Save SF Bike was founded in the summer of 2015 to oppose efforts to eliminate member voting for the San Francisco Bike Coalition (SFBC) Board of Directors. A lot has happened since then as recorded below.
The 2015 Attempt to Eliminate Member Voting Rights
July 17, 2015: The SFBC announced the beginning of voting on a bylaws amendment to eliminate members’ right to vote for the Board of Directors. No red-lined version of the proposed bylaws was provided to show the proposed changes.
July 21, 2015: The saveSFbike.org website was launched to oppose the proposed bylaws change and emailed to the sfbike riseup email list.
July 23, 2015: The SFBC Board asked Save SF Bike to write a 350-word perspective opposing the bylaws change. In addition to publishing an opposing view, we requested that the Bike Coalition do the following to present a more balanced opinion of the bylaw vote:
- Update the sfbike.org/bylawvote page to explicitly describe how the proposed bylaws would eliminate all member rights and members’ ability to vote for the Board of Directors
- Add to the sfbike.org/news/bylawvote page an opposing perspective written by us, including our FAQs and a link to our website saveSFbike.org
- Add to both of these pages a link to a red-lined and annotated version of the bylaw changes
- Include an opposing perspective in the Biker Bulletin, written by us, with a link to our web site
- Send an email from Executive Director Noah Budnick to all members presenting our perspectives on the proposed bylaw changes with a link to our web site
- Include in all of these communications an explanation on how a member may recast their vote
The SFBC refused all of these requests.
July 28, 2015: The SFBC’s regular Biker Bulletin included a link to a new blog post with pro and con views of the bylaws change. This is the only time the Bike Coalition presented an opposing view of the vote, and it came on the 12th day of the 14-day voting window.
August 4, 2015: The Bike Coalition Board of Directors certified the vote on the new bylaws. Despite the one-sided way the bylaw vote was presented, 35% of members voted to keep democratic elections.
August 4 – 17, 2015: Several members of Save SF Bike had private conversations with SFBC board members and executive management expressing our concerns and asking for the vote to be rescinded. They refused. We heard from a number of members who cancelled their membership. There was talk on the sfbike list of filing complaints with the Attorney General or filing a lawsuit.
August 18, 2015: Save SF Bike sent the Board an open letter asking them to rescind the vote and saying if they did not, we would have no other choice but to consider legal action to have the vote invalidated.
August 21, 2015: When we heard from SFBC Board members that they would not consider rescinding the vote, we hired the Law Office of Julian Gross, a local expert in nonprofit law and a Bike Coalition member.
September 1, 2015: More than 20 concerned members attended the SFBC Board meeting. Member comments were all in favor of keeping the SFBC democratic and restoring member voting rights. The Board discussed a letter from Save SF Bike’s attorney in closed session.
September 8, 2015: The SFBC Board rescinded the bylaw vote.
The 2015 SFBC Board Election
October 12, 2015: Save SF Bike announced its slate of seven candidates for the SFBC Board: Bob Allen, Mary Kay Chin, Oscar Grande, Beatriz Herrera, Shirley Johnson, Jane Martin, and Jeremy Pollock.
November 10, 2015: The SFBC announced all candidates for the Board. The current Board endorsed six candidates: Andy Thornley, Lawrence Li, Jennifer Fox, Lisa Fisher, Carla McKay, and Jessica Hyman. Current Board members also formed a new group called LoveSFBC, that endorsed these same six candidates, plus Leah Shahum who entered the race too late to seek board endorsement. One other candidate ran who was not endorsed by any group, Peggy da Silva.
November 15, 2015: Voting began for the election of the Board of Directors.
November 19, 2015: Noah Budnick announced that he would resign as Executive Director. Jean Fraser would become acting executive director and resign her seat on the board.
December 14, 2015: Save SF Bike candidate Jeremy Pollock requested a copy of the SFBC member list to campaign for the board election. He asked that the SFBC promote Save SF Bike’s “opt-out” form, but they did not. Subsequently, four other candidates also requested the member list: Lisa Fisher and Carla McKay (with LoveSFBC), Shirley Johnson (with Save SF Bike), and Peggy da Silva (unaffiliated).
December 15, 2015: In closed session, the SFBC Board appointed Vanessa Christie to fill the vacancy created by Jean Fraser’s resignation. The Board denied members the opportunity to provide comment at this meeting, and the appointment would not be announced until after the election, on January 12.
December 28, 2015: SFBC staff posted a statement about the requests for the member list. Jeremy Pollock requested that the post be edited to include a link to Save SF Bike’s unsubscribe page. This request was denied.
December 30, 2015: Voting ended for the election of the Board of Directors.
January 8, 2016: The election results were announced. The top seven finishers included two members of Save SF Bike – Shirley Johnson (735 votes) and Mary Kay Chin (684) – and five members of LoveSFBC – Leah Shahum (777), Andy Thornley (750), Lawrence Li (736), Jennifer Fox (701), and Lisa Fisher (682).
The remaining vote counts were: Jeremy Pollock (656), Oscar Grande (624), Beatriz Herrera (613), Carla McKay (611), Bob Allen (608), Jane Martin (598), Jessica Hyman (594), and Peggy da Silva (138).
The 2016 SFBC Board Term
January 12, 2016: The SFBC announced the appointment of Vanessa Christie to the board, nearly a month after the board appointed her on December 15 in the middle of a contested board election.
January 18, 2016: New SFBC board member, Shirley Johnson, proposed that a verification of the vote be conducted by representatives from Save SF Bike and LoveSFBC, and the independent candidate. The board considered the proposal but rejected it, because names were not able to be separated from votes.
January 26, 2016: The board ‘seated’ the three candidates from the 2015 board election who did not receive the required majority of votes to be duly elected according to the bylaws.
March 3, 2016: Members for More Representative Elections, a new group of SFBC members led by Peggy da Silva working to improve SFBC board elections, held its first meeting.
April 26, 2016: A board member announced he is moving out of state and resigning his seat on the board in the summer.
June 28, 2016: After members advocated for the next highest vote-getter in the 2015 board election, Jeremy Pollock, to fill the board vacancy, the board member who had previously announced his resignation changed his mind and said he would complete his term remotely.
July 7, 2016: Members for More Representative Elections held an event to educate the SFBC membership about the benefits of ranked choice voting (RCV). Subsequently, members advocated for RCV for SFBC board elections.
July 26, 2016: The board considered and rejected ranked choice voting for the 2016 board election.
The 2016 SFBC Board Election
August 23, 2016: The SF Bike Coalition board announced the 2016 board election process, including its intention to recommend candidates despite objections from Members for More Representative Elections.
September 22, 2016: Save SF Bike announced the endorsement of Jeremy Pollock and Jiro Yamamoto for the SFBC board.
September 27, 2016: The board unanimously approved a bylaws change to replace this sentence: “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.” with the following sentence: “For purposes of the annual election of Directors conducted by electronic ballot, candidates receiving the highest number of votes are elected.”
October 16, 2016: Save SF Bike announced the endorsement of Chema Hernández Gil for the SFBC board.
October 29, 2016: Save SF Bike announced the endorsement of Nic Jay Aulston for the SFBC board.
November 9, 2016: Save SF Bike announced endorsement of Adam Keats, Lindy Kae Patterson, Mars Regen, and Lauren Sailor. The SFBC posted statements from all board candidates on its website, 16 candidates for eight open seats.
November 14, 2016 – December 4, 2016: Voting period for the SFBC board of directors.
December 11, 2016: The SFBC announced the results of the election: 6 of the 8 candidates endorsed by Save SF Bike were elected along with the two incumbents. Congratulations to Nicolas Jay Aulston, Lindy Kae Patterson, Adam Keats, Jeremy Pollock, Amandeep Jawa, Chema Hernández Gil, Rocky Beach, and Jiro Yamamoto.