Our Membership Grows More Powerful by Dave Snyder, SFBC Executive Director

The SFBC's new dual structure (described in Your Membership Just Got More Powerful) implements a main goal of the SFBC's strategic plan, which seeks to affect who gets elected to local office. Also, the aspect of our mission which seeks to improve transit and walking conditions will benefit from a separate group dedicated to just that.

The SFBC's Board of Directors appoints the Board of the new group. The SFBC Board will continue to be elected by members. The new group will be the city's only nonprofit charitable organization dedicated exclusively to reforming transportation policy in order to create a more livable, safe, and just city. Strategically, this will allow the existing transportation activist groups - SFBC, Walk SF, and Rescue Muni - to use their membership clout to affect elections, while the new group, which will not have members of its own, will coordinate public education about transportation reform as well as raise money for and make grants to the other activist groups to support their public education work. "Now, the SFBC will be able to say what needs to be said about local politicians while still being able to raise philanthropic money to support its most important educational work and organizing," says Terry Miller, a nonprofit specialist at the firm Silk, Adler, & Colvin.

This November's elections mark the first time the SFBC will have been permitted to get involved in candidates' elections, and the first time city Supervisors will be elected by district, where a committed group of activists has a real chance to affect the election. Dale Danley, of the SFBC's Program Committee, will lead the effort to define a strategy for the SFBC in this risky business of electioneering. Which strategies are most effective - endorsements, debates, questionnaires, canvassing on behalf of preferred candidates? Do different districts call for different strategies? Which districts will receive our greatest attention? To help, call Dale at 642-3415.