Viva Vauxhall (VV) committee minutes November 2012

Viva Vauxhall (VV) committee meeting 8pm 22 November 2012

Present: John, Colin, Marie, Jimmy, Jane, Margaret and Danny

Apologies: Andrea. Jimmy apologised in advance regarding all future committee meetings until late March.

Jane chaired the meeting.

Colin agreed to do the minutes.

Although agenda item 1, it was unanimously agreed that prior to the meeting formally commencing Jimmy introduce Christina Burnett from TARA (Tradescant Area Residents Association) and together they present to the committee in relation to Lambeth’s Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme (NEP).

They reported in relation to a recent meeting with Lambeth in relation to NEP. Viva Vauxhall’s catchment area is currently outside the area being considered for the NEP. However, both TARA and Jimmy, based on their recent meeting with Lambeth consider that the likelihood of VV’s catchment area being included within the NEP is high. A vote was taken as to whether VV should actively engage with TARA and Lambeth on the NEP. The vote was carried unanimously.

Jimmy then stated that because he was unable to attend the next NEP meeting he would need somebody else to step in for him at the next coming meeting on 28 November. Margaret volunteered to attend. Margaret asked Danny if he would come with her. Danny declined. Jane said she would see if she could juggle other things to be able to attend. Others gave their apologies citing work commitments and other absences. Danny later clarified that he would not attend any NEP meeting since he did not see his role on the committee as doing any committee related work, but instead considered his role was simply to monitor the committee and to report back to his VV list on his findings.

Correction of previous minutes:

Minutes from October’s committee meeting were discussed and after some minor amendments and some discussion were approved by a majority. Vote was 6 for 1 against.

The changes made were:

i) Under “Correction of previous minutes:” the words “Minutes from June MC were approved.” were deleted and substituted with “Minutes from the June committee meeting were approved.” (Requested by Danny)

ii) The heading “Matters arising:” was amended to read “Matters arising from the previous committee meeting on 11 June” (Requested by Danny)

iii) Under the revised heading of “Matters arising from the previous committee meeting on 11 June” the words “”nothing to Report” was agreed” were deleted and substituted with “Nothing to Report” (Requested by Danny)

iv) Under the revised heading of “Matters arising from the previous committee meeting on 11 June” the words “DATA (item 3.4)” were deleted and substituted with “Item 3.6 “Hammersmith and Fulham Council policy has been challenged by residents”” (Requested by Danny)

v) Under Item 4.2 The words “TFL and Lambeth Council are engaging with DATA and councilors say that “the gyratory will be sorted”. Boris said “it will be better than Amsterdam”” were deleted and substituted with “TFL and Lambeth Council are engaging with DATA and one Labour councilor has said that “the gyratory will be sorted”. Boris said in relation to the VNEB “it will be better than Amsterdam” for cycling” (Requested by Colin)

Matters arising from the previous committee meeting on 22 October: 

Other than Jimmy’s report on his attendance at the NEP meeting, Danny queried whether his agenda items from the October committee meeting should be discussed prior to any of the other agenda items. It was agreed by a majority vote that since Danny had stated that he now only wanted to discuss one of his previous agenda items and that this item was already on the agenda that the meeting should follow the circulated agenda. Carried 6 for and 1 against.

Secretary’s report:

Since Andrea was away there was no secretary’s report. However, John mentioned that Andrea had previously met with TARA regarding the NEP which had led to Jimmy attending the meeting he had just reported on.

Treasurer’s report:

Margaret stated that £50 had been paid for the hire of St Anne’s Catholic Settlement Hall for the previous AGM/GM. Margaret noted that the cost had come down from £75 to £50. VV has £181 in the bank. John, Jane and Jimmy agreed to look into what increase in funding the Vine Housing Co-operative might be prepared to give to VV and report back to Margaret.

2) AGM/GM                  

2.1) From the Secretary: Decision on whether Danny’s documents relating to the AGM/GM had been dealt with sufficiently such that they required no further discussion

At the start of the discussion regarding the AGM/GM minutes, John asked Danny why he had changed the words of the secretary’s briefing note when in an email to a wider audience than the committee he had appeared to quote the secretary, but had got the quote wrong. Colin asked if Danny had done his usual cut and paste? Danny said that it was only a typo, John queried why he had typed it and got it so wrong such that the change made a material change to the message delivered by the secretary. As it had appeared to some that Danny had used the change as part of an attack on the secretary’s actions, a number of people present expressed skepticism at Danny’s explanation. John added that this action by Danny cast doubt on the accuracy of Danny’s documents which appear to use cut and paste to quote passages of what others have written in correspondence to Danny over email.

Not everybody at the meeting had read Danny’s documents relating to his perception of shortcomings in the minutes of the July AGM/GM however, John, Colin and Andrea had done so. Andrea had gone through the various documents and drafted a briefing note for the committee in relation to the various documents. The briefing note set out some amendments proposed by Danny that could be taken forward for approval at the next GM and some that she considered inappropriate together with reasoning. Again not everybody at the meeting had read Andrea’s briefing note.

However, given Andrea’s briefing note together with her proposed agenda items arising from her briefing note it was agreed by the committee that Danny’s various documents had been reviewed adequately such that no further discussion of their content was necessary. In particular, it was felt that given the generally accepted accurateness of the minutes as a record of what was discussed and voted on at the AGM that further discussion on nuance of the way in which the minutes had been recorded was counter-productive and was beginning to eat unnecessarily into valuable committee time.  The vote was passed 5 for, 1 against and 1 abstention.

2.1.1 Corrections and recommendations for approval at the next GM

Andrea had picked out in her briefing document a number of corrections highlighted by Danny in his various documents and asked for a vote that these corrections be taken to the GM for approval. The suggested amendments were Danny’s:

i) “Safe” to “Safer”.

ii) “FireWatch” to “FIREWATCH”.

iii) “Danny/Firewatch” to “Danny”.

iv) insert “of” between “account” and “and”.

v) “Danny said” between “and” and “this”.

vi) “in each case” between “he” and “had”.

vii) The move of Danny’s final suggested correction from point 5 of the minutes to point 6 where it properly belongs as it relates to the Gyratory.

The agenda item was briefly discussed. All corrections suggested by Andrea were agreed unanimously.

2.1.2 Rejection of certain of Danny’s other suggested corrections to the AGM/GM minutes

Again Andrea, in her briefing note had suggested that Danny’s remaining suggested corrections were not appropriate given that they would detract from the accurateness of the minutes as a record of what happened at the AGM/GM or were otherwise not appropriate. The suggested rejections together with the reasoning for rejecting the suggested amendments were:

a) “FIREWATCH” to “local residents” – the issue was an entirely FIREWATCH related issue and was not an issue of wider interest of “local residents”. Accordingly, FIREWATCH stands, to amend would be misleading.

b) “VV Watch List” to “VV-List” – this is an accurate description of what was said and how this list was referred to at the meeting and so a change is not appropriate.

c) Danny’s request to delete or move certain parts of the minutes since to do so would introduce an inaccuracy in the minutes that is not currently present.

The issue was briefly discussed and then put to a vote. The motion was passed 5 for, 1 against and 1 abstention.

Danny suggested that this was ridiculous and that he would be bringing this matter up with his VV-list. Others at the meeting expressed their satisfaction with the way in which Danny’s comments on the AGM/GM minutes had been dealt with and in particular raised concerns that Danny was deliberately trying to waste valuable committee time in attempting to force the committee to engage in a needlessly overly meticulous analysis of the July AGM/GM minutes rather than actual community matters. Danny was also asked again to publish to the committee his VV list, but he refused to do so.

2.2 From Danny: Discussion and decision around Danny’s documents relating to the AGM/GM minutes

The matter was briefly discussed and agreed that the matter had been superseded by the previous agenda items. A vote was taken and passed 6 for and 1 against.

Danny stated that he considered the committee’s attitude to the taking of minutes to be unacceptable. Danny was asked if in future he would be prepared to take minutes for the committee. Danny stated that he was not prepared to take minutes. It was suggested that in light of Danny’s refusal ever to offer to take minutes that Danny’s criticism about other committee members’ minute taking (given the time and effort it takes) was unsustainable.

2.3 From Colin: Discussion on a mechanism for agreeing obvious corrections in the minutes of AGMs/GMs prior to their publication.

There was a brief discussion about how a mechanism could work given that it is in the public interest to get the minutes into the public domain as soon as possible. A suggestion was made that the minute taker could circulate the minutes in draft form to the other committee members giving each committee member 7 days in which to send through a consolidated list of their proposed corrections (if any) to the minute taker. Following which, the minute taker would acknowledge receipt of the suggestions and make such corrections as he/she agreed with and then publish the minutes as soon as practicable thereafter. The proposed mechanism was put to the vote and passed unanimously.

3 Crime/Anti-social behaviour and local safety issues

Margaret thanked whomever it was that had arranged for a tree by the bus stop to be cut back. John mentioned that it was Marie that had arranged this. Marie then reported on an increased police presence in the area of late, but that the police are rarely able to give residents much detailed report on what it is they are up to for operational reasons.

Danny raised the issue of a group of teenagers regularly congregating outside the entrance to the Academy and wondered whether the committee should do something about them given that he thought that their presence there might be intimidating to residents of the Academy. Danny was asked whether he was aware of anybody from the Academy feeling intimidated by the teenagers congregating outside one of their entrances. He said that he was not but suggested that the committee should consider taking executive action without having received a complaint. Marie indicated that both she and the police are aware of the group of teenagers that are congregating outside the Academy, but again stressed that the police are not able to go into too much detail about what they are doing in such circumstances for operational reasons.

4) VNEB

Colin gave a brief report on what had been going on in relation to VNEB and in particular the public meeting that was organized by DATA and the Lambeth Liberal Democrats that took place on 14 November as well as the upcoming public meeting to be held at 6 pm – 9pm on Tuesday 4 December at the Tate South Lambeth Library (180 South Lambeth Road). Colin highlighted that DATA’s position on getting a third party independent consultant to look at transport within the entire VNEB rather than simply relying on TfL’s proposal of an NLE as the transport solution which had in any case simply been inherited from the previous owners of the Battersea Power Station was beginning to get widespread local support.

Jimmy also pointed out that if anybody wanted to make a submission to Lambeth on their draft SPD for the Vauxhall area, the deadline was 26 November.

5) Gyratory

Danny queried what form VV’s opposition to the Gyratory had taken. Was it simply no to all development until the Gyratory had bee satisfactorily dealt with or was it more nuanced such as: we could have agreed this proposal subject to the Gyratory being amended, but in light of the lack of amendment to the gyratory we oppose this development. John indicated that VV’s stance has been to critically engage in the planning process.

6) From Marie: Report from our previous informal meeting

Marie decided that she did not still want to raise this issue so it was agreed to move on to the next agenda item.

7) From Danny: Discussion about Andrea’s withholding of information from the Committee

John queried what Danny meant by this. Danny indicated that he knew of an email that Andrea had been sent by Downing, the developer of 30-60 South Lambeth Road and that Downing had asked Andrea to pass it on to the VV committee. Danny stated that Andrea had not done so. The committee asked whether this was Danny’s sole complaint or whether he knew of any other incidences of Andrea withholding information. Danny cited Andrea’s refusal to provide Danny with the signing in sheet from the July AGM/GM on data protection grounds. Otherwise Danny did not have any other complaints on this count. It was generally agreed that it was not appropriate to take the matter further without Andrea present. Danny said he would raise it at the next committee meeting.

8) From Danny: Discussion of Andrea publishing personal comment on the VV website as being that of the committees

Danny raised the issue of a commentator on the VV website known as “Flotsam” having their comment published as the view of VV. The post indicated the following text “VV says”. Danny suggested as a result that personal comment was being passed off as the view of the committee. Again it was agreed that it would be inappropriate to discuss the matter further without Andrea being present. However, there was consensus that the committee should find out more about where the “Flotsam” comment had come from if possible. Danny said he would raise the issue at the next committee meeting.

9) From Danny: Discussion of the implication of Colin and John’s refusal to communicate with Danny over email

First Danny asked what John meant by his statement (with which Colin had also agreed) that he would not be drawn into comment over email but would deal with Danny in accordance with democratic principles. John suggested that the meaning was perfectly clear and required no further clarification. However, he did say that he had not refused to correspond further with Danny he was just choosing not to respond to each of Danny’s personally directed and rude jibes over email. Danny disputed that he had written any rude emails to other committee members. John quoted from several of Danny’s emails that he claimed were rude to him. Others around the table agreed that they were unequivocally rude to John. Danny offered to go through the email with John to explain the email’s meaning. John said this was unnecessary because he was perfectly able to read it for himself.

Colin stated that as far as he was concerned Danny had blown it with him. Colin stated that he had agreed to second Danny’s bid to become a committee member at the previous AGM in good faith in the expectation that Danny would bring his enthusiasm for work in the community to working constructively to further this community work through the VV committee. Instead Danny had made clear that he had no other agenda on the committee other than to monitor its performance. Colin stated that he regarded Danny’s behaviour on the committee as meddlesome and aimed entirely at wasting the time of the rest of the committee. Colin stated that he would spend time with Danny at committee meetings because he was obliged to, but would give up no more time than was absolutely necessary to dealing with Danny’s unnecessarily quarrelsome manner.

10) From Colin: better communication with the community

The meeting had already gone on for almost 2 and a half hours by this time and it was agreed that there was not enough time to deal with this issue. It was expressed that it was a shame that much of the meeting had been tied up dealing with minutiae relating to the minutes of the AGM/GM and the previous committee meeting’s minutes.

However, Marie stated that in the course of her work in the community she had heard frequent complaints that for some reason the had found themselves on Danny’s VV list and that as a result of the message that Danny is putting into the community via his VV list local residents are put off from engaging with VV because of a perceived unpleasant dynamic within VV. John stated that he had heard similar comments.

Danny stated that he did not accept that the negative dynamic was anything to do with him or his correspondence with his VV list. But that it was solely down to the VV committee’s poor performance.

Danny was again asked to disclose to the committee his VV list. He refused.

AOB

The meeting already having run for 2 and a half hours it was decided that the meeting should come to an end and any agenda items not already discussed could be discussed at the following meeting.

End of meeting 10.30pm

The following item was not discussed:

11) From Danny: Discussion on what progress has the committee made in making the constitution fit for purpose.

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