GRASSROOTS ACTION Can Stop Skunkworks!

Posted by Laura Hagen, HWFC Member-Owner

ALERT! HOT OFF THE PRESS! Here is the Co-op Voice’s  April, 2016 edition, with the Q&A Responses of all ten (10) announced candidates running for our Board of Directors on Sunday.

Here are the candidates’ bios and here is a summary of the Meet the Board Candidates Meeting from April 3rd.

My blog theme this week is:

Why Vote on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at the HWFC Membership Meeting?

After each blogpost this week (see April 9 and April 12), I hope you will come away having yet another really important reason for attending our co-op’s Annual Membership Meeting and Board Elections this Sunday, April 17, 2016 at the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church at 440 Whitehall Road in Albany, NY.

4:00 – 5:30 pm Meet the Candidates (see here for meeting details, here for the agenda and  here, here and here for candidate information)
5:30 – 6:00 pm Dessert Potluck and opportunity for conversation. Please bring a healthy snack or dessert item to share. HWFC will provide beverages
6:00 – 8:00 pm





We are hearing persistent rumors that a group of HWFC Members may be planning an attempt to water down the vote tallies of the eight (8) candidates who met the deadline for candidacy and participated in the process (and the two (2) who got their applications in late): for a total of ten (10) announced candidates.

Seven (7) Board seats are up for election.

What does this mean?

Once quorum is reached (when the required number of voting Member-Owners has been reached), our Membership Meeting is called to order. At the appropriate time in the agenda, the declared candidates will each be allowed equal time to make a statement to the Membership. After this occurs, there will be a call from the meeting moderator for nominations from the floor, which our bylaws appear to allow. [1]

We are hearing rumors that there is a plan to have a large number of candidates nominate themselves from the floor.

Should 5 or 7 or 10 people do this, it could act to take away votes from the ten (10) declared candidates.

Why does this matter?

Any one candidate who does not receive at least 25% of the vote at our election (a plurality), will not have met the minimum requirement for election to the Board. Their name will be removed from consideration.

So, if we have 600 voting Members show up to vote, each of the ten (10) declared candidates must receive at least 150 votes, to have met the minimum requirement of 25% of the votes.

Any candidate who receives less than 150 votes – if there are 600 voting Members – will have his or her name removed from consideration for Board election.

If more than seven (7) candidates receive enough votes to sit upon our Board, the seven (7) with the largest number of votes (a majority) will be elected.


Eight candidates made a public commitment to Membership and followed our process for announcing their candidacy for the Board. They announced with enough time for Member-Owners to get to know them and their positions. They took time to fill out an application and submit it on time, attend Meet the Candidates Forums at HWFC, and participate in a Q&A sponsored by the Co-op Voice. (Two additional candidates got their applications in late.) This makes for a total of ten (10) announced candidates for the Board.

These ten (10) candidates took the time to plan: checking with their families, making sure they can sustain the commitment, time and energy needed to serve on our Board. They have honored our process and insured that Membership had ample opportunity to meet them, get to know their views and ask questions.

This ability to plan, commit follow through, communicate in a public and transparent way, and to work co-operatively with our process, demonstrates some of the very leadership qualities we want to see in a potential Board member.


Our bylaws currently appear to allow for nominations or self-nominations for Board election. I’m not an attorney, but there appears to to me to be some clear ambiguity in the bylaws on this issue. [1]

That said, why would a group of Members chose to wait until the absolute very last minute to put their names forward, without granting Membership any time to hear their platform or to get to know them?

That is quite disrespectful of the Membership.

Given all the communication and discussion – well ahead of time – about our annual Membership Meeting and Elections, and the well-organized planning process by both the Nominations and Membership Committees (thank you very, very much everybody!), how can anyone – or a group  of anyones – defend waiting until minutes before the election to announce their intention to run?

Why would a group do this? What is the motive for this group action?

At the very least, it demonstrates a lack of the ability to communicate in a public and transparent way, and to work co-operatively with our process. It demonstrates a will to subvert democratic process and it demonstrates poor leadership qualities. These are qualities I will not cast a vote for.


It is likely that the real motive is to shift votes away from the ten (10) publicly-announced candidates – a ploy to water down the vote – so that some or all of the announced candidates cannot reach the minimum number of votes (25%) to be considered.

In  other words, their names would be tossed out from the running.

We could end up with some or none of the previously-declared candidates or Board incumbents reaching the 25%, or candidates from the subversive “From-the-Floor-Nominations-Group” being elected to our Board.

Or we could end up  with no candidates for the Board being elected.


If there is any plan to have 5 or 7 or 10 people nominated from the floor, that indicates to me – not an intent to run for any legitimate reason, rather a plan – as a group – to disrupt, agitate, thumb their noses at, and undermine the democratic and co-operative principles by which we were founded and by which we operate.

If our bylaws allow that these individuals each be allowed time to address Membership (and that is also unclear to me from our bylaws) [2] – we will have a very long meeting. It does not at all seem fair that a group of candidates announcing their intent to run minutes before an election, should be given equal time to address Membership, as the candidates who declared their intention to run well ahead of our Annual Elections.

It looks for all the world like this is a plan to attempt to get rid of our four seated Board members – Carolyn Presser, Kate Doyle, Saul Rigberg and Ned Depew – and, at the same time, an attempt to grab some of the Board seats by members of this subversive group.

Or, maybe this group hopes to dilute the vote enough so that nobody gets elected.

Or, maybe they hope that by spreading rumors – ahead of the Election – a good percentage of HWFC Member-Owners will not show up to vote, out of fear.

Finally, this group could simply wish to cause disruption to the Membership Meeting and Elections.

Likely, it’s all of the above.

Planned disruption of this nature – deliberately designed to cause agitation, conflict, hostility, and fear at a Membership Meeting of our food co-operative – needs to be called out ahead of time.

This type of determined aggression and offensive behavior at our co-op needs to have the light of day shone down upon it each and every time it is uncovered.

If there is a group of HWFC members who are participating in this plan, you  need to step forward  – NOW – and declare your names and your intentions. Please post below, we Member-Owners want to know who you are.

If you have information about this plan, you need to immediately step forward and alert Membership Meeting planners (see below). [3]


This action, as well as the planning of this action, is despicable.

Spreading a rumor that this action may occur – using a tactic of fear so that Member-Owners may be too afraid to attend our Membership Meeting and vote on Sunday – is despicable.

I would not want any of these individuals to serve on our Board or in any leadership capacity in our co-operative.


That may be correct. [1]  That does not mean that a group of people can manipulate the intent of the bylaws, with an endgame of disrupting, agitating, causing conflict and derailing a nomination’s process, a Membership Meeting, and an Annual  Election.

The bylaws also state that we will, above all, behave in a co-operative manner.

These actions are not at all co-operative.


Planning of this nature – ahead of time, in a small group, in secret, behind the back of Membership, subverting the will of Membership – comes straight out of the playbook of the former Board of Directors [4]

…who, let’s remember, had the help of one of Albany’s top-ten Strategic PR & Lobbying firms, as well as help from a very, very pricey national .coop firm, to help  in scripting political actions against the voting, shareholders – the owners – of our co-operative corporation. [5]

This current subversive action has all the feel – yet again – of an action planned by paid pros, who are trained in astroturfing (fake grassroots’ actions used against citizen groups, which meet the agenda of a paying client or corporation): that is, in subverting real grassroots actions (like our co-op’s annual Membership Meetings and Elections).

This current (rumor-mill) action seems all too familiar to me. Doesn’t it to you, too?

After all, the former Board and (their supporters) didn’t just go away after November 30, 2015 – the date of our historic emergency Special Membership Meeting – and, remember, this is the first Board Election since we Members challenged and put down their activities.

Makes sense that these supporters would try to re-take the Board …somehow …or at least throw a monkey-wrench into the works.

Think I’m paranoid? The $500,000 (!) the former Board spent on attorneys and consultants (pros) to undermine and eliminate Member-Owner legal power & control in our co-operative corporation should lay that thought to rest. [6]

Go watch your favorite Wall Street movie again. What do you call it when a Board of Directors tries to secretly wrestle control of a corporation from the shareholders?

We cannot permit this kind of destructive infiltration at our co-op, ever again.

We Member-Owner-Shareholders – the grassroots of HWFC – need to keep control of our Board on Sunday, April 17, 2016.


Below are the names of our declared candidates: here are their bios, Q&A Responses and here is a summary of the Meet the Board Candidates Meeting from April 3rd:

Howard Brent
Tim Corrigan
Richard Donnegan
Kate Doyle
Anastasia Onorata
Carolyn Presser
Rebekah Rice
Saul Rigberg

New Depew and Collin Thomas are (late) declared candidates. Ned’s bio is tacked to the Member-Owner bulletin board, at the back of the co-op. I have no information about Collin’s bio.

Let’s not forget that the seven (7) people we elect on Sunday will be joining Nate Horwitz, President, and Daniel Morrissey, who are incumbents and not up for election at this time.

That will be our team!




1. Follow through on the elections we had at our historic emergency  Membership  Meeting on November 30, 2015: we elected Carolyn Presser, Kate Doyle and Nate Horwitz (Nate is not up for election at this time): Re-elect Carolynn and Kate!

2. Nate, Carolynn and Kate chose Saul Rigberg to join their team on the Board: Elect Saul  Rigberg!

Elect the three (3) individuals who are currently on our Board – Carolyn Presser, Kate Doyle and Saul Rigberg – who have served with distinction, honor and integrity under difficult circumstances …and are seated as a result of our emergency Special Membership Meeting on November 30, 2015.

3. Preview the candidates’ bios, their Q&A Responses and the summary of the Meet the Board Candidates Meeting from April 3rd now. Of the seven (7) remaining candidates, select four (4). Make your decision now as to which four (4) additional candidates you will vote for.

4. Attend the Meet the Candidates Forum at St. Sophia’s, prior to the Membership Meeting on  Sunday; it starts at 4:00pm. If you were undecided going into the Forum, come out of it with the names of the seven (7) candidates you wish to vote for firmly decided. Go into our Dessert Potluck at 5:30pm knowing whom you are voting for.

5. Do not support or allow agitators – for any  reason – to disrupt our Membership Meeting on Sunday.

Too many Member-Owners have worked too hard and very co-operatively since October 22, 2015 – to take back our co-op – to allow such a disruption to our democratic process.

Support the candidates who have exhibited good leadership qualities by honoring our nominations’ process and declaring their candidacy well before this Annual Election, and most importantly, understood that Membership needs a chance to get to know the candidates before voting for them.


We – the Member-Owners – are the grassroots! Real grassroots work triumphs over skunkworks, every time, baby!

Do not succumb to any fear you may have – which this group may be deliberately pumping ahead of time; they want you to be afraid, they want you to not show up and vote! Don’t allow their brokering of fear – executed using secrecy, innuendo and whispered intimidation – to stop you from voting! As author Susan Jeffers said: Feel the fear and do it anyway!

That old saying, There’s power in numbers is not meaningless. ~620 of us showed up to address an emergency at our co-op – reigning in an out-of-control Board – and voted to correct the problem on November 30, 2015! Meeting attendance was ~720! Historic, guys! We confronted the secret agendas and fear then …and we triumphed! If you were there you were witness to and part of that incredible, historic, grassroots, food co-op power!

Individuals, families & community standing strong to defend what is ours!

Let’s follow through and do it again.

Your participation on Sunday is CRUCIAL to insuring that we Member-Owners seat a Board which honors democratic principles and which has people on it who have demonstrated – well ahead of this election – that they have the ability to plan, to follow through, to communicate in a public and transparent way, and to work co-operatively with our process, as part of a team.

These are the leadership qualities for which I will cast my votes on Sunday.

And I have no secret ballot to hide: I know I am voting for Carolynn Presser, Kate Doyle and Saul Rigberg …and by so doing, following up on our historic elections of November 30, 2015. In just three – four months, they have proved their ability to lead.

I will decide upon my remaining four votes …way before Sunday.

Please, you do the same.


The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.

John Philpot Curran [7]


[1] See HWFC bylaws, dated April 26, 2015, under Board of Directors, Standing Committees, Nominating Committee, 461 (pp. 16-17):

461 Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee shall be responsible for recommending new Board members to fill openings as they occur and for recommending Board candidates to the Membership. The work of the Nominating Committee shall not preclude the right of any Member to be nominated or self-nominated.

I found no reference to floor nominations being allowed under Membership, Regular Membership Meetings, 342 (pp. 8-9), or Board of Directors, Terms and Elections, 410 (pp. 10-12).

There appears to be ambiguity, in that the reference to nominate or self-nominate occurs only under 461, Board of Directors, Standing Committees, Nominations Committee, not under either 342, Membership, Regular Membership Meetings, or 410, Board of Directors, Terms and Election.

342 and 410 are both silent on the issue of nominations from the floor, self or otherwise, at the HWFC annual Membership Meeting & Board Elections.

[2] I can find no language in our current bylaws, dated April 26, 2015, which address this issue.

[3] If there is a group of HWFC members who are participating in this plan, you need to step forward – NOW – and declare your names and your intentions. Please post below, we Member-Owners want to know who you are.

If you have information about this plan, you need to immediately step forward and alert Membership Meeting planners (Membership Committee:

I will find out the names of the exact right people to contact and update this post, here, with that information.

[4] The four Board members who subsequently quit our Board on 01/05/16, 36 days after censure by Membership at our emergency Special Membership Meeting on 11/30/15 are:

Name             Percentage of voters voting non-confidence & censure

Acting-President Deb Dennis       (67.9%)
Treasurer Leif Hartmark              (65.2%)
Roman Kuchera                             (67.8%)
Rossana Coto-Batres                     (58.4%)

Former President Bill Frye was unseated and Board Secretary John Serio was not re-elected to the Board at our emergency Special Membership Meeting on 11/30/15.

[5] The former HWFC Board of Directors had contracts executed in 2015 with both Corning Place Communications, Albany, NY and CDS Consulting Co-op, Putney, VT.

[6] The Quarterly Financial Report, which our current Treasurer, Kate Doyle, is preparing, will shock all of us. The monies used by the former Board – to undermine and eliminate Member-Owner power – to pay all these attorneys and consultants came directly out of our HWFC savings: the funds you and I, and all the other HWFC Member-Owners, all collectively “own:” the funds which positioned us as a financially-healthy food co-op. Our savings was used against us, in order to eliminate the power & control we legally hold in our co-operative corporation.

Member-Owners, see the Agenda for the April 17, 2016 Membership Meeting and Annual Elections, here. It states: “$500,000 [was spent] to eliminate member labor and strategic planning to design its replacement.

[7] See the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. and Suzy Platt, ed., Respectfully Quoted, p. 200, #1054.


15 thoughts on “GRASSROOTS ACTION Can Stop Skunkworks!

  1. Leslie

    I attended the Q&A on Saturday. Apparently “late declared” candidates are allowed, but their bios don’t have to be available with the others’? I saw Ned’s note scrawled on the board near the exit, and see no bio from Collin. These late candidates show disrespect to the membership with their lackadaisical approach. Neither will get my vote. I will not vote for anyone from the floor, because any serious, competent candidate would have participated in the process, and made themselves available for questions.


  2. Laura

    Nickleson Cooke, who is the Chair of the HWFC Communications Committee, posted this on the “Let’s Talk HWFC” Facebook page:

    “I would like to inform/remind members that plan to attend and vote at the meeting this Sunday: unless a candidate receives at least a plurality(25%) of the vote(i.e. all cast ballots), they CANNOT be elected to the board. Even if you submit a blank ballot, that will still count. Do not feel obligated to vote for seven candidates if you do not fully believe all seven are qualified to be on our board of directors.”

    Nicholson is advocating in favor of diluting the vote on Sunday; a strategy which could leave Board seats vacant, Board members un-elected – when we have have10 solid candidates to select from for only 7 vacancies!


    I am shocked that the Chair of our Communications Committee would advocate such an action.

    Open, honest and transparent communication has been the hallmark of the entire Nominations Process (thank you Nominations Committee Members!) and our Membership Committee is working hard to have a productive meeting Sunday for annual elections (thank you Membership Committee Members!)

    Nicholson, you are the Chair of our Communications Committee: care to comment so that we Member-Owners, your fellow Committee Chairs, and other Committee Members can hear more of your views re. Sunday’s election?


    1. Nickleson Cook


      Before I respond to your accusations, a few clarifications:

      -My name is spelled Nickleson Cook
      -I am the co-chair of the Communications Committee with Chaz Martel
      -I had posted the statement you quoted and am currently responding as a member of Honest Weight, not as a representative of the Communications Committee

      I understand that there has been a lot of concern, contention, and conflict in HWFC over the past six months, which seems to be feeding the rumor mill at an all-time high. It is unfortunate that certain members seem to think that there is some sort of political “sabotage” at work, because as far as I know, there is no substance to any of the claims or accusations you have made. I find it a shame that we, as a cooperative organization, are at such a point where people are quick to suspect and slow to engage in order to clarify details before jumping to conclusions.

      I do not understand how my statement could be considered “advocating” for others to cast a blank ballot. In the past month, I have spoken with several members and mentioned the necessity of a plurality to become elected to the board, only to find they had no idea that was the rule. Because of this apparent ignorance, I decided to make a public post in an attempt to make sure that members understood their voting rights(or, at least, that particular right). Really, the blank ballot sentence was ancillary and, had I known the turbulence it would cause, I would have just omitted it. Regardless, I do not appreciate the tone or content of your comment regarding me, and do not feel it appropriate to make public claims about my character without approaching me first.

      In my time at Honest Weight, I have found that 90%(at least) of all the rumors I have heard were dispelled by approaching someone for clarification. I do wonder about where these rumors started, and if anyone took the effort to approached the alleged perpetrators about their intentions. Perhaps if we all took it upon ourselves to not automatically jump to conclusions and give each other the benefit of the doubt, we could collectively work towards deescalating our organization from being in a constant state of crisis.

      I understand that these are temperamental times for all of us, but we should focus on unity, not division. Giving credence to these rumors will only weaken us and lead to the divisive vitriol that has torn apart so many other organizations in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Laura


        Interesting response!

        You stated my comment was an accusation; certainly no accusation is there but, rather, we need clarification on the FB statement you made. You may not have made the statement as co-chair of our Communications Committee, but the fact is you serve in a leadership role in our co-op. in that position, Member-Owners and fellow employees of yours will be more inclined to listen to and follow what you say, by mere virtue of that leadership role – especially since you co-chair the committee that is dedicated to getting out & receiving info: the Communications Committee.

        On FB you stated: “I would like to inform/remind members that plan to attend and vote at the meeting this Sunday: unless a candidate receives at least a plurality(25%) of the vote(i.e. all cast ballots), they CANNOT be elected to the board. Even if you submit a blank ballot, that will still count. Do not feel obligated to vote for seven candidates if you do not fully believe all seven are qualified to be on our board of directors.”

        It is disingenuous to state that you were merely informing people with “apparent ignorance” about their voting rights when you got out the information about utilizing blank ballots on Sunday.

        Why not just explain what a plurality means and leave it at that? You went one step further and suggested a strategy to *change* plurality. That change could result in Board members not being elected and with Board seats being left empty.

        With 10 candidates available to fill only 7 seats – there is absolutely no reason to recommend NOT voting to fill all seats on the Board.

        If you are unhappy with the 10 candidates, well there was plenty of time for you or others to have added your names to the candidates’ list weeks or months ago.

        It is quite clear to me – who has decades of grassroots advocacy experience – that you were couching, telegraphing an opaque strategy to *alter* plurality at Sunday’s election, to any HWFC voters you can get access to.

        Why make your message opaque? Make it clear, here. What is it that you really want to say about Sunday’s election?

        We really want to know.

        There are many readers here who will thoughtfully listen to you and comment without haste & rancor, but with an attitude of trying to understand your viewpoint.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Young

    In terms of Nickleson’s statement about rumors, I agree that at this point, it is best to consider the talk about nominations from the floor as unsubstantiated rumors that may or may not have some degree of grounding in reality. Does anyone know how they originated or have any evidence that supports the truth, untruth or partial truth of these rumors?


    1. Steve Young

      I also want to say, that I don’t get how a rumor like this would suppress turnout of folks in support of the coop board’s new direction as of January. I think if anything it would increase turnout.

      Furthermore, as best I can determine in order for a nominations from the floor strategy to have any impact on the election’s outcome, it would have to involve some dirty dealing like a secret “get out the vote for supporters or the former board’s actions” plan or a plan for the nominees to be purposely vague, noncommittal or untruthful in their position statements or a secret plan for all of the “old board” supporters to vote for the same 7 out of perhaps 10 or 15 floor nominees in order not to dilute their votes.

      All of these would leave obvious trails and would be subject to varying degrees of rightful and likely effective challenges. Furthermore they are downright dirty and underhanded. The “same 7” plan would involve a large number of people in a conspiracy that would stand little chance of remaining secret.

      This is a significant accusation. My question: Do we really think this is a possibility? Do we have any evidence to support it?


    2. Joan Ross


      Bob and I were shopping at the co-op yesterday, and one of the employees, whom we have known for several years, told us that he/she had been urged to self nominate from the floor at the Sunday meeting.


      1. Steve Young

        OK. There’s some evidence. Is there any more?

        Some further questions:

        1. Is there evidence of a fear campaign out there?
        2.There is a large block of people, as evidenced by the special meeting last winter, who are intending to select among the current slate of candidates who indeed support member control and member labor. How could they be convinced to vote for the self-nominated from the floor candidates? The only possibility I see is a deliberately vague or untrue position statement at the meeting on Sunday. Does anyone see other possibilities?
        3. There are currently (by my understanding) no candidates supporting continuing in the direction of the old board. This leaves those supporting that direction with nobody to vote for. If the rumors are true, this is by design. I don’t understand why a flood of properly registered candidates supporting this position wouldn’t have the same impact as nominations from the floor. And – once again – unless candidates misrepresent themselves, why would anyone supporting member control and member labor vote for this other group? If the majority supports member control, then candidates supporting that position should have the advantage as long as that majority shows up.


  4. Laura


    Thanks for your well thought-out comments and questions.

    Joan is correct that employees at HWFC (who are mostly all also Member-Owners) are being encouraged to self-nominate on Sunday. I have heard the same information from several people.

    In addition, former Board supporters are – allegedly, but told to me by a reliable source – busy meeting and scouring the bylaws to determine if they can put up for nomination on Sunday a Manager (or Managers??) of the HWFC store (I do not know who).

    One can see the possibility – were this allowed on Sunday on the floor – that employees might feel compelled or even coerced into voting for that Manager. Employees (and their voting partners and/or spouses) could represent a sizable voting-bloc.

    Fear for one’s job could be a tool being wielded via…whispered, rumored threats – or out-and-out to-your-face threats.

    We Member-Owners who are NOT employees have no way of knowing.

    I trust in the integrity of a majority of our Member-Owner employees to do the right thing on Sunday …and honor our democratic nominations and voting process, both in spirit and in action with their votes!

    The issue for me remains: legitimate candidates would have joined the process, gotten in their application on time, participated in the Q&A and the Meet the Board Candidate Forums. They would participate as a team player – not snipe from the borders.

    Last minute skunking of our annual Membership Meeting (we ALL know this ALWAYS takes place every April, so not excuse you didn’t know or forgot) off the floor of the meeting, by putting up additional, new candidates, en masse, or putting up a Manager who wields workplace power over employees – is neither co-operative nor in the spirit of democracy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Steve Young

    Well, it seems like a bylaws revision “People employed by the coop in a management position may not serve on the board of directors. Should a director be hired as a manage, that director shall resign from the board of directors.”

    Also, surely there are employees who are willing to talk about what is happening behind the scenes in the store. Who are they? Who is in communication with them?


  6. Leslie

    I said earlier and will reiterate that while nominations from the floor may be allowed, I will not vote for any person nominated in this manner. Those who failed to be a part of the process from the beginning when applications were being accepted (including Ned and Colin) have a blatant disregard for the membership and would not make suitable board members. That being said, it seems to me that there are ulterior motives out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Adam Baldwin

    Laura, the paranoia and fearmongering in your recent posts are quite reminiscent of the post-9/11 Bush administration and your calls for members to turn in fellow members can easily be boiled down to McCarthyism. Your character assassination of Nickleson is despicable and characteristic of something I would see posted on the Vote No Recall website. It’s no wonder why people are losing confidence in the board when post like these go online.


    1. Steve Young

      Hi Adam,

      I read your post above and I must say that I don’t see anything in it other than strongly worded and unsubstantiated claims. My reasoning follows:

      How do you distinguish between paranoia and fear mongering and an urgent call to action? That old statement “I’m not paranoid if they really are out to get me.” has some truth to it. What we need is evidence one way or the other, not an unsupported claim. Are they really out to get us (or at least our control of our coop) or not?

      Please understand that I’m writing all of this with a sense of humor and that I understand that “they” are real people who believe something different from me about the best way to run the coop and that their they aren’t really “out to get us”. To those of us who support a member labor program though, it can certainly feel like that.

      Also, that’s quite a strong statement about McCarthyism. I don’t have time to read back through all of the posts. Can you show me where anyone urged “members to turn in other members”. And just what do you mean by “turn in”?

      Finally, I read back through Laura’s post on Nickleson. She quotes him verbatim, then adds a some interpretation that perhaps goes a bit beyond what his words imply: saying he is “advocating in favor of diluting the vote” when perhaps a more accurate statement is “reminding people they can choose to dilute the vote if they don’t feel candidates are qualified”. Although, it is certainly reasonable to argue that this could be a veiled attempt achieve a goal of diluting the vote. She then asks him to comment more on his perspective.

      One definition of character assassination is ” A vicious personal verbal attack, especially one intended to destroy or damage a public figure’s reputation.” In my judgement, her post is not that at all. Note the word “personal” in the definition as in “so in so is a criminal” or “they sleep with their subordinates at work”, etc.

      Finally, who are the people that are “losing confidence in the board when posts like these go online”? Do you know any personally? What have they told you? On what evidence do you base your statement?

      In my judgement, your post comes closer to the definition of character assassination than her post on Nickleson. Not quite, because it’s not personal, but there are certainly a whole lot more unsubstantiated judgements that I would characterize as strongly worded and bordering on a personal attack.

      You might want to reread it with an open mind and see if you could see why I would say that.



      1. Leslie

        Well done, Steve. I will make one further comment. Adam, you made a statement that people are losing confidence with the board. I completely disagree. As a member for 30 years, I have my share of friends who are members and employees. In my conversations, I am hearing profound RELIEF that this current board is making swift gains with fixing the horrific damages the last board(s) and LT inflicted on the HWFC. If you remember the last vote, then you will recall the high percentage of no-confidence votes for them. Adam, your comments were heavy handed and inaccurate.


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