CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

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Guillaume Mistwalker
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CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

Post by Guillaume Mistwalker »

Preamble:
The CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund is intended to encourage the cultural development and patrimony of the CDS and its citizens in order to provide a free and open estate for Second Life residents to live in. The fund is intended to reimburse CDS citizens who have been burdened by putting on cultural events, while also respecting the CDS's conventions on transparency and impartiality.


Section 1. Purpose, Organisation, Fund:
1. The CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund is under the control of the Chancellor, pursuant to Article II, Section 2 of the CDS Constitution.
2. Only the Chancellor has the power to dispense public money from the fund, though this provision recognises the Scientific Council's power over ensuring the equitable and fair dispensation of public money from the fund.
3. The Chancellor shall streamline and make public the process for requesting a reimbursement, but shall encourage transparency of the use of funds.
4. The fund shall be comprised of 21,000L per CDS term sequestered in order to be dispensed over the course of the entire term on a first-come, first-serve basis. It is recommended that no more than 3,500L be spent per month.
5. The Chancellor is entitled to request the RA to sequester more money.


Section 2. Specifications for Reimbursement:
1. Any event, project, object, exhibit, concert, program, rally, parade, march, build, et cetera is entitled to be reimbursed, so long as the event, etc.:
a. is open to public attendance and is advertised on public groups and other public communications media.
b. is advertised on the CDS and other related groups significantly but not in a manner which might be considered spam.
c. is preferably held on public land; an event, etc., can be located on private land, but a rationale must be given to the Chancellor.
d. does not exclude any individual except those who are banned in the CDS at large.
e. is not considered obscene or should violate the LL Terms of Service or community standards.
2. Any event, project, object, exhibit, concert, program, rally, parade, march, build, et cetera is entitled to be reimbursed up to 2,000L or 20% of the entire cost of the event, etc., whichever is less; all reimbursements require a detailed line-by-line budget of all expenses related to the reimbursement.
3. No public money from the fund is allowed to be used to pay for tier, any other fees, or transactions related to private land, with the exception of fees associated with advertising an event, etc., through the Destination Guide, the search function, or any other function related to advertisement.
4. Reimbursements are given only after an event has been held.


Section 3. Rights and Public Property:
1. Objects which are used in an event, etc., should be made public property following the event or should be purchased through the CDS Archive; it is encouraged that objects are purchased first from other CDS citizens and vendors before purchasing objects outside of the CDS.
2. Scripts and textures are encouraged to be given to the CDS Archive if they are able to be reused for other purposes, however, in compliance with copyright and licensing restrictions; posters and advertisements related to the event, etc., should be sent to the CDS Archive as a "receipt" of reimbursement.
3. Non-transferable items are objected from the above requirements and are eligible to be reimbursed at the discretion of the Chancellor.
4. It is expected that all items related to a semi-public/semi-private event, etc., should be turned over to the CDS Archive in good faith and in the spirit of this law.


Section 4. Transparency and the Judicious and Equitable Usage of Funds:
1. At the conclusion of each month, the Chancellor should report and make public the transactions deducted from the fund; this function can be delegated to the CDS treasurer.
2. The Chancellor should make public the available public money remaining in the fund.
3. The reimbursement of funds ought to be done in fair and equitable manner while respecting both community standards and private initiative. If an event, etc., is rejected, however, a citizen may request that the Scientific Council or Representative Assembly to ensure that the Chancellor's decision was not arbitrary and capricious.
4. The Chancellor shall not dispense money from the fund in a manner which is contrary to good faith or which may be a conflict of interest, whether real or perceived.
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Re: CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

Post by Bagheera »

I believe Gaius posted this to get a discussion going. Perhaps if I reply with my concerns, playing devil's advocate, citizens will realize this is not a "done deal" and we (the RA) need to hear from you (the citizens) so we may serve you best.

Here are my concerns:

1. Although this legislation has noble intentions, it seems to me to be a solution in search of a problem, in that, even at the public meeting held by Gaius, no attendee expressed any interest in using the funds themselves nor stated any person or scenario they foresaw using the funds under this new system except in the most abstract, theoretical way. Keeping in mind that by attending, these people were the ones at present who cared enough to find out what was going on, that means (to my mind) that those who did not attend are even less interested.

2. Almost every Chancellor since I joined CDS (appx 7 years) has used their authority to reimburse citizens for expenses when those expenses were in the best interests of CDS. Those expenses have been reported out on each monthly expense summary issued by Sudane. This legislation seems to add an additional layer of bureaucracy and arbitrary limitations to something which already exists under the authority of the Chancellor, with minimal benefit to offset the new burdens.

3. This legislation wants to set aside L$21000 per term. When asked at the meeting, Gaius said it would be drawn from CDS Reserves. I am exceptionally hesitant to pass legislation that relies on drawing a set amount of funds from CDS Reserves in each term going forward.

4. This legislation seems to imply that the Chancellor and PIO are the only ones at present who can lead in creating community events in CDS. This is not true, as citizens have always been welcome to discuss with the Chancellor and PIO ideas and collaborate with their own connections to Second Life artists to create events for the CDS community. This legislation appears to me to make it more difficult for citizens to participate, instead of less so. The benefit of having one's event sponsored for up to 20% or L$2000 (which comes to $8 US) seems a pittance against all the extra bureaucracy that comes attached. I don't think anyone is ever going to use it in this form.

The one issue this legislation does address that might be useful is a concern (at this point theoretical as far as I know) that a Chancellor might show favoritism for using CDS funds to sponsor certain types of events over others. I haven't seen this as an issue in the past, but if it were a concern - I'd be supportive of suggesting each Chancellor report at the beginning of their term how they intend to support citizen participation as part of their budget and perhaps creating a new area of grievance to the SC to ensure no inappropriate bias has come into play.

Okay. Please share your thoughts. It is the only way, as your Representatives, that we can do our best for you. Thank you.
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Re: CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

Post by Coop »

Succinctly said, it looks like a legislative means to complicate a process that has low participation as-is, and a way to bureaucratize something that should be much simpler.

What I'd like to see is a simple event form set up, with instructions on who to ask about using public facilities and who to contact for help in advertising and running the event. What I'd like to avoid is making more rules and more complex rules that may not have the desired effect.
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Re: CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

Post by Pip Torok »

Coop wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:38 pm Succinctly said, it looks like a legislative means to complicate a process that has low participation as-is, and a way to bureaucratize something that should be much simpler.

What I'd like to see is a simple event form set up, with instructions on who to ask about using public facilities and who to contact for help in advertising and running the event. What I'd like to avoid is making more rules and more complex rules that may not have the desired effect.
I agree with Coop, with one proviso ... that I feel sure that more complex rules will blunt the intention, especially this one intention, which I otherwise would have supported.


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Re: CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

Post by Sudane Erato »

I agree with Bags, Coop and Pip. The motivation here is excellent... we SHOULD be doing everything we can to support and encourage citizens to sponsor activities which build our community. But having such a codified legal structure doesn't really feel like a support.

I am particularly concerned by Bags' comment..
Bagheera wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:56 am3. This legislation wants to set aside L$21000 per term. When asked at the meeting, Gaius said it would be drawn from CDS Reserves. I am exceptionally hesitant to pass legislation that relies on drawing a set amount of funds from CDS Reserves in each term going forward.
I totally agree. The Reserves are NOT a proper source of any kind of "regular program funding". The Reserves are our stability and security, ensuring our ability to respond to the inevitable ups and downs of life. They are intelligently used for funds in crises, or emergencies, or when unique opportunities present themselves which enable long-term benefits, such as the recent purchase of a status that causes lower monthly tier rates. Yes, if important funding causes a projection for temporary planned deficits, such as a project like this might do (if it were advisable), then its true that our ability to run a deficit is caused by our having those Reserves. But this must be temporary... it is extremely important that we focus all our financial efforts at balanced budgets.

But all that is an aside from the merits or lack thereof of this proposed bill. Yes... let's definitely devise ways to support citizen-generated activities. But this doesn't feel like a good way.


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Re: CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

Post by Tanoujin Milestone »

This is surely a well written bill and I appreciate the effort that has flown into it. Nevertheless, I am afraid it is missing its target. The incentive to hold an event that would otherwise not be held is just too small. Either I hold it anyway, or I want 15 Euro per work hour, expenses included... we surely can never afford this kind of "bought" events but are dependend on voluntary work. Government grants do not change the situation here.
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Re: CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

Post by Widget Whiteberry »

I agree with all the responses. In addition, having read the Dec 22 discussion transcript through a few times, I still don't know what makes an event both private and eligible for public funds. And not a public event. A number of factors that might contribute to a clear definition were raised, but they don't really define 'private' sufficiently to distinguish private from public. Before listing those comments, here's what I think I know about public and private events in CDS:

If memory serves, public events are produced in whole or part by the Chancellor's Office. The idea for an event originates with the Chancellor or the Chancellor's team, sometimes born of conversations among the Chancellor's team and one or more citizens. All citizens and friends are invited. These events are held on common land. Expenses are paid through the Chancellor's budget and purchased items are held in the CDS Archie account. Citizens may be recruited by the Chancellor or PIO to help with production, promotion and other activities related to making the event a success.

Sometimes the idea originates with a citizen who pitches it to the Chancellor and helps with some aspects of production, etc.

Private events are held largely on private parcels. (Although Tor notes that "all CDS citizens get community support in the form of use of public buildings and spaces for events." Citizens and friends of CDS are often invited, but sometimes the venue is small and the guest list is short and specific. Costs are born by the hosts, who may secure underwriting or donations of goods and services from others. A third category might be described as spontaneous events where people gather to visit.

Now, back to what I gleaned from the Dec 22 transcript about the nature of private events supported in part from public funds:
  • Tor: it would need to be open to 'the public'
    it could be held on common land.
    Rosie and Gaius: items paid for with CDS funds should belong to Archie and shared to the LV group, making them available to all.
    Tor: The intention is to encourage people to have events which they would be responsible for.
I have no trouble with increasing funds available to the Chancellor for CDS events.

The full transcript is here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7871
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Re: CDS Citizens' Cultural Fund Bill

Post by Guillaume Mistwalker »

In response to criticism and to many statements that this proposal is superfluous, I am tabling my proposal.
Gaius Nebuliens Curio (Guillaume Mistwalker)
si enim pecunias aequari non placet, si ingenia omnium paria esse non possunt, iura certe paria debent esse eorum inter se, qui sunt cives in eadem re publica. (Cic. De Rep. 1.32.49)
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