June 2019 General Meeting Minutes

Meeting Date

Thursday, June 6, 2019 8:00-9:30pm, RCA Civic Green

Call to order

The meeting was called to order at 7:45 pm. Brian Hooker provided a brief overview of tonight’s agenda, which includes RCA elections, the Echo newsletter, MusicFest lessons learned, RCA Civic Green ground rules, insurance policy, and standard business. Jared Solomon, one of our representatives to the Maryland House of Delegates, joined the meeting.

New Business


Chad Salganik brought up the topic of RCA elections. We were not sure, but believed that all positions except for two Directors and Treasurer were up for ballot. Chad noted that he will be unable to be RCA President due to commitments outside his RCA duties. Colby said that he will be busy in the fall in graduate school. Brian motioned to do nominations in the Echo and hold elections in the fall. The motion was seconded by many and passed unanimously.

MusicFest Lessons Learned

Josh Silverstein called for feedback and lessons learned from MusicFest on May 18. For example, some people were unaware that the RCA rented a Portajohn for the event with the help of a grant from Montgomery County. Though Brian Hooker made several announcements during MusicFest, some attendees may have not heard these announcements. We suggested a sign in the future. Mara Greengrass noted that we need a recycling bin for bottles and cans consumed during events. Additionally, we need to be good neighbors and make sure that people are not using local businesses’ dumpsters or other facilities.

Brian asked whether we did a good job of promotion. There was consensus that we did because of the good turnout. Chad Salganik recommended that the RCA have a presence for membership and awareness when people walk up to an event. Brian summarized that we need a checklist and offered to draft one. Items mentioned for this checklist include: restroom sign, flags for along Boiling Brook Parkway, bocce set, and tempera paint or duct tape for a temporary crosswalk across the apron of the Shopping Center.

This conversation evolved into a discussion about membership, including going on foot this summer and phone banking. Brian noted that we already discussed that the membership drive should end in the spring and not continue into the summer. One neighbor mentioned his background in fundraising and that publishing members’ names in the Echo would help. Chad mentioned that he and Ken Kopczyk looked for a membership management software system last fall, but did not finalize any plans.

There was a discussion about a potential sign that could be used as a cover over the new deck at the RCA Civic Green. Regardless of what happens, Allen Kronstadt will request drawings. We also discussed a potential mural at the site. The Randolph Civic Foundation has funding that we may be able to use.

Ground Rules for the Civic Green

There was a discussion that we need a process and basic ground rules for the use of the RCA Civic Green. For example, we may consider whether groups beyond a certain number of people should contact info@randolphcivic.org before hosting an event there. We are not trying to be prescriptive. We want fair use to be ensured and consistent with Allen Kronstadt’s rules. We agreed that the objective is to write general guidelines that both the RCA Executive Board and Allen agreed upon. Josh Silverstein was assigned this task.

Insurance Discussion

Colby Prevost stated that Erie Insurance emailed him a list of businesses where the RCA hold events. These businesses include DOT Traffic Ops, Randolph Hills Shopping Center, and Loehmann’s Plaza. There was a question about whether the RCA Civic Green should be included. Yes, we should ensure that the RCA Civic Green is on this insurance policy.

Echo Photo Quality and Community Education Strategy

This meeting had two agenda items regarding photo quality of the Echo and to compare the pros and cons of a printed vs. online Echo newsletter. These discussions were merged into one. Matt Tifford got a quote from our printing house. He said that an advertiser recently complained about the print quality of her advertisement. Matt said that it would be $200-300 more per issue to get digital printing done.

The conversation broadened to a discussion of whether the Echo should reduce its physical footprint. He said that the RCA spends approximately $10,000 per year to send a printed Echo to RCAland. Our advertisers only provide $5,000 of this, meaning that members cover 50% of the Echo’s cost. That translates to approximately 80% of member dues going towards Echo production. There was a discussion about whether people actually know when their Echo arrives. There was a split between meeting attendees on this issue.

Colby’s point was that although Echo readership is debatable, the community is attending our events and we could educate our constituency about issues at these events. He recommended one agenda item to inform people of an issue during an event. Another idea was to have a one-page print version of the Echo sent out five times per year along with two large print issues. Colby handed out a pro/con list. The pros of continuing with a paper footprint is that it is an outward sign of RCA’s efforts to inform the community, it is beneficial for advertisers, it gives the RCA credibility, can be read anywhere, and is accessible. His cons included wasted paper and money, events can be announced late, the Echo is a high percentage of member dues, and we cannot measure community engagement.

Chad spoke up and said that the community still calls when the Echo newsletter does not arrive. From his perspective, the Echo is an institution in the community. The RCA has already reduced the number of issues per year in comparison to the past. New people may be unaware of the RCA’s existence without a mailed Echo. Chad also said that more events per year would be difficult. Christiana Drapkin brought up the survey results from Better Block and whether we could get real data about Echo readership. Unfortunately, NextDoor events cannot be pinned and fall below the top level quickly. Christiana also said she doesn’t typically see the RCA’s social media presence.

There was a discussion about how to reach the community. For example, the RCA has an email distribution list, but that only represents neighbors who were members of the RCA. One neighbor asked whether the RCA sends business reply envelopes with the Echo. Yes, we do once per year when we include the membership form.

Moving back to the Echo, we agreed that optimizing the level of print for the Echo would help the RCA better use its resources. This includes checking for how many print vs. electronic issues should be done per year and how much pages per print issue. Matt Tifford mentioned that the Every Door Direct mailing option is a flat fee. The Board agreed to revisit this issue in the fall.

Standard Business and Reports

Committee Chair Reports


Brian Hooker asked whether anyone saw any e-scooters since Montgomery County’s pilot began. No one has seen one yet that attended the meeting.

RCA Meeting Adjournment

Chad moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by many and passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:53 pm.