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

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). Kudos to all who supported the improvements. 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 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 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