A Call for Judge True’s Resignation

Update: The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is currently featuring links to this entry on their homepage.


In light of the recent unconscionable ruling of Judge John True (which released the woman who killed Matthew with less than a slap on the wrist), a letter-writing campaign has been started to call for True’s resignation. The name of the driver is witheld in the following letter for reasons of legal prudence. John Shiurba writes :


Yes, it’s time to get the letter writing campaign under way. I have written a letter, which anyone is free to use as model, but I think if we all write in our own words, the impact will be stronger.

Here is a copy of my letter, with the defendants name and my address deleted. Feel free to circulate this in any way you see fit. I would urge anyone writing letters to be careful not to engage in libel. The following letter represents the opinion of its author and nothing more.

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Ghost Bike

In Pittsburgh, a city particularly inhospitable to bicycle commuters, cyclists are marking the spots where other bikers have been hit or killed by cars. Old bicycles are painted white and locked to chain link fences or sign posts, then draped with a placard “Cyclist struck here – ghostbike.org.” The images are chilling.

GBP is a group of concerned bicycle commuters who have seen lives destroyed by the lack of concern by city government and automobile drivers in general. They see Pittsburgh as a city with an uninviting transportation infrastructure, a government reluctant to accommodate their needs, and a set of laws that leans toward the rights of motorists and ignores unprotected bicyclists. … Bicycling remains a viable form of transportation that can reduce roadway congestion, air pollution, noise, parking needs, energy use, and above all, to provide more daily physical exercise for everyone.

Even though Pittsburgh’s Dept. of Public Works has been removing ghost bikes from the sites where they hang, GBP encourages people in other cities to mobilize similar actions.

Meridian Music Series: Meditations for Matthew Sperry

Meridian Music Series: Composers in Performance
presents Musical Meditations for Matthew Sperry.

Myles Boisen, Philip Gelb, Bill Hsu, Gino Robair and John Shiurba , 5 of Matthew’s closest friends and musical associates will present 5 solo pieces, composed in honor of Matthew. This concert is sponsored by Meet the Composer.

Friday, July 2
8 pm
San Francisco
Meridian Gallery
545 Sutter between Mason and Powell
2nd floor
$5 for students, seniors

Matthew Sperry Remembered, One Year Later

At birdhouse.org, Scot Hacker describes yesterday’s ceremony memorializing the one-year anniversary of Matthew’s death:

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the death of our friend, musician Matthew Sperry. Matthew was run over by a pickup while on a bicycle on his way to work, leaving behind his wife and two-year-old daughter. His premature death sent waves of shock and sadness through our circle of friends, which resonate with us still. His daughter Lila is three now, and is beginning to better understand and articulate her daddy’s absence in sweet but chilling ways. His wife Stacia is coping as best as could be hoped, but is still suffering from his loss.

A large circle of Matthew’s friends gathered yesterday in the beautiful columbarium where his ashes lie. The bow from his bass was passed around as a “talking stick,” and people took turns memorializing him in words — so many different angles on his passing. It was truly touching. Matthew’s musician friends performed mournful pieces in the resonant, sun-filled chambers of the Chapel of the Chimes. Afterwards we gathered at Stacia and Lila’s house to eat, talk, and remember.

We love you, Matthew. You are missed. So missed. Blessings.

Seattle Polestar Memorial Concert

Join a special gathering of Seattle creative musicians to celebrate the life and artistry of Matthew Sperry, whose special and influential life was cut short last June 5 when he was hit by a truck as he rode his bicycle to work from his home in Oakland, California. An improvising and composing double bassist, concert organizer, and all-around vital presence in Seattle adventurous music for many years, Matt had moved to Oakland in 1999 with his partner Stacia Biltekoff. He is survived by Stacia and their daughter, Lila Simone, who was born after their move to Oakland.

This memorial concert is organized by Seattle trombonist and UW Professor Emeritus Stuart Dempster. It features Stuart, Tom Baker, dancer Sheri Cohen, Christian Asplund (now teaching at BYU), Wally Shoup, Ian Rashkin, Lori Goldston, Susie Kozawa, Greg Campbell, David Knott, and many others with connections to Matt. At midnight we’ll tune in KEXP 90.3 FM to listen to a Sonarchy broadcast (engineered by Doug Haire of Jack Straw Productions), which will feature David Knott conducting a large ensemble in works dedicated to Matt’s memory.

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June 5th Mourning; Stacia Faces Driver Who Killed Matthew

A message from Matthew’s wife Stacia:


As most of you are aware, the first anniversary of matthew’s death is on june 5th. I would like those of you who are moved to do so to join matthew’s family to mourn together this june 5th. I’ve heard that there is going to be a rally agasinst the war that morning in San Francisco at the U.N. plaza at 11:00. If Matthew were alive he would be attending this rally. I invite you to attend in his name. At 3:00 we will be meeting at the Chapel of the Chimes in the room where Matthew’s urn is. Rabbi David-who many of you remember from shiva and the memorial service, will be there to lead us in some traditional and non traditional rituals. There will be a potluck immedietely following at my home 388 49th st between shafter and lawton in oakland. please call 547-4711 if you have any questions.

I also wanted to let you all know that on the first year anniversary on the jewish calender a small group of friends and family went to court and met the woman that killed Matthew. Its too hard for me to write about. here’s John Shuirba’s account:

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Los Angeles: Matthew Sperry Memorial Concert at Fancyland


Saturday, November 1, 8pm
4212 Santa Monica Blvd. LA 90029
$5-$10 sliding scale

All proceeds from the concert will go to Matthew Sperry’s family, and will feature some of Los Angeles’ finest improvising musicians.

The concert is dedicated to the memory of bassist / father / husband/ Matthew Sperry, who touched so many with his love, honesty, humor, and music. Matthew died when he was hit by a car while bicycling to work the morning of June 5, 2003. In addition to being a wonderful father to two-year old Lila and husband to Stacia, Matthew was an incredible bass player, a rising star who performed with Anthony Braxton, David Byrne, Tom Waits, and many others.

Musicians performing November 1:

Dan Clucas
Harris Eisenstadt
Jesse Gilbert
Vinny Golia
Chris Heenan
Scott Rosenberg
John Shiurba
Andre Vida
Cory Wright

Harris Eisenstadt
Jesse Gilbert

There will be no advance ticket purchases – door sales only.

The Sound That Stars Make

Deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, artist Rodney Pond has created a memorial to Matthew from English ivy stems stripped from red alder trees. The installation is beautifully documented in words and images.

To me this piece is a meditation on regeneration and how the individual and the collective resolve themselves in the cycle and rhythm of infinite variations of being, reflected in the spirit of Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and improvisitory music.

The title came from a profound observation a friend’s neice made when she was five years old. Upon hearing crickets and tree frogs singing in a humid Florida night she exclaimed in wonderment “Oh! that’s the sound that stars make!”.

Indeed it is.