Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Saltzman elected president of BART board

BART board member Rebecca Saltzman was elected president of the transit oversight panel at its meeting Thursday, December 15.

(BART board member Rebecca Saltzman speaks at the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club meeting Wednesday. Photo: Cynthia Laird)

(BART board member Rebecca Saltzman speaks at the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club meeting Wednesday. Photo: Cynthia Laird)

Saltzman, a lesbian who represents District 3 (portions of Alameda and Contra Costa counties), sent out a statement saying she was excited about the leadership role. She was re-elected to her second four-year term last month.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the board through the next year, as we take on many big opportunities and challenges,” she said in the statement.

Saltzman said that priorities for the board in 2017 include putting the first of 750 new BART cars into service; issuing the first portion of the voter approved $3.5 billion bond to reinvest in BART’s aging infrastructure; and expanding BART’s work on transit-oriented development, including the opening of a 100 percent affordable housing development at the San Leandro BART station and planning a mixed-use development at the El Cerrito Plaza station. The former station is in Saltzman’s district and the latter is partially in her district.

Other priorities include opening the Warm Springs BART station in Fremont and improving BART stations in downtown Berkeley and El Cerrito Plaza Del Norte.

At an East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club party Wednesday, December 14 celebrating the election victories of several East Bay candidates, Saltzman did not hint she was in the running for the BART board presidency but she did seem excited about the coming year.

“It’s a new day at BART,” she told attendees, who had gathered at the Health and Human Resource Education Center on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland.

In addition to Saltzman’s re-election, new BART board members elected last month include Bevan Dufty, a gay man who is a former San Francisco supervisor; Lateefah Simon, a daily BART rider who is a community organizer and legally blind; and Debora Allen.

Saltzman also thanked the club for its advocacy to get BART to start trains earlier on the Sunday of the San Francisco Pride parade. This year trains began running about an hour earlier than the usual 8 a.m. Sunday start time, allowing parade participants and others to get to the city early.

“It would not have happened without Stonewall advocacy,” Saltzman said.

As president, Saltzman said that she plans to introduce several initiatives to improve workflow and accessibility of the BART board. She wants to reestablish four standing policy committees, bring back evening board meetings, and bring some board meetings to BART stations.

Serving as BART board vice president will be Robert Raburn, an ally of Saltzman’s who was first elected to the panel in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

— Cynthia Laird, December 15, 2016 @ 2:51 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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