Hello everyone! Welcome to this quarter’s quarterly newsletter!
Elections on Tuesday!
Don’t forget about this year’s elections: 6pm on Tuesday, February 25th at the Community Room of the Central Branch Library. The community room is near the Wisconsin Avenue entrance, and the library’s address is 814 W Wisconsin Ave–located on several bus lines. It should be a pretty short meeting (30 min max) because:
No drama is forcasted for this year’s elections
But that doesn’t mean you should skip the elections!
Despite having 7 nominations last year, this year we only got 3. Since there are 3 open seats, that means all three will win their seat on the board of directors.
But you should still come, for three reasons. First, the vote is invalid unless we reach quorum. Quorum is a set number of members. If fewer members show up than our quorum, then we can’t take a vote. Even though they’re running unopposed, unless enough members are physically present at the meeting, the election can’t actually take place and those three won’t actually be able to take their position on the board!
Second, last month the board passed an amendment to our bylaws. This requires member approval to take effect. So you’ll still get a ballot for an important vote, but it won’t be a vote for people–it will be a decision about the organization.
Third, this is a great chance to meet the directors (not just the 3 nominees, but the other 6 on the board), hear our treasurer’s report, and learn about what we’ve been up to since last year’s elections. Got questions about MCLT? This is the perfect time to ask.
When you arrive on Tuesday, be sure to check in with the secretary to be counted towards quorum and to get your ballot.
If you are eligible for a ballot, you should have received an email with formal meeting notice, including a full agenda. If you did not and believe you should have, let me know at chris@MilwaukeeCLT.org. You must have paid dues in 2019 to vote on Tuesday.
2020 membership dues
Remember that if you want to vote in the 2021 elections, you have to pay your membership dues sometime in 2020. Why not bring $1 to the elections so you’re all set for the year?
If you are not currently a member, you can become one on Tuesday (though you won’t get a ballot until the next vote). Membership dues are $1 per year.
MCLT is a membership organization, and sometimes members need to vote to approve things. If we have to take another vote this year and you have not paid your dues, you will not be able to vote.
So bring us a dollar to pay your 2021 dues. Why not bring a few extra dollars as a donation?
Thanks for considering me for a board member position on the Milwaukee Community Land Trust
(MCLT) Board of Directors. Below is some of my background as well as my views on community land
trusts and community wealth building generally.
I came of age in the 1960s and was heavily influenced by the civil rights and the anti-Viet Nam War
movements. Though these movements to address widespread racism and an immoral were powerful,
they ultimately failed to make the lasting changes needed for a more just society. The reasons for this
failure have become clearer as I navigated community and professional life.
I have worked over the years in the private, public and nonprofit sectors including small businesses,
labor unions, City of Milwaukee, large corporations and community-based organizations. Throughout all
these experiences my focus has been on building effective organizations and engaging both internal and
external audiences to ensure success.
Over the past eight years I served as a community organizer for Common Ground, an outreach specialist
for Milwaukee JobsWork and now as a community wealth building consultant for Walnut Way
Conservation Corp. It is in these three positions that I developed a deeper understanding of why our
society continues to generate so much inequality and related ills. I have come to learn that ineffective
programs or limited funding are not culprits but symptoms of economic and political systems that harm
the most and benefit the few. These systems are designed to control capital, whether monetary,
physical or social assets, in ways have generated historically high levels of inequality, especially among
but not exclusive to African American, Hispanic and Native American populations. If we really want to
address inequality, poverty and racism, we need to change the power dynamic that controls the flows of
That’s why community land trusts (CLTs) and other forms of community wealth building are so
important. As political economist Gar Alperovitz has asked, if we don’t like what corporate capitalism or
state socialism have produced through their control of capital, is there another way? His answer, and
one that I believe, is that one exists and it is based on increasing community ownership of capital that
generates more for the common good. Community land trusts (in addition to cooperatives, social
enterprises, public ownership, etc.) do just that. Through community ownership of land, residents and
neighbors are able to decide what gets built and for whom, and can address, for example, affordable
housing in a meaningful way. CLTs offer a proven way to change the ownership dynamic that has
plagued our economic and political life.
For these reasons, I’d like to help grow CLTs in Milwaukee and the MCLT Board seems like a great place
to do that. I bring a useful set of skills and experiences in building effective organizations and I would
like to apply these to one dedicated to change the way capital, in this case land, is owned and used.
I hope these few words provide an understanding of who I am and what I believe. I am glad to respond
to questions or comments.
Rusty (Russell) Borkin
Thank you for considering me to be a board member with Milwaukee Community Land Trust.
I always consider what I bring to the table to help an organization grow and build communities. Being an assistant with others who lead is important to me.
I believe I bring the experience of living directly in a community that has been lost or disregarded, as well as being a chair member of the Amani United organization which keeps me in contact with residents and their concerns.
I know there is a process that must be adhered to in any situation, but there is also a way to bypass or recreate a process to help our communities, our citizens.
I want to be a part of this board to be a part of the process for growth.
Housing and Economic Development Chair Person Amani United
Entrepreneur: Business and Lifestyle Counselor B.A.D. Blessed Anointed and Destined, LLC
Queen Cuts Renovation and Design (will be registered this year as LLC)