The Rebuilding of NENA Begins – Please Join In!

After an overwhelming positive response to the latest email update and call to action, a new petition is being launched – to call a special meeting, elect a new board, and rebuild NENA together! A table was set up at Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park, on April 22, 2021 and a steady stream of neighbors stopped in to sign the petition.

You can still sign the petition and help put NENA back on the rails:

  1. ELECTRONIC: mailto:nena.members@gmail.com and say you would like to sign electronically. Someone will send you the petition via DocuSign.
  2. IN-PERSONstop by anytime from 10 am to 4 pm TODAY (4/23) at Jill Giese & Associates, 1606 W. Hays, to sign the petition on paper. Call or text 208.327.2127 to make sure someone is there

Update and Call to Action for NENA Rebuilding

The following went out to NENA Members and Neighbors on April 20th:

It’s been several weeks since our last communication, but work has continued at a rapid pace behind the scenes. The show of unity by neighbors at the March removal vote made an incredible statement, and now we need your help to ensure the clear and unified voice of the neighborhood is heard. Read on for a call to action as well as an update on the lawsuit against NENA and status of the removal vote.

CALL TO ACTION: In seeking to rebuild NENA and once again champion neighbors’ voices, given that all directors have been removed or resigned, we are asking you to sign a petition calling for a special meeting of members to elect a new board of directors. With enough signatures, and as allowed under Idaho law and NENA’s bylaws, NENA members can call a special meeting ourselves and hold this election. With this clean slate, we can rebuild NENA together. 

We are seeking handwritten signatures, so if you are interested in signing the request for a special meeting to elect a new NENA board, please reply to this email stating your interest, and someone will contact you. The verbiage of the petition is below: 

DEMAND FOR SPECIAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

of the North End Neighborhood Association

We, the undersigned as members of the North End Neighborhood Association (NENA), request a special meeting of members for the purpose of electing a new NENA Board of Directors.

NENA members’ calling this special meeting to elect a new board is the first step in the process of rebuilding NENA. The next critical step will be gathering the names of neighbors interested in serving on the NENA Board. We have heard from some neighbors interested in serving on the NENA Board, but more are needed! Once we have enough signatures to call this meeting, the next call to action will be to nominate yourself or another neighbor to run in the election to serve on the Board. Any eligible NENA member can run for the board. Let’s continue in our positive path of neighborhood engagement.

UPDATE – Lawsuit: The lawsuit against NENA and former volunteer members of the NENA Board initiated by four of the removed directors continues. In the last two weeks, plaintiffs Carlos Coto, Daniel Foregger, and Sarah Foregger have voluntarily dismissed themselves from the suit; an option not available to NENA or volunteers as defendants. Tory Spengler, her husband John Spengler, and Tory’s next-door neighbor Susan Graham remain as plaintiffs. Despite repeated promises to dismiss both verbally and in writing by the plaintiff’s attorney, they have so far refused to do so.

UPDATE – Removal Vote: The five removed directors have refused to acknowledge the overwhelming results of the vote, where an average of more than 90% of voters voted in favor of removal. Instead, they continue to hold themselves out as members of the NENA Board, and conduct NENA business with NENA funds. Meanwhile, NENA member advocates are working with pro bono attorneys and taking steps to ensure the membership has representation, the removed five step down, and they cease using NENA funds. We hope the removed directors will listen to the neighbors’ voices and step down voluntarily: their current focus on finding a technicality or loophole in the removal vote belies their singular job as neighborhood representatives, and they are willfully ignoring the very clear mandate from more than 700 of their neighbors. 

We hope to have additional updates to share in the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, as noted, if you have questions about seeking a board seat or the removal vote, feel free to email us at nena.members@gmail.com.

Look Ma’ – No Board!

And then there were none. Tonight’s NENA meeting ran nearly four hours, in part because the people running it decided to make over 120 neighbors sit (muted) through two hours of rudderless procedural theater, before allowing them to comment on THE central issue: the matter of the member vote that effectively recalled five sitting directors.

Ninety percent of almost 800 verified members voted to remove them, but based on their agenda of minor issues, they yet hadn’t gotten the message. By the end of the meeting, they’d lost two more important votes, as board veteran Anne Hausrath and newly elected director Chrystal Allen both resigned their seats. Others resigned from key committees, like recruitment and historic preservation.

Eventually, comments and questions went on for almost two hours, with most neighbors asking the same basic question, each in their own way: “When so many have voted against you, stepped back from working with you, and asked you to leave… why do you insist on staying?” Mostly, the answers given seemed to look back and blame someone else, especially past board members and volunteers.

Some commenters implored the recalled five directors to step aside. Others drew distinctions between what’s technically allowed and what’s necessary to be good neighbors. There was talk about looking forward, the backlog of important work and issues piling up, and provisions in the bylaws for emergency situations, like when there are suddenly no credible board members remaining.

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Probably the biggest eyebrow raiser of the night was Sarah Foregger trying to explain why it was okay that she personally fronted some of the money for the legal “expert” the board has relied on to invalidate the member petition and vote. Call it “a donation to NENA” she says, of her generously fronting some of the money for the out-of-town lawyer who says she can keep her board seat. (Uh… thanks, but no thanks?) And, why does his vote count (and cost!) more than hundreds of member neighbors?

The full video should be posted in a day or two on the NENA website, and linked here.

Member Vote Results – Vast Majority of Large Turnout Supports Recall of Five NENA Board Members

Press release, 3/22. Click to view/download.

This post reports everything you need to know about the voting results from the NENA Member Vote last Thursday (3/18). See previous posts (scroll down) and the main Member Vote page for more about why the vote was needed and how the vote was conducted, secured, counted and fully documented in objective, tamper-proof tools like Google forms and Zoom recording.

A complete review of the online verification process was conducted Friday night (3/19), confirming that every vote was cast by a unique, verified NENA member. Then the entire process of unsealing and counting paper ballots was fully documented on live Zoom video, with dozens of neighbors signing on to watch the process. See below for online validation counts. Click here to watch almost 3 hours of counting and filming each individual paper ballot.

Now What?

On Monday morning (3/22), the results of the vote were delivered to NENA’s newly-hired attorney, whose work serves all NENA members, asking her to advise the board of the vote’s implications. Click here to read that letter.

NENA’s bylaws (Article V, ¶ 4) require, “Actions taken by the Board should represent the majority sentiments of the general membership of NENA.” NENA’s two remaining directors now have a responsibility to members to remove the recalled directors from NENA board business and recover any NENA property and accounts access they might have. The removed directors can no longer claim the trust or support of a majority of members and must now step aside.

Who Voted in Thursday’s Member Vote vs. the October Election?

How many voted to recall five NENA board members?

More about Attendance, Verified Members, and Valid Ballot Counts

See the posts below for more about the legal validity of this process and other aspects of how it was organized and conducted…

Watch the Counting LIVE – Saturday 3/20 at 9am (until it’s done)

On Saturday morning, Member Vote organizers will unseal the ballot box, count the paper ballots, and tally the votes for recall of five sitting NENA board members. Monitor this process live, if you want, via Zoom video.

Click here to join Zoom and monitor the unsealing and counting of paper ballots – COMPLETED

Watch the recording of whole counting process, witnessed live by dozens of people.

Simultaneously, other volunteers will be reviewing the online registration video, double-checking names and addresses against those submitted with online ballots. We hope to be able to announce the combined vote counts by the end of the day.