Shirley Johnson’s April 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. Next SFBC board meeting – Tuesday, April 25
  2. Members for More Representative Elections meeting – Thursday, May 11
  3. Golden Wheel Awardees Tell Their Stories – Tuesday, June 6
  4. Update on strategic planning
  5. SFBC board contact information and 2017 meeting calendar
  6. Share this newsletter

Next SFBC board meeting – Tuesday, April 25
The next SFBC board meeting is 6:30 – 8:30pm, Tuesday, April 25 at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia Street. Members are invited to attend. No RSVP necessary. Read the agenda here. The board will be discussing (but not acting on) a proposal to implement ranked choice voting for board elections.

Members for More Representative Elections meeting – Thursday, May 11
Join Members for More Representative Elections after Bike to Work Day to share experiences, snacks, and new ideas on how this City can be better for biking. How do we make it better? We need to involve lots of members in running for the board, voting, and participating with creative ideas. Join in!

When: 6:30 – 8:30pm, Thursday, May 11
Where: Mission Police Station Community Room, 630 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Golden Wheel Awardees Tell Their Stories – Tuesday, June 6
Come mix and mingle with your fellow SFBC members. Hear a panel of Golden Wheel awardees describe their triumphs and challenges of bringing biking to more people. What motivated them? How did they make progress? How did the SFBC play a role? The Golden Wheel is the SFBC’s annual award for excellence in advocacy.

Featured panelists:
Mary Kay Chin, Yellow Bike, 2015 Golden Wheel winner
Peter Colijn, SF2G, 2015 Golden Wheel winner
Shirley Johnson, BIKES ONboard, 2014 Golden Wheel winner (yes, yours truly)

When: 7 – 9pm, Tuesday, June 6
Where: Chez Poulet, 3359 Cesar Chavez St, San Francisco

Delicious refreshments provided. Valet bike parking. This fundraiser for the SFBC is hosted by three board members (Chema Hernández Gil, Jeremy Pollock, and Jiro Yamamoto) and supported by Save SF Bike. Be ready to donate to support a strong SFBC!

Update on strategic planning
The SFBC is in the midst of updating its five-year strategic plan. The board and strategic planning committee are currently conducting dozens of stakeholder interviews and community listening sessions. The committee will synthesize the data (along with data from the member open house held April 19) to develop draft goals, objectives and strategies.

If you missed the member open house, you can still provide input by writing to The next opportunity for general member input will be a member survey to be conducted this summer. Please visit the strategic planning webpage for more information about the strategic planning process and timeline.

SFBC board contact information and 2017 meeting calendar

You can contact the full board at Below are dates for SFBC board meetings in 2017, all starting at 6:30pm at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia Street.
Tuesday, April 25
Tuesday, May 23
Tuesday, June 27
Tuesday, July 25
Tuesday, August 22
Tuesday, September 26
Tuesday, October 24
Tuesday, November 28
No December meeting

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

Banner photo: At the top of Mt. Hamilton, San Jose, California. Each April, I ride up Mount Hamilton and then down the far side to Patterson to enjoy the views and admire the wildflowers. I did the ride just last week, but had to take a steep detour due to a washout on Mt. Hamilton Road. The landscape is beautifully green and lush this year!


SFBC Board Election Results

We’re excited that 6 of the 8 candidates endorsed by Save SF Bike were elected to the Bicycle Coalition Board of Directors!

Congratulations to Nicolas Jay Aulston, Lindy Kae Patterson, Adam Keats, Jeremy Pollock, Chema Hernández Gil, and Jiro Yamamoto!

We also congratulate the two incumbents who were re-elected, Amandeep Jawa and Rocky Beach, and we look forward to working with them and the rest of the board in the new year.

Like last year, the results were very close. We’re sorry that our other two candidates, Mars Regen and Lauren Sailor, weren’t elected, but we’re glad that they plan to stay actively involved in the Coalition. We hope that all of the other excellent candidates do as well. We also hope that any members with questions or concerns about the Save SF Bike platform will reach out and talk with one of us. We welcome every opportunity to hear alternative perspectives and share our own.

At the annual member meeting, our Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier laid out a vision for a more inclusive and progressive SFBC that will be ready to respond to the fallout from the Trump presidency. We fully support this and we look forward to participating in the Strategic Planning process to put that vision into action. If you weren’t at the member meeting, we encourage you to watch the video of Brian’s comments.

And lastly, we encourage you all to join us in supporting the coalition! You can make a tax-deductible, year-end donation, or you can click here to join or renew your membership.
Spread the word: If you support maintaining our voting rights at Bicycle Coalition members, please add your name to our list of supporters using the form below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Share our website and social media with your friends, fellow SFBC members, staff and board.

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Save SF Bike

3/22 SFBC Board meeting: member survey and board transparency

This Tuesday, March 22nd is the monthly meeting of the SF Bike Coalition Board of Directors.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
6:30 – 8:30 pm
SFBC HQ, 1720 Market Street at Valencia
The Agenda is posted here.

In particular, we are interested in two items on the agenda:

  1. Discussion on the Member Survey questions on privacy
  2. Vote on disclosing board votes in meeting minutes

If you’re free Tuesday evening, please join us to speak about these issues, or you can email your comments to the board at

1. Discussion on the Member Survey questions on privacy

Thanks to all of you who contacted the board to express your concerns about the Member Survey. It looks like we got their attention! The board will be discussing the two questions that we are concerned could be used to support efforts to rerun the bylaw vote to eliminate member elections of the Board of Directors. We have heard from several board members that they were not aware of these questions before the survey went out, and that the survey questions were all written by staff.

Since our last email, the Board has posted a blog post that says they will not call for a vote on member voting rights in 2016!

We will be attending the Board meeting to say the following:

  • Thank them for their decision not to rerun bylaw vote this year,
  • Ask them to delete the two controversial questions from the member survey,
  • And ask them to conduct a separate process to review the many pending questions about SFBC’s governance and elections.

2. Vote on disclosing board votes in meeting minutes

Board member Shirley Johnson has proposed that the meeting minutes indicate which board members voted for and against items when there are split votes. We’re surprised to learn that this isn’t already the case, and it seems strange that this even needs to be debated! But hopefully this will be another step forward in enacting Save SF Bike’s platform of improving transparency and rebuilding trust in the SFBC board.

SFBC Member Survey continues misleading view of member rights

UPDATE, MARCH 16: Several SFBC board members have told us that they were not aware of these questions before the survey went out, and that the survey questions were all written by staff. We expect there will be a discussion of this issue at the upcoming board meeting on Tuesday, March 22nd. Please mark your calendars!

ORIGINAL POST: The SF Bike Coalition is conducting its 2016 Member Survey. The SFBC says it’s the “biggest way we get feedback on all of our efforts, including: member services, programs and advocacy efforts.” However, this year’s survey includes two questions about organizational governance:

21. How comfortable are you with having your contact information (home address and email) shared with another member to communicate with you about organizational business?
22. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement, “I would like to be contacted directly via email by other SF Bicycle Coalition members regarding organizational matters.”

We are disappointed that this represents a missed opportunity to gather meaningful input from members on how to address the important unresolved issues surrounding governance of the SFBC.

What’s missing?

  • The survey makes no mention of the fact that the only way to fully prevent members from communicating with fellow members is to eliminate our right to vote for the Board of Directors.
  • The survey doesn’t ask member’s opinion if the board of directors should be elected by members or appointed by the current board.
  • The survey doesn’t ask member’s opinion on creating a class of non-voting members for members who are concerned about their privacy
  • (We could go on, but we’ll spare you for now. We’ve collected a long list of questions about SFBC’s bylaws and governance since this saga started last July!)

Essentially, they ask the same question twice with slightly different wording! We’ve heard concerns from a number of members that this appears to be a rehashing last year’s deceptive bylaws vote to eliminate member voting rights. We’re concerned that the results from these one-sided questions could be used to support efforts to rerun the bylaw vote to eliminate member elections of the Board of Directors.

For the last nine months we have been saying that member voting rights are important to us, and before we make any changes to that, we need to have an open and honest conversation about governance of the Bike Coalition. These one-sided questions are a missed opportunity for beginning that conversation and once again make us suspicious of the SFBC’s intentions.

What can you do?

If you agree with us, please write a quick email to and to ask that these two questions on member privacy be removed from the Member Survey.

More information on the Member Survey is posted on the SFBC’s blog. You should have received a personalized link to the survey in the Biker Bulletin. If you didn’t receive it, you can email and ask for a link.

January 26 SFBC Board Meeting

Tuesday night is the first SFBC Board meeting of the year:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 6:30–8:30pm
SFBC Headquarters, 1720 Market Street at Valencia

The first item on the agenda is a Board election results recap:

  • Board candidates who did not receive over 50% – The bylaws state that candidates must receive over 50% to be elected to the board, but only four candidates received a majority. That means the board can appoint the three candidates who received the most votes in the election (that would be Jennifer Fox, Mary Kay Chin, and Lisa Fisher), or they can call a special election to fill the seats. Note that the board can only appoint three board members per calendar year, so if they make three appointments tomorrow, they would not be able to appoint any more board members in 2016 if there were additional vacancies.
  • Vote verification – Shirley Johnson has requested the board allow for an independent verification of the election results. Shirley plans to propose that the results be verified by three inspectors of election. One suggestion would be that the LoveSFBC slate, the Save SF Bike slate, and the independent candidate each select a member of their choice for this role.

***Let the Board Know What You Think***

Can you attend Tuesday’s board meeting? This is your chance to let the Board know we want them to do more to promote transparency and member involvement. If you can’t make it, you can email the board at and Please consider addressing these three points:

  1. The Board needs to overhaul their process for filling vacancies on the board to allow for meaningful member input.
  2. To promote transparency and member confidence, the Board should call for an independent verification of the recent board election.
  3. And let the board know how you think they should fill the three vacancies on the board. Should they appoint the three candidates who received the most votes in the election, or should they call for a special election?

SFBC Board Makes Surprise Appointment

In case you missed it, the January 12th Biker Bulletin included an announcement that the SFBC Board had appointed Vanessa Christie to fill the vacancy created when Jean Fraser resigned. The announcement did not provide details on the appointment process, and no information has been posted on However in a subsequent discussion on the sfbike email list, Board Secretary Deep Jawa said the appointment was made at the December board meeting, in the middle of the recent board election, but it was not announced until January!

Vanessa clearly seems to be a passionate member of the bike community, but we are disappointed by the lack of any opportunity for member input on this appointment. Despite being able to appoint a candidate voted for by the members in the recent Board election, the Board chose to ignore member input. There was no opportunity for members to give input on the appointment or apply for the position. Save SF Bike once again calls for the Board to provide more transparency on their actions and more opportunities for members to give meaningful input on the future of this organization we all love so much.

SF Bike Coalition Board Election Results Are In!

The results of the 2015 SF Bicycle Coalition board of directors election were announced on Friday, January 8. We are excited that two Save SF Bike candidates, Shirley Johnson and Mary Kay Chin, were in the top seven. The election was extremely close with only 183 votes separating the 1st place candidate from the 14th place candidate.

The results of this election are a victory for member rights. The level of voter turnout greatly exceeded any previous board election and exceeded the 1,400 responses to the last member survey in 2014. The voter turnout, coupled with the strong support for candidates who want to retain a member-elected board, shows that members are excited by the opportunity to remain directly involved in the governance of this organization through board elections.

In another first, candidates not endorsed by the sitting board were elected by the members. This sends a strong message that members want fresh perspectives on the board.

With the unprecedented publication of detailed vote results, the shift to a more transparent and accountable SF Bicycle Coalition has begun.

Verification of vote results recommended

Given the close election, we request the results be verified by three inspectors of election. One suggestion would be that the LoveSFBC slate, the Save SF Bike slate, and the independent candidate each select a member of their choice for this role.

Vote validity must be addressed

The current bylaws require that board candidates be approved by a majority of ballots cast (see Article IV, Section 11.A.v). The published results indicate only four candidates* received the required majority. This issue must be addressed so that the board has legal standing to direct the organization.

As it stands, there are now four vacancies on the board (three from this election and the vacancy created by Jean Fraser when she resigned from the board in November). According to the bylaws (Article V, Section 6), vacancies may be filled by the remaining directors or by the members, provided that the board may not fill more than three such vacancies in any calendar year. Therefore, it appears either a run-off election can be held to fill all four seats or the board can appoint three seats and leave one vacant. We suggest that the SF Bike Coalition solicit member input on how to proceed.

Thank you for your support!

We thank everyone who supported us and all of the members who participated in this historic election. The extremely close results show that there is a large number of SFBC members who support more progressive policies and want better representation of all San Francisco bike riders particularly people of color and low income residents.

We look forward to working with the new board to promote transparency, accountability to members, and support of member advocates to further the goals of the SF Bike Coalition for all bike riders.

* Leah Shahum, Andy Thornley, Lawrence Li, and Shirley Johnson received more than 50% approval from ballots cast. Jennifer Fox, Mary Kay Chin, and Lisa Fisher received less than 50% approval.