LAB election irregularities
6. The "Terman Seven" letter
"It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies."|
-- Arthur Calwell
"You do not need to know your member number in order
A letter supporting S. Mark Terman, the Board-endorsed candidate in Region 4,
and signed by seven LAB Board members, was sent as a mass mailing to LAB
members in Region 4 at the beginning of April, 2003, two weeks from the
deadline for submitting ballots. The mailing included not only the
letter but also a copy of the ballot form (with the elections page on the
back) and a mailback envelope.
Such a mailing represents a brute-force election tactic never before seen in
an LAB election; the cost of the mailing has to have been well into four
figures. (Just the postage for 3000 letters is over $1100.) LAB
President Chris Kegel has acknowledged paying for the mailing. As
described on a previous page, Terman is well-connected and has a good reputation
in physical-fitness advocacy, but he is a weak candidate to represent members in
Terman is only a casual cyclist, he has no background in cycling advocacy and
he had no previous interaction with LAB members until he was nominated. We
find it ironic that he told members that he caries his bike on a cartop rack
rather than using it for transportation and leaving the car at home. His
use of bicycles hardly qualifies as an "alternative to motorized
The Terman letter makes several false or misleading
statements that we have identified by notes in the pink area below. To
discourage spammers, we have slightly altered the email addresses shown on page
2. You can use these addresses (if they are still current) by replacing
"_AT_" by "@".
Still, the Terman letter would not have technically violated any election
rules, except for (1) the materially false claim that League leadership had
"nearly doubled the League's membership" and (2) the PPS at the very end
informing members that they did not need to know their membership number to
vote. The election rules in the Almanac clearly stated that members must
"complete the form" -- and the form included a line for the membership
In previous elections, a small number of ballots without membership numbers
had been accepted, if the identity of the voters could be verified. The
Terman Seven signers maintain that this practice had set a precedent to accept
all such ballots in the 2003 election. But in previous elections, the few
ballots without membership numbers were a random occurrence that gave no
systematic advantage to one candidate over another.
In the 2003 election, the "Terman Seven" took advantage of the
practice of accepting ballots without membership numbers to swing an
election. Making it easier to vote for one candidate in a partisan
mailing, near the end of the election term and without the authority of the
board is an unethical manipulation of the electoral process.
We are also concerned that this secret change in the election rules may have
invited election fraud. Our suspicion was reinforced by the way the
ballots were counted and by the president's refusal to allow inspection of the
ballots after the election.
The text of the Terman Seven letter follows. A scanned image of each
page follows the text.
Terman Seven letter, page 1.
Dear League of American Bicyclists member
This spring, you have an opportunity to vote for a new member of the board
of directors for the League of American Bicyclists. We are leaders of
the bicycle community, writing to ask you to vote for Mark Terman as the
director from Region 4, which includes Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and
Ohio. Ballots must be postmarked by April 15th.
Mark has been endorsed by Barbara Sturges of Illinois who has represented
Region 4 on the League board for the last six years. Barbara is stepping
down because of term limitations. Mark has also been recommended by the
current League board of directors. The board carefully considered the
experience of each candidate to ensure that a diverse group of skills and
interests is represented on the Board.
Six years ago, the League was near bankruptcy, and the organization was
wracked [sic] with in-fighting. Since then, the leadership of the League
has balanced the books  and nearly doubled the League's
membership . The current leadership team at the
League has revamped the League's education program ,
launched the Bicycle-Friendly Communities campaign  and is
a leader in the effort to convince Congress to adopt
policies and funding to make bicycling safer and more convenient.
Notes for paragraph above:
- "...balanced the books..." This
statement seemed to be accurate at the time. However, there was
another large deficit ($47,000) in 2003 and a larger one ($264,197) in
2004. Much of the League's funding now comes from foundations and
government. The League increasingly follows their lead and becomes
less and less responsive to its members. The nomination of Terman and
the tactics used in his election are examples of lack of concern -- or
even contempt -- for the members.
- "...nearly doubled the League's membership...
" This claim is simply false.
The Moritz study shows that League membership in the fall of 1996 was
23,500. In September, 2002, it was only 20,300. They claimed
that membership doubled when it actually dropped 14 percent! Either
these seven directors deliberately deceived us or they are derelict in their
- "...revamped the education program..."
In fact, the education program was seriously mismanaged! When
John Schubert and Bill Hoffman protested, they were ignored. When they
made their concerns public, they were sacked. Details are found in
correspondence and education committee e-mails and in
Allen's campaign documentation. Some significant (but expensive)
restoration occurred in 2003 and 2004, but much remains to be
salvaged. The Instructor manual is of very low quality. Also,
we have several unqualified instructors who were certified even though they
failed to pass required tests.
- "...launched the Bicycle Friendly Communities
campaign..." This program was actually launched in 1993 through
the efforts of Wayne Byrd, who received a League Volunteer Award in
2001. More important, BFC has given awards to communities that ban
bicycles from important roads and that build unsafe bicycle
facilities. Although the program was extensively revised in 2002,
BFC still fails to promote safety, protect the rights of cyclists or
encourage best practices. We have a detailed critique:
BFC, a misdirected program.
- "...is a leader in the effort to convince Congress
to adopt policies and funding to make bicycling safer and more
convenient..." The issue is the appropriateness of such policies
and funding. They can be beneficial, but they are often the
opposite. Without strong vigilance from an informed League membership,
mistakes are inevitable. We document some serious mistakes in the Safe Routes to School
In short, the League has become a player on the national scene, raising the
profile of bicycling and bicyclists. Mark Terman is dedicated to
continuing this evolution, particularly by building alliances with state
government leaders, elected officials, and leaders in public health, physical
activity and livable communities.
Mark is uniquely positioned to do this, as the former President and
CEO of the Michigan Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and
Sports. The Council's efforts to change behavior patterns has [sic]
received national awards from the Centers for Disease Control and the National
Association for Health & Fitness. Mark believes that the League
should focus on both encouraging bicycling and changing the physical
environment to make it safe and easily accessible.
We believe Mark will enhance the League's credibility and he will be an
effective voice for League members. We are proud of what the
A note from Mark Terman
Dear League members:
My personal passion is to encourage more bicycling as an effective physical
activity and alternative to motorized transportation. Given the trend
toward sedentary lifestyles, the increased obesity rates and related health
risks, our citizens need to be educated about these health risks and
encouraged to be more physically active. I want to see more bicycling
whether on existing trails, new trails, bicycle lanes or safely integrated
into automobile traffic.
From my childhood and teen years, bicycling was my primary form of
transportation and outdoor activity. Now, bicycling and walking are my
primary form of physical activity. Our bikes always accompany us on our
family vacations. Four bikes mounted on our rooftop
Terman Seven letter, page 2.
League has accomplished in the past several years under the leadership of
Elissa Margolin, her staff and Board President Chris Kegel. To continue
this momentum, we ask that you vote for Mark Terman to represent Region 4 on
the Board of Directors.
Please mark the attached ballot and send it to the address on the
form. It must be postmarked by April 15, 2003. Your vote and voice
are important to the future of the league.
Please feel free to contact any of us for further discussion. While
we are all members of the League board of directors, we are writing to you as
individuals who care about the League, not as official representatives of
either the League, the League board or the other organizations with which we
are affiliated. Those organizations are listed below for information
rack were an impressive sight on our small Mazda. Now mounted on a
larger family vehicle, they become a viable transportation alternative
during our family trips up north, to Mackinac Island, and on our annual
fishing trip in Canada.
I hope you will vote for me so that I may represent the interests of you
and all the other cyclists of our region on the board of the League of
Thank you for your support.
Owner, Wheel and Sprocket bicycle shops
Bikes Belong Board Member
Chair of the League Education Committee
Campaign Manager for America Bikes
Active Living by Design
Advocacy Director for Interbike
Bikes Belong Board Member
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Professor of Economics, the Citadel
PS. Please vote for Mark Terman, and please return your ballot by April
PPS: Please vote using the enclosed ballot and return in the envelope
provided. You do not used to know your member number in order to vote.
However, the ballot must he submitted by a League member (check the envelope
to see whose name is on the League's membership list).
Please join us and help restore the BikeLeague to members.
to join LAB Reform.
Letter: fair use.
May be copied, with attribution.
Last Revised 12/29/05