Sound Consumer | July 2003
Bylaws revisions proposed by board of trustees
by Mary Simon, Bylaws Task Force Chair
The PCC Board of Trustees is revisiting and expanding some important co-op business that went unfinished back in the spring of 2000. At that time a large number of bylaws revisions were proposed (and passed) by the membership. Due to some substantial clerical errors, however, in their presentation in the Sound Consumer (omitting sentence fragments and sections in several places)*, only a few of the "passed" changes were deemed by counsel to be appropriate to put into effect.
Due to other pressing matters that arose in the next two years (a change in CEOs and closing the Ravenna store), bringing these changes back to the membership with a proper presentation was deferred until this year. The board has chosen to fold the many unimplemented 2000 changes into a more comprehensive overhaul of the bylaws in order to make them more fitting to the cooperative PCC is now, somewhat in contrast to the much smaller business we were when the bylaws were revised in the early 90's. In addition, topics have been reordered and regrouped so that if passed, the new bylaws would be more readable and user-friendly. This would be a significant improvement, eliminating scattered discussion of similar topics across multiple sections of the bylaws as they are now.
The board is working to present these changes at a special meeting in October (date to be determined). There will be time for members to comment on the proposed changes and for members to vote on them. Members also may vote by mail. If passed, the proposed bylaws changes would be in effect for the next annual meeting. By the time you read this, our task force will have presented our revised set of changes to the full board of trustees meeting in late June. We'll attempt to have at least a summary of the proposed changes posted on the PCC Web site in July and will address the proposals at greater length in the August Sound Consumer. The September issue of the Sound Consumer will include a ballot and the final text of the proposed changes. All voting must be completed by the date of the special meeting.
Please feel free to contact Mary Simon, task force chair, or the board via Janice Parker at 206-547-1222, or Stay tuned: there will be more to come.
* The Sound Consumer had a different editor at the time.
July membership drive
MORE MEMBERS MEANS A STRONGER CO-OP
by Brian Schaeperkoetter
PCC's summer membership drive shifts into high gear this month with a focus on attracting like-minded consumers who share a passion for healthy foods, community involvement and our environment.
"Our members are the backbone of PCC," said PCC CEO Tracy Wolpert. "And attracting new members to PCC is crucial to the success of our business and our commitment to the organics industry. By investing in PCC, members are showing their support for natural foods. This gives us the opportunity to continue to make improvements in our stores and products, which benefits the entire organization."
Throughout the month, membership tables will be located at each store to introduce shoppers to the benefits of joining PCC. Staff also will be on hand to reacquaint current members with the variety of services and perks available through our co-op. Members receive a free subscription to our monthly publication, Sound Consumer, and can save on shopping with member bonus days.
Through our Community Connections program, members receive discounts at more than 300 neighborhood businesses — from natural health care and financial services to restaurants and popular attractions like the Bellevue Art Museum and the Woodland Park Zoo. Members also receive substantial discounts on real estate transactions and credit unions through PCC Premier Partners, which include our newest partner, Flexcar.
New members who have fulfilled their membership fee enjoy a free FoodWorks class and get to know our products better with discounted coupons made available by our trusted vendors.
Board of Trustees meeting report
The board met on May 27. The agenda included policy reviews, the annual CEO performance review and a report from a board task force that is reviewing PCC's bylaws. The board commended CEO Tracy Wolpert for the overall success of PCC in the past year.
The Bylaws Task Force, which includes representatives from the board, staff and membership, reported tremendous progress in its review of the bylaws (see left). The task force planned to return to the board's June 24 meeting with concrete proposals. A report of the task force conclusions will be published in the August Sound Consumer.
During the member comment period, the board heard a proposal from a group of Fremont members requesting that the board include anti-war language in the co-op's Ends policies, pointing to war as being counter to PCC's mission to promote a sustainable environment. After lengthy discussion, the board adopted a plan to have its Sustainability Task Force look at this issue and to permit the use of PCC meeting facilities (as available) for community groups concerned with important sustainability issues, particularly those of a food-related nature.
Next board meeting
The board of trustees will next meet on July 29 at 5 p.m. There will be time, approximately at 7 p.m., for member comments.
[please note: The July board meeting date was incorrectly printed in the July 2003 issue as being on July "28." The correct date for the July PCC Board of Trustees meeting is Tuesday, July 29.]
Studying perchlorate in lettuce
PCC has contributed $500 for ongoing research into findings that rocket fuel toxins have contaminated winter lettuce from southern California and Arizona. The perchlorate toxins reportedly come from irrigation water off the Colorado River, affecting lettuce from the Coachella Valley.
PCC joined other co-ops, such as the Sacramento Natural Foods Cooperative and the National Cooperative Grocers' Association, in helping to fund further research by the group that broke the story, the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG is a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment by reducing pollution in air, water and food. EWG wants to test other produce from the Coachella Valley.
At press time Congress was considering a proposal by the Bush Administration to exempt the Pentagon and military contractors from the nation's toxic waste laws. If the measure passes, the military and its contractors would not have to clean up the perchlorate spills that have contaminated hundreds of water supplies nationwide. Congress reportedly is poised to grant this exemption under the defense authorization bill, which will likely be settled about press time.
Editor's note: PCC is not selling any leaf or green produce from the Coachella Valley. Our local lettuce producers are supplying all stores at this time.
PCC weighs in at GE food conference
FOOD SECURITY AND THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE
PCC representatives spoke on behalf of natural food retailers and consumers at a national conference on the genetic engineering of food. Editor and Manager of Public Affairs Trudy Bialic and Nutrition Education Manager, Goldie Caughlan exchanged views with industry reps after panel presentations as well as in break-out sessions at the June conference in Seattle.
Caughlan and Bialic report that there were opposing paradigms at work in the debate over genetic engineering in food — those who advocate working with nature and those who advocate trying to control nature. Everyone voiced a common goal — using good science for food security — but were at odds over using risk-based science versus science based on the precautionary principle. There was little agreement across those lines.
The conference was heavily attended by representatives from Monsanto and Syngenta, agricultural giants ConAgra and Del Monte, Bayer Crop Science, numerous university researchers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture.
The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, sustainable agriculture experts from Washington State University (WSU), the Campaign to Label GE foods, student organizers and farmers also attended. WSU provided funds for many (including PCC) to attend the conference, which commanded substantial fees.