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Re: [ga] Motion for a vote of no confidence in the Board

According to my perception, the support for AtLarge has been so overwhelming 
from the Internet Community that if this cannot be called consensus, very 
few if any of the other recommendations in the whole lifecycle of ICANN 
Two proposals that were even seen as conflictual have merged to ensure that 
this is seen even more as a consensus.
Now your solution is for NC to go back to the drawing board to come up with 
a new "thing". (Incidentally, why only NC for something that trascends the 
domain names competence?)
My question is simple. Supposing that the NC will come up with a consensus 
solution for an AtLarge membership, what is the guarantee that the Board 
will go 180 degrees and accept it? Maybe you have elements that we don't 
know, and then please share them with us, but with all due respect to Philip 
and all the others, including Thomas, I don't see how they can succeed where 
former Prime Minister Bilt has failed. And this, IMHO, not because of lack 
of capacity, competence, expertise, willingness, from their part, but 
because the Board will not take into consideration this proposal, unless 
forced by a superior authority.

My alternative proposal is to accept the fait-accompli and, as a first step, 
to grant the Boardsquatters a lifetlong seat on the Board.
The bad thing is that this proposal stinks, but the good thing is that it is 
likely to be accepted.

Best regards

>From: Mike Roberts <mmr@darwin.ptvy.ca.us>
>To: ga@dnso.org
>CC: Thomas Roessler <roessler@does-not-exist.org>
>Subject: Re: [ga] Motion for a vote of no confidence in the Board
>Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 15:26:47 -0800
>At 10:34 PM +0100 3/19/02, Thomas Roessler wrote:
>>Let's, for a moment, assume that - whatever structure one may come
>>up with for policy-making (which is interesting by itself) - we'll
>>ultimately have a board which can, in reality, ignore input from the
>>policy-making process if it believes that this is the best thing for
>>the corporation.
>>How can such a board be controlled?  What kind of feed-back can be
>>provided to such a board?  There is no market which can operate as a
>>feed-back channel, like in the case of a normal business.  Thus,
>>external feed-back channels have to be added.  The single largest
>>problem with the Lynn proposal is that it _eliminates_ such
>>channels; even more so if even the governmental appointees have to
>>go through the NomComm filter.  All feed-back channels which are
>>left over can be ignored by the board.
>>The problem we should try to address is what such channels should
>>look like: How can the public provide feed-back to ICANN which (1)
>>can't be ignored (like an ombudsman who gives non-binding
>>recommendations), and (2) does not have a possible breakdown of
>>Internet stability as its side-effect (like the introduction of
>>competing roots on the sides of AOL and Microsoft)?
>>Thomas Roessler                          http://log.does-not-exist.org/
>I don't detect support for the Lynn plan from any significant
>stakeholder group thus far, and the Board has bent over backward not
>to endorse the plan.  So let's not assume one way or the other that
>elements of the plan are cast in concrete until the Board actually
>proposes changes to the bylaws and posts them for public comment as
>they are required to do.
>All the significant stakeholders in ICANN are represented in the DNSO
>constituencies and the GA except governments and the other two SO's,
>which are busy developing their own responses to the CEO's proposals
>- assuming that the GA holds something of a proxy for at large until
>there is viable critical mass of an AL organization in being.  So the
>forthcoming NC meetings bring a substantial breadth of experience to
>bear on discussions of restructuring.
>The members of the NC, including Thomas ex officio, have basically
>said they are going to put their day jobs on hold for the next month
>or two in order to work as committee of the whole to come up with a
>constructive, thoughtful response to Stuart's paper.  That is a
>considerable sacrifice.
>With respect to Thomas's specific question above re Director
>representation and accountability, we have three years of experience
>in which nomination, selection and seating of the Directors from the
>names, protocols and address areas has functioned better than one
>might expect from a new, private sector consensus organization with
>worldwide constituencies and responsibilities.  Those who object to
>the politics that have occurred in selecting Directors from one SO or
>another can find much worse versions of democracy in their own
>electoral backyards.  Let's not be in a rush to jettison structures
>that are getting the job done, especially those, such as the DNSO,
>that are showing considerable recent improvement in quality and
>This leaves us with issues related to governments and to individuals.
>The Board, in Accra, faced with implacable refusal of the far right
>and the far left to compromise on public representation, could easily
>have said, "A pox on both your houses, there won't be an At Large
>until the warring factions compromise."  To their credit, they didn't
>do this, they left a door open for an initiative from the community
>that meets the minimum test of "bottom up, self-organizing and
>self-sustaining."  If there are those on this list who are not
>prepared to accept this peace offering for what it is, then I guess
>all there is to say is good luck Don Quixote.
>I spent ten years in Washington from 1987-1996 doing technology
>policy work on behalf of higher education.  I can assure you that
>there is no satisfactory intermediary position between government
>control and government hands off.  No, nada, nyet.   Back in 1997, a
>liberal Democratic President told his Secretary of Commerce,
>"Privatize the DNS."  Does anyone really think a conservative
>Republican President is going to say, "Federalize it." ?  Not as long
>as the sun comes up in the morning in the east.   Does anyone
>seriously think that an ultra-conservative Republican House of
>Representatives, which originates all budget and appropriations bills
>in the American system, is going to appropriate tax payer funds for a
>tax-exempt private company - an unprecedented event - without
>bringing it within the boundaries of the Controlled Corporations
>Act,about which Michael Froomkin has written so extensively?  Which
>trashes the whole concept of a transnational private entity
>exercising quasi-governmental powers under the sufferance of the
>affected governments?
>Stuart needs to be given credit for attempting to find a middle
>ground between direct control by popularly elected governments as  a
>means to represent the public interest, and the present
>unsatisfactory situation.  I personally think that Vint's analogy to
>the IETF nomcom procedure, however worthy as an example of a
>non-electoral accountability mechanism, is completely unworkable as a
>matter of practical political objectives and mechanisms.  IETF nomcom
>works because of the high degree of homogeneity of the IETF
>population.  If ICANN had population demographics even remotely
>resembling the IETF, it would have long since found a compromise on
>At Large and ceased fighting over it.
>Leaving aside for the moment the suggestions about monetizing and
>federalizing the root servers, which are an extremely ill-considered
>insult to a group of the hardest working and most competent
>engineering volunteer professionals in the entire Internet community,
>the only reason for a more prominent role for governments in ICANN is
>to deal with the impasse over At Large.
>If you ask, how have organizations commonly fulfilled a wish or
>obligation to have the public interest represented on their boards,
>the answers (in American corporations) have typically included an
>annual election by members after a nominating process, election by
>the Board itself after a nominating process, and the creation of
>ex-offio seats for representatives of organizations which themselves
>are deemed to fairly represent the public interest.  I have served on
>Boards with all three mechanisms and each is workable.  The quality
>of result depends more on the people involved than on the mechanism.
>So I think, in response to Thomas's question, that the GA needs to
>think carefully about proxy mechanisms to represent the public
>The direct election option is gone, regardless of our individual
>opinions of its fairness, cost, etc.
>Is it through a self-organizing, self supporting group of At Large,
>probably numbering in the thousands, whose franchise is to represent
>the hundreds of millions of users is by virtue of their commitment of
>time and money and interest?
>Is it through assuming that nine Directors from three different SO
>areas will pick good people not of their own constituencies?
>Is it better indeed to support Stuart's suggestion that elected
>legislatures detail their Executives to appoint such people? [Vint
>has observed that this is not exactly what Stuart had in mind, but in
>the grand scheme of things, whatever ICANN's Board may propose,
>governments in their imperial wisdom will dispose.  Let's just assume
>they will make the call the way they wish to.]
>Finally, there is a way to bring all this crashing down on our heads.
>That is to behave in such a way as to destroy the coalition of
>technical, business and public interest leaders who provided the
>political will and support in 1998 to induce the US and other
>governments that the experiment proposed in the White Paper was in
>fact doable and a desirable means of dealing with a difficult
>international problem.  A lot of these people are now on the fence,
>watching the actions of the Board and ICANN's constituent
>organizations.  There is only one message that will give us the
>opportunity to continue to be active in ICANN.  Which is that ICANN
>isn't broken, that it is getting its fundamental job done albeit with
>lots of startup pains, and that the confidence of those who have
>important national security and national economic interests in the
>continued good functioning of the DNS is warranted.
>Let's get to work.
>- Mike
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