Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Twenty candidates compete for seats on BART, AC Transit boards

Michael Petrelis is a candidate for the BART Board for one of the districts within San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bay Area may be one of the only areas in the US where board members for the transit agency are popularly elected.  Boards for both the Bay Area Rapid Transit heavy rail system and the AC Transit system for Alameda County are elected.  See "Twenty candidates compete for seats on BART, AC Transit boards," East Bay Times.

By contrast most other areas have boards appointed by other government bodies.

Last year, BART Board Member Zachary Mallett pushed forward an initiative to put board member photos and contact information up in transit stations, as a way for riders to know who they could contact to express their concerns, although some people criticized this as an election promotion mechanism ("BART director wants to display board's photos in cars, stations," SF Chronicle).

Over the years I have suggested that the DC area WMATA transit agency have popularly elected members, and that more cities, including DC< should have Transportation Commissions--although typically such members are appointed.  (In the DC area, Arlington County and the City of Rockville have transportation commissions.  The City of Tempe in Arizona does also.)

Commenter charlie pointed out that the advantage of appointed members in the DC area is that they are connected to the jurisdictions that provide funding.  But if sales or property tax revenues were added to the funding mix for WMATA, then that could change the calculus somewhat.

In Greater Portland, Oregon, there the Council of Governments and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (the transportation planning organization designated by the US DOT for the metropolitan area) were merged into a common body and eventually the positions were shifted to being popularly elected. In Ontario, there are both regional and local governments in some areas, not unlike how in the US there can be county elected governments simultaneous with locally elected governments.

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At 11:50 AM, Anonymous charlie said...


At 10:24 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I did see that piece. And in keeping with some great reporting by the Tampa Bay Times of late, the TBT did a very good story on this same topic, albeit about the WM stores in their metropolitan area, maybe last winter?

Anyway, while undoubtedly part of the issue is management and not investing in security etc., I was thinking (and someone commented this in the story) that it's kind of like Willie Sutton and banks. Poor people and people with issues go to certain places and not others, more to Walmart less to Saks Fifth Ave., etc., and the people likely with a preponderant likelihood to commit crimes are more likely to go to WM than to other stores (other than Family Dollar, etc.)

That being said, like the speech by that criminologist that you forwarded awhile back, there is plenty they can do in terms of staffing, policy, etc. to reduce crime.

... but I do remember reading a story around 2001 from some local newspaper on one of my feeds on this very issue, that the money spent on emergency services by some town out west vis a vis the Walmart in their community exceeded the revenue they made from property tax and sales taxes.


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