighborhood, and they protest at Celebration services at PAC.  Rainbow Mueller has talked to two of the Celebration Church pastors at length and they refuse to reconsider their policy, which must be signed by all church staff and church members.  The policy itself states that it is not subject to change even if members vote to or if there are regulatory issues.  Rainbow Mueller requested that the MNA Steering Committee provide a statement of support for an inclusive neighborhood and provided sample language to the Steering Committee. Joy noted high suicide rates in LGBTQIA youth and how they correlate with being in proximity to organizations hostile to the LGBTQ community.  The six principles of Mueller expressed by Catellus in the founding of Mueller indirectly address diversity but more in terms of housing mix. The Steering Committee discussed that it makes sense as the MNA takes on more of the representation of resident neighbors to have some expressed guiding principles including inclusion, though we would likely focus more broadly than just sexual orientation or gender identity.  A motion to use the sample language provided by Joy and Jasmine to help draft an inclusion statement was made and seconded. Lila and Evan will create a draft statement for the Steering Committee to review and vote on for potential presentation to the full membership.
  • Fall Fest update [Evan & Kathy] (10 mins) – All is in order and we are expecting some 200+ neighbors to attend the event on Saturday Nov. 10 at John Gaines Park from 3-6 p.m. Several Steering Committee members will staff the MNA tent, and Lila will pick up 15 dozen cookies from Tiff’s Treats at 2:15. Setup is at 1:15 for tent erection, etc. and vendors arrive at 2:15.
  • Front Porch Flyer, update [Dusty] (10 mins) – Having completed the RFI process, we’ll resume producing print editions of the Front Porch Flyer in January 2019. There will be space available in each edition for MNA communications. Per request, Kelly Peel is open to a potential revenue-sharing model, which we’ll mutually revisit in summer 2019. In Dusty’s view, Kelly is committed to a good-faith working relationship.  We will start with ad rates a tier below those of neighborhood newsletters in more homogeneously high-income neighborhoods. The agreement gives the MNA the right to cancel at its discretion and the MNA retains copyright of the content. Kathy Sokolic is committed to working to line up content every month and the size can fluctuate issue to issue. There is likely to be roughly 50/50 mix of ads and content. Lila executed the Memorandum of Understanding with Peel for Dusty to obtain a counter-signature from Kelly.

5. Nominations Committee update [Nhat Ho]– We have 13 candidates with about half of them being current Steering Committee members, which is a good mix. Dennis and Bill will compile a list and post the bios and nominations on the website this week to give members advance insight into the candidates’ qualifications and interests. Bill Berman is willing to serve if we are short any members and if he doesn’t also get elected to the POA, which he is also a candidate for.  People can still submit nominations, and there is still the opportunity to nominate on the floor.  Officer election will likely take place at the December Steering Committee meeting.

6. Transportation Committee update [Andrew and Ty]– We got most of the compromise we were looking for on Zach Scott street design through dialogue with city. They’ll keep parking in front of the homes but remove it in front of Lake Park. They’ll start with turtles and pylons to mark the bike lanes. The city did a commendable job of listening to neighbors and amending the approach to take our concerns into consideration.  Lila commended the Transportation Committee for constructive engagement and responsiveness to timelines to get to a positive outcome. Andrew will take forward Joan and Joy’s concerns about traffic congestion on McCurdy Street – when cars are parked on both sides, there is not room for two cars to come through from opposite directions – to the Transportation Committee.

7. November General Meeting Agenda [Lila]

  • Steering Committee Elections [Dennis Mick]
  • Rainbow Mueller – Interfaith Panel discussion [Joy Butler]
  • Zach Scott Street Project Update [Andrew and/or Preston]
  • Audit Committee update [Joan Quenan]
  • Local Business Spotlight: Lila will approach Lady Quackenbush’s and/or Texas Mutual to assess their interest

December General Meeting

  • Holiday Potluck
  • Mueller Community Singers
  • Sponsor appreciation and Community Builder Awards
  • Year in Review
  • Local Business Spotlight: Shop Homes or young entrepreneurs?

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Raffalovich, Secretary, Dec. 3, 2018