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wheatsville elections
Jamie Posted at 2006/09/24 3:08pm reply to

Jamie
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Wheatsville elections are going on right now until they receive 400 ballots.  You can vote online or at the store if you're a member.  I know that Simon is running as well as Steven Yarak (a friend of mine and Chris who is also one of the founders of Black Star Pub).  I don't know any of the other candidates, but their bios, goals for the store, etc are all online as well.

Gabriel Posted at 2006/09/24 7:12pm reply to

Gabriel
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Whatever you do, don't vote for the guy who wants to expand the meat section (Bryan Butler).  Also, be sure to vote to boycott products tested on animals.
kaylawayla Posted at 2006/09/24 7:23pm reply to

kaylawayla
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Weird, haha, I've never even noticed the "meat section" before...or any meat at Wheatsville.  I didn't think it was purely vegetarian I guess, but I just don't pay attention to the meat sections...hm.  I miss Rainbow Grocery *tear*

Gabriel Posted at 2006/09/24 7:24pm reply to

Gabriel
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Rainbow Grocery is awesome!!!! I wish we had one here.....I spend lots of money there every time I visit San Francisco...
Ross Posted at 2006/09/24 7:51pm reply to

Ross
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I was actually about to post to let everyone know to vote for simon and crew for the elections.
peter Posted at 2006/09/25 1:35am reply to

peter
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Yeah, I miss it, too. Pricey as hell, but man what a bulk section...

http://www.wheatsville.coop

Go Simon!

>Rainbow Grocery is awesome!!!! I wish we had one here.....I spend lots of money there every time I visit San Francisco...

Jacob Posted at 2006/09/25 11:59am reply to

Jacob
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It was awesome to see Simon on the ballot.  You got my vote man!
Jacob Posted at 2006/09/25 12:12pm reply to

Jacob
Posts: 2479
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PS: notice anyone from VRA in this pic: http://www.wheatsville.coop/staffphoto.htm ? (It's like where's waldo)
Ross Posted at 2006/09/25 1:19pm reply to

Ross
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>PS: notice anyone from VRA in this pic: http://www.wheatsville.coop/staffphoto.htm ? (It's like where's waldo)
>

oh shit! haha...i totally forgot about that.
simon Posted at 2006/09/26 11:34pm reply to

simon
Posts: 335
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Well, it's been a while folks.... but here i am posting again.... to promote myself, no less...

What i initially submitted with my board application (as shown online) is a little out of date on a couple of points. The main one being that I now agree with Steven about nurturing other localized food co-ops rather than opening more wheatsville's. Diversity and all that. The eastside and the south are crying out for such stores. So if any of y'all have funds and ideas, start planning and in the near future, who knows...

Also, Steven, Glen and myself have formed a strategic alliance to shoot for the 3 places available, since everyone can cast 3 votes.

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OUR PLATFORM:

From the WV bylaws - "The purpose of wheatsville Co-op is to create a self-reliant, self-empowering community of people that will grow and promote a transformation of society toward cooperation, justice, and non-exploitation."

"Support community control by providing an informed membership with appropriate methods for exercising and delegating their power. Use this community involvement to provide a stable financial and political base for the co-op."

We strongly believe in these statement, however the Wheatsville board was empowered a few years back to takeover the decision making process at the store and the bylaws have essentially become a historical document.

What this means is that the board members and the general manager are speaking for over 9000 members and determining where our money is spent without asking us. We are against this hierarchy and how it is co-opting the co-op model. We want to put the decision making process back in the hands of the folks who really own wheatsville - it's members - if you'll vote us in.

1. Challenge and facilitate greater MEMBER PARTICIPATION in co-op activities:

a) create an interactive area of the website with forums and member decision making (voting) capabilities
b) create a member email list to regularly inform members of current issues within co-op.
c) hold a monthly "welcome to wheatsville event" - store tour, how the co-op works, membership rights & opportunities.
d) engage the membership in a discussion to amend the bylaws and revise the length and limits of board terms as they see fit.

2. Increase transparency in all aspects of the co-op:

a) publish full current and historical staff payscales on the website and in the breeze.
b) make all board materials available on the website prior to the meeting
c) make extensive use of new technology to document information flow between members and the co-op to avoid confusion or error.

3. Improve conditions for wheatsville Staff

a) amend bylaws to give voting rights to all staff members.
b) offer an option for members to contribute their patronage rebates into a bonus fund for hourly staff

THE VOTING PROCESS:

according to our sources, the election will go until at least 400 votes are gathered, plus an additional couple of days. It typically takes until late December or January until 400 votes are reached.  Last year was an anomaly in that it only took until sometime in November. This year may be too since it is the first year with online voting 9I think). You can vote for up to three non-staff candidates. It typically takes 250-350 votes to win.  

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As for the meat, the reason some of you might not have realized it was there, is because at some point it wasn't. It was voted out of the deli cases by a member vote and later voted back in. Kind of a blip. Your recourse is listed below:

*Article 2.7.1 The presentation of a petition signed by 25 members of the co-op shall force reconsideration of any action by the Board of Directors at the next regularly scheduled membership meeting. The petition shall have the specifics of the Board action to be reconsidered at the top of each page signed by the members.

*Article 2.7.2 The presentation of a petition of 25 members shall add items to the agenda of a regular or special membership meeting. Each petition shall have the specific item to be added to the agenda on the top of each page signed by the members.

*Article 4.2 Any active member may initiate action for consideration by the Board by presentation of a written proposal to the Board for action at a Board meeting.

...I believe you need 400 member signatures to force a full store vote, but you can solicit signatures in front of the store.

If elected I'll see that issues and concerns mentioned in this forum get a fair hearing before the board.

take care





Ross Posted at 2006/09/27 7:22am reply to

Ross
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awesome. thanks for the info, simon.
Steven Posted at 2007/02/01 1:14pm reply to

Steven
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Hi everyone,

I was going through the Black Star Co-op website logs, and saw we got a couple visitors from this page.  I know it's been a while since the Wheatsville elections, but just in case any of you haven't heard yet, all of the at-large incumbents were reelected to the Board of Directors.  It's sad, but we had an uphill battle, and there is always next year.  In the interim, everyone is welcome to attend the Board meetings, and if you are interested in the governance of the co-op, an initiative is underway to rewrite the Wheatsville bylaws.

As for the comments about Bryan Butler and the meat department, Wheatsville was founded as a non-doctrinaire organization in response to the many rigidly doctrinaire buying clubs that existed in Austin in the 70s.  It's non-doctrinaire nature is enshrined in the mission statement, and means the co-op has a responsibility to offer a full range of products to its membership.  There are more than 8,800 members of the co-op, and only a small minority share your worldview (Buddy's Natural Chicken and the sliced deli meats are some of the top selling items in the entire store).

On a more personal note, Bryan is a good guy who learned a trade (butchery) to better his life.  You should not let the fact that you find his trade objectionable color your judgment of his suitability to serve as a Director of the co-op.  I have the utmost confidence in his abilities, and know he will work for the good of Wheatsville.

Also just FYI, the idea to expand the meat department (as part of the general expansion underway at Wheatsville) was not Bryan's, it came from Dan (who is a vegan).

Cooperatively yours,

Steven Yarak
Black Star Co-op
http://www.blackstar.coop
John Posted at 2007/02/01 3:04pm reply to

John
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Hey Steven,
Welcome to the site and thanks for the update. I can't speak for everyone on here but I know there has been a lot of talk among us about the meat at Wheatsville and in particular the expansion of the meat section. It's no secret that most vegans are going to be against such an expansion. Minority or not, as co-op members it's our responsibility to be critical and make recommendations where we see room for improvement. The majority of co-op members apparently have some sense of responsibility when it comes to animal rights, as seen by the policy to not carry any products from companies that test on animals. Why not extend this cruelty-free policy from lab animals to farm animals? Wheatsville obviously sells plenty of meat and while this may be seen as a good thing to some, there are those of us who will always push for a vegan Wheatsville. That said, I don't think anyone here has passed judgement on anyone and I know that several of us VRA folks are regulars at the co-op so we're huge supporters even though they do sell meat.

Take care,
John
Johnny Posted at 2007/02/01 3:20pm reply to

Johnny
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Hello Everyone.

My name is Johnny Livesay, and I am a Director on the board at Wheatsville, and also work as the Deli Counter Manager. Bryan, as our meat buyer offers mostly certified humanely treated animal products with the exclusion of Boarshead (which is a conventional brand). Our deli is currently looking into switching to mostly Applegate Farms which is a good company, with a good product.
Our mission is is to be non-doctrinaire, and be inclusive, which I feel that we accomplish well. So, come get some popcorn tofu, I know you're all a bunch of fiends anyway.

Cheers.

Johnny
Craig? Posted at 2007/02/01 7:01pm reply to

Craig?
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I probably speak for many people on this forum when I say the idea of "butchery" as a respectable trade and disguising the horrors of animal agriculture as "a full range of products" disgusts most of us vegans.  And happy little euphemisms like "humanely treated animal products" make me want to puke.  It's rhetoric like this that makes people feel compassionately fulfilled while buying slaughtered animals for food.

"A good company with a good 'product'"  There's that word again.  It's murder anyway you slice it.  No pun intended.  The fact that either of you would talk about animals as products or commodities makes me realize how much you don't get the concept of veganism.

One last thing.... it makes no sense that a vegan would promote the expansion of a meat department.  That guy needs to have his vegan card pulled.
i'mouttahere Posted at 2007/02/02 12:07pm reply to

i'mouttahere
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Thank you, Craig.
dangillotte Posted at 2007/02/02 1:29pm reply to

dangillotte
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Hi folks. I guess I should check in more frequently! I am the vegan General manager of Wheatsville Food Co-op. I think it's good and right for all of our members to let us know what we get right what we can get better. Without member feedback, we can't know if we're properly serving our members.
I'm sure that you all realize that vegans are a small part of the total populace and we are a LONG way from getting major conversions. In fact, movement leaders like Peter Singer are beginning to adopt the view that our attempt to compel veganism has in fact been a failed strategy. I think the best appraoch to improve the lives of animals today is to do all that we can to improve the conditions that they currently live in as well as continue to advocate for people to move toward eating less and less animal products.
This more moderate approach to supporting "Ethical Ominvores" in making better choices is a more effective approach then demanding that people convert to veganism, I think.
I believe that Wheasville's approach to what we stock fits in with this concept. Any of you who shop at Wheatsville know that we have a great selection for the vegans of Austin and will only expand that in the renovated store. At the same time, many of our members (the majority, in fact) eat meat and other animal products and would like to buy them at their co-op. As their employee, I want to facilitate that. At the same time, we can do all we can to buy products from producers that give their animals a decent life until they are slaughtered.I can see why some vegans or animal rights activists would want me to "turn in my vegan card" but I don't plan to. In my life I am a vegan. At Wheatsville I promote vegan food. Our deli (and the entire store, really) is much more sensitized than many places to vegans partially because I work here. (Southern Fried tofu and other tofu patties, vegan cookies and yummy vegan cake all have sprung from my prodding to provide these items. Oh yeah, and I got our frozen folks to bring in Temptation soy ice cream, too!)I am satisfied with my vegan credentials and what I have done and am doing to improve the lives of animals.
Anyway, I wasn't going to get into it, but I thought that a response from the vegan GM who wants to expand the meat department might be beneficial.
mattabo71 Posted at 2007/02/02 4:30pm reply to

mattabo71
Posts: 446
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hey - I just found this kinda-cheezy sounding quote -which although a little too warm and fuzzy - it seems to fit with the above comments:

"I would not interfere with any creed of yours,
or want to appear that I have all the cures.
There is so much to know... So many things are true...
The way my feet must go may not be best for you.
And so, I give this spark of what is light to me,
to guide you through the dark, but not tell you what to see."

I guess what I'm saying is that there are lots of ways of trying to make things better for animals, and I really appreciate all that Dan has done for vegans at WV (I wouldn't shop there neally as much if it weren't for the influence he's had on the items sold there).
Personally, I couldn't come to terms ethically with doing what Dan is doing -but ultimatly, he is likely having a bigger effect on animals' welfare than I am. (which, I'm sure, is a belief that he shares- and is percisely how he comes to terms with selling meat)

Anyway- I just don't want to see this get ugly...and I want these Wheatsvillians who have shown up here to understand that everyone who is posting here LOVES the store and shops there a lot! One of the most common gripes I hear is that there simply never seems to be popcorn tofu around when you need it! (it's often sold-out before lunch)
Gabriel Posted at 2007/02/03 12:25pm reply to

Gabriel
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Well, to be fair, the truth can sometimes get ugly.  I think sugarcoating it, particularly when it involves the ultimate fate of animals, is counterproductive.  We need to say what we think about this rather than be content with what we are being told.  It's easy to take a business decision and try to justify it after the fact.  It needs to be acknowledged that the reason that Wheatsville is doing this is not to make animals' lives better but rather to improve profits.  To say that the reason that it's being done is specifically to improve the quality of the animals' lives belittles the intelligence of the members of this group.  And I don't believe that free-range and "humane" animal flesh is ultimately going to improve things for animals.  Why?  For several reasons:

1) By certifying flesh foods as humane, people who might otherwise avoid meat are made to feel better about a choice to consume it in the first place. With "vegans" backing it, people feel that they have made an ethical choice.  This is unlikely to lead them down the road of eventually cutting out dead animals from their diet.

2) By making flesh foods available, the desire/taste/addiction that people have for flesh is encouraged.  These people are "enabled" in their meat habit.  They are more likely to eat meat in the future because their craving for it is likely to continue.

3) "Humanely-raised" animal products brings to mind the notion that some slave-owners had in the days of slavery: i.e. "I treat my slaves well."  Abolitionists didn't say, "Let's make conditions for the slaves better since slavery is so prevalent and unlikely to go away."  Instead they worked on changing things to completely eliminate slavery without compromise.  If they hadn't done this, we probably would have had slavery much longer since ethical arguments would have been taken less seriously.  Why should those concerned with the lives of animals do any less?

4) In the end, the animals are killed.  

I don't really care too much what Peter Singer (or anyone else) says if the end result is people eating more meat and feeling good about it.

While I like several things about Wheatsville, their decision to expand the meat section is a real slap in the face to veg*ns and much worse for the animals, regardless of the kind of practices involved prior to the slaughter and butchering of these poor sentient beings.  It may well expand their profits, but it will do so at a cost.  Let's not be fooled by rhetoric into thinking that somehow this is a win for animals.  It's not.
Craig? Posted at 2007/02/03 2:21pm reply to

Craig?
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Amen, Gabriel.  I couldn't agree more.  I can't imagine being vegan in my home life, yet trying to expand a meat department at my job.  I understand he has a job to do, and as GM of a co-op he is in a way a public servant of the members.  I know a lot of people go to Wheatsville for their organic meat, dairy and "free range" eggs.  And I don't necessarily want to come off as "holier than thou", but putting the childish complaints of omnivorous humans over the lives of sentient beings.... well, doesn't seem very vegan to me.  It seems like selling out.

In the end though, I shop at Wheatsville because I have nowhere to shop that's completely cruelty-free.  I mean, I can't get EVERYTHING off of Food Fight's online store.  Wheatsville is very vegan friendly, and I appreciate that.

Mostly though, my original point was to point out that using terms like "a good product" and other such nonsense when referring to meat is pointless on a vegan website.  Save that crap for your obviously core demographic who falls for it.
Ross Posted at 2007/02/03 7:40pm reply to

Ross
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I tend to agree with a lot of what Gabriel and Craig have said. I understand the argument behind pursuing "humanely treated" meats and the sort, but I feel a similar way about that as I do with say, Whole Foods. They market their whole identity as "organic" "local" and their meats as "free-range" or "humane", and I think it really contributes to this cleansed type of mindset that people get just by shopping at Whole Foods. Like somehow just by shopping at Whole Foods they feel that they've done all they need to do to improve the world, even though much of whole foods' inventory is not organic, and is not local, and that indeed animals are still treated as products and slaughtered. Meanwhile, Whole Foods profits intensely from this (i believe false)sense of self-attainment that they give people.

And I see moves like this bringing Wheatsville closer to that level of perceived purity. We all know Wheatsville's been posting great profits the last couple years, so why is it so important to expand in these areas "in order to meet the demands of the members"? If this is just about meeting the wants of all the members, why don't we just drop the whole organic thing and start selling fruit loops? We could get a hell of a lot more members if Wheatsville sold stuff like that. and 100% Angus Beef Cheeseburgers.

(I hope everyone realizes this is all for the aim of discussion and not meant to be taken as cracking on wheatsville)
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