Shirley Johnson’s June 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. Board wants your input on possible board election changes by June 27
  2. Next SFBC board meeting – Tuesday, June 27
  3. Update on strategic planning
  4. Members for More Representative Elections meeting – Thursday, July 13
  5. SFBC board contact information and 2017 meeting calendar
  6. Share this newsletter

Board wants your input on possible board election changes by June 27

The SFBC board is considering three potential changes to the board election process:

  1. Implementing ranked-choice voting (RCV);
  2. Moving the election from the end of the calendar year to the beginning of the calendar year; and
  3. Setting terms of elected board members to start and end at a board meeting instead of a calendar date.

Adjusting election timing and terms are straightforward, while RCV inexplicably has been a controversial topic at the last two board meetings. I wholeheartedly support RCV, which permits voters to rank candidates in order of preference. RCV results in better representation of voters and your vote is never wasted. For example, if your first-choice candidate does not win, that vote gets transferred to your second-choice candidate, and so on. San Francisco uses RCV in city elections, having recognized its inherent benefits. It’s time for the SFBC to catch up and implement RCV!

Your input is needed to help the board make the right decision. Please share your thoughts by writing to by June 27, when the board will vote on the proposed changes. You are also invited to attend the board meeting on June 27 (details below) and speak up during public comment.

Recommendation for RCV originates from the membership
The proposal to use RCV originates from a groundswell of member support, spearheaded by Members for More Representative Elections (MMRE). MMRE formed after the 2015 board election to protect members’ voting rights and find ways to make board elections more fair and engaging. MMRE has requested the board to implement RCV directly, without a member referendum.

A board vote is preferred to a member referendum
Some board members think that RCV should be put to a vote of the full membership, but I consider a member referendum to be an inappropriate use of the organization’s time and money and energy, when a board vote would suffice. I’d prefer to see staff focus on bike advocacy instead of administering an unnecessary referendum.

A board vote is legal and efficient
The SFBC bylaws require a member referendum when bylaws amendments materially and adversely affect the rights of members to vote. RCV implementation does not require a member referendum, because RCV maintains your right to vote and is generally considered a superior election method (the city of San Francisco certainly thinks so!). The board has recently received a formal legal opinion from outside counsel that RCV can be implemented by the board without a member referendum. This opinion is in agreement with the legal opinion of the attorney who serves on the SFBC board. A board vote would settle the matter at the next board meeting, whereas going through a member referendum would drag on for months with planning, communication, administration, notification, vote solicitation, vote counting, and results reporting. Whew!

What do you think? Please email

More information:

Next SFBC board meeting – Tuesday, June 27
The next SFBC board meeting is 6:30 – 8:30pm, Tuesday, June 27 at the SFBC office, 1720 Market Street at Valencia Street. Members are invited to attend. No RSVP necessary. Read the agenda here. As described above, the board will be voting on a proposal to make changes to the board election process.

Update on strategic planning
Strategic planning is in full swing! Over the past two months, the strategic planning committee and board have conducted over 40 stakeholder interviews and community listening sessions to gather broad input. The next step is to synthesize the data into goals and objectives to draft our next five-year strategic plan. Watch for a member survey and member forums coming soon, where you’ll be asked for input on draft goals for our strategic plan.

Members for More Representative Elections meeting – Thursday, July 13
Members for More Representative Elections (MMRE) holds regular meetings the second Thursday of each month. MMRE is an action-oriented group of members focused on strengthening the SFBC as a democratic, member-based, advocacy organization. Join them to learn more.

MMRE Meeting
When: 6:30 – 8:30pm, Thursday, July 13
Where: Mission Police Station Community Room, 630 Valencia Street, San Francisco

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, 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: Taking a break while biking through Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. I rode solo through seven western states visiting national parks along the way.