Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bill Hoffman resigns from LAB Board. More damage to the League

This is more bad news for the League of American Bicyclists. I'm sorry Bill resigned. His letter, of which I've only snipped some short excerpts below, is at the LAB Reform page, linked here. Go read it.

"...LAB is no longer a true membership organization; it is now a political pressure group that happens to have members.  And I might add, LAB membership is 27% lower today than it was as recently as 8 years ago—14,836 as of Oct., 2010 vs. 20,257 at 9/30/02...The reasons I joined in 1971 and became a life member in 1976, and why I am the second-longest serving volunteer in League history, are no longer at the fore...over the past dozen years or so there has been a gradual erosion of members' rights and autonomy over the organization, without a vote to move in this direction ever being taken."

---Bill Hoffman, in his resignation letter to the League of American Bicyclists Board.

Bill is a cycling enthusiast and beyond that, has put a huge amount of sweat equity into cycling and LAB governance over his 40 years as a LAB member (and life member).  Like many of us, he rides his bike because he loves to ride his bike. He has done it competently and is a longtime LCI. He has demanded high levels of excellence in LAB and its members.  Not to dismiss all the work the League is doing, some of which is quite good and could potentially be outstanding, but there are basic core values in self-reliance and in keeping high standards. For example, the LCI program promotes self-reliance and high standards. We lose these, or trade them in bits and pieces for government-funded programs, at our peril.

I have my doubts that Bill's resignation will do much to change the present course of LAB governance. If anything, it removes a dissenting voice from the Board. Like I said in my own critique of the recent election petition fiasco, LAB governance has become an insider game. Members have limited, if any, control over LAB's corporate governance and therefore organizational direction. To some members, that is just fine. To others, it is galling. To that 27% who are now former members, perhaps it meant voting via a closed checkbook.

I remain a LAB member. But I don't need to tell you what I think, as I already did.


limom said...

Only approx. 15,000 members?
Averaging out to 300 per state, just what kind of power does the LAB have if any?
I mean the folks at peopleforbikes claim to have collected 150,000 "pledges" (including myself)!
Do these organizations have any kind of lobbying power at all?

John Schubert said...

Those of us who have been shoved out of LAB's fold have an opportunity to show the world where the power really lies. A different paradigm of what works for cyclists -- better, safer, cheaper -- is ready for prime time.

Steve A said...

For comparison, I believe that Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle has about 16,000 members.

Khal said...

People for Bikes is an industry organized grassroots organization, sarcastically referred to as "astroturf" (see Wikipedia). It can certainly do good work by virtue of the large numbers and large checkbook. However, its basically doing the work of Bikes Belong, which is the human face for a trade group.

One has to remember that what is good for General Motors isn't always what is good for America. If cyclists are willing to call, write, badger, etc., one can perhaps exert some control over PFB. But its increasingly tough when governance of these organizations is out of reach.

Khal said...

Steve, we had 1000 members in the Hawaii Bicycling League in a population of about a million. We can do the math.

adult driver education said...

the numbers are more in the club and its an edge decision taking to leave from the board.