bart_generic1.jpgBART’s board of directors has experienced little turnover in recent years, but former East Bay Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Robert Raburn shook it up in Tuesday’s election by comfortably beating three-term incumbent Carole Ward Allen of Oakland.

Raburn had 46.35 percent of the vote, according to ballots counted as of 4 p.m. today, while Ward Allen, who was first elected in 1998, had 35.15 percent of the vote for the District 4 seat, which represents much of Oakland and all of Alameda.

Monique Rivera, an engineering business manager, was third with 17.5 percent of the vote.

But across the bay in San Francisco, Director James Fang, who was first elected in 1990, easily won re-election to a sixth term by getting 49 percent of the vote. His District 8 seat covers the northern and western parts of San Francisco.

Bert Hill, a former project manager for Bechtel, finished second with 26.15 percent, and Brian Larkin, a former BART engineer, finished third with 24.46 percent.

Raburn said he believes the key issue in the District 4 race was Ward Allen’s strong support for the $484 million rail connector from the Coliseum BART station to Oakland International Airport, which he opposed and called “an unnecessary expense.”

Ward Allen, a long-time fixture on the Oakland political scene who teaches at Laney College in Oakland and formerly served as president of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners, couldn’t be reached for comment today.

Ground was broken for the airport connector project, which has been discussed for more than 20 years, at a ceremony two weeks ago. The project is scheduled to be completed in about 3.5 years.

Opponents of the project said BART could have saved hundreds of millions of dollars by developing a rapid bus service between the Coliseum station and the Oakland airport at a cost of between $83 million and $125 million.

“I will bring a new perspective to the BART board by focusing on the core system” instead of expensive extension projects, Raburn said.

He said he doesn’t think that extension projects that are already under way can be stopped and said, “I’m not an opponent to all things BART.”

But he said he thinks the transit agency should focus more on improving its basic service instead of reducing service, raising fares and eliminating jobs.

“BART’s been balancing its budget on the backs of its passengers,” Raburn said.

Fang, in contrast, said he would like BART to continue building extensions, specifically what he called “BART to the beach,” which would go underground from the Civic Center station west to Ocean Beach.

“We can move very fast,” he said, adding that said it could be built in seven or eight years.

Fang said skeptics thought BART’s extension to San Francisco International Airport “was a pipe dream,” and the transit agency’s long-discussed extension to San Jose is also moving along.

Fang said he believes he was re-elected because “the voters of San Francisco looked at BART’s 96 percent on-time performance and our $8 million surplus” and think that BART looks good compared to the San Francisco Municipal Railway, which has been plagued by service problems over the years.

He said he also thinks that BART is “a jobs and economic engine” because its expansion projects are projected to create 170,000 to 185,000 jobs over the next 10 to 12 years.
Raburn is scheduled to be sworn in at BART’s meeting on Dec. 16, when the board of directors will also elect its new president and vice president.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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  • Akit

    BART to Ocean Beach? Ha!

    They going to try to undercut Muni too? Within SF, BART currently costs 25 cents less a ride than Muni.

  • Akit

    BART to Ocean Beach? Ha!

    They going to try to undercut Muni too? Within SF, BART currently costs 25 cents less a ride than Muni.

  • Greg Dewar

    James Fang is lying, but not for the reason Akit notes.

    James Fang has been on the board for 20 years. He could have had this started long ago. Instead he has supported BART building far off extensions that do not generate riders or reduce traffic.

    Although a BART line down Geary would have to be somewhat modified from the original plan in the 1960s, it’s not a bad idea per se. For one, technology has advanced so that to actually build the tunnel you would not have the gaping canyon down Geary for years like back in the 60s.

    Also, the B Geary was eliminated in 1958 in part because it was assumed that a new rail line was going in , and the City did not want to duplicate service on Geary. Ridership estimates indicate that a well run (!) on budget (!!) properly managed and depoliticized contracting process (!!!!!!!!!) could produce a line that would essentially pay for itself within about 10 years. It would also take a significant load off the 38, and Muni.

    However, this being SF, and this being James Fang, instead what you would have would be:

    -corrupt bidding process for contractors
    -endless NIMBY fascism
    -whining and politicization of station placement (even though we know where most of ’em would go
    -the fact that we’re building the Subway to Nowhere, which means the Feds aren’t likely to want to give a Speakerless SF more federal funding
    -the fact that James Fang is full of shit.

  • Greg Dewar

    James Fang is lying, but not for the reason Akit notes.

    James Fang has been on the board for 20 years. He could have had this started long ago. Instead he has supported BART building far off extensions that do not generate riders or reduce traffic.

    Although a BART line down Geary would have to be somewhat modified from the original plan in the 1960s, it’s not a bad idea per se. For one, technology has advanced so that to actually build the tunnel you would not have the gaping canyon down Geary for years like back in the 60s.

    Also, the B Geary was eliminated in 1958 in part because it was assumed that a new rail line was going in , and the City did not want to duplicate service on Geary. Ridership estimates indicate that a well run (!) on budget (!!) properly managed and depoliticized contracting process (!!!!!!!!!) could produce a line that would essentially pay for itself within about 10 years. It would also take a significant load off the 38, and Muni.

    However, this being SF, and this being James Fang, instead what you would have would be:

    -corrupt bidding process for contractors
    -endless NIMBY fascism
    -whining and politicization of station placement (even though we know where most of ’em would go
    -the fact that we’re building the Subway to Nowhere, which means the Feds aren’t likely to want to give a Speakerless SF more federal funding
    -the fact that James Fang is full of shit.

  • mikesonn

    Greg, you are spot on.

    Really sucks Fang got re-elected.

  • mikesonn

    Greg, you are spot on.

    Really sucks Fang got re-elected.

  • sfresident

    In an election full of depressing results, this was just another punch in the face.

    When will we pull together a real transit-oriented advocacy group that stands up for riders and isn’t just a shill for one side or another in city machine politics….

    Oh well…

  • sfresident

    In an election full of depressing results, this was just another punch in the face.

    When will we pull together a real transit-oriented advocacy group that stands up for riders and isn’t just a shill for one side or another in city machine politics….

    Oh well…

  • Mike Smith

    Even more tragic is the cynical ploy that Fang used to get reelected. He knew that he was disliked. Note that he got less than 50% of the vote even though he promised fantasies like extending BART to the beach and jobs, jobs, jobs (what, you forgot to promise us all a cute puppy??). So he motivated a third candidate to run just to split the vote. The other candidate was incredibly similar to Bert with respect to experience, demographics, etc but the other guy didn’t campaign at all. Look at how incredibly little he spent. So the reform/anti-Fang vote was split and Fang cruised to a victory even though he got less than 50% of the vote.

    And unfortunately there are no term limits and no ranked-choice voting so Fang can do the same thing every time he is up for reelection. So the only way to get him out is to have the legislature impose some new rules on how the BART board is elected because the BART board certainly isn’t going to change the rules not as long as Fang is in charge.

  • Mike Smith

    Even more tragic is the cynical ploy that Fang used to get reelected. He knew that he was disliked. Note that he got less than 50% of the vote even though he promised fantasies like extending BART to the beach and jobs, jobs, jobs (what, you forgot to promise us all a cute puppy??). So he motivated a third candidate to run just to split the vote. The other candidate was incredibly similar to Bert with respect to experience, demographics, etc but the other guy didn’t campaign at all. Look at how incredibly little he spent. So the reform/anti-Fang vote was split and Fang cruised to a victory even though he got less than 50% of the vote.

    And unfortunately there are no term limits and no ranked-choice voting so Fang can do the same thing every time he is up for reelection. So the only way to get him out is to have the legislature impose some new rules on how the BART board is elected because the BART board certainly isn’t going to change the rules not as long as Fang is in charge.

  • Anne

    James Fang has had 20 years to make improvements to Bart and yet he has failed to reduce the noise on Bart, make Bart safe, or clean. Why did we re-elect him? Not only has he failed to make Bart a pleasant experience for the rider but he practiced unethical politics in this last election. Did you know:

    1. Fang paid for and authorized a FAKE slate card implying that he was endorsed by the SF Democratic Party. Fang sent this out 4 days before the election, knowing full well that nothing could be done to negate the intended effect nor reveal the lie to the public.
    2. Fang negotiated for a “ringer” (Brian Larkin) to run for the Bart board to split the vote of his opposition. Mr. Larkin filed candidacy papers on the very last day and did minimal campaigning for the office. This maneuver is commonplace and not illegal, but certainly UNETHICAL. Follow up should be conducted to see from whom Mr. Larkin receives contracts and business in the ensuring years.
    3. Voters should note that Fang was 28 years old when his family purchased his seat on the Bart board twenty years ago. Not exactly the “common man” who understands or empathizes with those who ride Bart.
    4. Obviously, Fang was running scared by the candidacy of the TRUE transit advocate, BERT HILL, or he would not have stooped to unethical tactics to ensure his place on the Bart Board.

  • Anne

    James Fang has had 20 years to make improvements to Bart and yet he has failed to reduce the noise on Bart, make Bart safe, or clean. Why did we re-elect him? Not only has he failed to make Bart a pleasant experience for the rider but he practiced unethical politics in this last election. Did you know:

    1. Fang paid for and authorized a FAKE slate card implying that he was endorsed by the SF Democratic Party. Fang sent this out 4 days before the election, knowing full well that nothing could be done to negate the intended effect nor reveal the lie to the public.
    2. Fang negotiated for a “ringer” (Brian Larkin) to run for the Bart board to split the vote of his opposition. Mr. Larkin filed candidacy papers on the very last day and did minimal campaigning for the office. This maneuver is commonplace and not illegal, but certainly UNETHICAL. Follow up should be conducted to see from whom Mr. Larkin receives contracts and business in the ensuring years.
    3. Voters should note that Fang was 28 years old when his family purchased his seat on the Bart board twenty years ago. Not exactly the “common man” who understands or empathizes with those who ride Bart.
    4. Obviously, Fang was running scared by the candidacy of the TRUE transit advocate, BERT HILL, or he would not have stooped to unethical tactics to ensure his place on the Bart Board.

  • Sue

    I am, of course, biased, since I was Bert’s campaign manager. Hopefully, Bert will be writing about BART and campaigning for a seat on the Board of Directors in the near future.

    For now, let me say that I was disappointed that David Latterman and Alex Clemmons, the presenters at the SPUR post-election recap, didn’t think the BART races were were worth a mention. While I might agree with David Latterman that a candidate running to unseat a four-term incumbent in the conservative ‘c’ of the city is up against formidable obstacles, for a system that is valued at perhaps somewhere between $16 and $20 billion that San Franciscans have been paying a half-cent sales tax into for 40 years, I disagree that mention of BART is not worth it. Honestly, I think showing a map of the BART district, voter turn out for BART (so far only about 50,000 votes have been counted in this race — and it’s doubtful many more voted), the breakdown of the votes (Fang 48 to 49 percent, Hill 26 plus percent, and Larkin 24 plus percent) would have taken less than a minute. So many people know so little about BART — including the fact that they get to vote for members of the Board of Directors and the directors are elected by district. It is not good to perpetuate the general lack of information that the public has about its operations.

  • Sue

    I am, of course, biased, since I was Bert’s campaign manager. Hopefully, Bert will be writing about BART and campaigning for a seat on the Board of Directors in the near future.

    For now, let me say that I was disappointed that David Latterman and Alex Clemmons, the presenters at the SPUR post-election recap, didn’t think the BART races were were worth a mention. While I might agree with David Latterman that a candidate running to unseat a four-term incumbent in the conservative ‘c’ of the city is up against formidable obstacles, for a system that is valued at perhaps somewhere between $16 and $20 billion that San Franciscans have been paying a half-cent sales tax into for 40 years, I disagree that mention of BART is not worth it. Honestly, I think showing a map of the BART district, voter turn out for BART (so far only about 50,000 votes have been counted in this race — and it’s doubtful many more voted), the breakdown of the votes (Fang 48 to 49 percent, Hill 26 plus percent, and Larkin 24 plus percent) would have taken less than a minute. So many people know so little about BART — including the fact that they get to vote for members of the Board of Directors and the directors are elected by district. It is not good to perpetuate the general lack of information that the public has about its operations.

  • Matt Baume

    Why stop there? BART to the Farralones!

  • Matt Baume

    Why stop there? BART to the Farralones!

  • carbonXT

    Does anyone know what we’d have to do to get the Bart board elected by ranked-choice voting?

  • carbonXT

    Does anyone know what we’d have to do to get the Bart board elected by ranked-choice voting?

  • JakeBarnes

    Fine, but no live chickens.

  • JakeBarnes

    Fine, but no live chickens.

  • cchin

    As a third-generation Chinese-American resident of San Francisco, I emphatically state that James Fang does NOT REPRESENT ME.

    I am appalled by Fang’s sleazy tactics and embarrassed that he continues to use the Asian “race card” to garner votes, as if that should be the only criteria for serving in public office. I am disappointed that Democrats such as Feinstein, Pelosi, Newsom, Fiona Ma, and Leland Yee endorse and enable such a poor excuse for a public servant. It is a tragedy that money speaks louder than the truth, and is used to shield the true character of a person.

    Many in the community, both Chinese and non-Chinese alike, know of Fang’s pattern of joining community boards, only to make an initial appearance, disappear, then reappear only when he wants a favor. If his wishes are not agreed to, he retaliates by pulling funding to the board or he takes other vindictive measures. For decades Fang has been using his family money and “bullying” tactics to move up the political ladder. It must be working for him since Schwarzenegger recently appointed him to the State Board of Education.

    As the adage goes: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

    I can only hope that San Franciscans will recognize what a low life career politician they have foolishly elected to the Bart board. Fang has not demonstrated that he has ALL of his constituents at heart; he only wants to collect notches on his belt.

  • cchin

    As a third-generation Chinese-American resident of San Francisco, I emphatically state that James Fang does NOT REPRESENT ME.

    I am appalled by Fang’s sleazy tactics and embarrassed that he continues to use the Asian “race card” to garner votes, as if that should be the only criteria for serving in public office. I am disappointed that Democrats such as Feinstein, Pelosi, Newsom, Fiona Ma, and Leland Yee endorse and enable such a poor excuse for a public servant. It is a tragedy that money speaks louder than the truth, and is used to shield the true character of a person.

    Many in the community, both Chinese and non-Chinese alike, know of Fang’s pattern of joining community boards, only to make an initial appearance, disappear, then reappear only when he wants a favor. If his wishes are not agreed to, he retaliates by pulling funding to the board or he takes other vindictive measures. For decades Fang has been using his family money and “bullying” tactics to move up the political ladder. It must be working for him since Schwarzenegger recently appointed him to the State Board of Education.

    As the adage goes: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

    I can only hope that San Franciscans will recognize what a low life career politician they have foolishly elected to the Bart board. Fang has not demonstrated that he has ALL of his constituents at heart; he only wants to collect notches on his belt.

  • cchin

    Public records show that PG&E contributed $1000 to James Fang’s November 2010 campaign for Bart board. Now WHY would that occur? Matier & Ross, please investigate and follow the money. Or does Fang have you over a barrel too?

  • cchin

    Public records show that PG&E contributed $1000 to James Fang’s November 2010 campaign for Bart board. Now WHY would that occur? Matier & Ross, please investigate and follow the money. Or does Fang have you over a barrel too?

  • Sue

    Hey CChin, I’ve got copies of all of Fang’s 460s documenting his contributions and expenses. $1,000 from PG&E is one of the smaller contributions!

    Also, to carbonXT, I think we would have to amend the charter that created BART in order to bring in ranked-choice voting

  • Sue

    Hey CChin, I’ve got copies of all of Fang’s 460s documenting his contributions and expenses. $1,000 from PG&E is one of the smaller contributions!

    Also, to carbonXT, I think we would have to amend the charter that created BART in order to bring in ranked-choice voting

  • brad

    I’m not weighing in for or against Fang with this comment, but I just want to say that I have lived in the Bay Area for 20 years. For the first 10 years I commuted everyday on the N Judah. For the second 10 years, I have commuted on BART. World of difference. Yes, BART has some breakdowns here and there and the trains could be a little cleaner. But the BART experience is so far and above the misery of Muni that they must be doing something right.

  • brad

    I’m not weighing in for or against Fang with this comment, but I just want to say that I have lived in the Bay Area for 20 years. For the first 10 years I commuted everyday on the N Judah. For the second 10 years, I have commuted on BART. World of difference. Yes, BART has some breakdowns here and there and the trains could be a little cleaner. But the BART experience is so far and above the misery of Muni that they must be doing something right.