Jan 14th notes cont’d – setting the bar high – a directory….

This is the second half of the Jan. 14th meeting notes, see below for first half.

“Setting the bar high” for defining what businesses we want to promote was one suggestion that stood out from several folks in the evening.  The over use of the word “local” renders it diluted, a weak standard.  By defining the criteria for all that could be encompassed in a local campaign, a local philosophy, we have a rare opportunity to pull together a lot of otherwise disparate issues under one tent.

If we as a group want to truly stand out and compete for attention, we could hammer out a definition of our values that are roused by the combination of eating local food, circulating local script, practicing lifestyles with respect for our own health, and our fellow man, and in turn our home Earth.  Or as Bill McKibben now spells it: Eaarth.  He maintains it is no longer the same place, so it needs a new moniker.  Should local become Locaal?

A tangible goal: directory of businesses.  If we take the time to make a directory of local business, we could incorporate all local owned and operated business with the autonomy to make their decisions on how they staff, supply, fund, insure, advertise and manage their business, PLUS we can put a spotlight on a business that constantly pushes the barriers of what can be done to create a cleaner world to leave to our grandchildren, like Bay Area Recycling.  Or a business that creates new opportunities for more to grow and sell organic food, like Oryana and Food for Thought.

This should be done in a manner that encourages more joined efforts from our colleagues as opposed to being superior about it.  I am far from a purist, but I like idealism.

6 people of the 15 present agreed to be on a steering committee to, I anticipate, write a mission statement and perhaps take a first stab at defining the criteria of what we mean by local  – .  reporting this back to the full group in a month.  Andy Gale suggested, and I concur, that waiting a month for the steering committee to first meet would be too long, two weeks might be good. Those six are Andy, Zach Liggett, Charie Wunsch/ Barb Folan, Jeremy Truog, Chelsea Bay Wills and myself.

This concluded the business promotion half of meeting.

Zach Ligget of Goldeneye Asset Management next laid out some seed ideas for local investment.  In a nutshell, there are numerous scenarios with a few common ingredients:
1.  Collective or co-operative decision making by investors, all participate to some degree in decisions.
2.  Investments per person in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. (more on how to include lesser investors later)
3.  Buy real estate outright, (avoid interest expenses), with or without improvements, that are at distressed prices. Make a smart buy.  Have enough investors at start to pay for the remodel of any improvements.
4.  Plan on leaving your money invested “slowly”, in the range of 8 to 12 years.
5.  Reinvigorate the asset into the best, greenest, energy efficient, sustainable property we can.
6.  Provide opportunity to involve the young, under banked to lease to own it.  Use lease income for maintenance and taxes.  Use local businesses that already practice these values in the design, remodeling, etc.
7.  Sell asset with goal of making a return equaling 6 to 9% per year. Repeat with a new project.

more tomorrow

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