LAB Board Mtg. 3/4/06 @ Hilton Garden Inn, Washington, DC

Notes taken by Bill Hoffman

LAB Reform presents these notes because the official minutes typically are not detailed enough, so that someone who did not attend the meeting is unlikely to grasp the arguments raised about the issues in question or know how much time was devoted to a given topic.  In addition, the minutes are not posted until many months after the meeting — an excessive delay.

All Directors were present: Greehan, Roskowski, Jones, Brull, Sparks, Eichstaedt, Wessel, Tyree, Abrams, Allen, Brustin, Falvy

All Staff was present: Andy Clarke, Marthea Wilson, Mike Mackin, Eliz. Preston, Anthony Yoder, Bill Nesper, Sarah Stiles, Lou Elin Dwyer (sp?)

Guests present: Richard Moeur, Jim Baross, Fred Meredith, Joe Stafford, Myra Barrett (Minn.), Jack Johnson & John Symatowski (sp?)–LCIs in Mass., Richard Hoy (lifer, new LCI, Bethesda), Bob Carson 10:30, Fred Oswald, Bill Hoffman

Members comments:
Jim Baross: pleased w/ legal defense efforts, wants to help. Prokop defense expensive, asked for any help from LAB.
Richard Moeur: will write letter to editor to discuss things in photos w/Andy’s “Share the Road” article in magazine.
Bill Hoffman: how much is HQ rent?  Andy: $72,500 in 2005; lease expires about 2 yrs. (May); Marthea will get #sq ft;  Basement storage is minimal part of rent
Jack Johnson: positive movement on BikeEd; present LCI criteria too exclusive
John Siemiatkoski (LCI): MassBike director; large rides endangered (he does charity ride in Mass), why he became LCI.

9:15A Approval of minutes. Allen asked to delay because he hadn’t had time to read. Agreed-moved to later time

9:17A Financial review.
Last few months of 2005 were a great improvement.  Surplus approximately equal to original budget for year.  Failed to achieve all budgeted sponsorships, but staff cut expenses.  Fundraising improved later in year, Andy got 1 large donation.  Debt cut in half or more, cash position is stronger, cumulative deficit cut in half.  Audit to start in few weeks for 05.  Jan 06 numbers look good, but Paul cautioned that one month doesn’t make a year.  Feb. 06 not closed yet.  Trust Fund committee met recently; Trust slightly underperformed benchmarks, few new lifers in 05.  Trust contributions to LAB reduced late in 05, to preserve Trust corpus.  Now that life memberships are actively marketed, Trust should grow in 06.  Big 125th anniversary dinner in Oct. cancelled.  Revenues $500,000 below budget, but expenses also below due to staff cuts & other things (amt. of cut not mentioned).  Greehan asked about Summit’s finances.  Andy: close to targeted sponsorships.  Bank loan: much reduced.  Still have positive balance in cash account.  Loan is $116,000 @ end of Jan.  Brustin: when will loan go away?  Wessel: probably 2 years.  Goal is to cut it in half this year.

9:30A Executive Director’s Report. Summit-pleased with outcome. Had 1-day training for FHWA & state coordinators on SR2S. LAB bid to get award on education part of SR2S w/Sacramento-based Local Govt. Commission-$6,000 over 5 yrs. ($150-200,000/yr on education part). Allen: was the issue of content of education part resolved?  NHTSA asked LAB to do part of training. Competition is UNC’s Hwy Safety Research Center. NHTSA had reservations about taking middle school kids on road, so LAB defined training into graduated process…..Got positive feedback in membership survey (85% positive) w/share the road theme…Sparks: news on sponsorships?  Andy: waiting to hear about Shimano…Club of year (1 in each region) not ready yet. Mackin: now doing club of month on web.

9:40A Staff presentations.
Sarah Stiles: Summit report: 375 participants including staff, speakers, sponsors; 45 states represented, visited 355 Congressmen & Senators. Falvy: is there a policy not to have too many attend Summit?  Andy: we need 435 attendees. 5 plains states not represented. Roskowski: consider a closing plenary; legislative asks showed need to move ahead with a legislative director on staff (need Complete Streets bill). 3/14-16 tentative dates for next year….Hard to pinpoint where increased attendance came from-seemed to be regulars bringing others…Sparks: we should use Summit to spark local interest, as some people not interested in national issues. Example: Philadelphia contingent got their congressmen to call DRPA re Ben Franklin Bridge access….Andy: got Senate sponsorship for Bike Commuter Act. (Sen. Snowe)…gave leadership award to Sen. Jeffords & Rep. DeFazio & one Rep. from Utica….Marthea: met registration target, raised $132,500 in sponsorships (not quite budget-lost $ from America Bikes that they couldn’t afford). Had 17 partners this year…Falvy: comments from industry: 1 said Summit should occur in May or June-now is busiest time of year, so we’d get more attention later…less expensive venues closer to Hill.

Anthony Yoder: Raffa to do 05 audit…had some old accounts receivable that they had to put effort into collecting, some had to write off…Life Trust: can’t fund each lifer at current rate, but not possible. New lifer rate will help build up corpus….Monthly giving started in 05 has resonated w/people…Anthony now also does office admin.-maintaining equipment; no new needs right now. Accounts payable now current.

Elizabeth Preston: working to strengthen brand. New website to be launched next week-enter zip code & you can get clubs, courses, rides within the radius you select; will allow voting online…Andy: awaiting answer if IL law allows online voting…BFC site not redone, but Bike Month is.

Bill Nesper: trying to increase service to LCIs. 715 active now in 45 states, 20 seminars in 05 w/199 new LCIs; working on 30 seminars in 22 states this year.  New BikeEd brochure out (I did not see).  Expanded LCI only section on website.  Middle School curriculum to be out in summer.  BFC: 136 communities have applied since 02; 2 review cycles per year (May & Oct)…have 10 renewing and 5 new communities.  Eichstaedt asked if any BFCs got downgraded.  Yes, Denver.  Any BFC that doesn’t renew gets off the list.  Roskowski: are any Board members on BFC advisory board?  Yes, Mike Greehan.  She said more Board members should be on.  Tyree suggested John Allen and himself.

Mike Mackin: hired Lou Elin (sp?) as membership assistant.  Some high-profile people belong, to the League, including race car driver Bobby Labonte, a real estate mogul in Chicago, head of Sierra Brewing.  Will mail 4-500,000 acquisition pieces this year, expect 1.5-2% return.  Will focus more on protecting cyclists’ rights to tap new audiences.  Want to work closer with retailers.  Rely heavily on direct mail-expensive, cumbersome…Will try again w/ Bikes Fly Free…Better World Club (AAA for cyclists) benefit @ $100 member.  It’s brought enough people from $30 to $100 level to pay for it…Legal network expected to be great benefit…Will work w/Bike Registry to add a membership benefit.  They (LAB) bring up a hot button issue right after sending donation appeal.  Share the Road appeal was highest grossing since IRS issue.

Historical Note: In the late 90s, the IRS sued LAB over rally income that they considered unrelated business income, and thus was taxable. After a fight of several years and quite a bit of money by the League, the IRS dropped its case. But the case was used by LAB to rally the members to make donations to be used to fight IRS.

Will reduce appeals from 4/yr. to 3, plus a separate one for each member to get another member…Will soon be able to send renewal notices w/specific events or programs for each member…Major donor communications improved…Marthea: have sought some $5,000 grants to do BFC training in selected communities….Pacesetter (monthly giving program) doing well; many sign up for $25/mo…New website to have a store.

10:43 to 11:10A Break

Staff Reports continued.
Joe Stafford: once you advertise legal defense fund you could get bogged down with calls on purely local matters like “my local cop hassled me.”  Also, you could get in trouble giving legal advice.  Brustin: we’ll be a clearing house, no advice, no referrals.  Joe: local advocacy orgs are at disadvantage if members go to LAB instead.

11:18A Marthea: Development-05 record setting in terms of commitment (but not dollars).  Board contributed 100%.  Goal raised from $20,000 to $25,000.  Greehan: go after former Board members.  Roskowski: do a current vs. former Board challenge….Staffing: hope to hire Advocacy Director; got small number of applicants due to RFP being poorly written.

Andy: LAB is party in suit against Florida DOT for not including bike accommodations on SR A1A.  FBA doesn’t want to be part because they get FDOT contract money, even though they support the suit…Some larger donors were invited to Summit.

11:27A Upcoming Events: Bob Carson spoke on MD event (the national rally)…One Less Car is bike-ped advocacy org in MD. Have paid ED and P/T lobbyist.  OLC this year to be 20 miles south of Salisbury.  Partnering w/ Delite (Delmarva Low Impact Touring Experiences), who’s working on rest stops, trying to get sponsors.  Event patterned after GEAR; camping on campus or dorms.  Plan Road I or parts.  Dates: 7/13-16 @ UMES in Princess Anne.  Expected attendance 700-1000.

Marthea: next Board meeting?  Bylaws require mtg. @ “national rally.” 2007 rally to be in Tucson-@ Tour de Tucson?  Discussion of whether a meeting needed, and when to deal with budget.  Greehan said Board is invited to Interbike, with or without Board meeting.  Decided to have Board meeting 7/14.  Tyree said we should have a serious annual meeting.  May have one-day conference call to deal with 07 budget.

Other events: Pro-Bike early Sept. in Madison, WI;  Interbike is end of Sept.  Jones mentioned Railvolution, in Chicago-they want to embrace cycling-it’s mostly transit and land use planners.

6 regional events: LAB rides w/attendees and promote membership.  Allen mentioned other regional events like multi-day rolling rides.

12:00P Member involvement in regions. Sparks referred to draft he handed out-basically to ramp up contact between directors & members.  Eichstaedt: this is one function directors are responsible for.  Greehan said some regions are too large.  Eichstaedt suggested a task force flush out more details to present in July.  Tyree suggested splitting Regions 5 and 6 into 3 regions and make that new director elected.  Wessel suggested making one of the appointed seats up in 07 into an elected seat.  Roskowski suggested a task force to look into this issue.  Task force to include Wessel (chair), Jones, Allen, Roskowski.

12:15P Lunch/executive session

1:34P Board elections. Roskowski: Nominating Committee recommends that Wessel be re-appointed to start at 2006 Annual Meeting; moved & seconded, passed unanimously.  Election timeline: winning candidates to be notified by end of May. Wessel asked if anyone was submitting petitions.  Roskowski said she didn’t think so; nobody has requested membership list.  Greehan said that as long as someone is qualified, they’ll be put on ballot.  Motion to approve timeline, unanimously approved.  Election: ballot in magazine to be mailed c. 4/1.  Online voting option.  Must enter member ID which is tied to name & membership type & which region they’re in, separate password so staff can’t ID the person.  A person could theoretically vote in mag & online, but there’s no other opportunity for fraud.  Email confirmation goes back to voter; can’t vote twice.  Can require email address to vote online.  Still don’t know if online is legal under IL law.  Counters will verify if anyone voted twice.  Abrams: is there backup safety for online votes?

Vote counting: Wessel (chair), Joe Stafford, & Jones.  Elizabeth Preston & Wessel to work on details of accessing online votes.

Recommended candidates: Sheehan recommended, also Eichstaedt.

1:53P Bylaws amendment. Change Purpose in Article II to a short itemized list (q.v.).  Discussion of absence of “safety.”  Brull proposed “(e) Enhance cyclists’ ability to ride safely.” Roskowski proposed deleting “throughout the US” in (b).  Andy: change preserve to protect in (a).  Roskowski moved to accept as amended (above), Jones second.  Unanimously passed, Brull abstained.  Final version not identical, but essentially similar to the original proposed version.

2:05P John Allen: proposal from LAB member (John Niehoff (sp?)) active w/ Project Guttenberg (a volunteer network that archives print documents digitally and publishes on Web).  He proposed to do it with back issues of magazine.  If there are copyrighted parts of mag, those parts would have to be blanked out if copyright holder objects.  Brustin said we should talk to copyright atty. first.

Records @ Tom Helm’s: Allen said materials need to be evaluated by a professional.  There is a card catalog there, and if it could be digitized the contents could be sent to experts for evaluation.

Note:  Tom Helm, a Life Member and former librarian by trade, living in Camp Hill, PA, offered to store some old LAB records, historical items, and miscellaneous publications that the League didn’t have room for when it moved to DC from Baltimore in 1997.  These would have otherwise been disposed of–an irreplaceable loss to the League.  A list of the contents of the numerous boxes in Tom’s basement has been made, but no decision has been made yet on which items can safely be discarded and which should undergo permanent conservation because of their age and value to the League.

2:17P Approval of minutes. Approved (which meeting?)

2:22P Richard Moeur presentation on NCUTCD Bike Tech. Committee 1/06 meeting.  They approved:  1. Bicycle Guide Signing-like Dutch system w/ bike logo on destination signs.  2. Route marker auxiliaries.  3. Bike Lane Signing-recommended, not mandatory.  4. Reference Mileposts on Paths.  5. Bicycle Trail vs. “Bikeway”.  Recommended that MUTCD apply to bikeways, not bike trails.  6. “Bikeway Narrows” sign (W5-4a)-changed to “path narrows”.

Next cycle: section in markings chapter implies that bike lanes are outside traveled way.  New section on roundabouts adopted, but not how to transition bike lane into roundabout.  Inappropriate references to “motorists” deleted.  Beyond “Share the Road”: shared lane marking (sharrow), regulatory signs (like bikes may use full lane)-some state DOTs were negative, but NCUTCD thinks they can get it approved now.

Long-term: experiments underway on colored bike lanes, advance stop bars, bike signals.

2:42P Fred Oswald presentation on traffic law. He highlighted his committee’s work (not now an official LAB committee) rating the states (not all rated) and his own work in NE Ohio.  This ad-hoc committee started 2003.  Committee would work w/ state advo orgs.  Roskowski liked “report card” idea.  Generally favorable reception.

3:00P New business

Million Member campaign. How do we get to 1MM?  Got ~2,000 mbrs in 05 via direct mail; 138 via local bike shops, 760 online, 45 new clubs.  Idea: take upcoming BikeEd DVD to new bike purchasers: after 2 mos., send them info, then after another 2 mos. something else, then try to get them to join.  Want to set up a network with dealers (“specialty bike retailers”).  Now have regular conference calls with club reps. 571 clubs now belong.  Service cost $11/yr/member.  Acquisition cost $12.  I suggested not going for “low-hanging fruit” that won’t renew.  Better to spend a little more on better prospects who are more likely to renew or donate.

Note:  The League had a million member goal in the early 1970’s but it actually grew the membership by only about ten percent.  There was another major growth campaign in the mid-80’s that also flopped.  Our all time membership peak was about 100,000 in 1898.

Mike Abrams who is leaving the board was thanked for his service.

Meeting adjourned about 3:40P.

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