[OCFdiscuss] Letter from OCF Founders -- and My Response

Sanbauer at aol.com Sanbauer at aol.com
Sun Jun 29 17:20:06 PDT 2008

Sandra  Bauer
Great Peninsula Future Festival
Who knew learning could be this much  fun
August 2nd and 3rd 
Port Gamble WA  
425 788-7496

In a message dated 6/27/2008 11:49:51 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Sanbauer  

Dear folks:
I saw that Tom printed a letter in the fair family news.  His  allegations 
about Cynthia disturb me and that he used the FFN to  include a personal attack 
on her disturbs me.  He has taken  something that Cynthia and the Fair should 
be proud of - an investment in  the community and turned it on it's head.  
After 12 or so years, he is  angry that her request for an educational grant to a 
Harvard University  leadership program while she was a state legislator was 
"shoved down his  throat" by having bypassed the process of new business to old 
business.   I would say to you Tom, you were a board member.  You know and 
knew that  Cynthia was not on the board and not able to manipulate the process 
for  evaluating the request.  That could not have been her doing.   Only 
someone on the board could have done that.  If you are still mad  about this 12 
years later, then find out who was in charge of the  agenda.  Those are the people 
who manipulated the agenda to  accommodate the request.  Go after them if 
that is what pissed you off so  badly that you are still irate 12 years later.  I 
might add that  this advancing of agenda items from new to old in one meeting 
has been used on  a number of occasions at the board's prerogative.  You know 
all  this.   Anyone has the right to make a funding  request.  It is the 
boards job to say yes or no.  They can also  attach stipulations to the receipt of 
the funding.  Obviously a majority  of the board agreed that the funding 
request was something that  they felt would benefit the community and voted yes.  
Cynthia has  spent her adult life working for the community in a number of  
public offices and private enterprises.  She should hold her  head up high in 
how much she has given back to our community and I thank her  for all she has 
done.  Sometimes things pass a board vote that  you may not support.  The 
intenseness of your response,  especially after all these years is a little scary.
Secondly, in your printed letter in the Fair Family News in June,  you 
continued to assert that we were not aware of vision quest  even after evidence to 
the contrary.  A few different sources let  you know that we were aware of 
vision quest.  I have included the copy  of my response to that assertion below 
from the posting to the  ocf discuss list in mid May.  It is quite clear  that 
we are aware of vision quest and raised issues about  that.  Yet you still 
published a letter claiming that we did  not have knowledge of how it worked.  I 
don't know what to say about  that.  You obviously think that Vision Quest is 
the answer to  everything.  I don't.  I think it is a flawed document.  Our  
differences here are a legitimate topic for  discussion.   
Those of us who wrote a letter about closed meetings, a futures project  and 
organizational structure have been called bullies, profoundly  dishonest, 
manipulative,  and accused of wanting to go to the head of the  line (which line I 
have no idea), think we are special, very special people,  don't have to do 
what everyone else has to do, not willing to put in the time,  the effort AND 
having a secret agenda (this one sounds like fun) and much  more.  Intense. 
 Both you and Joseph define the level of participation before one  can 
comment on ongoing affairs.  WOW.  We do not take a back seat to  anyone on how much 
time, love, effort, dedication, blood sweat or  tears we have given to this 
fair!  We did it because we wanted to, not  because we expected something in 
return.  It is so wrong to claim  otherwise.  
Sandra  Bauer

In a message dated 5/14/2008 2:47:47 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Sanbauer  

      Dear Folks:

When we wrote the letter, it was our intent was not to just  complain but to 
offer solutions - some of which are  already being done and some of which are 
not.  I don't think  any of us really doubt each other's love for the fair or 
the communal  mission we have all been on in many different manifestations all 
these  many years.
However, there are some things that do cause concern.  The  closed meetings 
are a big one.  I don't think it is quite fair to  say, as Bear did,  that 
"these particular elders chose not to  participate in the process and are now 
complaining that the process is  not how they would have liked it to have been".  
I was originally  invited to attend the workshop to determine the process for  
selecting the next GM by a board member and I accepted that  invitation.  
Then, Bear told that board member to "un invite"  me because it was going to be a 
closed session for board, staff and  selected members.  That message was 
passed on to me.  Then  later it was decided to have a meeting that was open 
followed by a  meeting that was closed to membership.  The message that all of  
this sent was that the real work will be done after the  open meeting and that 
the open meeting would be a  formality.  That is how I read it.  It was not 
worth a 6  hour drive each way and a few days to come to that meeting.    Several 
people who were at the open meeting told us that when they asked  why there 
was going to be a closed meeting, Jack replied "Because I  said so."  You have 
to admit, that is pretty much "top  down".   It is disturbing that all board  
meetings with very limited exceptions are not open and  transparent. 
Secondly, we  were involved in the Vision Quest  Process.  I headed a 
committee of Elders to discuss a Vision  Quest proposal submission with Dee and many 
different staff  and board members.  We had multiple meetings, phone calls, 
emails  and conversations about VQ.  The committee members were  all very 
helpful in discussing the process and telling us what  was expected.  We were told 
that there were a few broad goals  identified by the committee and approved by 
the board that would be  used to evaluate proposals that would come from the 
membership  instead of from management.  One of the  goals of  VQ was to foster 
a path for ideas to come from the bottom  up not just the top down.  The VQ 
committee did  a lot of outreach talking to many different groups about how to 
make  proposals.  Then we spent a great deal of time writing  a proposal based 
on the information given to us and  submitted it by the deadline and were 
told to expect an answer by  November.  
Now, after the deadline and after the proposals were  submitted, it was 
decided that the process for reviewing the submissions  was inadequate.  The entire 
Vision Quest  concept went back to committee after the horse was out of the  
gate.  The final version printed in the FFN is the  result.  Much of it is now 
so defined and  specific, I see little room for new innovative  ideas.   This 
is a very different version of  Vision Quest than the one presented to those 
of us who were  interested in the original opportunity.  I can only  assume 
that this new document must be the scale for evaluating  the proposals.   

What happens to the solicited proposals that don't meet  the category 
definitions?   For example, the ones relating to  the Elders mostly talk about having 
parties and ceremonies.  I  like a good party as well as the next person, but 
this is not  what our proposal was about.  Where did parties and  ceremonies 
come from as the focus of Elders and youth?  The Elders  were not consulted in 
defining goal number 5.  The VQ  document also includes a provision for "an 
uplands community  center that is suitable for housing Fair Cultural events 
year round", while  our proposal, already submitted, asked for a space within the 
fair.   Does that mean that our proposal will be rejected because it does  
not mirror the mileposts of that segment.  Who knows.  The  point is that it is 
not true that we have been absent for the last 3  1/2 years and only just now 
speak up without knowing what we are talking  about as is implied by Joseph's 
and Tom's spirited  response.   

Just what is the current Vision Quest document?   It might be the foundation 
of a Future's project but  there are many very important elements missing.  It 
 does not include budget information,  accountability, timelines, analysis 
features or fiscal  goals.  It needs a capital projects planning document to  
prioritize program and project costs and a few other things to be a full  
fledged Futures project.  A lot of work has gone into this  Vision Quest process, 
but it has certainly morphed in the last few  months to something that it was 
not before.  The original VQ  program was "sold" to us as a mechanism for 
"visioning" by  membership.  By and large, it is more appropriate for  management 
and staff to implement the milestones listed in  this current document.  So, 
yes, to answer your  question, we are familiar with Vision Quest and there are  
legitimate questions about  it.

While I respect the job that the current management, board of  directors and 
membership has done and I know it can be a  thankless job at times, there is 
definitely something to talk about  here. We did not intend to imply that none 
of the things that  we outlined were being done.  Some are and some are  not.  
 As a non-profit membership driven  organization, transparency and openness 
should be valued above  all.  Just what kinds of changes could and should take  
place.  How can we make those changes yet retain  the essence of what is 
important to all of us. It's a big  question and needs to be taken on openly with 
full participation by  membership.   

      Peaches to you all.

Sandra Bauer

In a message dated 5/12/2008 10:08:23 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
bear_wilner at alumni.reed.edu writes:

Great response, Joseph. I respect the wisdom of our Fair elders  --  
but I don't appreciate the fact that these particular  elders chose  
not to participate in the process and are now  complaining it wasn't  
structured the way they'd have liked  it to have been.


On 11 May 2008, at 9.32 PM, R.  Joseph Newton wrote:

> Hi Folks,
>  While planning the layout of this month's FFN, I happened upon an  item
> that I simply can not wait to respond to.  A group  of our early  
> leaders
> has composed an article  with a great deal of advice for us.   
> Normally,  I
> would be honored to hear the input of such personages, yet  as  I  
> read the
> content of the document, I  have to wonder, "where have these folks  
> been?"
>  I am attaching the document, as edited for publication, so that   
> folks can
> read for themselves what I am talking  about.
> There is rather a mix within each item of good  ideas with  
> misstatements of
> the existing  situation, so I will take on some general topics raised.
>  First, since this was raised as a cause of disturbance, is the   
> decision to
> include executive sessions in the process  for reviewing our  
> directions as
> Leslie's tenure  draws toward a close.  since it was I who raised the
>  concern about sensitive human resources aspects of such a change,  and
> asked to have at least some of this process take place in  closed  
> session,
> I feel that I should  respond.
> We actually took pioneering action when we  scheduled an open forum on
> leadership at this time.  The  resignation of an employee is  
> essentially an
> HR  issue.  We recognized that the length of Leslie's tenure, and  the
> fundamental changes in the Fair's size and structure  during that time,
> merited a larger discussion.  We did  that on March 30.  We also  
> took time
> for  discussions among smaller groups, and have continued to do so  in
> monthly executive sessions.  I make no apology for  this  
> whatsoever.  There
> are many questions  involved, such as those concerning life-plans of  
>  key
> support persons, that are not appropriate for discussion  in a public
> forum, but which are very important for us, as a  Board of  
> Directors, to
> ask.  Likewise it  is important that our staff have an opportunity  
> to  speak
> of their aspirations, life directions, and concerns, in  an environment
> that ensures confidentiality.
>  The second item on the list of recommendations is the one that   
> induces a
> real feeling of dismay for me.  It  calls for the establishment of a
> "Futures Committee" to take  on the task of strategic planning.  I  
> have  to
> ask:  Where have these folks been over the last 3 1/2  years?  For  
> my part,
> I have been working  very hard on the Vision Quest--encouraging  
> people  to
> take part, taking part in meetings at least once a month,  often twice,
> reviewing volumes of open-ended input solicited  through our numerous
> surveys, and carrying out a host of other  tasks in a process  
> through which
> we have  actively and successfully solicited membership input from   
> Day One.
>  Where were these folks when we held  Vision Quest Summits?  Where have
> they been during the  many workshops we have invited the Fair Family to
> join  in?
> There are some points made here that are sound  overall, and these  
> also are
> pretty much covered  in the direction we are taking.  The letter  
>  suggests a
> deliberative process for deciding first what we  want in our leadership
> before commencing a selection  process.  That and the final item,
> concerning a  broad-based search committee, are built into our PPP  
>  manual.
> A few of us would have preferred to move faster on  hiring a good
> high-level collaborative personality and then  let roles define  
> themselves
> out of the  mix.  The majority has chosen to move ahead with the very
>  deliberative process specified in the PPPM.  We are also  very  
> likely to
> avail ourselves of the services  of TACS [Training And Consulting  
> Services,
>  www.tacs.org] to get outside feedback on our processes.  On the  other
> hand, we have just finished a visioning process  involving many  
> years of
> effort.  There is  no reason to re-invent that wheel in reaction to a
> single,  although highly significant, change in our staffing.
>  More important in that context is to heed Leslie's urging of the  last
> couple years, and look seriously at our process for  succession,  
> knowledge
> and skill exchange, and  interoperability in general so that personnel
> shifts do not  destabilize the organization.  We have a lot of this in
>  place in fact, but have not formalized or documented our  strategy  
> as we
> should.  We are working  actively to address that shortcoming.
> I would also  take issue with the statement "As the fair has become  
>  bigger
> and more complex, the management structure has become  more vertically
> integrated.  It allows people to lay  claim to large swaths of  
> territory
> and limits  the access to newcomers with innovative ideas." I disagree
>  firmly.  As a close observer of our leadership process over  the  
> last 7 1/2
> years, I have actually seen an  unprecedented openness to new  
> ideas.  When
>  I first spoke at a BoD meeting in September of 2000, I was unknown  to
> anyone in leadership other than Lawrence Taylor.  I  was also more  
> than a
> bit confrontive, though  respectfully so.  I found that Leslie and  
>  Board
> members addressed my input with respect.  In the  years since then,  
> I have
> come to recognize that  this is the norm in this generationof  
>  leadership.
> The current leadership of the OCF is composed of  people whose major
> distinguishing characteristic is a  willingness to put large amounts of
> time into making our event  and organization work.  Our committee  
>  meetings
> are open to all interested OCF members, and in most  committees, all
> visitors are listened to with respect and open  minds.
> Consider:  Three of our current Board  members earn our passes  
> elbows-deep
> in the  Family's waste and compost.  Another carries a scrub-brush  to
> prepare the six-packs for our Public each day.  We now  have our
> youngest-ever Board member, Danya Ariel.  Every  month, we hold  
> meetings
> open to the membership  and general public, during which we have  
>  numerous
> periods for membership input.   This input  is not simply passively
> received and let pass, either.   Over and over, I have seen ideas,
> introduced from the floor,  find sponsors and champions, and come into
> manifestation in  our community.
> As a practical matter power at the Fair  is widely distributed.  a good
> deal of operational  decision-making is in the field, by those doing  
>  the
> work.  Most crews have a great deal of autonomy in  their operations  
> to the
> extent possible while  coordinating with other operational  
> functions.   Most
> committees also have their own traditions,  decision-making process,  
> and
> history.   Each booth likewise has its own internal system of  
>  governance.
> In some cases this can be a problem, if a crew or  booth has an  
> autocratic
> or abusive leader, or a  committee turns a cold shoulder on input from
> outside.   This is not an issue of vertical power, though -- it is much
>  more dispersed -- a web of fiefdoms.
> I agree strongly  with he opening and concluding sentiments of this
>  document.  We indeed wish to uphold and enhance our traditions  of
> progressive thought.  There are a number of us who  devote hundreds of
> hours per year to this endeavor, and some  who make it a full-time  
> job.  I
> appreciate  also the willingness of our founding leaders to offer their
>  counsel and wisdom.  I wish only that they would more  carefully  
> ascertain
> what the current situation  is before presenting recommendations or  
> taking
>  us to task for perceived shortcomings in our efforts.
>  I am very pleased to hear of the continuing interest of these   
> luminaries
> in our event and community.  I value  their experience greatly, and  
> even
> more so the  first-person history each carries.  I would love to see   
> them
> participate in the process by which we currently  decide on issues of
> Fair-wide concern.  I just feel a  disappointment that their  
> suggestions
> seem to  take so little cognizance of what, for me and others who have
>  taken part in the Vision Quest, has been 42 months of ongoing  and
> concerted effort in distilling a common vision and  direction for  
> the OCF.
>  Peaches,
> Joseph<The OCF is in  
>  transitionedit.doc>_______________________________________________
>  OCFdiscuss mailing list
> OCFdiscuss at lists.opn.org
>  http://www.lists.opn.org/mailman/listinfo/org.opn.lists.ocfdiscuss

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