Preliminary results of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association board election

Congrats on a smooth Montavilla Neighborhood Association election everyone.

If you haven’t seen the preliminary results, here they are. Here’s a link to the image if the following is hard to read.

Candidates needed to get more than 50% percent of the vote to be seated. All eleven seats on the board were being filled. Nobody seems to be sure how many votes were cast, but word is the top eight are in for sure.

The candidates chose to leave before the paper ballots were counted,

But that did prevent the new board from appointing roles, so I suppose it will happen at the next meeting. I”m also curious how they will decide who gets one year terms and who gets two year terms. The terms are staggered so there’s not a 100% turnover of the board.

***

Here’s an update via SEUL (updated at 10 am), through MNA election official Robyn Head: “Without preliminary ballots there were 219 votes (majority required 110 votes). When counting preliminary ballots there were 222 votes (majority required 112 votes). SEUL (Southeast Uplift) will be doing a 2nd count on the candidates that were close today.”

So it sounds like everyone from Micah on up is in, giving us seven elected board members. The current board can appoint members to fill open slots.

* Based on a correction from a supportive neighbor, I realized Jonnie had 110 votes without the preliminary, 114 with them. So it seems he’s in either way.

***

There was a brief meeting before the election started, but I thought the candidate speeches (beginning @ 16:00) was the most important part of the night.

I apologize for the poor quality of the video, technical difficulties forced me to use my backup camera. I also cringed a little at some of my laughter, but I’ll ask your pardon, this process has made the last few days kind of tense.

If you have Facebook, on the Montavillla Neighborhood Association group page there’s a live stream video that was saved. It’s far better quality than what I have— it’s amazing what you can do with the computer in your pocket.

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the election run smoothly, and a personal thanks for everyone who have helped me keep up with the process. I’m still committed to continue to keep up with the board’s progress— as well as spotlight all the other hard-working organizations and businesses in the neighborhood.

Enjoy:

I must say it was a pretty smooth and enjoyable evening. I met many people for the first time that I felt like I already knew based on online conversations. People from both sides (I hope we can get real about the split) said that meeting opponents in person was an important and humanizing experience.

Beyond the great turnout and in depth debates; beyond the results; I think there’s been a lot of mutual understanding found.

***

I reached out to a few long-term Montavilla neighborhood organizer to give them an opportunity to give some advice or words of wisdom to the new MNA board members.

Inspired by this epic response from Nick Christensen following the Lents Neighborhood Association election, I reached out to a few of Montavillla’s long-serving advocates.

The responses from everyone reinforced the point: people never stop caring about where they’ve served, and people really appreciate sharing the fruits of their experience.

***

Former board member Ben Kerensa offered this to the new members:

“My advice to newly elected board members as a former Board Chair, Vice Chair, Public Safety Chair, and At-Large Member is to put members’ issues before your own vision and platform. Neighborhood associations are not intended to be about personal platform or politics but acting as an advocate of the membership and representing their views. Be a good steward to your members and your organization and build community.”

“I’d encourage newly elected board members to reach out to the many former board members in our community to glean some institutional knowledge from those who have years of experience. Congratulations to those elected and I hope neighbors will remain engaged as things calm down and hopefully the association returns to a productive and mellow state.”

***

Over three years ago, Molli Taylor started a Facebook page called Montavilla Neighborhood Community. There was conflict over what the MNA page should be, and rules were established that controlled how many times a month members could make a personal post.

“… so we offered up our group as a space to just sort of ‘chat’. The original concept was a “virtual town square” where neighbors happened to meet up. We didn’t impose restrictions on personal posts or spirited debates, so long as people could ‘play nice and avoid hate speech’.”

Taylor has moved out of the neighborhood, and is currently looking for someone else to take over the page, but she said it’d be alright to share parts of our IM conversations where she discussed neighborhood association conflicts.

She made a good point about the nature of neighborhood associations, and that they were meant for bigger issues than other organizations.

She complained that people get condemned and rejected for one opinion or belief, but their experience and voice still matters. Someone who has served the neighborhood for 30 years and someone who has training with homeless shouldn’t be condemned because of a separate opinion.

Taylor has spent a lot of time refereeing arguments, and wants to get more involved in Kenton, her new neighborhood. Her work and influence will definitely be missed.

***

I think it’s fair to give Jennifer Andrada Tamayo, the longest serving MNA board member, the last word. When I asked, she had some good advice for new board members:

“Serve with the intent of serving the interests of everyone in the neighborhood.”

“Put your personal motivations and beliefs aside. Listen with your mind, ears, and heart.”

“Seek out those who have helped to build MNA— they often have much insight that is helpful.”

“There is more to Montavilla than homes and people— there are schools, churches, businesses, and other organizations worth of MNA attention.”

“Avoid tunnel vision and communicate at all times, even if it’s difficult.”

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