- Who is Save SF Bike?
- What has Save SF Bike accomplished?
- Why did Save SF Bike form in the first place?
- How can I help keep the SFBC democratic and member driven?
Save SF Bike is a collection of dedicated San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) members who organized in 2015 to uphold a democratic, member-driven SFBC. We stand behind the SFBC’s mission to promote the bicycle for everyday transportation and we fully support the core values of the SFBC. Our immediate objective is to improve governance of the SFBC to facilitate more powerful and effective bicycle advocacy to make bicycling safe, fun, and easy for everyone.
To make the SF Bicycle Coalition a powerfully effective organization in achieving its mission, Save SF Bike encourages transparent governance and accountability to members. We, along with our supporters, have accomplished the following:
Member voting rights upheld
Save SF Bike stood up and saved your right to vote when the 2015 SFBC Board of Directors attempted to abolish member voting rights through a flawed referendum.
Results of member votes on board elections disclosed
Formerly the vote totals for each board candidate were kept secret, but vote totals were revealed for 2016 and 2017 elections.
Timely, accurate and complete meeting minutes
The new board secretary in 2017, Mary Kay Chin, has significantly improved meeting minutes to adequately and accurately describe the meeting proceedings.
Board meeting minutes posted on the website
Formerly board meeting minutes were not readily available. Board meeting minutes are now posted on the SFBC’s web site.
Board member names included with their votes in the meeting minutes
Starting in 2017, board member names are included with their votes in board meeting minutes for better transparency. In the past, only vote totals were reported without stating who voted which way.
Members can contact the full board
Before 2016, there was no posted address for the full board, only the board president. Members can now provide input to the full board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hold member comment at the beginning of board meetings, not the end
Starting in 2017, member comment is near the beginning of board meetings. In the past, member comment was agendized as the very last item, then everyone would just go home.
The 2018 board election will use ranked choice voting
In the 2018 board election, you’ll be able to rank all candidates in order of preference, instead of voting for up to N candidates for N open seats on the board. Multi-winner ranked choice voting allows voters to express their clear preference and provides for better representation of the full spectrum of voters.
As you can see, things are definitely moving in the right direction and Save SF Bike is working to keep the positive momentum going. Please see our recommendations to further improve governance practices as described here.
Concerned members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) founded Save SF Bike to save SFBC member voting rights, which were temporarily removed in summer 2015.
Members of the SFBC have always elected the Board of Directors, making the board accountable to members and driving the organization’s huge success. But in July 2015, the Board of Directors proposed a bylaw amendment to abolish member voting rights. The SFBC put the amendment to a member vote, portraying the amendment as the only way to protect member privacy. The referendum did not follow California law in two ways: (1) the effect on member voting rights was not clearly stated, and (2) the notice period was too short. The carefully crafted language on the ballot obscured the fact that member voting rights would be terminated. The ballot for the bylaw vote asked:
Do you vote to update the bylaws of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to change how the Board is elected in order to better protect members’ privacy?
This wording could easily sway casual voters to unwittingly abolish their voting rights, and the referendum passed.
Save SF Bike tried numerous ways (detailed here) to preserve member rights to continue the successful path that the SFBC has been on for decades, but it ultimately took the threat of legal action to compel the board to rescind the flawed bylaw vote and restore member voting rights, which is the only reason you can still vote for the board. We love the SFBC and we think 10,000 members’ voices should be heard when selecting board leadership—not just the 15 voices of sitting board members.
While the immediate risk to member voting rights has passed (thanks to your electing more democratically minded board members the past two years), only 5% of the membership is required to vote in a referendum to remove member voting rights, with a majority vote required for approval. That means as few as 2.5% plus one of the members could abolish member voting rights for all members.
Before such a referendum can happen, the board must vote in favor of it. All 15 board members in 2015 voted unanimously to amend the bylaws to abolish member voting rights. Five of those board members are still on the board and two other board members have publicly stated they would support a board-appointed board.
To protect our voting rights, we must remain vigilant and elect board candidates who support a democratic SFBC.
- Sign up to endorse Save SF Bike on our About Us page. We’ll keep you updated on ways you can help.
- Vote in SFBC board elections to keep the board accountable to members like you.
- Run for the board yourself. Contact us at saveSFbike@gmail.com if you’re interested in learning more about board service, or attend a board meeting held at 6:30pm, the fourth Tuesday of each month at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia.
- Get involved with Members for More Representative Elections (MMRE). This group of democratically-minded members meets the second Thursday of each month. Watch for MMRE meeting announcements in Chain of Events on the SFBC website.