Meeting 2012-07-31

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You can give another member your proxy to vote at the meeting. The proxy won't be valid for the election, only votes on the lease and any other matters that come up. Each member present can vote the proxies of at most two other members. The chair of the meeting may require you to raise 3 hands if you want to vote for yourself and you have two proxies. A limited number of prostheses will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Streaming audio (TBD):

Consent Agenda

(Feel free to add an item here as a summary and best solution of a more extensively discussed/described proposed agenda item).

  1. Authorize the Board to sign the lease by August 31st.
  2. Amend the bylaws to provide for filling a vacancy on the Board per agenda item (2.2) below.
  3. If (2) passes, vote for any member of the Board as President. If (2) fails, vote for Crystal or Justin as President and new Board member.
  4. (moving renovation discussion (2.4) to New Business since no actionable plans yet materialized.)

Proposed Agenda Items

(Feel free to modify at will.)

Authorize the Board to sign the lease at 137 W 14th St Studio E

  • Brief description of the terms of the lease
    • File:1st Lease Amendment Hack Manhattan 137 W 14th Street.DOC; compared to the last version circulated, the percentages have changed and there is one technical change to the tax increases
    • Rent is $1,500 per month;
    • Utility is based on square footage, 15.5% of 2nd+3rd floor utilities when fully occupied, utilities will be about $100/month at current levels
    • Annual rent increase is 2.5%. Escalations for property taxes and operating expenses are 7.3%.
    • Lease term is 7 years starting retroactively on July 6th
    • For the first 6 months, we can cancel with one month's notice; for the rest of the lease term, we can cancel with 3 months notice
    • For the first 5 years of the lease, we have a right of first offer for space that becomes available on the 2nd floor
    • We can make non-structural alterations worth less than $25,000.
    • User:Guan will make a statement about Studio D with some suggestions from Kenny and Carlo
    • I agreed to 2.5% rent increases to get the escalations down and in light of the other concessions we got; it's a relatively small amount of extra rent, $7.5 extra in 2013 going up to $50 more per month in 2019 --Guan 17:31, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Update: the board does not have a consensus. Xo 14:55, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
    • The Board recommends signing the lease, provided that the utility percentage is changed from 40% to 15.5%. (--Xo)
  • Options:
    • Authorize the Board to sign the lease
      • Since the only delay was the rewrite by Kenny's lawyers, I would like to see the lease ready for signing on 7/31 (rmd)
        • And if it is not ready by then...? (Jeff)
          • If it's not ready by the meeting, I'd prefer to give the board permission to sign till Aug 31, our next business meeting, by which time, if it is not already signed, we can again weigh our options. (-Peter)
    • Don't sign the lease, move out immediately
      • Where do we put our things?
      • We'll have about 4 hours to move.
        • I think it would be only fair to request that we be given an extension to move equal to the delay caused by getting the lease late. The deadline we requested at the last meeting is well past--Crystal
        • Kenny would not be the one asking us to move out in 4 hours, it would be our own action symbolic action, or because we feel unsafe here --Guan 17:31, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
      • We need a plan for what to do if we never move out of storage and recover. HM corporate funds can't be returned to members, but could be donated to Alpha One Labs, or kept around just in case. --Guan 17:31, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Don't sign the lease, rent month-to-month
      • Pro: signing a long term lease when our intention may be to move very soon is shady business practice, and disingenuous, which we would like to rise above as an org.
        • The terms of the lease explicitly allow us to exercise this option, and
        • as a member of HackManhattan, the landlord has visibility to our decision making on this.
          • Perhaps this is an argument for accepting Kenny's offer to give up his membership. His facilitation of HM as landlord is generous, but the current relationship generates some conflicts of interest. And we can still keep him informed. --Crystal
            • I personally think Kenny can be both landlord and member without conflict. He can influence the organization as a member, even (speaking hypothetically) selfishly, and we have democratic procedures in place to iron out all of our individual competing interests. --Xo
        • We can also do it in a fair way, for example by giving more than one month's notice and taking reasonable steps to help find a new tenant --Guan 16:03, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
      • Con: we can sign the lease and then exercise our option to terminate it with one month notice when we are ready.
        • The subset of this seems at odd with the header, would we sign the lease in this case or not? Additionally, this just kicks the can down the road until December when we have to have this discussion all over again (Jeff)
          • The subsections address relevant arguments pro or con. (--Xo)

Amendment of the bylaws to provide for filling a vacancy on the Board

  • If a vacancy or vacancies should occur on the Board, the membership will elect replacement Board members who shall serve, along with the remaining members of the Board, until the next regular election.
  • If any of the replaced Board member held the office of President, the membership will elect a new President from among the newly constituted Board.
    • No explicit nomination process is required; the nominees are the Board members.
  • If any of the replaced Board members held another office, or if the election of a new President vacates another office, the Board will reassign the vacant offices to other members of the Board as they see fit.
  • This amendment is retroactive, in that it will apply to any vacancies on the Board at the time it is adopted.
  • FWIW: My rationale is that under the present circumstances, the current bylaws require us to elect a new President directly. This makes the new Board member the President, thus placing the Presidency in the hands of the least experienced Board member. This does not sound great, as a general principle. (Peter.)
  • FWIW II: From the Bylaws it's not like the President is answering the red phone from the Kremlin. It's more of a social coordination and external liaison than anything else. Given our loose structure as it has been, I'm not sure that the Presidency (or even the board) is anything more than a requirement for tax exempt status. The board certainly hasn't been any kind of bully pulpit to force things through and the votes are all entirely equal. If anything, the board has been only encouraging of everyone to get educated about votes. I trust the general membership to elect the person right for the job, not the person who's been around the longest on the board. (Jeff)
    • Jeff... is that a Pro or a Con? (-Peter.) Though I think the Amendment is more sensible than the present system, if there's not a broad Consent, I would rather withdraw it than debate it. If the Kremlin calls in the meantime, we can put them on hold and raise the issue again.
      • Peter, amendments will always be debated :) We're a HackerSpace. If you withdraw your amendments just because they're going to be debated, then, well, I don't know. That's silly. (-Rendall)
    • More of a "Presidential duties don't really require years of experience being on the board of Hack Manhattan." I'm not willing to wade in as to whether this is a pro or a con.  :) (Jeff)
    • Pro: Currently, it's difficult for board members to shift their position if needed: the board member is nominated, if elected there is a sudden vacancy, blah blah. Peter's amendment solves that simply and elegantly.
  • Do we really need this now? We have a lot on our plate and we'll need to have all new elections in December or January anyway. I think we will be able to agree on a good President who can serve until then. --Guan 15:42, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
    • I'm sure we can and will, because all of the nominee is awesome and will end up President anyway! But why not now? There is a lot on our plate, but it's a simple amendment that makes things simpler down the road. And if we stick to the SRC3, we won't have endless debate about it. --Xo 15:07, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
    • I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to review everything that has been proposed here. However I did mention the notice requirements for amending the bylaws or certificate of incorporation. The meeting must have been called with 30 days notice and the notice must include a specific proposal to amend the bylaws (but the proposal can be amended at the meeting or presumably before). We can ignore the notice requirement and just go ahead with this, or formally adopt the change at the next meeting but implement it now by informally agreeing on a sequence of elections and resignations to achieve the same effect as this proposal. --Guan 21:29, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Election of President and/or new Board member. Nominations:

(two really strong candidates! Justin and Crystal, would you mind writing a few words? --rmd):

Crystal Butler

I'd be happy to accept. My main goals for HM as president would be to expand both our membership and the space, and to continue to be involved with events that integrate community outreach and/or general good times.

There was some discussion last night (7/24) regarding the possibility of either putting a hold on the adjacent space at 137 or negotiating some fixed-term, reduced rent on the extra room in exchange for clearly delimited renovations, which would be specified in writing. If the majority of members want to stay at 137, I'm in favor of this plan. If we decide to move, it can be implemented by relocating to a larger space. Some benefits:

  • more usefully laid out central area for a large table for meetings, workshops, or to work on bigger projects
  • room to permanently put together the Bats board until (ifwhen) we come up with a new display idea
  • space to install a laser cutter and Ron's lathe if we're all ok with that

I'd like to begin holding paid workshops at HM to generate additional revenue and possibly offer up as an incentive for people to join (i.e., free/discounted workshops with membership). Any interested member could organize a workshop; those not into it can continue to just do their own things. It might also be possible to rent part of the space to non-members interested in putting on workshops who don't have space of their own, perhaps on weekends when we're not usually too busy anyway. There are several models we could look at for inspiration -- NYC Resistor, Harvestworks, 3rd Ward, and GenSpace. I think it would also be beneficial to fix things up a bit and create more organization so that we all have an enjoyable environment and room to work. Too blatantly steal Justin's idea of member cubbies, I think it would be great to have a shelf, locker, or some kind of storage space for each paying member to stash away projects or supplies when not in use. And of course we can have community storage as well. And spankings for those who don't clean up after themselves :-) Maybe we can 3D print a paddle!

For those of you who might not know, I ran a small clothing company with a partner in Los Angeles for over 10 years before moving here, so while I'm newish to Hack Manhattan I've got some practice at organizing stuff and dealing with administrative details. Other general CV info includes more fashion & retail work prior to having my business. Last August I started going to NYU. I'm doing a custom undergrad in what amounts to a Human-Computer Interaction program (psych/computers/media design) and plan to start on grad work next year. I joined HM to learn some electronics and coding so I can start making wearable tech and other interactive devices.

Other possible long-term goals:

  • expand the NYPL partnership, or seek new public, academic, or start-up partners
  • research potential grants HM may be eligible for
  • invite guest speakers or demonstrators for special events

Anyone have questions of me, feel free to publicly or privately message. Also, if I am president, can we 3D print a tiara with embedded LEDs for me to wear at meetings? Ok, I might want that regardless...

Justin Levinson

Most of you know pretty well who I am, so I'm not going to rattle off a resume. And that's all about me, anyway, and that isn't particularly interesting. I'm just going to write a couple of thoughts about what we're doing and why I think it's so important, and then the chips can fall where they may. Regardless of elections, I'm going to be pushing for the things I'm going to talk about. I'm not going anywhere, there's no 'wrong' vote, and I'm not taking anything personally. Cool? Cool. Here goes.

To me, hackerspaces are about being a kid again.

Since you're here and reading this wiki, you were probably curious at a young age. Maybe you set things on fire with a magnifying glass, maybe you refused to build what was on the front of your LEGO box, maybe you spent hours in your favorite non-fiction section of the library, pulling books off high shelves and sitting on the floor poring over them. It's even possible that you were called a 'nerd' at some point, painful as that may be to remember.

Then came school assignments and coursework. Standardized testing. You probably got to color outside the lines a little after school, and college gave you some room to experiment, but there was always a class grade on the horizon and some notion of a 'right' answer. An idea of a set path started to form - a major, maybe an internship, and then a career.

And you could have been luckier than I was, but there's a good chance you also got sucked into a crappy job. I mean, sure, it built character, but there's not much engaging about Excel sheets or ever-changing client specifications and impossible deadlines. For a lot of people, 'Creativity' somehow became this weird, nebulous thing that the art department did, and it sure wasn't part of your job. You stopped having the time or energy to pick up a book on some weird, out-there skill, and you damn sure didn't go out and poke things with sticks just to see what would happen. You had a hobby or three, but picking up a new one became difficult. Classes at the community college or the local 3rd Ward equivalent were about the only option you had, and they were expensive and it still felt like there was a 'right' way to do things and you still had no access to the tools to work on your own stuff unless you bought them and crammed them into your shoebox apartment.

And then the hackerspace came along. Suddenly, you have a whole bunch of people working on all kinds of stuff. Photography, beer brewing, 1960s Russian numeric incandescent lightbulbs, electric clothing, and making plastic gadgets from a file on a computer. And there's absolute and total freedom, just like when you were a kid. Who cares if the plants don't make it through the summer? Sure, we'll print that weird 3D object you sculpted on your phone. Nobody's going to yell at you if your stepper motor catches fire or fail you if your beer comes out badly. And you know what? It's even better than being a kid, because you have a little bit of disposable income to do whatever the hell you want. There's a room full of people who will high-five you and say "what if you did X, too?"

Now, the narrative two paragraphs up may not describe you perfectly - but I'll put money down that there are a lot of people who fit the story to a T. That's why a space like this is so important in a community. It's a chance to get peoples' fires going again. Those people who say "That sounds awesome", or "Can I do X?", or "I had this thing I used to do...". And even the ones who freak out a little when we tell them 'Work on whatever you want!'

And it isn't just adults - I'm sure the people who sat at the Westport Maker Faire remember the kid who came up and said "'s OK to be smart here?". Yup. It is. And I remember a teenager, probably 15 or 16, coming up to me with his dad at one of our events. He was clearly interested, but his dad kept talking over him and for him about robotics. And when I turned to the kid and said 'So, what are you interested in? What are you working on?', it became real clear that nobody had ever asked him that before. He'd been sucked into the same standardized testing education vortex that drains the life out of everyone and makes 'nerdy' a dirty word. And here's this nutty 30-year-old dude standing in front of a table full of gadgets and lockpicks and chunks of plastic treating him like a real live adult and it blew his mind a little. That's a damn shame.

That’s why this space is so important. We’re the hackerspace Gotham needs, and the one it deserves.

There’s some nuts and bolts to keeping the space running. Workshops are going to be super important to getting people into the space and getting some cashflow. I really like Dave’s idea of pay-what-you-wish, possibly altered if there are consumables being used in the workshop - we don’t want to turn people away if they can’t afford it, but we also need to be clear that we need to keep the lights on. It’s also a way for members to share what they’re interested in and passionate about.

Partnerships are also big - I’ve been talking with Fixers Collective, who are doing great work and have a lot of overlap. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be helping out with a FIRST team (and that may even get us some money, currently investigating). Lots of other potentials.

So there you have it. Way too long, but I never shut up about this place in real life - why change that on the internet?

Keep hacking, -Justin

David Reeves (declined)

(I've removed Dave's name for the reason described -Peter. )

(Added him back. Please see below. -Xo)

(Much appreciate the nomination, but I decline as I think there we already have two better candidates for this particular position. Plus I think I heard somewhere that Presidents have to be natural born here, and I am not willing to publish my birth certificate :P). -Dave)

  • Dave is already on the Board.
  • If the amendment to vote for a new Board member and president separately passes, then Dave, along with the other board members, is already a nominee for the Presidential election.
  • On the other hand, if that amendment fails, Dave is ineligible, since in that case we have to vote for new President who is not now on the Board.
  • PRO: My interpretation is that if the amendment does not pass and then Dave is voted in as President, we have an immediate At-Large vacancy. The By-laws do not specify that the At Large cannot run for office, only that s/he cannot hold another office simultaneously. Thoughts? --Xo 12:25, 28 July 2012 (UTC).
  • If Dave is even possibly eligible for President (I.e. amendment passes or above is valid), this is his opportunity to tell us what HackManhattan! can expect under his administration. Or to decline.
  • He can't simultaneously serve, so he might be able to be elected, then immediately resign as director-at-large, then serve as president. The question is whether he is eligible to be elected in the first place. The bylaws say "Ballots that include a vote for a candidate who is withdrawn because he or she was previously elected at the same meeting for another office or directorship, or [other reasons] are invalid and not counted." Since Dave would not have been previously elected at the same meeting, his votes could be counted. We could all have a vote on whether this is what the bylaws mean, which is an interpretation of the bylaws that doesn't require a formal amendment. --Guan 14:59, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Jeff McCrum (Declined)

  • (I humbly withdraw my name from nomination -Jeff) - [ pres or board or both? ] Both. My concern is mainly that I do not have the time to devote to HM's board.

If we agree to stay, discuss renovation plans

  • Get agreement for layout of the space, and impose a deadline (and budget -Jeff) for getting it set up.
    • To that end, The following is a suggested start.
  • Assumption in the past has been that we will have to expand again within a year
  • This might or might not be in the same building
  • If we do plan to expand, it probably does not make sense to go too crazy with improvements and renovations right now
    • Primary goal is to make the space usable and attractive with minimal effort
  • More recently, I've heard the thought expressed that we should make ourselves maximally comfortable in the current space and not plan to expand until/unless we need to.
  • Though I wrote the following list of starting items with expansion in mind, I think it also works if we do not assume expansion plans:
    • Patch and paint the floors and walls in the main and mill room
    • Keep the area from the South end of the blackboard to the window easily reconfigurable -- no permanent items
      • Doesn't the window look north? Isn't that the 'north' end? Not being pedantic, just trying to be clear. (-Xo)
      • Depends whether you're looking in or out. ;-) What I mean (and I think I said) is that the area from the doorway end of the blackboard to the window -- including the entire width of the blackboard -- should be kept easily configurable.
        • Ah, alles klar. --Xo
    • Keep the mill room as a "dirty" area
    • Keep the main area adjacent to the mill room as a "clean" area, with initial use for sewing machines/tables
    • Figure out an inexpensive way to provide storage, including storage for members
    • Figure out a way to provide storage for bicycles
    • Discuss loft configurations.

Meeting Minutes

Review of Last Meeting's Minutes

The Consent Agenda

No items made it through the Consensus Agenda.

Lease discussion pulled out by David Reeves. Election procedure Amendment pulled out by Guan Yang.

Board Member Reports

President's report

Treasurer's report

  • Financial report
    • Report on financial implications of proposed lease
  • Affiliate programs
  • Report on Studio D
    • Kenny has offered to hold Studio D for us, find a short-term tenant or work on some other solution to make it available for us when we can afford it
    • Theaterlab has proposed a solution for Studio D

Secretary's report

Director-At-Large's report

  • Report on HOPE 9
  • Request for coordination and action for completion of Brainbats Kickstarter rewards, due this fall
  • Promotion of Apollo Computer event on Aug 18th. Linkedlist etc facebook, cs/tech/astronomy lists

Member Reports

Robert Diamond

  • I've reserved Studio B upstairs from 11-7 Saturday, 6 October for a blowout Arduino class - I need to call Carlo and change the reservation
    • Limit of 20 people, arranged in 5 tables of 4 each - each table will have a soldering iron, meter, and assorted tools to be shared (which are retained by the classroom)
    • Plan is to provide everyone with a kit consisting of an Arduino, breadboard, two motors, two wheels, an SN754410 motor controller, some switches, pots, phototransistors, LEDs, and resistor kit for a lab fee of $45, or waive the kit fee and bring your own parts (you keep the kit)
    • Fee of $100 for the class itself
    • Room rental will be $140, so $7 of the class fee goes to facilities
    • Would like a video projector and camera for demos
    • Hack Manhattan members will get a discount code to bring the class fee down to $10

This is not (yet) an official Hack Manhattan event, but is intended as a beta test for potential Hack Manhattan classes and workshops. --Guan 15:38, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Crystal Butler

  • I've been discussing revenue sharing with NeuroSky for any links to their web site that route through Hack Manhattan and result in sales. The agreement can be found here.
  • I'd like to formally propose doing a weekly or monthly newsletter for HM subscribers who want to get event notifications, news, and calendar info rather than or in addition to the general chatter on our mailing list. Not necessarily to be written by me, but something that will allow us to send out announcements wrapped in a designed format.

Old Business

New Business

Consent Agenda 2.1 re: lease. Pulled from Consensus Agenda by David Reeves.

Passed by majority: we are signing the lease!

2.2 pulled by Guan

This amendment did not pass.

2.3 by default

Crystal wins Presidency by 8:4.

2.4 by default

By majority vote, we authorized expenditure of up to $400 for painting, spackling and filling cracks in the floor. Similarly, we authorized reimbursement of Justin Levinson for $169, which is included in the $400 expenditure. We'll solicit donations from the membership to offset these costs.

Potential Members

We had a potential member visit named {sorry, please fill this in}. He will certainly have 2 sponsors by next meeting!

Roll Call

Those in attendance:

  • Robert Mark Diamond
  • Ronald Koder
  • David Reeves
  • Guan Yang
  • Rendall Koski
  • Crystal Butler
  • Justin Levinson
  • Stephen Lynch
  • Steven Kreuzer
  • Ananda Das
  • Jeff McCrum
  • Peter Shenkin


Adjourned at 9:28

Minutes (from Google Doc)

Business Meeting July 31 2012

Roll Call


Guan Stephen David Crystal Robert Ronald Peter Steven Justin Jeff Ananda Proxies

Jonathan → Jeff Minutes

Last Meeting’s Minutes

Consent Agenda

All items were pulled out of the consent agenda. Reports




Director At Large

Old Business

New Business


Amendment of Bylaws Election

Member Reports


Guan: We’ve never operated strictly according to our rules before. Does the consent agenda come before or after reports?

OMW - rmd

David indicates he wants the lease discussed on today’s agenda Rendell - discussion leader David - speaks for moving ASAP, stay month-to-month Stephen - points out that the option to go at any time is there Guan - thinks rent should be similar other places Peter - wants a concrete example of possible improvements Robert - 4 digit cost for moving plus breakage/downtime David - problems with space have prevented emotional/physical investment in the space Guan - hasn’t seen problems in the last month of lease negotiations Stephen - Theaterlab and Bunga’s Den have survived in the space for almost a decade; we have expansion options, better than not having them Peter - lack of investment due to lack of lease Justin - wants better protocol for space discovery Justin/Guan - month to month in the case we want to leave has been discussed Rendell - points out that more space is immediately available in current building Dave moves to postpone vote Guan gives financial statement - with 3.5K deposit we will have 3 months operating expenses, longer if we borrow against member deposit Peter - we don’t know what the space options are. May not be better available Crystal - either agree to stay for 6 months and work hard on making the space attractive or go full speed on looking for new space Rendell tables discussion until later

Secretary’s report (Rendell):

     Q&A recent events 

- synopsis of recent presidential resignation. Includes threats of lawsuit and revealing bad information. (Guan - organizational bylaws indemnify board members) - Kenny has dropped to non-voting, non-paying status - (Peter - Daniel attempting to bully us out of the space) - (Jeff - queries whether ‘dark past’ info is worrisome - Guan - not really)

	Tabled for next week

Director at Large report (David) - HOPE conference - much HM interest. Segway rides. - Request for coordination for Kickstarter rewards - warning! time expiring.

Robert Diamond - reserved studio B Sat October 6th from 11am to 7pm for Arduino class - $100 for class + $45 lab fee 5 tables of 4 people each.

Lease vote - 8 for signing lease, 3 for going month to month, 0 for moving immediately

Vote by secret ballot..............................

Crystal 8 Justin 4

Member report - Stephen took a tig-welding class at Madagascar w/ Kenny. Was good.