Bert Hill BART 8 questionnaire

Bert Hill BART 8 questionnaire

Postby Jeff_W on Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:32 pm

Questionnaire for Bart Board Candidates District 8,

November, 2010 General Election



1. Why are you running? Why should we vote for you?



I am running for BART Board of Directors for the 8th BART District.



I am running because the people of San Francisco’s District 8 have been paying property and sales taxes to BART for decades, yet their access to BART is neither efficient nor optimally priced. Meanwhile, BART has concentrated capital investment on extensions to lightly populated East Bay and South Bay suburbs. My vision for BART is based on the motto: “Grow up, not out,” and my candidacy stresses clean maintained facilities, fiscal responsibility, and passenger safety. The residents of District 8 and my city deserve a better BART.



2. What sets you apart from your opponents?



I am the only viable Democrat running in this race, endorsed by the Democratic County Central Committee. In addition, I am the only Westside candidate who has 25 years of experience as a project cost and financial manager of multi-billion dollar construction projects with a global engineering firm (Bechtel) AND who has traveled within the city (and outside of it) primarily via public transit since 1972, and bicycle since 1992. I have a wide range of board and committee memberships that include: 1) Spectrum Federal Credit Union since 1996; 2) Livable City since 2003; 3) SF Housing Action Coalition since 2004; 4) City of SF Bicycle Advisory Committee (Chair) since 1995, nominated by Supervisor Sean Elsbernd; 5) SF MTA Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) CAC, 2008-2009; and 6) Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association since 2005. Nearly all of these organizations are involved in extensive public hearings/discussions, legislative advocacy, and negotiated agreements.



3. San Francisco for Democracy is committed to grassroots involvement. Please explain how you are involving ordinary citizens in your campaign?



I am a great believer in grassroots democracy. In addition to the civic groups listed above, I have long hosted house parties for local candidates. In 2008, we were part of a group of families that held a series of home events with music and entertainment for then candidate Barack Obama. I also facilitated a group of local citizens in the grassroots development of the national Democratic Party Platform for the 2008 convention, and traveled to Nevada in October and November 2008 to successfully get out the vote in this critical swing state. My own campaign is starting out with a core committee of grassroots campaigners, and my family, friends, and neighbors. So far, I have no corporate or large organizational sponsors.



4. What do you think of the Governor’s recent signing of a bill to create an independent auditor and citizen’s oversights committee, to watch over and make policy recommendations regarding the BART Police force?



The creation of an independent auditor and a citizens oversight committee is long overdue. I applaud the passage of legislation permitting the creation a citizens oversight committee.



5. If elected, what skill set will a candidate for the position of Independent Auditor need to have, before you appoint them to the post?



Numerous cities have Independent Police Auditors. The ideal candidate for BART Independent Auditor would be a thoughtful, conscientious, hard-working, and inquisitive individual who is well versed in standard police department operations and familiar with public transit. Ideally, the best candidate would also have previous experience in auditing police departments and/or sitting on a citizens’ police oversight committee. As a graduate of the SF Police Academy’s Community Police Academy, I would consider such a course to be a likely prerequisite for anyone otherwise qualified.



6. If elected, do you expect the Citizens Oversight Committee to play a substantive role in updating and implementing new policy around public safety strategies? Please explain why, or why not?



Yes. I know about the important role that citizens oversight and advisory committees play, as I served on MTA Transit Effective Project CAC and as I now currently serve on the Bicycle Advisory Committee. As a member of the BART Board of Directors, I will rely on the expertise of the Citizens Oversight Committee as I make policy decisions regarding public safety.



7. Are you in favor of the recent BART Board decision, to approve the project that connects the Oakland Airport to BART? Please explain why, or why not?



I oppose the extension. BART’s history suggests that the business plan has potential for error, with triple the current fare for use of the service, and capital sources from borrow and trade schemes to patch together financing. BART is already facing some major capital challenges in meeting likely capacity demands in the next decade as the economy recovers, planned infill population growth continues, and fuel prices ‘drive’ us out of automobile-based commuting.



Some of those challenges have been highlighted by a recent San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) study that predicted that BART will need to invest in cars with reduced wait time (3 doorways), modifications to the automated control system for a more streamlined operation, and major platform changes.



8. Do you envision any expansion of BART, to other areas of the Bay Area being approved by the Board in the next decade? Please explain why, or why not?



Plans are already underway to expand BART to San Jose, and plans are also on the drawing board to expand the system to Livermore. The question is how to make these systems cost neutral without sacrificing safety or quality anywhere along the system. At the same time, the inefficient access of many San Franciscans to BART (especially those from the western and northern parts of the city) is never far from my mind – yet there are no plans to improve their access.

9. What is your position regarding privatization in the public sector? Please explain why or why not?



This is a trend that gained impetus during the Reagan years, in a drive to lower taxes, and drive business to multi-national corporations. Private companies may be able to cut costs for a particular contract, but the profit motive inevitably is driven to expansion of services, elimination of competition (or collusion, if no competitive market exists). An additional problem with privatization is the erosion of democracy. When a part of the public sector – such a park – is privatized,the voice of the citizenry is replaced by unelected board members in the decision-making process. Often open meeting laws do not apply to the meetings of the unelected board members.



10. Do you favor the use of Project Labor Agreements in the public sector? Please explain why or why not?



I am only familiar with PLAs in the Engineering/Construction sector, but in general I favor them for their managerial predictability, continuous productivity, and universal understanding of expectations and deliverables by all parties. PLAs work badly when scope and schedule are not adequately defined, labor trade boundaries are not included in the original agreement, resolution processes are not clearly agreed upon, and outside factors are not anticipated through sophisticated risk and contingency assessment that could affect the entire nature of the project.
Jeff_W
 
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Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:00 pm

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