Co-op Board Posts Fraudulent Ballot Argument
After refusing to allow Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op Members to vote on either the Human Rights or Restore Co-op Democracy initiatives, the Co-op Board apparently wanted to make sure the human rights issue would never come up again. So it put a proposed Bylaws amendment on the upcoming ballot to prohibit consideration of any possible future product boycotts or even labeling of products related to human rights or other concerns.
Apparently increasingly fearful that Members might think for themselves, the Board has now put a blatantly false ballot argument on the Co-op website. Labeled as an argument “against” their Bylaws amendment, it is clearly intended to support that amendment, not oppose it. Click here to read the argument with a point-by-point analysis. A legitimate ballot argument against the proposed Bylaws amendment was submitted by David Mandel on July 12, in advance of the July 16 deadline. The false argument is 63 words; Mr. Mandel’s is 275 (the limit).
Please contact the Board and store management. Tell them that the Board needs to remove this false ballot argument and replace it with the legitimate one submitted by David Mandel.
Election Code Requirements
Board President Steve Maviglio has emailed Co-op Members claiming that Mr. Arevalo’s argument was submitted first, and therefore under the Election Code, goes on the ballot. The Election Code requires that “Only one argument in support of and one argument in opposition to any measure will be put forward to the ownership. If more than one pro or con argument is received, the first argument received is presented to the voters.”
The problem is that clearly Mr. Arevalo’s argument is NOT an argument in opposition to the Bylaws Amendment – it is a sarcastic piece, far below the word limit. Its intention is to support the Bylaw’s amendment, not oppose it. To meet the Election Code, the Board MUST put Mr. Mandel’s argument on the website, post it in the store and put it on the ballot.
This is unfair campaigning on the part of the Board and violates the Bylaws which require that the Board be even handed. Putting up a bogus ballot argument is NOT being even handed. This is shameful on the part of the Co-op Board. This tactic by the Board will backfire as it delegitimizes the election. If another election has to be held, the money spent on the first election will have been wasted.
Help educate your fellow Co-op Members and shoppers about the Democracy and Human Rights campaign. Talk with them, share this handout: Want Democracy: Let Co-op Members vote.
Save Our Co-op’s Values: Oppose the Board’s Proposed Bylaws Amendment that would prohibit the Co-op from making any purchasing or other decision using criteria that includes “political opinion” or “national origin”. This has serious implications for the products our Co-op carries and the community projects it supports. Read more.