- Why do we need to save the SF Bicycle Coalition?
- What has Save SF Bike done to improve SFBC governance?
- What governance improvements are still needed?
- Are our member voting rights still at risk?
- How did Save SF BIke choose candidates to endorse?
- What skills and qualities do Save SF Bike candidates bring to the board?
- How many Save SF Bike candidates are recommended by the board?
- What’s the deal with the Save SF Bike candidates the board didn’t recommend?
- How does the Save SF Bike slate improve diversity on the board?
- Should I vote for all eight Save SF Bike candidates?
- What have Save SF Bike candidates accomplished?
- Oh no! I already voted! Can I change my vote to the Save SF Bike slate?
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 notice period was too short and (2) the effect on member voting rights was not clearly stated. 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.
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 Board of Directors tried to amend the bylaws to abolish member voting rights in a flawed referendum in 2015.
Results of member votes on board elections disclosed
Formerly the vote totals for each board candidate were kept secret, but vote totals were revealed in the 2015 election.
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. In addition, board members with dissenting votes are now permitted to write dissenting opinions to attach to the minutes.
Members can contact the full board
Last year there was no posted address for the full board, only the board president. Members can now provide input to the full board at email@example.com, although these emails are not immediately delivered to all board members. The board secretary posts the emails before the next board meeting to the board’s Dropbox folder.
As you can see, things are moving in the right direction. Your vote for Save SF Bike candidates will keep the positive momentum going!
We believe that the SFBC would be even more effective with improved governance practices of the board as described here.
Yes! All 15 board members in 2015 voted unanimously to amend the bylaws to abolish member voting rights. Eleven of those board members are still on the board, including the two incumbents running for re-election this year. Vote for all eight Save SF Bike candidates to swing the board majority to a democratic, member-driven SFBC!
The SFBC forwarded an email from Save SF Bike to all board candidates inviting them to apply for Save SF Bike endorsement. It was a very difficult decision to choose only eight for the eight open seats. If the board election used ranked choice voting (RCV), then we would have been able to endorse more than eight candidates without jeopardizing their chances of winning, but the board decided not to implement RCV this year. RCV better represents all voters and avoids wasted votes. We regret that we weren’t able to endorse all who applied, because they are all exceptional candidates.
Our eight candidates fulfill all the qualities and skills the board is seeking this year. In addition, our eight candidates bring other crucial qualities, skills, and experience to help make the SFBC even more successful and inclusive.
The board recommended four Save SF Bike candidates: Adam Keats, Jeremy Pollock, Lindy Patterson, and Nic Jay Aulston. We thank the board for acknowledging the credentials of these outstanding candidates.
Some Save SF Bike candidates are not board-recommended, because our priorities are different. We look beyond just professional skills and qualities. We believe there should be breadth in experience as well as diversity in background, approaches, and perspectives. And, of utmost importance, our candidates support a democratic, member-driven SFBC!
Chema Hernández Gil
Chema brings all the qualities and skills the board is seeking this year plus so much more. Chema was on staff at the SFBC for four years where he accomplished huge wins including the Polk Street contraflow bike lane and the 13th Street protected bike lane. Chema changed jobs about six months ago to continue good work as a political organizer. He knows the SFBC inside and out and would be an amazing asset to the board. Chema is a level-headed, successful professional who would bring incredible depth and understanding to help move the SFBC to the next level.
Having Jiro on the board would show we’re serious about working productively alongside our public safety officers. Employed in public safety as a firefighter, Jiro has connections with the fire department and police department. He knows the “inside story” and can offer valuable insight into how to work with public safety city employees. Jiro could help facilitate relationship building, so critical because the fire department sometimes opposes bike lanes and street calming measures, and he could help open good communication lines with the police department.
Lauren knows bikes. She is a professional in the bike industry and previously worked as a bike delivery person. Lauren is an energetic bike advocate who can bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the board. The board would benefit by adding people with more bike advocacy experience to better support staff for achieving Vision Zero goals to make our streets safer. Lauren was an active bike advocate in Chicago before moving to San Francisco six years ago, and she continues to push for safer, more welcoming streets.
Mars has spent her entire career as a nonprofit professional raising money for nonprofits. As of the October board meeting, the SFBC is $100,000 behind its fundraising target. With Mars’ extensive fundraising experience, she would be instrumental in finding creative ways to help fill that gap. Mars is also a devoted bike advocate and community organizer with experience serving on nonprofit boards. A professional like Mars is really needed on the board especially when the SFBC is falling short of its fundraising goals.
Save SF Bike candidates bring racial diversity, which is lacking on the current board. Regarding gender, if all Save SF Bike candidates get elected, the new board will consist of eight women and seven men, a good balance.
Yes! Save SF Bike candidates are dedicated to keeping the organization democratic and keeping the board accountable to members like you.
Our candidates have helped win over a dozen important bicycle infrastructure projects from bike lanes to community bike builds to bikes on transit. We believe that board members with solid advocacy experience can better support staff in achieving SFBC’s mission of promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation. Save SF Bike candidates fit the bill!
Yes! You can change your vote by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and stating that you wish to change your vote to all eight candidates on the Save SF Bike slate: Nicholas Aulston, Chema Hernández Gil, Adam Keats, Lindy Patterson, Jeremy Pollock, Marnie (Mars) Regen, Lauren Sailor, and Jiro Yamamoto.