- Why do we need to save the SF Bicycle Coalition?
- Are our member voting rights still at risk?
- What has Save SF Bike done to improve SFBC governance?
- What governance improvements are still needed?
- Which current board members were endorsed by Save SF Bike?
- How can I help protect member voting rights?
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.
Yes! 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!
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 and 2016 elections.
Timely, accurate and complete meeting minutes
The new board secretary, Mary Kay Chin, has significantly improved meeting minutes to adequately describe the meeting proceedings. Past meeting minutes were vague and sometimes late.
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.
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, although these emails are not immediately delivered to all board members. The board president posts the emails before the next board meeting to the board’s Dropbox folder.
Hold member comment at the beginning of board meetings, not the end
Starting in 2017, member comment is at the beginning of board meetings. In the past, member comment was agendized as the very last item, then everyone would just go home.
As you can see, things are moving in the right direction. Save SF Bike is working to 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.
The board members listed below were endorsed by Save SF Bike when they ran for election. All have publicly stated they support member voting rights.
Elected to the board for the 2016-2017 term:
Mary Kay Chin
Elected to the board for the 2017-2018 term:
Chema Hernández Gil
Lindy Kae Patterson
- Sign up to endorse Save SF Bike on our About Us page. We’ll keep you updated on ways you can help.
- Educate your fellow SFBC members about how easy it would be for member voting rights to be abolished.
- Vote in SFBC board elections to keep the board accountable to members like you.
- 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.
- 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.