Shirley Johnson’s July Newsletter

Dear SF Bicycle Coalition Member,

Thanks for reading my newsletter. I intend to keep you updated on San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) governance and other items of interest. Views in this communication are my own and do not represent the views of the SFBC.

In this newsletter:

  1. Meet-and-greet before the next SFBC board meeting on Tuesday, July 26
  2. Fair Elections Party on July 7 showed how well ranked choice voting works
  3. Mid-year update on my campaign promises
  4. Bike Talks: ‘Growing our Movement’ on August 16
  5. SFBC board contact information and 2016 meeting calendar
  6. Share this newsletter

1. Meet-and-greet before the next SFBC board meeting on Tuesday, July 26
If you’re thinking about running for the SFBC board, this is your chance to meet board members and ask questions, then stay to observe the board meeting that immediately follows.

All members are invited to attend the board meeting. Read the agenda here. Of particular interest is a discussion of ranked choice voting and the upcoming board election process.

Date: Tuesday, July 26
Meet-and-greet: 5:30 – 6:30pm
Board meeting: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia

If you are considering running for the board, please read about board service here. August 22 is the deadline to declare interest as a candidate for this year’s board election. I’d be happy to talk with you about being on the board. Please reply to this email.

2. Fair Elections Party on July 7 showed how well ranked choice voting works
On July 7, the Members’ Election Committee, led by long-term member and former board member Peggy da Silva, held a fun and educational event about ranked choice voting (RCV). There was a mock election that showed how well RCV could work for SFBC board elections. Watch an animated video about RCV (also called single transferable vote) to learn how RCV keeps voters happy.

To make the SFBC board election more fair, the Members’ Election Committee is recommending RCV and no board-endorsed slate. I fully support both of these recommendations. Please take a moment to let the board know how you feel about the committee’s recommendations by emailing board@sfbike.org.

3. Mid-year update on my campaign promises
When I ran for the SFBC board last year, I ran on the Save SF Bike platform. Some of our campaign promises have been implemented, but we’re still working on others (only two Save SF Bike candidates are on the board). Here’s a mid-year update.

Preserve member voting rights – check!
There will be a board election this year! As you may recall, the board attempted to change the bylaws to abolish member voting rights in 2015, but the bylaw vote was rescinded due to non-compliance with California law. The board decided not to rerun the bylaw vote this year, so member rights are still intact.

Disclose results of member votes on board elections – check!
Staff did an outstanding job explaining how votes were tabulated in the 2015 board election.

Post board meeting minutes – check!
Board meeting minutes are now posted on the SFBC’s web site. In addition, board members with dissenting votes are permitted to write a summary of their opinions to attach to the minutes.

Encourage member input – check!
Members can provide input to the board at board@sfbike.org. Last year there was no posted address for the full board, only the board president.

Reinstate member-led initiatives – check!
The BIKES ONboard project (canceled by the SFBC in 2015) has been reinstated with expanded scope as the Caltrain Member Committee with a new member-leader, Cat Young. To join the conversation, sign up for the committee’s google group.

Some Areas for Further Improvement
(a) Avoid indiscriminate use of closed session at board meetings
I believe that closed session should be used only for discussing personnel issues or litigation. All other items should be conducted in open session with members in attendance. At the June board meeting, the Board Development Committee report was entirely in closed session, despite my request that non-confidential items (in particular the discussion of the upcoming board election process) be conducted in open session.

(b) Enable substantive member comment at board meetings
I have requested that member comment be moved to the beginning of the board meeting and members be allowed to comment on any actionable item on the agenda. Unfortunately, member comment remains at the end of the board meeting.

(c) Include board members’ names with votes in board meeting minutes
I believe that board members’ names should be included with their votes for transparency. The board discussed this at the board meeting in March, but the topic was tabled. Unfortunately, the meeting minutes typically still do not include names with votes.

(d) Follow the bylaws
SFBC has bylaws that must be followed for better operations and to abide by California law. Exploiting gray areas or pushing limits leads to confusion, member dissatisfaction, and puts the organization at legal risk. Two instances this year that reasonably could be considered inconsistent with the bylaws are (1) seating (not appointing) three candidates to vacancies in January, and (2) a board member announcing his resignation in April and his ‘un-resignation’ in June.

(e) Implement term limits
Proposed term limits are three two-year terms (six years total), then one year break, then the ability to serve another six years. The Internal Revenue Service favors term limits for nonprofits and 70% of nonprofits have term limits according to BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index 2010. Currently the SFBC has no term limits and a couple board members have served over a decade.

4. Bike Talks: ‘Growing our Movement’ on August 16
Come to a Bike Talk and panel discussion to discuss the sustainability of the bicycle advocacy movement and how to expand beyond our current area of influence. Panel members include:

Lateefah Simon – Program Director of the Rosenberg Foundation and candidate for the BART board
Tamika Butler – Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
Renee Rivera – Executive Director of Bike East Bay

Tuesday, August 16 @ 6:00 – 8:30pm
Sports Basement in the grotto
1590 Bryant Street, San Francisco
RSVP requested.

5. SFBC board contact information and 2016 meeting calendar
You can contact the board at board@sfbike.org. Below are dates for the SFBC board meetings remaining in 2016, all starting at 6:30pm at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia Street:

Tuesday, July 26
Tuesday, August 30
Tuesday, September 27
Tuesday, October 25
Tuesday, November 29
No December meeting

6. Share this newsletter
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others. Anyone can join my email list. I am always happy to hear from members and I am interested in your input.

Happy pedaling,
Shirley Johnson
SFBC board member

7/7: Fair Elections Member Participation Party

How can we make our board elections even more open and fair? This is the question that long-time member and former board member Peggy da Silva set out to solve when she established her Member’s Committee for Fair SFBC Elections earlier this year.
 
Curious to learn what the committee learned so far? Join them and fellow members this Thursday at the Fair Elections Member Participation Party, a fun and educational event at the Bryant Street Sports Basement Grotto. There will be refreshments, a short video on how ranked choice voting (RCV) can make elections fairer and the chance to ask questions from experts about elections and running for the board.
 
Sports Basement Grotto
1590 Bryant Street
Thursday, July 7 6:30-8:30PM
 
This is your chance to mingle with fellow members who want a more powerful Bike Coalition that can drive positive change in our city for better biking. RSVPs requested. BYOB. Indoor bike parking. 
 
The work that began last year to make our SF Bicycle Coalition a more powerful and democratic organization continues. We hope to see you this Thursday!

Shirley Johnson’s June Newsletter

Dear SF Bicycle Coalition Member,

Thanks for reading my newsletter. I intend to keep you updated on San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) governance and other items of interest. Views in this communication are my own and do not represent the views of the SFBC.

In this newsletter:

  1. Requesting your input
  2. Next SFBC board meeting is Tuesday, June 28
  3. Fair Elections Member Participation Party on July 7
  4. Save the date: August 16 panel discussion
  5. Board hires new executive director
  6. SFBC board contact information and 2016 meeting calendar
  7. Share this newsletter

1. Requesting your input
The board is discussing the board vacancy and the upcoming board election, but has made no decisions. Please send your input to board@sfbike.org on the following recommendations from the member elections committee led by long-time member and former board member Peggy da Silva:

  1. Honor the member vote and appoint Jeremy Pollock, the next highest vote-getter from the 2015 election, to the vacancy on the board.
  2. Use multi-winner ranked choice voting for the board election for better representation of voters.
  3. Instead of a board-endorsed slate, create a matrix of skills, affiliations, and demographics and allow candidates to fill in the matrix; voters can then easily compare candidates.

2. Next SFBC board meeting is Tuesday, June 28
The next board meeting is 6:30pm, Tuesday, June 28 at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia. Members are invited to attend. Read the agenda here.

3. Fair Elections Member Participation Party on July 7
Party with Purpose! Connect with other SFBC members and show your support for more fair and transparent SFBC board elections by coming to the Fair Elections Member Participation Party!

Thursday, July 7 @ 6:30-8:30pm
Sports Basement – grotto (lower level), 1590 Bryant St
San Francisco

  • Animated video on ranked choice voting (RCV)
  • Q&A with an RCV expert
  • Vote in a mock election; see how RCV really works
  • Refreshments served, BYOB
  • Indoor bike parking
  • Free entry

RSVPs requested. And do share with fellow members! Hosted by the member elections committee led by Peggy da Silva.

4. Save the date: August 16 for panel discussion
The SFBC will host a panel discussion the evening of August 16 featuring Lateefah Simon (BART board candidate), Tamika Butler (executive director of the LA County Bicycle Coalition) and Renee Rivera (executive director of Bike East Bay). Details to come. Save the date!

5. Board hires new executive director
Please welcome Brian Wiedenmeier as the new executive director of the SFBC! Read more about Brian here.

6. SFBC board contact information and 2016 meeting calendar
You can contact the full board at board@sfbike.org. Below are dates for SFBC board meetings remaining in 2016, all starting at 6:30pm at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia Street:

Tuesday, June 28
Tuesday, July 26
Tuesday, August 30
Tuesday, September 27
Tuesday, October 25
Tuesday, November 29
No December meeting

7. Share this newsletter
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others. Anyone can join my email list. I am always happy to hear from members and I am interested in your input.

Happy pedaling,
Shirley Johnson
SFBC board member

Shirley Johnson’s May Newsletter

Dear SF Bicycle Coalition Member,

Thanks for reading my newsletter. I intend to keep you updated on San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) governance and other items of interest. Views in this communication are my own and do not represent the views of the SFBC.

In this newsletter:

  1. Next SFBC board meeting is Tuesday, May 24
  2. Board vacancy
  3. Recommendations from member elections committee
  4. Next member elections committee is June 9
  5. SFBC board contact information and 2016 meeting calendar
  6. Share this newsletter


1. Next SFBC board meeting is Tuesday, May 24
The next board meeting is 6:30pm, Tuesday, May 24 at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia. Members are invited to attend. The meeting agenda includes the following items of particular interest:

  • Member survey results presented by staff
  • Proposal for the 2016 board election process and timeline from the board development committee

2. Board vacancy
Board member Andy Toebben is moving to the east coast and will vacate his position on the board. See below for a recommendation for filling this vacancy.

3. Recommendations from the member elections committee
The member elections committee has made three recommendations, all of which I fully support:

  1. Appoint the next highest vote-getter from the 2015 election to the vacancy on the board, in alignment with the precedent the board has set for filling vacancies. In the 2015 election, only four candidates received the required majority of votes to be elected, leaving three vacancies on the board. The board filled the vacancies by seating the 5th through 7th place candidates, setting a precedent that vacancies are filled by the next highest vote-getters from the past election. The next highest vote-getter from the 2015 election is Jeremy Pollock, who was only 26 votes behind the 7th place candidate.
  2. Replace the bylaws requirement that board candidates must receive a majority of votes to be elected, because this requirement is inappopropriate for contested elections. Instead use multi-winner ranked choice voting, which will properly elect the correct number of candidates and will provide better representation of voters.
  3. Eliminate formal board endorsements and do not create a board slate for board elections. A board-endorsed slate sets up an unfair advantage to endorsed candidates, which can cause other candidates to form opposing slates, leading to a contentious election. Instead of a board-endorsed slate, the committee recommends producing a matrix to show the demographics and skills of the seven directors whose terms are not ending. This matrix will reveal board needs, which can be publicized to encourage interested members to run for the board.

4. Next member elections committee is June 9
The member elections committee, chaired by Peggy da Silva, a long-time SFBC member, is an action-oriented group working to improve SFBC board elections. You are invited to attend the next meeting of the member elections committee to be held at 7pm, Thursday, June 9. For meeting location and more information, please contact Peggy da Silva at silvap@sonic.net.

5. SFBC board contact information and 2016 meeting calendar
You can contact the full board at board@sfbike.org. Below are dates for SFBC board meetings remaining in 2016, all starting at 6:30pm at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia Street:
Tuesday, May 24
Tuesday, June 28
Tuesday, July 26
Tuesday, August 30
Tuesday, September 27
Tuesday, October 25
Tuesday, November 29
No December meeting

6. Share this newsletter
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others. Anyone can join my email list. I am always happy to hear from members and I am interested in your input.

Happy pedaling,
Shirley Johnson
SFBC board member

Shirley Johnson’s April Newsletter

Dear SF Bicycle Coalition Member,

Thanks for reading my newsletter. I intend to keep you updated on San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) governance and other items of interest. Views in this communication are my own and do not represent the views of the SFBC.

In this newsletter:

  1. Next SFBC board meeting is Tuesday, April 26
  2. Brief summary of SFBC board meeting held March 22
  3. Next member elections committee is May 9
  4. Bikes On Board reinstated
  5. SFBC board meeting 2016 calendar
  6. Share this newsletter

 
1. Next SFBC board meeting is Tuesday, April 26
The next board meeting is 6:30pm, Tuesday, April 26 at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia. Members are invited to attend. The meeting agenda includes updates from three committees: fundraising, board development, and personnel. Of particular interest:

  • The board development committee will present a proposal for the 2016 board election process. If you are interested in running for the board, this would be a good meeting to attend.
  • There will be interview training in preparation for the board interviewing candidates for executive director. Our board president in a human resources professional, and she’ll lead the training. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to be an effective interviewer or get a refresher, here’s your opportunity.

2. Brief summary of board meeting held March 22
Concern about privacy questions in the member survey
The biennial member survey was conducted in March, and the board saw the survey for the first time when it was released to the membership. The board received 14 emails from members expressing concern about two privacy questions in the survey. Margaret McCarthy, interim executive director, said that staff’s intention with the privacy questions was to gather information on member communication preferences. While member communication is in staff’s purview, privacy was the stated reason for the bylaw vote last summer that would have removed member voting rights. The board advised caution in the future, because privacy and voting rights are tied together and discussion of one without the other can seem disingenuous.

Discussion of whether to include names with votes
At my request, the board discussed whether names should be included with votes in the meeting minutes. While there is no legal requirement, best practice is to include names with votes, something I fully support. Some directors said it is beneficial to associate names with votes, but others expressed concern that names attached with votes could cause directors to change their votes, or directors dissenting from the majority could be targeted for harassment. The topic was tabled. During the member comment period at the end of the meeting, four members requested that names be included with votes for transparency.

Communication improvements to be part of strategic planning
The SFBC’s five-year strategic plan will be updated the second half of 2016. One of the topics to be discussed is communication, including ways for members to communicate with each other. I’m hopeful that this can lead to better infrastructure to enable greater transparency and better communication among members, staff, and board.

3. Next member elections committee is May 9
The member elections committee, chaired by Peggy da Silva, a long-time SFBC member, is going strong. The committee has made a recommendation to use ranked choice voting for SFBC board elections and I’ll be bringing this recommendation to the SFBC governance committee for consideration. You are invited to attend the next meeting of the member elections committee to be held at 7pm, Monday, May 9 at Centro del Pueblo, 474 Valencia St at 16th St in the Mission. For more information, please contact Peggy da Silva at silvap@sonic.net.

4. Bikes On Board reinstated
I’m happy to report that the SFBC has reinstated the member-led Bikes On Board campaign. The kick-off meeting was April 11 and Cat Young is taking over as the new member-volunteer leader. Janice Li, advocacy director, will resume her role as staff liaison. Kudos to Janice for reinstating the Bikes On Board campaign! If you would like to get involved, you can sign up here.

5. SFBC board meeting 2016 calendar
Below are dates for SFBC board meetings remaining in 2016, all starting at 6:30pm at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia:
Tuesday, May 24
Tuesday, June 28
Tuesday, July 26
Tuesday, August 30
Tuesday, September 27
Tuesday, October 25
Tuesday, November 29
No December meeting

6. Share this newsletter
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others. Anyone can join my email list. I am always happy to hear from members and I am interested in your input.

Happy pedaling,
Shirley Johnson
SFBC board member

3/22 SFBC Board meeting: member survey and board transparency

This Tuesday, March 22nd is the monthly meeting of the SF Bike Coalition Board of Directors.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
6:30 – 8:30 pm
SFBC HQ, 1720 Market Street at Valencia
The Agenda is posted here.

In particular, we are interested in two items on the agenda:

  1. Discussion on the Member Survey questions on privacy
  2. Vote on disclosing board votes in meeting minutes

If you’re free Tuesday evening, please join us to speak about these issues, or you can email your comments to the board at board@sfbike.org.

1. Discussion on the Member Survey questions on privacy

Thanks to all of you who contacted the board to express your concerns about the Member Survey. It looks like we got their attention! The board will be discussing the two questions that we are concerned could be used to support efforts to rerun the bylaw vote to eliminate member elections of the Board of Directors. We have heard from several board members that they were not aware of these questions before the survey went out, and that the survey questions were all written by staff.

Since our last email, the Board has posted a blog post that says they will not call for a vote on member voting rights in 2016!

We will be attending the Board meeting to say the following:

  • Thank them for their decision not to rerun bylaw vote this year,
  • Ask them to delete the two controversial questions from the member survey,
  • And ask them to conduct a separate process to review the many pending questions about SFBC’s governance and elections.

2. Vote on disclosing board votes in meeting minutes

Board member Shirley Johnson has proposed that the meeting minutes indicate which board members voted for and against items when there are split votes. We’re surprised to learn that this isn’t already the case, and it seems strange that this even needs to be debated! But hopefully this will be another step forward in enacting Save SF Bike’s platform of improving transparency and rebuilding trust in the SFBC board.

Shirley Johnson’s March Newsletter

Dear SF Bicycle Coalition Member,

Thanks for reading my newsletter. I intend to keep you updated on San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) governance and other items of interest. Views in this communication are my own and do not represent the views of the SFBC.

In this newsletter:

  1. Next SFBC board meeting is Tuesday, March 22
  2. Improvements in board communications
  3. SFBC will hold democratic board elections in 2016
  4. Applications for executive director being accepted through April 15
  5. Update on the member elections committee
  6. Caltrain to celebrate 3rd bike car on Bombardier trains on April 4
  7. SFBC board meeting 2016 calendar
  8. Share this newsletter

1. Next SFBC board meeting is Tuesday, March 22
The next board meeting is 6:30pm, Tuesday, March 22 at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia. Members are invited to attend. The meeting agenda contains three items on which the board will vote:

  1. Proposed leadership forum – A board mixer for local non-profit boards followed by a panel discussion open to the public on April 14 titled “Leadership for a Sustainable Movement” featuring Renee Rivera (Executive Director of Bike East Bay), Tamika Butler (Executive Director of Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition), and Jeremy Madsen (CEO of Greenbelt Alliance). This proposed forum stems from a discussion I had with Tamika Butler, an amazing and inspirational leader, and is being organized by a subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Committee, which I chair.
  2. The 2016 budget
  3. Whether to record names with votes in meeting minutes – The board discussed this at last meeting but came to no conclusion. I maintain that board votes are public and should be shared with all members through the meeting minutes, not just with those who attended the meeting.

2. Improvements in board communications
Improvement #1: In the past, there was no way for members to contact the full board. I’m happy to report that you are now able to send an email to board@sfbike.org that will become part of the full board’s correspondence packet.

Improvement #2: If a board member dissents on a vote, the option is available to create an attachment to the minutes explaining the issue in more depth including pro and con arguments, as was was done in the January board meeting minutes.

Improvement #3: The board has agreed to create blog posts as necessary to communicate any significant items to the membership (see next item).

3. SFBC will hold democratic board elections in 2016
In case you’ve not seen it, the SFBC board’s blog post of March 16 titled “A big year ahead for the SF Bicycle Coalition board” has some important information. I’d like to draw you attention to the last paragraph in particular:

Finally, it should also be noted that the board may review the bylaws and make some small improvements or clarifications in 2016. However, the board will not ask the members to vote on membership voting rights or member privacy in 2016.

This means the SFBC will hold democratic elections for the board in 2016! If you are interested in running for the board, I’d be happy to talk with you about it. Please reply to this email.

4. Applications for executive director being accepted through April 15
The job announcement for the executive director is posted. Please reach out to your networks and let interested candidates know that applications are due April 15.

5. Update on member elections committee
The member elections committee, chaired by Peggy da Silva, a long-time SFBC member, held its kick-off meeting in early March. The committee’s goal is to improve democratic SFBC board elections. I attended the kick-off meeting and David Cary, an elections expert from Californians for Electoral Reform, shared his fascinating analysis of the recent SFBC board election. The member elections committee’s next meeting is April 5. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Peggy da Silva at silvap@sonic.net.

6. Caltrain to celebrate 3rd bike car on Bombardier trains on April 4
As many of you know, I led SFBC’s BIKES ONboard project from 2008 to 2015. We set a goal in 2008 of 80 bikes per train. It took much longer than we had hoped, but I’m excited that the goal is finally being realized! Caltrain and its Bicycle Advisory Committee will be hosting an event to celebrate the addition of a third bike car to its Bombardier train sets, increasing onboard bike capacity from 48 bikes to 72 bikes. (Gallery trains already hold 80 bikes and we consider 72 bikes on Bombardier trains close enough to claim success.) You can RSVP here.

Event time: 8-9am, Monday, April 4
Location: 4th & King Caltrain station

7. SFBC board meeting 2016 calendar
Dates have been finalized for SFBC board meetings in 2016, all starting at 6:30pm at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia:
Tuesday, April 26
Tuesday, May 24
Tuesday, June 28
Tuesday, July 26
Tuesday, August 30
Tuesday, September 27
Tuesday, October 25
Tuesday, November 29
No December meeting

8. Share this newsletter
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others. Anyone can join my email list. I am always happy to hear from members and I am interested in your input.

Happy pedaling,
Shirley Johnson
SFBC board member

SFBC Member Survey continues misleading view of member rights

UPDATE, MARCH 16: Several SFBC board members have told us that they were not aware of these questions before the survey went out, and that the survey questions were all written by staff. We expect there will be a discussion of this issue at the upcoming board meeting on Tuesday, March 22nd. Please mark your calendars!

ORIGINAL POST: The SF Bike Coalition is conducting its 2016 Member Survey. The SFBC says it’s the “biggest way we get feedback on all of our efforts, including: member services, programs and advocacy efforts.” However, this year’s survey includes two questions about organizational governance:

21. How comfortable are you with having your contact information (home address and email) shared with another member to communicate with you about organizational business?
22. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement, “I would like to be contacted directly via email by other SF Bicycle Coalition members regarding organizational matters.”

We are disappointed that this represents a missed opportunity to gather meaningful input from members on how to address the important unresolved issues surrounding governance of the SFBC.

What’s missing?

  • The survey makes no mention of the fact that the only way to fully prevent members from communicating with fellow members is to eliminate our right to vote for the Board of Directors.
  • The survey doesn’t ask member’s opinion if the board of directors should be elected by members or appointed by the current board.
  • The survey doesn’t ask member’s opinion on creating a class of non-voting members for members who are concerned about their privacy
  • (We could go on, but we’ll spare you for now. We’ve collected a long list of questions about SFBC’s bylaws and governance since this saga started last July!)

Essentially, they ask the same question twice with slightly different wording! We’ve heard concerns from a number of members that this appears to be a rehashing last year’s deceptive bylaws vote to eliminate member voting rights. We’re concerned that the results from these one-sided questions could be used to support efforts to rerun the bylaw vote to eliminate member elections of the Board of Directors.

For the last nine months we have been saying that member voting rights are important to us, and before we make any changes to that, we need to have an open and honest conversation about governance of the Bike Coalition. These one-sided questions are a missed opportunity for beginning that conversation and once again make us suspicious of the SFBC’s intentions.

What can you do?

If you agree with us, please write a quick email to membership@sfbike.org and board@sfbike.org to ask that these two questions on member privacy be removed from the Member Survey.

More information on the Member Survey is posted on the SFBC’s blog. You should have received a personalized link to the survey in the Biker Bulletin. If you didn’t receive it, you can email membership@sfbike.org and ask for a link.

Shirley Johnson’s February Newsletter

Dear SF Bicycle Coalition Member,

Thank you for joining my mailing list! I intend to keep you updated on San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) board matters and alert you to ways you can provide input. Views in this communication are my own and do not represent the views of the SFBC.

In this newsletter:

  1. Next SFBC board meeting is February 23
  2. Outcome of SFBC board meeting held January 26
  3. Members organizing to improve SFBC election process
  4. Save SF Bike happy hour March 1

1. Next SFBC board meeting is February 23
The next board meeting is 6:30pm, Tuesday, February 23 at the SFBC office, 720 Market Street at Valencia. Members are invited to attend.

2. Outcome of SFBC board meeting held January 26

  1. Board seats 5th through 7th place candidates
  2. Board composition
  3. No verification for recent board election
  4. Bylaws will be reviewed and changes recommended
  5. Officers and committee chairs approved
  6. Board improves transparency in meeting minutes

a. Board seats 5th through 7th place candidates

The bylaws require candidates to receive approval by a majority of the returned ballots to be elected to the board. The 5th through 7th place candidates did not win a majority, creating three vacancies on the board. According to the bylaws, vacancies can be filled either by the board though appointment or by the members through special election. I’ve copied the relevant excerpts from the bylaws at the bottom of this email.

The board voted on a resolution to seat the 5th through 7th place candidates and in the event of a legal challenge to then appoint these same candidates. The vote was 10 for and one against (the 5th through 7th place candidates were not allowed to vote). I was the sole vote against this resolution.

My position at the board meeting was that the 5th through 7th place candidates should be appointed, as allowed per the bylaws. While a special election was an option that I would also support in principle, I was concerned about the staff time required to administer an election and the delay in filling all board seats. Furthermore, the 5th through 7th place candidates were voted on by the members, reflecting members’ support of these candidates.

I am pleased that the draft meeting minutes contain a discussion of the issue including both supporting and dissenting opinions. The minutes will be approved at the February 23 board meeting.

b. Board composition
After the 5th through 7th place candidates were seated, the board composition is as follows:
– Seven incumbents completing the second half of their two-year terms
– One person appointed by the sitting board in December 2015
– Five people from the LoveSFBC slate, three of whom served on the board last year
– Two people from the Save SF Bike slate (I am one of these)

c. No vote verification for recent board election
The board considered the possibility of vote verification by selecting member volunteers as inspectors of election, but interim executive director Margaret McCarthy said there was no way to separate voter’s names from their votes. The board concluded that effort would be better focused on improving election procedures so that voter anonymity would be better protected in future elections. Another director and I commented that we know members who did not vote because their names were linked with their votes.

I support the board’s decision to focus efforts on improving the election process. While vote verification is best practice, I believe that staff did an outstanding job explaining how they tallied the votes.

d. Bylaws will be reviewed and changes recommended
The board unanimously passed a motion for the governance committee to review the bylaws and offer recommended changes for the full board to consider, particularly regarding board elections. I voted for this motion, because I favor changing election procedures to include ranked choice voting, which would eliminate the majority issue we had with the recent election.

e. Officers and committee chairs approved
Except for secretary, all candidates for officers and committee chairs were uncontested. I volunteered to be secretary and the current secretary, Amandeep Jawa, also volunteered. The board voted 10 for Amandeep, 2 for me, and 2 abstentions. Mary Kay Chin and Andy Thornley voted for me.

f. Board improves transparency in meeting minutes
At my encouragement, the draft meeting minutes for the January 26 board meeting have been enhanced to include a record of director votes and a more thorough discussion of meeting topics. This is a great way to improve member trust by sharing information with all members, not just those who were able to attend the board meeting. I’m very pleased with this development for greater transparency, and I will continue to work for further improvements in open communication.

3. Members organizing to improve SFBC election process
Peggy da Silva, a long-time SFBC member, is organizing a group of members who are interested in working to improve our board election process – and assure that democratic elections remain core to our coalition. The group will hold an initial meeting in early March, and will be creating a work plan for the year. Peggy has already had good conversations with several members, with Board members, and with an elections expert who will help the group. If you are interested getting involved, please contact Peggy da Silva at peggyda@sonic.net.

4. Save SF Bike happy hour March 1
Join Save SF Bike on Tuesday, March 1st for a casual happy hour gathering!

Tuesday, March 1st, 6-8 pm
Emperor Norton’s Boozelandbr
510 Larkin Street at Turk
RSVP on Facebook.

Mary Kay Chin and I (both elected to the board on the Save SF Bike slate) will be there, and so will several other Save SF Bike candidates. We’ll be talking about last year’s election, the upcoming SFBC Strategic Plan, and whatever else is going on in bike advocacy.

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Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others. Anyone can join my email list. I am always happy to hear from members and I am interested in your input. Thank you for reading!

Happy pedaling,
Shirley Johnson
SFBC board member

SFBC bylaws excerpts
Article IV, Section 11.A.v
For purposes of the annual election of Directors conducted by electronic ballot, approval by ballot shall be valid if a majority of the returned ballots indicate approval of a nominated Director.

Article V, Section 6
Vacancies may be filled by the remaining directors (unless the vacancy was created by removal of a director by the members) or by the members, for the unexpired portion of the term, provided that the Board may not fill more than three such vacancies in any calendar year. In the event that there shall be more than three vacancies created during a year, the remaining directors shall decide whether to leave the position vacant until the next annual election, or whether to call a special election to fill the vacancies.