Rules and Procedures for Tenant Convention as Recommended by Convention Organizing Committee
July 13, 2014
Approval and Changes to the Rules
The assembled convention shall vote on the rules as the first order of business. A majority vote of those present at the convention at the time of voting is needed to approve any rules. Waiving of any rules requires approval of 80% of those present and qualified to vote at the convention.
Reasons: Many people who work or for other reasons can’t be here from 2-3:30p.m. won’t be coming because they won’t be able to vote. It would be unfair to them and divisive to an affordable housing coalition in Berkeley to change the rules because of a hardship imposed on an individual who couldn’t follow our rules. No matter how touching the story (i.e. a long time housing activist who flew in from Tibet to vote at the convention who’s taxi was sideswiped on the way from the airport, or a low income couple of color and either very old or very young who were never told that they had to be here for a specific time), whatever process we follow will be unfair to someone. Therefore we propose that the convention democratically (simple majority of those voting) adopts specific rules and follow them. There should be near consensus (we propose 80%) to waive the rules of the convention once democratically adopted.
Each candidate will have 5 minutes to address the convention. Candidates can use their time however they choose, speak on any topic, speak for themselves and/or be introduced by one or several people. However, the total presentation including introductory and candidate remarks cannot exceed 5 minutes.
Order of Candidates Speaking
The order of candidates speaking will be determined by random drawing in front of the Convention.
Role of Moderators
The role of the Convention Moderators is to run an evenhanded and unbiased candidate selection process. Anyone filing this role may not introduce or otherwise endorse candidates from the convention floor. However, candidates may include the names of Convention Moderators as endorsers in their speeches and literature.
Only Berkeley residents are eligible to vote. All voters will be asked to sign-in and donate at least $10 at the door. Each voter will be issued a numbered ballot at this time. Residents who cannot donate themselves may be sponsored financially by someone donating for them (there will be folks willing to do so in the room) or by agreeing in writing to volunteer for the campaign.
Voting will start at 3:30 pm or after the candidate question and answer period. Only Berkeley residents can vote. All Berkeley residents in the room or in line by 2:00 pm and physically present at the convention between 2 –3:00 pm. can vote. If someone comes after 2 pm they cannot vote. No voting by proxy allowed. Ballots will only be accepted after 3:30 pm or when candidate question and answer period ends.
The system we use to vote and to count ballots is designed to pick a slate with the widest base of support with a single ballot.
a. Voters rank all candidates (highest rank 1) in descending order (without skipping any numbers!) until they have assigned a position to all candidates they have any interest in seeing on the slate. You can only rank each candidate once.
b. Everyone’s votes for their top five candidates are totaled. The candidate with the lowest number of top-five votes is eliminated. Ballots with that candidate among their top five ranked positions have their sixth-ranked candidates allotted that eliminated vote.
c. The candidate with the lowest number of votes after the second-round distribution is then eliminated, and the ballots that included that candidate in their (remaining) top five rankings are redistributed.
d. The process is continued until all but five candidates are eliminated.
e. If the counting is not completed by the time senior center closes, the ballots will be carried to the Grassroots House, to complete the count, accompanied by anyone who wishes.
Commitment to Affordable Housing Slate Chosen by Convention
All candidates will be asked to sign a pledge to not run against or endorse against the slate selected by the Convention. Potential candidates who have turned in their signed pledges to anyone on the organizing committee by (DATE) will have their names printed on the ballot. Potential candidates not on the ballot will be allowed as write-in candidates. Their names will be posted at the front of the room, noting whether or not they have signed the pledge, by the start of the voting. Any candidate that is nominated from the floor and not present at the convention but is selected for the slate must agree to run with and endorse the entire slate within 48 hours. Otherwise the next (last eliminated) candidate will be chosen.
Reasons: We have this convention to choose a slate for a few reasons in addition to raising money and recruiting volunteers. First and foremost, we need to retain a progressive majority on the Rent Board that will defend the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance. Selecting a slate of five and only five candidates with no real tenant opponents allows our base to unite and run a single coordinated campaign. The threat of a landlord-back slate masquerading as pro-tenant was realized last election with big illegal money behind it. We have every reason to believe they will do it again. Even if they don’t, we also don’t want to squander the resources of those of us committed to progressive affordable housing politics by running against each other.
However, the coordinating committee of the convention, not wishing to appear dictatorial, decided to trust the judgment of the convention on whether or not to consider candidates who would not “take the pledge” (firmly commit to not running/endorsing against the slate whether or not selected by the convention). For fairness, candidates whose questionnaire didn’t say they wouldn’t run unless selected were told this, at their screening. The coordinating committee expect most (hopefully all), candidates to sign the pledge.