Mueller Neighborhood Association Steering Committee Minutes, August 5, 2020

MNA Secretary Meeting/Meeting Minutes

Location: Telemeeting (via Zoom)

Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Time: 7 to 8 p.m.

In attendance – John Wooding, chair; Richard Carr, vice chair; John Reese Thomas, Treasurer; Alison Raffalovich, Secretary; Taylor Youngblood; Bart Jacob; Bart Glaser; Marta White; Ted Herr; Preston Tyree, chair ex oficio.  Guests: Dave Neider, Roger Cauvin, Koreena Malone.

Not attending: Ed Dorn.



1.      Greetings and Pleasantries [John]

2.      Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes [Alison Raffalovich] – 5 of the 7 approvals have been received for the July General Meeting minutes; Alison will remind the Steering Committee members who have not yet responded to reply.

3.      Treasurer’s Report [John Thomas] Expenses: we bought gift cards totalling $125 to area businesses to give to winners of the 4th of July decorating contest, renewed our PO Box for a year for $92 and licensed Zoom for a year. Income: received our first check for the online sales of T-shirts for $188.75. We got 4 renewing members in July for $30 and 2 so far in August. The overall financial status remains very strong and healthy.

4.      FAN* and the MNA: A Refresher [David Neider/ Roger Cauvin] Dave and Roger are members of Friends of Austin Neighborhoods. It’s an association of Neighborhood Associations from around the city to help push for better city-level policies with the aggregated power of their associations. The MNA was previously part of the Austin Neighborhood Coalition but often did not support their resolutions. Roger and others including Matteo Barnstorm formed FAN, which Andrew Clements joined early on as well. The MNA joined in April 2015 based on a vote from a general membership meeting shortly after FAN was formed. Dave has historically served as the MNA delegate to FAN, and he brings FAN items that he thinks we should vote on to the MNA Steering Committee. In the rare case of an urgent item, the delegate may need to vote on behalf of the MNA. We should consider whether we want to identify a new delegate as Dave has not been as actively involved with FAN recently. According to Roger, FAN is very aligned to the goals and discussion of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, headed by Koreena Malone. FAN likes to think of neighborhoods being part of the city-wide community, rather than leading with a more selfish local neighborhood-only view. They want to reclaim the voices of inclusion in neighborhood activism. They tend to align with neighborhoods that value diversity and inclusion. FAN also has an at-large bloc for individuals who want a voice and may not go through a neighborhood association. FAN puts discussion items to a vote of the membership before committing to a position. FAN recently discussed whether to vote on the Project Connect proposal from the city, and overall membership supported it. Voting takes place through a secure online voting application. There are about 20 neighborhood associations participating of about 180 neighborhood associations (not all of them active) across the city. There are 673 at-large bloc members across 203 neighborhoods. They vote separately from the associations, and all the at-large member votes roll up as if they are one neighborhood association.  (In comparison, ANC has 80 neighborhood associations.) FAN draws attention to its positions through letters to the city, press releases, and engagement with neighborhood associations. They also have a forum for online discussions and conversation. Any board member can sponsor a topic for discussion and vote for membership. Their operating budget comes from voluntary donations. Expenses are generally limited to fees for hosting the forum and site, and occasionally paid promoted posts on social media, so it is a very low-budget organization. Dave is happy to remain as our representative, but would also welcome someone to come in with new focus and fresh perspectives. Taylor will write a post to see if there are others in the neighborhood might be interested, and run it past Dave and Roger. Dave is willing to support someone new stepping into the delegate role as they come up to speed. If no one else is interested, Richard is willing to step in. The time commitment varies according to how much time you need to research backgrounds related to various resolutions. FAN ranges from 4-15 resolutions per month, often with resolutions grouped together so there are only a few requests per month to vote.

5.      Update: Steering Committee Meetings at HEB [John] The Community Room will not be in use for the balance of 2020, so we will assume that our meetings will remain virtual via Zoom for the balance of the year.

6.      May General Meeting Agenda [John] (5 min) 7:50 – 7:55

6.1. Treasurer’s Report

6.2. POA Review

6.3. Mueller Commission

6.4. Local Business Spotlight: TBD

7. Other – Marta has made some sample masks with the MNA logo on them. The cost to us for is $6/mask with no cost up-front. We can order to match individual requests; we don’t have to preorder in quantity and stock inventory. We’re requesting alternate designs from their graphic artist, for example the Mueller Tower, spider, Nessie or other neighborhood landmarks. The Steering Committee decided to review alternate designs, select the final choices and make the masks available for $10. Everything over cost will be donated to the AISD Crisis Support Fund, which provides meals and school supplies to children in the district who need the assistance.  

There was a motion to nominate Koreena to fill an open slot on the MNA Steering Committee, which was seconded. Koreena agreed to be considered, and the vote passed unanimously. Welcome to the Steering Committee, Koreena!

The new neighbor checklist to help new neighbors get oriented to the neighborhood is live, and is a work in progress if there are edits or improvements to suggest.

General Meeting 8/15 virtual

Steering Committee Meeting 9/2 7PM

Respectfully submitted 8/11/2020,

Alison Raffalovich, Secretary