Candidates for BART board of directors
Soon-to-be former Alameda city councilwoman Lena Tam is one of two challengers looking to unseat current BART board member Robert Raburn at the upcoming elections in November.
The seat is for BART’s Fourth District, which encompasses the Oakland Coliseum, Fruitvale, Lake Merritt, 12th Street Oakland City Center, 19th Street Oakland and MacArthur stations. Tam is being termed out of her position on the Alameda city council after two, four-year terms. Tam served on the Alameda Health Care District Board prior to her seat on the council. She currently serves as the East Bay Municipal Utility District water resources planning manager.
Raburn, a transportation planner by trade, is finishing his first four-year term on the BART board. He was chairman of the Measure B Citizens Watchdog Committee —which monitors use of transportation funds — and was involved with the East Bay Bike Coalition, which lobbied for bike lanes on the Bay Bridge. The other challenger is Larry Lionel Young Jr., a teacher and realtor from Oakland. Young ran for mayor of Oakland in 2010 and 2012, but was unsuccessful in both attempts.
The election is coming at an important time for BART as it has been less than a year since BART workers went on their second of two three-day strikes and finalized a deal. All three candidates emphasized how they would ensure relations between the union and management would stay strong to prevent future stoppages. During the strike, BART board members were unable to meet with bargaining units directly and learned about the strike through the general manager.
Raburn said both sides must determine what the issues are and "put everything on the table so it is available to all, including the public." Young wanted to make certain that workers and management are "on the same page" during negotiations because management is working with people of diverse backgrounds. Tam said she would help establish a dialogue with the unions to gain back their trust.
Tam said her time on the board would include balancing budgets during tough times, facilitating collaboration between management and labor interests, and advocating for transit-oriented projects with state and federal legislators.
BART has nine board members. James Fang of San Francisco is the only other board member that will be challenged in the upcoming election. Fang will run against Nicholas Josefowitz and Flash Gordon in District 8 in northern and western San Francisco, according to San Francisco election officials. Board members Joel Keller of Brentwood and Tom Blalock of Fremont secured another four-year term when no one filed to run against them by the Aug. deadline. The other five members’ terms end in 2016.
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