Saturday, 13 March 2010

Fast Forward Part 2

The last instalment of this "Fast Forward" through CDS history took us up to the Representative Assembly (RA) elections of January 2009. The election results were announced on 18 January, and the first RA meeting of the new term was held on 1 February 2009.

(Remember that the RA minutes through to October 4th, 2009 can all be found on the CDS forum, in the section called Representative Assembly Announcements.)

Representative Assembly of 1 February 2009

The first order of business at this meeting was to swear in the newly-elected RA members. The meeting opened with Symo Kurka in the chair as Leader of the Representative Assembly (LRA), since he was the leader of the party that received the Highest Borda score in the elections. The new RA members present swore in: Soro Dagostino, Sonja Strom, Justice Soothsayer, Pip Torok and Symo Kurka. Then Cindy Ecksol officially resigned her seat on the Scientific Council before swearing in as the additional representative named for the Simplicity Party. Symo Kurka gave the traditional LRA opening speech, and there was a round of applause.

Symo stated that the Scientific Council had proposed two new members for RA approval: Aliasi Stonebender and Delia Lake. However, the RA members wanted to hear the candidates explain their intentions, and the candidates were absent, so the item was deferred. Nominations for Chancellor were taken. Jamie Palisades was nominated, and presented his views on CDS in a long question-and-answer session, after which as sole candidate he was elected by official vote of the RA. By that time Delia had come back on line, and after making a short statement of intentions, she was approved as member of the Scientific Council.

Symo Kurka then, in a new approach, invited faction members to give their point of view on the term's priorities. Gwyneth Llewelyn (who had arrived late) readily started detailing hers until someone observed that she had not yet sworn in as RA member, so she was sworn in. Sonja Strom spoke about her own priorities, and then the discussion rambled, several members observing that each faction had also set out its views in its official platform. Symo then realized that Jamie had to be sworn in as Chancellor, so that was taken care of. The remaining unfinished business was postponed until the next meeting.

Representative Assembly of 8 February 2009

The agenda began with a discussion of whether CDS should open new sims, a decision which would require collecting data about the Second Life economy in general and the CDS economy in particular, such as vacancy rates and how long it takes for a newly vacant parcel to sell. A rational statistical system should be set up, and as a first step suggestions of data types could be posted to a forum thread.

The next item was nomination of the Deputy LRA: Cindy Ecksol was nominated and approved. The Chancellor's monthly report was postponed to the next meeting, since Jamie had to leave. There followed discussion of a draft bill to adopt the General Master Plan, which had been proposed on the forums (and heavily commented upon there). There was disagreement about whether GMP provides only guidelines, or has the force of a law. Sonja observed that GMP is produced by the New Guild which is a Non-Governmental Organisation, and there seems no need for RA to limit itself to New Guild recommendations. The RA could make other sim planning decisions on a simple majority. Symo felt that GMP should be binding on the RA. The issue was bounced back to a commission formed of Gwyneth Llewelyn and Cindy Ecksol, who would review the laws in place and perhaps prepare a new draft bill.

The agenda item called "Cooperation with other communities" in fact concerned the possible merger with Al Andalus. Justice Soothsayer noted that Jamie had said such a merger would work like a native sim addition, to which Jamie added that the RA must approve maps, land acquisitions and covenants. A motion was made for Jamie as Chancellor [and as member of both communities] to present a proposal regarding the merger within 30 days, and it passed.

The final agenda item was about CDS economic development. Justice mentioned that there was the skeleton of a Chamber of Commerce but that no one had moved forward to form one with an RA-approved charter. Patroklus Murakami, who had long ago started the CDS Traders Association, replied that an RA-sponsored Chamber of Commerce felt too corporatist. Justice added that there had also been a Commerce Commission at one point. Patroklus suggested that it might be good for CDS to have Commerce Minister, so Symo asked him to open a forum thread on this subject. The meeting was adjourned.

Representative Assembly of 15 February 2009

Symo opened the meeting with a short presentation on the Monthly Economic Observatory, a new system for monitoring the economy of SL and of CDS. Symo showed 4 slides. CDS Treasurer Sudane Erato was on hand to explain the figures. Sudane recognized that getting data on the number of parcels for sale was difficult. Another interesting number is traffic, in the sense of unique visitors each month. Sonja questioned the sustainability of such data collection if were not automatic. There was nothing to vote on, so discussion moved on to Justice's proposal concerning Rules of Procedure for the RA meetings. Building on a list originally prepared by Jamie Palisades, Justice had posted a summary of the RA rules, and he suggested adoption of his "reconciled" version. There was disagreement about restrictions such as the meeting being limited to 2 hours or each specific item being limited to 10 minutes, although it was argued that these were just "guidelines" that the LRA could overule on a case-by-case basis. Decision was postponed to the following meeting, when a redraft would be presented. Symo then mentioned the GMP, suggesting that work on this issue was ongoing, and that any "bill for approval" should be withdrawn for the moment. Under "general comments" Rose Springvale spoke of the recent Grand Tour, of the ski run, and of Solomon Mosely's build of a temporary Aphrodite temple in the old Toga space. Meeting was adjourned.

Representative Assembly of 01 March 2009

(Something strange happened to the transcripts of this meeting: in the first posted version everything said by Jamie Palisades was missing. Jamie therefore provided a separate transcript of the "missing part," in other words the part he had attended, and in which his participation was recorded.)

The nomination of Aliasi Stonebender to the Scientific Council had been communicated and posted on 28 January. The RA thus had until 27 February to act on the nomination, failing which the nomination is automatically ratified. Sonja objected to appointing Aliasi if she could not come to accept the nomination. Apparently no one had specifically asked her to come to that day's meeting. Although she was now automatically member of the SC, Symo Kurka as LRA proposed to invite her to come to another RA meeting as a courtesy. Then the new RA Rules of Procedure came up for a vote, and were approved unanimously.

Jamie Palisades gave the Chancellor's report. Some appointments of executive officers were already posted to the forum. Instead of reappointing Rose and Brian as joint Public Information Officers (PIOs), he proposed to change Brian's title to Chief Information Officer (CIO), better reflecting Brian's role as manager of the web portal. Rose's responsibilities would be broadened, including an increased role in new citizen development (but not including sim expansion, which would be a conflict of interest considering her heavy involvement in Al Andalus). This would also mean that Rose and Jamie could lift some of the burden from Sudane Erato in the management of the CDS real estate market. Jamie also suggested creation of a new executive position to help in that area, with a title like Chief Development Officer or some such. On the subject of land, Jamie noted that Locus Amoenus was (finally) almost fully sold. And the previous weekend he had launched the bid process for the several reclaimed commercial plots that had been off the market for a time, and which would be a test for the reduced-price plan to stimulate commercial activity. Jamie mentioned recent events (Inaugural ball, February Grand Tour) and the events budget (CDS spent an average of L$11000/month on events, which was only about one fourth of the budget available after setting aside the monthly reserves). Jamie recommended appointing a standing Culture and Art panel, and that each sim be given a budget for local in-theme events, with some measure of decentralized decision-making.

There were questions concerning the Chancellor's report. Pip Torok wondered if those (like himself) who were members of both CDS and Al Andalus should desist from certain discussions because of conflict of interest. Jamie replied that Rose's case was special, because she was officially the OWNER of AA, and CDS would be the buyer - although technically it is not a purchase. Soro Dagostino suggested that disclosure would be sufficient. Gwyneth Llewelyn asked what legal status the Arts Committee would have. Jamie thought it would fall under the executive, rather than being an NGO. As for the local councils, he thought the structure should be something simple, corresponding just to local event kitties, not local government.

In response to a question about the proposed merger with AA, Jamie listed five issues. Do we want to do it? Is it fiscally sound? Can AA safely merge without it's separate cultural life being swallowed up? Can they safely merge without CDS razing their community structures? Do they want to come to us? The last point would depend on the first four.

Cindy Ecksol then reported on her discussion group with Gwyneth about what additional legislation might be needed to properly maintain the General Master Plan. They found relevant statements in two items of code: 8-2 directs RA to consider the GMP when approving new sims, and 8-4 directs the Chancellor to consider the GMP when assessing proposals for private development. Both texts emphasize that the role of the Guild is advisory and non-governmental. In short, no one in RA or Executive has responsibility for developing or maintaining the GMP. Cindy and Gwyneth recommended opening public discussion on the role of GMP and of the New Guild, to see if the discussion would generate a basis for a bill.

While on the subject of GMP and the Guild, Symo took the opportunity to show off new textures prepared for Colonia Nova, and then moved to adjourn.

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