Open Forum:

The Membership Speaks Out

By Diana Black

In keeping with the 90-degree temperature outside the Rud, inside some hot new ideas were presented for consideration during the Second Annual Open Forum. (For you thrill seekers, there were no heated discussions.).

Marie Augustine opened the "brainstorming" session by complimenting the board on improvements made since the Co-op first began. She commented on how much work it takes to keep an organization like ours going and that she knows first hand: she was on one of the first boards of trustees.

A round of applause from the thirty or so members who attended to either listen or express opinions, demonstrated support and agreement with Marie.

So off and running, the floor was ready to hear comments such as Mike Layman's suggestion that the board become more sensitive to following up on commitments. Mike cited that some complaints have been heard concerning recent contests and the lack of getting airplay for the winning songs. Our vice president Jean Metcalfe and president Paul Moffett agreed that some tunes have not yet gotten the play they were promised, but that the process is still in the works. As was mentioned during our last meeting, it is a well known fact that it is extremely difficult to get local stations to play original material. But LASC has not given up. (Perfect examples being the Radio Ready project currently in the works with WTMT and airplay discussions with Gerry Weston of WFPL.)

Mike also mentioned two ideas he felt might increase interest in the Co-op: create a membership category for bands at a special rate; take an ad in the LMN/LASC Letter promoting our tapes and merchandise.

Donald Ray McGrew expressed concern that the Co-op needs to concentrate on raising funds to start paying back Paul and Jean for the money they lent to get the organization on its feet. (This is already being done the Prez.)

Rik Thomas suggested a picnic and/or band concert might be used in a membership drive to generate money to pay off the debt owed the two founding members.

With that idea came a comment from Scott Furlong that it takes too long to get special events cleared by the board. Many board members agreed that is a concern, but noted the process can be made faster if ideas are presented with a plan.

In order to uphold what the Co-op is all about (as stated in our Mission Statement), the board must be open and willing to work with any one member or group of members who have an idea and want to make a proposal.

The Board suggested that anyone who wants to work on or create a project think the project through, develop a plan and not only have in mind who might work on the project but also ask those people if they would like to participate. Then bring the idea to the board for review.

As the board is elected to represent the entire cooperative, it is necessary that the board give the final "yea or nay." While this makes for some delay, it also reduces the opportunities for embarrassing public missteps that reflect poorly on the LASC.

Whew!!! Again this year, the Open Forum format produced some insightful discussions that should go far to make LASC a better organization for all of us.