The Davis Food Co-op Election runs from the mailing date on April 30, 2014 to the last day to vote, June 6, 2014. Anyone who is a member in good standing on June 6, 2014 is eligible to cast a ballot. Voting instructions, a link to a ballot, and other information is available at the Co-op Elections web page.
There has been a major change, subsequent to the results being accepted. One of the directors-elect was ineligible to serve at the beginning of his term.
FINAL RESULTS, accepted by Board of Directors on 6/19/14:
8,526 shareholders were in good standing on 6/6/14, the last day of the election. As of 6/17, 953 ballots have been counted from eligible voters.
Elected to three-year terms as Directors: Karen Rich Firestein, 475 votes; Steve Reynolds, 378 votes; L. Edward Clemens, 361 votes; Elected to a two-year term as Director: Ben Pearl, 339 votes. Elected to one-year terms as Alternate Directors: First Sandra F. Schickele, 329 votes; Second Ken Bradford, 299 votes
Also running:Terrence Lott, 284 votes; Edward Diggs, 231 votes; Vincent P. Ortiz, 228 votes; Ruben F. Arevalo, 193 votes; Michael (Mike) Simpson, 134 votes.
If you change your mind about the candidates after voting, you can change your vote using the ballots and envelopes available in the store. Write the date on the front of your envelope and that the ballot enclosed supersedes your previous vote. Your new envelope must be signed and sealed, and your name should be legibly printed.
Voters are selecting candidates in 2014 to fill three seats on the Board with three-year term, and one seat with a two-year term (created by resignation). You can vote for up to four candidates. The top three vote-getters in the election will be seated to fill three-year terms as Directors, the fourth will fill the two-year term, and the fifth- and sixth-placed candidates will be seated as first and second Alternate Directors. Alternates serve for one year and vote at Board meetings when a Director is absent. Alternates are appointed to fill out a term if a Director resigns or is incapable of serving.
Any members who declare candidacy (using the form approved by the Board and available in the store or on-line) and receive votes can be elected as write-in candidates, either as Directors or Alternates. Candidates are invited to speak at our Annual Meeting; tickets are free to members and available through this link.
Voters will not be choosing whether or not to amend our Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation; no initiative petition that qualified under our Bylaws was submitted, nor did the Board vote to place amendments on the ballot. Campaign policies are available on a web page.
Candidates are presented here in the order in which they filed Declarations of Candidacy. The order they're presented on the ballot was established by random drawing on 4/11/14. To jump to candidate statements (as presented in the ballot), click on the candidate's name in the box to the right.
Questions to candidates are posted below and organized by theme. These questions were intended to give voters more insight into candidates' views of the co-op. Participation here is voluntary. Thanks to those who have responded and to those of you who have regularly come to board meetings since declaring candidacy (Vincent P. Ortiz, Ben Pearl, Edward Diggs, and Sandra Flanagan Schickele).
Questions for Board Candidates
Davis Food Co-op Board Candidates,
Thank you for running for the Food Co-op board! I am delighted to see so many capable candidates in the election this year, and I appreciate your willingness to contribute volunteer time to the governance of our co-op.
I am a former board member, and I have also been on staff for nine years. I am not representing staff in the questions I have posted. These are questions from me, though I would like to share your responses with other members/staff (if that's okay), or (even better!) I would appreciate it if you could respond on the Davis Wiki.
Thank you, April Kamen
Food Co-op Ends
Which of the Food Co-op's Ends are you currently most passionate about? Why? Which of the Ends do you think we're fulfilling the best and where do you see the most room for improvement?
Ben Pearl: I am most excited about our new end focusing on "a satisfied and motivated staff," which the Board has added to address recent gaps in store management. As a 'thriving, cooperatively owned grocery store' we do a great job...we need to make sure that our workers are thriving as well!
Vincent P. Ortiz: The ends that I have always been the most passionate about are having a satisfied and motivated staff and a thriving cooperatively-owned business. I firmly believe that those two things, more than anything else go hand in hand. Throughout my years on staff here at the DFC and at other occupations I’ve been able to recognize when poor staff treatment and lack of motivation and acknowledgment has deterred a company or a department from achieving its goals. I believe that the DFC has and continues to succeed at providing the community with healthy, locally grown, sustainable products while at the same time educating customers on why such things are important. We need to harness the power of team-building and education in order to create a solid foundation for a thriving business. We also need to make sure that we are doing anything and everything possible to acknowledge and encourage them to be leaders not just at the DFC, but in whatever endeavors they choose to undertake. A successful business is so because of the people that run it and their commitment to the ideas behind it.
Edward Diggs: I am most passionate about treatment of workers at the co-op. Since I am a staff member of the co-op, I am ready to connect the board with employees. I think we have room for improvement on all six ends. Particularly, I think we need to work on the fourth end (an improved environment and a more sustainable food system). We shouldn't sell any products that pose high social and environmental costs.
L. Edward Clemens: I am most passionate about the newly adopted End, “a satisfied, motivated staff.” For the past two years, I have been a member of the Treatment of Staff Task Force, focused on developing policies and monitoring systems in order to provide direction and assurance that we accomplish this End. I believe that a fulfillment of this newly adopted End is a key ingredient to achieving a “thriving co-operatively owned business.” Unfortunately, I think the latter is the End that has the most room for improvement. As a Director, I will continue to work on revising the treatment of staff policies as an essential step toward having a “thriving co-operatively owned business” that sustainably supports a community of member/owners with an equitable distribution of resources.
Steve Reynolds: I am most passionate about the first end; a thriving cooperatively owned business. However, the ends all work together. It is difficult to pull them apart, each informs the others. I would say that I am more interested in our cooperative structure than the fact that we sell natural and organic foods. High quality food is important but what really sets us apart is our status as a cooperative.
Karen Rich Firestein: The Davis Food Co-op Ends Policy are policy statements that are written to reflect the strategic direction of the cooperative in its decision making process. As policy they can be rewritten as the long term goals of the cooperative change over time. These ends reflect the mission of the cooperative. The one end statement that is of primary importance is that it is a cooperatively owned business.
Cooperative principles include: voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, members' economic participation, autonomy, education, cooperation, and community. Cooperative principles are elaborated on here. Where do you see the DFC most in alignment with cooperative principles? Where can we improve?
Edward Diggs: We have a transparent democracy at the co-op. We allow members to easily propose initiatives. Candidates can easily run and campaign for office. Voters have easy access to a ballot box. These all might sound like basic accomplishments, but I have put a lot of energy into learning about co-ops and most of the cooperative institutions I have investigated have been deeply flawed democracies. I think we need to teach employees more about what co-ops are.
Vincent P. Ortiz: The DFC, I believe has been successful at maintaining alignment with most of the cooperative principles. In recent times however, the question has been raised about whether or not democratic member control really means anything to our store leadership. I desperately want to believe that the DFC leadership only wishes to provide an organization that is ‘by the people and for the people’, and I have every reason to believe that this is still the case. Although I have seen many questionable decisions being made in recent months, I am still holding out hope that the company can succeed in the right hands so long as we make firm commitments to our principles and to our community. Education and democratic member control need to be a main focus moving forward.
Ben Pearl: I think we do a fine job at the Davis Food Co-op of voluntary and open membership, autonomy, education, and community. Where we could use improvement, in my opinion, is in more democratic member control (via participatory committees, and more regular surveys of what our owner/members want). Also, I think we can do better in terms of 'walking the walk' on cooperation - both in terms of cooperating with our owner/membership, and in building a more cooperative & communicative workplace for our employees.
Steve Reynolds: I think that we do a pretty good job of aligning ourselves with the cooperative principles. I want us to go a bit further with member's economic participation; I support a member capital initiative that would allow for more direct investment by members. I would like to see patronage dividends on the long term agenda.
Karen Rich Firestein: The Davis Food Cooperative is in alignment with all the principles. As a cooperative specialist for more than 25 years these principles, I have seen these principles applied to all types of cooperatives. They were written by the international community of cooperatives. The most important principles are the first three, as that is what truly defines a cooperative and makes it different from other types of businesses. I would like to see more education about cooperatives to the staff, members, and community. Cooperatives should be celebrated all year. Join the California Center for Cooperatives as they educate the community at large during Co-op Day at the Capital on June 25th.
L. Edward Clemens: The Rochdale Cooperative Principles were formulated by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers. The key concept here is embodied in the word Equitable. Democratic membership, education, economic participation, autonomy, cooperation among co-ops and a focus on community are means to achieving the desired outcome of an equitable distribution of wealth, health, and happiness in a sustainable community. I think the DFC does a very good job of educating shoppers about the products it sells and of supporting cooperative suppliers, local producers and community organizations. We could do a much better job of informing our members and the greater community about the many and varied contributions the DFC makes to the well-being of our community, particularly the efforts and impact the co-op has on promoting equity. I believe that, if more people realized the depth and breadth of ways the Co-op contributes in its caring for our community, more people would be compelled to join, thereby increasing the practice of cooperative principles.
One of the most important tasks for directors is to remain linked to members whose interests they represent. How do we facilitate participation of members with varying levels of commitment, time, and experience? What methods of member linkage would you like to explore?
L. Edward Clemens: Keeping in touch with members is an essential task for each director. My approach to this is to recruit members to participate in task forces – we have some on-going TFs and others that are formed for specific assignments. In addition I’d like to explore having directors personally contact both new members in order to insure that they feel welcome in the co-op community and to clarify any questions they might have, as well as members who have withdrawn their membership in order to learn why they have withdrawn and listen to any issues they may be compelled to share. Directors can also meet fellow members by attending various events at the co-op, e.g. Monday and Thursday BBQ evenings or Friday wine or beer tastings are times when members are available for a quick chat with a director. I see it as a responsibility of each director to meet members when and where it’s convenient for the member. In the next year or so the BOD will recommend changes in the by-laws. Any revisions will require a 2/3s majority vote. A significant effort on the part of the BOD will be needed to educate members about why changes to the by-laws are deemed necessary and the impacts of those changes. The Vine, Facebook, and other media can be employed to convey informative messages and elicit feedback. In addition, member meetings can be effective in enlisting support for the revisions.
Karen Rich Firestein: Directors are members of the cooperative but when they serve on the board they represent the entire membership and what is best for the long term interest of the cooperative. They should not represent just their own interests or interests of a select group of members. It is always difficult to engage all members of a cooperative. That is why cooperative education is so important. This is a continuing issue for all cooperatives and much can be learned from other cooperatives.
Vincent P. Ortiz: Right now the DFC is at a point where it can capitalize on a gaining interest in sustainable living and the natural/organic food revolution. As generation X and Y continue to get older, we are beginning to see an increase in the amount of people that are making healthier dietary decisions. People are becoming more aware of the benefits of locally grown food products as well as the ways in which cooperative organizations function. It only makes sense that the DFC take this information and utilize our huge member-base to spread the word about the history of our company and all that it stands for. I would love to explore idea of more active UCD outreach and partnership, seeing as how there are so many students living in the community at any given time. Providing a program or event that allows coop members to speak with the huge community of students about the benefits of the DFC can help us to get a grassroots movement going. Current members are like invaluable walking testimonials for the coop, especially when they are current deans for a major university! I would also love for the coop to have a bigger presence on the web through social media and creative online advertising. This may mean creating more partnerships with local businesses and possibly seeking out more creative ways to cooperatively sponsor businesses that may share common principles.
Edward Diggs: I would like to reach out more directly to the community if I am elected to the board. I would give my number out to all community members and I would go out to the community so that I could hear their concerns.
Ben Pearl: As a former employee, recent director, and an engaged owner/member, I spend a great deal of time discussing our Co-op and informing my own opinion through the views of fellow members and employees. The Board's current mechanism for linkage is a formalized Member Linkage committee...I would like to see the Board expand this effort to better incorporate linkage and input into all committees, publish that input for our owners to see & engage with, and formally (and transparently) incorporate that input into its annual strategic planning process.
Steve Reynolds: [No response.]
What stakeholder groups do you see in our DFC community? How might the DFC connect with them in order to better achieve our Ends?
Karen Rich Firestein: Members are always the primary stakeholders in the cooperative. In order for the cooperative to continue as a successful business, they must make policy based on the needs of the members. The board then hires a manager to ensure the ends are met. The manager is the conduit between the board and the employees to ensure they are carrying out the ends policies.
Ben Pearl: DFC stakeholders include (primarily) our owner/members and our workers, and (secondarily) our shoppers, growers, producers, and business partners and institutions in the local community. Our marketing department in responsible for reaching out to shoppers and potential shoppers in our community (students, families, seniors, etc.)...I think that the Board, working closely with our GM, Marketing and Membership departments, can augment this effort by better enfranchising member/owners to participate in store governance, developing a more cooperative workplace, crafting community partnerships, and building solidarity in the local cooperative food movement.
Steve Reynolds: Our stakeholders are our member-owners, our employees, our vendors, our non-member shoppers, and the greater Davis/Yolo/Solano community. I think that member-owners and employees get most of the Board's attention and that is as it should be. I think that we can do a better job of reaching out to the greater Davis/Yolo/Solano community as a voice on food issues; both food quality and food security.
Edward Diggs: We should see college students, employees, and producers as being very different from our average stakeholders. I support having directors elected directly from these subgroups. After all, it is hard for every individual board member to represent so many divergent interests.
L. Edward Clemens: I think of the Davis Food Co-op as having a broad range of stakeholders that includes member-owners, non-member consumer customers, the Co-op staff, the producers and vendors who supply products for our store and the broader community of residents who benefit from the economic engine, leadership model and donor sponsorships and partnerships that the DFC provides. These are the individuals, institutions and organizations whose lives are impacted by the successes and challenges of the Co-op. Because the BOD functions via policy, directors can recruit stakeholders to serve on the BOD and task forces to insure the inclusion of diverse voices in order that influence over policies that help the co-op achieve its Ends is applied equitably.
Vincent P. Ortiz: We seem to have several types of stakeholders/members/customers at the DFC. There are those that have been members for decades, and those that find the culture and principles unique and beneficial to the community. And then there are also those who choose to shop at the DFC because of our selection of products. Its those members that are value-oriented shoppers that we seem to be having a hard time attracting. Its been noted that we are definitely competitive over a variety of different product groups and I feel like its important for us to really make that known to our stakeholders, even if they fall under one of the categories above. Price perception is something that should be a major focus at every level of the coop because when you have a competitive edge and great values, it only makes sense to make it known. Its obvious that most if not all college-aged students in the community will fall under that value-oriented shopper category and we should do our best to reach out to them.
I think that a well-balanced board has members with diverse interests in the governance process. Some directors are especially interested in law and lead bylaws revision task forces, some are most interested in financial matters, some are interested in food policy, and some are passionate about member linkage, etc. What aspects of board work interest you most? Where might you provide leadership?
Steve Reynolds: One of the things I like about our Board is the diversity. We have retired seniors, graduate students and everyone in between. My experience is on the legal/financial side and I think I will continue to contribute more on that end of things.
L. Edward Clemens: If elected to the board I will continue my work on the Treatment of Staff TF. The B2 policy that focuses on this issue will recruit staff input. I believe that, for the DFC to prosper, a satisfied, motivated staff is essential. I am committed to making sure this happens. I also want to work on the TF to be charged with revising the bylaws. Changes are needed in order to provide equitable support to our members in greatest need, as well as a revision of our bylaws regulating accounting procedures in order to increase efficiency and transparency and to more easily achieve profitability.
Karen Rich Firestein: My strength is in board policy and governance but I am willing to work in other areas as needed.
Vincent P. Ortiz: One of the things that has interested me a lot about the board is its ability to monitor staff treatment and satisfaction on certain levels. My main interest right now is making sure that all policies are being strictly adhered to and that the staff is being given the tools they need to succeed. Ive seen no better example of this concern than at some of the largest companies in the world - Google, Facebook, Apple. Each one of them seeks to provide an environment that consists of cooperation and collaboration at all levels with minimal bureaucracy and open discussion. It is important to understand the link between staff satisfaction and productivity and I feel that so much can be learned from observing the models that these companies use to manage their staff. As a current staff member that has worked up from the lowest possible levels, I can provide so much insight as to what is most important for employees in the way of policy effectiveness and necessity, as well as which policies may hinder or promote a positive work environment.
Edward Diggs: I am very interested in being involved in all those tasks. I envision numerous bylaws changes (which I don't need to be on the board to pursue). I want to be involved in food policy and membership linkage. Most off all I would like to be involved in increasing efficiency and in improving employee- management relations.
Ben Pearl: I am a skilled networker, excited to provide leadership for the Board in better linking with owner/members (I've been a several-time member of the DFC Member Linkage Task Force), working with employees to improve cooperation within our store (I helped initiate the DFC Treatment of Staff Task Force in 2012), and crafting community partnerships that build solidarity and highlight our cooperative advantage in the local marketplace.
It seems that many people run for the board of directors when there are certain issues that they feel strongly about. There are many perspectives/interests to consider in an organization as large as ours and matters are often more complex than they appear at first. What guidelines would you have for yourself (and other directors) for advocacy around issues you feel strongly about?
Edward Diggs: All board members need to remember that they are part of a nine-member-body and that no one board member should dictate policy (majority rule). We also shouldn't attack each other after we don't get our way (vindictiveness). I have been on lots of boards where members were very inappropriate in how they treated each other. I haven't ever seen this at the Davis Food Co-op, but if I am elected I will do my best to be civil, reasonable, and honest.
Vincent P. Ortiz: I will do my utmost to uphold my obligations as a board director by making sure that I keep board and work responsibilities separate at all times. I understand that the board does not make decisions with regards to operations and how they are carried out. I will always seek to provide any and all information I can that may help facilitate a beneficial discussion or debate. But I am keenly aware that this will require me to keep in mind which hat I’m wearing. At times being on the board will require absolute discretion with regards to certain private matters and I will be sure to always clarify which, if any information is safe for discussion outside of official board events/meetings. If ever in doubt, I will lean on the combined experience of other long-time board directors for guidance and clarity on various matters.
Steve Reynolds: I am running to help provide continuity to a Board that is losing several long term directors. I think that the Board does best when it is aware of the history of issues before it. (This is not an argument for doing things as they have been done before, sometimes being aware of the history is a strong argument for change.) I think that passion for any particular issue should be tempered by the interests of all of the stakeholders. I want the Coop to serve all of the members. For example I think that we should sell soda. I don't buy it, I think we should provide education about it, but I think that our members should be able to decide for themselves. How much shelf space we give soda should be a function of sales balanced against our desire to be a general grocery store where a shopper can do "one stop" shopping.
Ben Pearl: My chief strategy for guiding advocacy is to remind advocates (be they owner/members, employees, or board-members) of the appropriate pathway for their concern. At the DFC we have a good framework (via Policy Governance) to channel advocacy within our organization: if it is a basic operational concern then it is appropriately channeled through the suggestion box; if it's an individual employee issue, we have an HR pathway for grievances & concerns; if it's a concern that warrants addressing at a policy-level, then the Board can write/amend current policy to reflect that concern...or take steps to get better information relating to that concern, by being attentive in monitoring the policy that pertains to it.
Karen Rich Firestein: This is an interesting question you pose. When a person serves on the board they represent the members of the cooperative and are responsible for setting policy and ends for the short term and long term success of the cooperative. To run for the board for a personal agenda is not in the best interests of the cooperative.
L. Edward Clemens: What immediately comes to mind is that any issue I would be compelled to advocate for would need to pass the following tests: Does it align with the DFC Ends? Is it aligned with the Cooperative Principles? Does it have broad member support? Is it equitable? Is it financially feasible?
General Manager search/orientation
You are choosing to run for the board during a transitional time and decisions made by this board could greatly impact the future of the DFC. This board will be tasked with selecting (possibly, depending on the timing) and orienting a new General Manager. What do you value most in a leader?
Ben Pearl: It is currently unclear (in public minutes, at least) whether the new GM hire will fall to the incoming Board of directors; in any case, the new board will be tasked with developing a foundational relationship with our new GM. I expect our new GM to have competence and experience in running a business the size of the DFC. What I hope to encourage in a new General Manager is clear and competent leadership and communication - as a champion for our store in the local community, as an effective and inspiring leader to all levels of our 100+ member staff, and as a partner in democratic governance with our Board & owner/membership.
Vincent P. Ortiz: I certainly hope that whoever the new General Manager is, that they be fully qualified and experienced in the retail industry. A love for sustainability and community outreach would be huge pluses. Its also very important that they understand the need for a Triple Bottom Line accounting framework. The social, environmental and financial dimensions of accounting are extremely important to a company like the DFC. We need a general manager that can utilize this concept while at the same time, understanding the need for constant improvement and development. The DFC has so much opportunity to grow, and cooperatives all over the world have continued to thrive over the long term because of the nature of how our business works. I think an effective GM will see us through to another successful 40 years of operation.
Edward Diggs: Our last general manager served for 14 years and left us inefficient. I am not going to be afraid to quickly fire any general manager who doesn't make our store efficient.
L. Edward Clemens: What I’m looking for in a GM for the DFC is a person who communicates openly, honestly and with ease from a depth of knowledge, a commitment to and demonstrated success in operating a grocery store. Ideally the person will have experience working in a co-op and practicing the Cooperative Principles. If not, they should provide assurance that they will become familiar with and implement the Cooperative Principles in the operations of the DFC. I want to see a history of success in supervising, inspiring and promoting staff. Having a great sense of humor that reflects joy taken from working with others would be a genuine plus as we move into this new era.
Steve Reynolds: What I look for in a General Manager is a strong background in grocery management as well as a vision for where the organization can grow. I really want two things of a general manager. First a mastery of the ten thousand ever changing details that go into running our store. Second a global strategic vision for the organization as a whole; long term and medium term. I am looking for someone who is equally comfortable at the grass roots and thirty thousand feet. We also need someone who the various stake holders can feel confident in.
Karen Rich Firestein: A good general manager can be the one critical area for success of a cooperative or for any business. The general manager operates under the guidance of the board. I would look for a manager who would be a liaison between the staff and board. A manager's goal should be to create a positive and healthy work environment for staff at the same time they are looking at the financial success of the cooperative. It is important for the board to evaluate the manager on a regular basis to make sure they are carrying out all assigned duties.
Karen Rich Firestein
When I walk into the Davis Food Cooperative, I take pride in knowing that I am an owner of such a beautiful store. I am a strong supporter of cooperatives because cooperatives are locally-owned and controlled businesses.
I have been a member since 1995 and I am now able to commit the time and hours to serve on the board. If elected, I look forward to working with other board members to govern a successful and dynamic food cooperative and finding solutions to lead the cooperative into the future.
My first memories of cooperatives began as a young child when I shopped at the local co-op grocery store with my grandmother who lived in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx. I did not understand the importance of cooperatives at the time but I learned to recognize the twin pines as a grocery store that offered all the food necessary to make a delicious meal.
When I was a young mother in Maine, I was a founding member of a child-care cooperative and was a member of a buying club that purchased bulk and organic foods. I returned to school and earned a Bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley and my Masters at UC Davis in Agricultural Economics. This was the start of my career as a cooperative specialist at USDA.
I have conducted research and written articles and reports about cooperatives. I have provided technical assistance to new and existing cooperatives. I was instrumental in forming Big Trees Organic Farms, an organic almond cooperative. One fun activity with the Davis Food Cooperative is celebrating co-op month each October by staffing the USDA booth at the Davis Farmers Market.
My board experience includes currently serving on the California Small Farm Conference Board, previously serving on Oxfam America: California Advisory Board and past co-president of Congregation Bet Haverim.
My areas of interest are long term strategies for success and raising awareness in the community of the role cooperatives play in our day to day lives and the importance of this type of ownership in keeping our local economy strong.
Michael (Mike) Simpson
Over the past 14 years I had the great honor to serve our Co-op as the HR Director. During that time I have learned much about Co-ops and the communities that they build. I have previously worked in the public and private sectors, and found that no other organization offers opportunities to support the ideas that I believe in: People, Community, and Democracy. I would like to continue my service to our Co-op as a Board member. I would appreciate your support and your vote.
I respectfully ask for your vote. I work at our co-op. I understand our store’s business practices and I meet many of our customers. What I love most about our institution is that you understand that we are more than a store; we are a community. As an employee of the co-op I have lots of experience with the operations of the store. I know not just the theory of how a grocery store works, but also how that theory translates to the realities of how our institution functions. My practical experience is why I believe electing me would provide a unique and vital perspective to the board.
As a member of the board I would aim to continue to bring together each aspect of our community; the customers, the employees, and the food providers. We know that this co-op exemplifies the heart of Davis. This is where we connect and build friendships. This is where we offer Davisites work experience.
I will work to develop innovative programs to further involve all of our members at the co-op. I see the benefits of some of our current efforts first hand, while working along side many amazing super workers. And I have appreciated how our super worker program has enabled my younger brother to gain work experience through volunteering at our store.
I am committed to the goal of providing Davis with healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly food. You have a right to know where your food comes from, how it is grown, and how it is processed.
I am very blessed to be part of the co-op community as a worker, a volunteer, and a shopper. I hope that you will allow me to serve on the Board of Directors. Thank you.
Sandra Flanagan Schickele
Food is everywhere. But fresh, local, and organic food is sometimes hard to come by. When our family moved to Davis 11 years ago, I was pleased to find this gem of a store that gave me access to food with these qualities. I came to appreciate over the years that the Co-op allows me to concentrate on shopping and cooking because a team of dedicated staff and board members worry about the other details. Those people must sometimes be replenished. Managers take care of staffing, but members must take on the responsibility of ensuring that the Co-op is meeting its Ends (goals) and involving members in that process.
I shop at the Co-op regularly. My two children and myself have been Superworkers. I am currently a member of the Member Linkage Task Force. This involvement has allowed me a peek into the work of the board, and I am impressed with their dedication to the Co-op’s mission and the amount of time and energy they give to making it work. I want to do my part to keep the Co-op sound and consider it a privilege that members can participate in this way.
Before becoming a full-time parent, I worked in public relations for a number of corporate entities. Since deciding to focus my time on family and community, I have served on PTA boards at several schools and on the governing board of my local religious community, the Baha’i Faith. My work in business and on various volunteer boards has helped me recognize that how decisions are made is often more important than the actual decisions. I am pleased that the Co-op board works under a set of guidelines that ensure that every member contributes, that decisions are made collectively and that diversity of opinion is valued. The commitment to these guidelines, and to the mission statement and governance policies is the reason, in my opinion, our Co-op has not only survived but thrived. I want to keep this culture strong and help make decisions that will safeguard the long-term health of this important Davis organization.
I am running for the Davis Food Coop Board of Directors after previously serving as a Director for two consecutive terms. I have been off the Board for a year in keeping with our bylaws, and I continue to serve on the Coop Audit Task Force. I am running to provide Board continuity during a time of transition. I have served as President and Vice President of the Board of Directors. While President, I helped guide the Coop through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions controversy. With the hiring of a new General Manager, the next few years will be full of challenges and opportunities for the Coop.
I will be immediately effective as a Board member. I am familiar with the Board’s procedures, Policy Governance and understand the history of many past Board and management decisions. I have lived in Davis for twenty years and attended law school at UC Davis for three years prior to that. (King Hall 1990.) I have practiced law in Davis for over ten years; I represent debtors and creditors in bankruptcy court. As a small business owner, I understand many of the challenges that face the Coop. I am an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis and the Davis Aquatic Masters. I am the proud parent of graduates of both Davis High School and Da Vinci High School. I also have a second grader at North Davis Elementary. All of these experiences help me to understand the various parts of the greater Davis community and how our store can serve them.
I want the Coop to build on our success and serve our community for another 42 years. I want the Coop to provide good food at a good value to members while providing good jobs for our employees. If I have an agenda, it is to work toward a member capital structure that reduces the amount of interest paid to outsiders while providing investment opportunities for members. We have a great store; I want to see it get even better. Please vote for me in the coming election.
L. Edward Clemens
Hello fellow co-op members. I have been a member of the Davis Food Co-op for 10 years and elected to the Board of Directors as a first alternate for the past two. I have served as the Board Treasurer 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. In addition, I have been active on three Co-op Board Task Forces.
• As a member of the Treatment of Staff Task Force 2012-2014, we recommended that the Board contract with Cooperative Development Services (CDS) to conduct a staff survey and an HR audit. The staff survey was conducted in the fall of 2013 and the HR audit was undertaken in March of 2014. In response to the results of the staff survey, this TF developed a new “End” reflecting the high value the DFC community places on the role that the staff plays in creating a successful community institution. This “End” specifies having “a satisfied, motivated staff.” This TF continues to meet to define policies and criteria monitored by the Board assuring the fulfillment of this “End.” I am deeply committed to the work of this task force.
• As a member of the Education TF 2013-2014, our focus has been on researching and envisioning ways to insure that the DFC continues to be an ethical, equitable and powerful economic engine having a sustainable, positive impact on our community.
• My tenure on the Audit TF 2013-14 has centered around monitoring the financial aspects of our co-op, insuring that we implement standard accounting practices and satisfy legal obligations of those practices.
I am running for a Director’s position recognizing that, in addition to being a powerful agent of community-building, a co-operative is a business model that has a responsibility to its community to be profitable. A key factor in having a profitable food co-op is being an exemplary employer.
If elected, I will continue to work to revise the by-laws and polcies so that we can more efficiently achieve profitability with a fully engaged staff that provides our members, shoppers and community with service that is healthy in all of its aspects.
After a year away from Davis, I’m excited to return and run again for the Food Co-op board of directors. It has clearly been a difficult year for our cooperative, and the board’s choices in the coming year will profoundly affect the future of our store. In the coming months, our board has an opportunity to take a hard look at the DFC’s direction, mission and values. We need to select and train a competent, visionary new general manager who is able to balance a triple bottom line. We need to assess our commitment toward organic, local, and GMO-free products. We need to better support and empower our staff, who have worked hard in the face of new grocery competition. Finally, I think we need to improve transparency to become a more inclusive, participatory cooperative, and to capitalize on the incredible strengths of our 10,000+ household membership. I believe that all of these goals are within the reach of our cooperative, and together I look forward to creating an even more thriving, vibrant community center at the intersection of 6th and G.
My family came to Davis when I was 8 years old. After experimenting with schooling, ranching, smithing, aiding, handyman-ing and taxi-driving, in 1989 I bought and still own NEWSBEAT — a small retail store in Davis. Like many small business owners I work 7 days a week. I have faced aggressive competition from corporate stores, insufficient resources, continuous restructuring of our product mix and other challenges requiring tough choices. We’re still here because of our long-term commitment, necessary sacrifices and — especially of the support of many loyal customers.
We are friends with our staff, vendors, neighbors and many of our customers.We provide health insurance for our qualified staff (for over 20 years.) We understand the function newsstands provide to communities around the world. We work hard to provide Davis with one to be proud of. Customers from all walks of life are met with courtesy and respect. I believe that the Co-op champions these values too.
I believe that local business’ are an integral and defining part of their community. Co-op business’ are a stamp of independence and resourcefulness in the face of ever-expanding control of our economies and finances by a handful of large corporations. The Davis Food Co-op serves this community well and deserves to be a part of its future. I’ve been a member for 20 years. My participation has declined but my interest hasn’t slackened.
I’m past president of DMHA, a non-profit affordable housing provider. I sang with the Sacramento Opera chorus for 10 years — definitely a non-profit. This opportunity to sing gave me a very gratifying experience of working long and hard with a group to achieve glorious results. The many specialized skills and talents required by opera give testament to the importance of diverse stakeholders and participants. I know the importance of having a solid Board of Directors to provide cohesion to such groups. The Board needs to provide long-term planning and fiscal responsibility while addressing the interests of current and prospective members. I would contribute earnestly and attentively.
Please support my bid to join the Board.
Hello, fellow Co-op owners. I ’ve been asked to volunteer for the Co-op Board – and believe I can help. These are tough times for the Co-op and I hope my perspective can help us face the challenges together. Having been a member of the Davis Food Co-op since 1976, I cut & wrapped my share of cheeses back in the day. And I helped design the “new” CoOp store at 5th & L in 1978 – so I start with some “institutional memory.”
Of course I believe in eating healthy – not just healthy for myself, family & friends, but healthy for the community and healthy for the planet. Making fresh, local, organic foods accessible to everyone in this community will continue to require the co-operation of numerous people & institutions from educators to food banks, from stores to school gardens… and from farmers markets to our beloved Co-op.
I’ve spent most of my career as an employee, manager or owner of small, locally-owned healthy-living businesses. Some were successful, some were not – and I’ve learned from both. Success takes more than noble ideals and hard work, it requires a pragmatic understanding of every phase of small-business operations – and cooperation. I’m best known for creating a Davis business focused on sustainable local human-powered transportation - where I’ve had practical experience forging win-win partnerships with cycling clubs, advocacy groups, government agencies, vendors, ‘competitors’ and industry organizations — including a nationwide cooperative of bike shops, where I’ve held advisory and leadership positions.
I currently serve on the boards of the Yolo Transportation Management Agency, Davis Bike Park Alliance, National Bicycle Dealers Association and GSIF Asia Foundation. I hope to bring a fresh and practical perspective to the many business challenges currently facing our Co-Op; this will require high ideals, clear focus, smart decisions and strong partnerships with groups inside and outside our community.
Ruben F. Arevalo
I moved to Davis to attend UC Davis and 20 years later I am still here. During that time I have come to love the Co-op as more than just a market. The Co-op is also a progressive, social conscious, educational institution that is the heart of the Davis community. I am happy to have invested shares over this time to help the Co-op grow and compete against its commercial rivals.
Many of you have met me over the years because of my evolvement in environmental issues, social issues, city politics, alternative transportation, land use and transportation causes. I have offered fair and accountable leadership, a knowledge of public policy, government regulations, business practices, and management based on realistic budget projections. I am currently employed as a contractor by a green car sharing organization and by the University of California as a unionized computer specialist. In the past I have managed at a high volume medium sized big box retailer, technical & sales organizations, sold electric cars, and even briefly managed the Radioshack next to the Co-op as a temporary assignment.
It is my goal to help strengthen the Co-op by increasing membership, providing transparent governance, good labor relations, and guidance on best business practices. Together we can make sure the Co-op avoids the fate of other Co-op markets that have closed. I will work cooperatively with my fellow board members and listen to the membership to make sure we are meeting the needs of our community. Moreover, I want to offer effective oversight to help the Co-op remain an institution at the center of Davis for the next 20 years.
I ask co-op members to vote for me.
Vincent P. Ortiz
Over the past 10 years of visiting and now living in Davis, I have come to recognize the Davis Food Coop and the Board as being important to our core community. Things that have affected the Co-op seem to reverberate throughout the city and that has been evident in these past 6 months. I have grown to love the city of Davis and feel very interested in becoming involved with the community in a meaningful way. As a current staff member I will be able to leverage my experience with member and staff interaction in order to affect policy. It will also give me the opportunity to directly communicate with fellow Board members on policy issues that are important to my fellow community members.
I have often referred to myself as “blue-collar to the bone”. I grew up in a working-class household and from the age of 16 have seldom longed for the warm embrace of a helping hand. I was always taught that hard work is well, just that. It takes persistence and creativity for things to become easier and more interesting. I am also an artist and musician. I currently attend a part-time visual effects program through the Academy of Art University Online. Through this program and a previous A.S. program in Animation, I have come to develop an understanding of how the structure of project pipelines can have a huge effect on deadlines and quality. Using this knowledge I am trying every day to bring some semblance of structure and methodology to both my department and the store.
Throughout my life I’ve had the opportunity to work at many different companies from lumber yards to real estate offices and even other retail businesses. I am very proud to be able to work for a company that seeks to reward its employees for bringing on an attitude of working hard and smart. I love the fact the Davis Food Coop has always fostered a belief that through communication and teamwork, everyday people can do amazing things. I love my job!