Participation Membership Proposal
LOTS MORE Q and A -- 12 November, 2002 (minor modifications, 2 December,
(Additional Q and A, 6 December, 2002.)
Questions and Answers (Frequently asked questions, including a few which were only asked once, but were really good questions.)
Q: Do you have petitions for signature, either electronic or physical? I wanna sign!
A: No, I do not have petitions. I want people to write the Board individual letters, even if the letter only says. "I like Flieg's PMP." I am also idealistic enough to think that everyone who writes will have his or her own reasons for supporting this, more than could possibly be put on any petition.
(2 December, 2002)
Q(1): >What about free events? We have at least 2 of those a year in
>Carolingia. Would they be hit with the franchise fee?
A(1): Yes. They aren't free to Carolingia (I presume -- most events cost *something* to run). They aren't free to the corporation (they use the insurance and have the possibility of other Corporate intervention being necessary.)
they *ARE* free to Carolingia. We have two events a year
>which are hosted by local college campuses for which the facilities
>are free, for which we don't need Corp. insurance (last I checked),
>for which all food is potluck, for which there is no "budget". And
>they *are* SCA events -- they are listed in the kingdom newsletter,
>and our Baron gives awards at them (which, at least in this kingdom,
>are not considered valid unless given at An Official SCA Event.)
>Hence my concern. This turns what are 100-150 person free events into
>events which cost ~$100-150.
A(2): Wow! Cool! In that case you
really are not pulling on the corporate structure, and I think they could
be free of the franchise. I will stand by my original answer for events
which are just "free" because the group is covering costs in another way.
(Note to all: in terms of my estimates of income, the free Carolingia events
weren't counted anyway, so the estimates are unaffected.)
A(3): (6 December
2002) See the current
version of the proposal for the status of free events. Basically, if there
is no site fee and no significant group expense, there is no PMP Franchise
Q: >Your Grace, I do like your
proposal, I believe it would simplify
>things a great deal. However, if you would pardon my asking for I am
>relatively new, why does the populous detest the non-member
>surcharge? Under our current system, should non-members not pay more
>at the gate? Would that not encourage membership? This seems to be
>an age-old debate. My household and I are simply curious.
A: And the question that I would ask is "Why should non-members pay more at the gate?"
A: There are levels of answer here. First is that we have a long tradition of "you don't have to be a member to play," which comes from our roots as a counter-culture phenomenon. This is quite possibly the most important. To me, that openness welcomes in people, rather than excluding them, we are "different", but "friendly". (And you have to admit we most certainly are "different.")
A: The second level is that throughout most of the history of the SCA, Inc., increasing *requirements* for membership have been *forced* on the people in the SCA, without any reason except that the Corporate Level felt that it was running out of money, and there was no other source of income. There is no "membership" in the SCA, Inc. in a legal sense. "Membership" carries no personal benefit which has not been artificially tied to it by the Corporation in the first place (i.e. newsletters -- there is no reason that newsletter subscriptions should be restricted to "members", except that the Corporation needs the money.)
A: The third level is that the SCA, Inc. does not give any money to any local or Kingdom event. Why should it matter whether the person attending is a "member"?
The Liability insurance which the SCA, Inc. has purchased does benefit every event, but it costs (net) $60,000. There are 25,000 members on the lists. There are supposedly another 15,000 non-members. The cost of insurance is $1.50 per person per *YEAR* -- not worth worrying about on a per-event basis. Finally, with "membership" in the SCA being a *coerced* commodity with almost no benefits which are not totally artificial -- why is more membership in the SCA a Good Idea? (Especially when any reasonable budgetary analysis shows that much of the SCA income is frittered away.)
A: So, from the ideal to the practical. There's your answer.
Q: Several viewers have asked, Why is Pennsic being charged so much more than other events? Isn't this unfair?
A: This was a matter of much discussion in the Grand Council during the initial stages of forming the proposal. Several people in the Council felt that any SCA, Inc. revenue from events should be strictly proportional to the length of the event. Almost all did note that longer events seemed to have more impact on the Corporation in terms of intervention and oversight.
My take on it was that the strict proportionality would lead to people trying to figure out ways to make their events shorter and that this was undesirable. I also needed a good solid base amount to convince the Board that this financing scheme would work.
In fact, while Pennsic would have to send $10/person to the Corporation, it could save money on not having to worry about "member/non-member" pricing, etc. It is likely, knowning the history of the Coopers that the price would go up $10, but if this is looked at in terms of cost per amount of participation, Pennsic would be cheaper than any one-day event. ($1 for 1 day, $5 for 7 days, $10 for 16 days. I will be thinking about the possibilities of cutting it to $5 for War Week only attendees, though that makes the accounting more difficult and cuts into the revenue stream. (Hmmm... 5,000 at x10 plus 6,000 at x5 = 80,000 or 30,000 less than before, but we can afford it... Check back next week. -- F.)
Q: >Quick clarification please.
What effect, if any, does this proposal have on
>titles, awards, devices, names and recognition of same between Kingdoms and
>other groups in the SCA?
A:None whatsoever, since they are not, even now, connected to membership. Any part of Corpora which does not relate to membership would remain unchanged.
Q:>I would like to hear a bit
more specific discussion regarding requests for
>insurance riders for event sites by non-members. Currently, an autocrat
>operates as an agent of the corporation, yes? From a legal standpoint, how
>does a non-member do so?
A: I am not quite sure what your point is, but I suspect that it flows from a misunderstanding of the legal status of SCA "members." The SCA, Inc. has no members in a legal sense.
Currently an autocrat is required to be a "member" because SCA regulations say so. The autocrat acts as an agent of the corporation in signing contracts and such because he/she has been designated as the autocrat for the event. In a similar way, she or the Seneschal can contact the Corporate Office and ask for the rider on the Insurance (because the local venue wants it) and pay the $40 because they are officers of their group. (Note that local SCA folk are not supposed to contact the insurer directly -- it goes through the Office. Also note that the rider adds no coverage -- it's really cosmetic.)
Their membership status is only relevant due to internal SCA rules -- the 21st C. cares nothing. Therefore, under my proposal, the autocrat will continue to deal as before as will the Seneschal and the Herald and the Exchequer, under the rules of their offices and of the local group. The autocrat will continue to call the Corporate Office to ask for the insurance rider, etc. No problem.
At the local level (Kingdom and below) the changeover to my proposal will really change very little except remove non-member surcharges and increase the pool of potential officers.
Q:>My question stems from my
understanding of publication/subscriptions
>in the U.S. If there is a subscription charge for a newsletter (for those
>without internet access), then that same information may be not made
>available at no charge to others (those with internet access) - it's some
>sort of violation of fair practice and discrimination, I think. I don't
>really know the legalese, just that if our local branch had a newsletter,
>that it could not be presented in it's entirely on the web for free. I
>think a work-around may be having a subscription-based web-page, accessible
>via passwords. As presented, your proposal does not discuss this issue.
A: That's because it is a policy of the SCA Chronicler and has no legal reality at all. I'm going to have to deal with it in a Q&A post. It is strictly there so that the SCA, Inc. can pretend that the newsletter is a membership "benefit" instead of a simple subscription. There is no legal reason why the information couldn't be all over the web. Like most of the "membership" restrictions it is an artificial and strictly internal rule.
>Overall, I really like the idea since Milpitas has a truly lousy
>renewal notification (less than 1 week to submit a check and we've gotten 2
>of our 4 a month late). It would really be of benefit to small groups (like
>mine) where people are active but don't bother to submit membership thus
>making finding officers a real problem.
Q: >I have a question about the
location of the main office. You propose
>reducing the size of the office in order to reduce costs. What of the
>possibility of moving the office out of the California area? This may sound
>biased as I am in Calontir, but I think it makes sense. There may be other
>areas where this is also applicable, such as Oklahoma City, Dallas, or
A: Actually, the cost is not *that* much different. Someone on the West List found a 1200sqft office for $900/mo, DSL ready to go, and someone else said that Class-A office space in Palo-Alto (downtown Silicon Gulch) is currently $0.85/sqft. Our problem is not so much that we are paying too much per sq, but that we have way too many sq.
That being said, there is no reason the Office couldn't move, but I set a limit on what I was going to go for. Since we can reduce the rental cost to less than 10% of the reduced budget, I'm happy enough. Going from $12,000 per year to $6,000/year isn't nearly as important as going from $56,000/yr to $12,000/yr. (Note that the Budget in the Discussion section says $20,000. That would include things like a cleaning company and other maintenance.
Q: >Take Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri:
There is a MAJOR airport. If some of the
>meetings were held here, chances are it would be cheaper for Board members
>to fly halfway across country, than half of them to fly ALL the way across
>country. I understand that the location of Board meetings do move around,
>so this may be a moot point. However, I would wonder what the operating
>expense of a 1500 sqare foot office in Kansas City would be vs. the cost in
>Milpitas/Bay area/anywhere else in California? What about the cost of a
>storage facility in the Midwest vs. the West coast?
A: No idea -- can you find out? I've got the figures for the BArea. If you can give them to me for KC -- I'll be glad to use them. (No reply was received.)
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