Transportation (News)

The Tea Party, Planning and Democracy (Part One)

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 11:28am

Editor's Note: This is the first part of a two-part news analysis which explores some unexpected synergies between Tea Party protesters and progressive opponents of planning policies which are perceived as anti-democratic. Part 2 will appear on Friday.

Most people regard meetings about regional planning, if they regard them at all, as soporific, PowerPointed affairs frequented by policy wonks. But on January 11, I attended a regional planning workshop in Dublin that was anything but dull. That’s because protesters from the East Bay Area Tea Party showed up along with some “fellow travelers” and nearly took the evening over. Their appearance was no surprise.

For over a year, members of the Tea Party have descended on planning events around the country. The Dublin event, sponsored by the lead regional planning agencies in the Bay Area, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), was the Alameda County installament of the second round of county-based Plan Bay Area public meetings [] about the forthcoming Sustainable Communities Strategy/Regional Transportation Plan (SCS/RTP) mandated by the 2008 legislation, SB 375. The Tea Party also weighed in at the first round, held last May, as well as at all of the second round workshops that have been held so far.

Alameda County TJ groups fight to shape 30-year transportation spending plan

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 12/09/2011 - 10:45am
Lindsay Imai - Measure BBefore the end of 2011, Alameda County will commit to a spending plan that will shape its transportation system for generations to come—and transportation justice advocates are working feverishly to ensure that the plan is fair, fiscally sound and environmentally friendly.

The half-cent sales tax enacted when county voters passed Measure B in 2000 supplies the county’s largest source of transportation funding. With that tax set to expire in 2022, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) is preparing to put a new measure before the voters in November 2012. The new proposition, if approved by a 2/3 vote, would double the tax to a full cent and make it permanent. ACTC expects to raise $7.7 billion with the expanded tax; this will represent more than half of the county’s total transportation funds. The 30-year plan for spending that money will be part of the measure on the ballot. If it is approved, county residents will not have another chance to shape transportation spending until 2042, when ACTC will submit another budget to the voters.

Fighting for Better Transit and Housing

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 10/20/2011 - 11:22am

A group of low-income AC Transit riders are battling for more bus service and affordable housing.


With three young kids and no car, unemployed Oakland mother Alia Phelps was hit hard by recent AC Transit route cuts and fare increases. Getting where she needed to go suddenly took a lot more time and money. So when she learned about Riders for Transit Justice she became an active member, speaking up at AC Transit board meetings for more service with no fare increases.

Soon, though, the bus riders realized that AC Transit was broke, said Phelps, "and we realized that they didn't have the ability to get more money" because a large portion of their operating funds come from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. "Then, we found out MTC was working on a Regional Transportation Plan, deciding how to distribute money for the next 25 years."

That's how Phelps and her fellow bus riders entered the esoteric world of regional planning, attending public hearings and sitting down with planning staff. The bus riders learned that MTC and another regional body, the Association of Bay Area Governments, are developing a plan that will shape both transportation and housing in the Bay Area for 25 years to come: where we can afford to live, what our communities will look like, how we will get to work, how long the commute will be, and more.

Power Book Event with Veteran Organizer Eric Mann

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 09/29/2011 - 2:49pm

Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer Eric Mann
Tuesday October 11th 6-8:30pm
at 518 Valencia Street
Hosted by POWER

OAKLAND Thursday October 13th 6-8:30pm
(Rescheduled - Date To Be Determined)
Hosted by Causa Justa::Just Cause
“Eric Mann has written an essential field guide for community organizers. His voice is crisp and clear, and his footsteps on the pavement are sharp. A pragmatic primer for all radicals.”?—Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World
An organizing manifesto for the twenty-first century, Playbook for Progressives is a must-have for the activist’s tool kit. This comprehensive guide articulates pragmatically what is required in the often mystifying and rarely explained on-the-ground practice of organizing. Here, Eric Mann distills lessons he learned from over forty years as an organizer, as well as from other organizers within the civil rights, labor, LGBT, economic justice, and environmental movements.

Come hear the author first hand and get your own copy of this exciting new book!!
Read more about the Playbook for Progressives here.
Eric Mann is a veteran organizer with the Congress of Racial Equality, Students for a Democratic Society, and the United Auto Workers Union. He is presently the director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles and a member of its Bus Riders Union and Community Rights Campaign.


Free Fast Pass would give San Francisco youth a ticket to opportunity

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 1:18pm
For immediate release
Sept. 20, 2011

Contact: Sheila Chung Hagen, Office of Supervisor David Campos, 415-554-5144;
Jaron Browne, POWER, 415-377-2822


Free Fast Pass would give San Francisco youth a ticket to opportunity
Bus riders, parents & community organizations rally, take proposal to Board of Supervisors

All young people in San Francisco would be able to ride MUNI for free under a proposal
put forward by a broad spectrum of community organizations and supported by many public
agencies and officials. Advocates for the free youth pass will hold a rally and press
conference in front of San Francisco’s City Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 12:00 noon.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will introduce a resolution backing the project at its
meeting immediately following the event, at 2 p.m. Supervisor David Campos, San Francisco
Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia and other city officials will speak at the
rally, along with youth and adult representatives of several community groups.

Broad Coalition Calls on SFMTA to Provide Free Muni Youth Passes

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:06pm

Youth Passes

A broad coalition of community groups, youth leaders, transit advocates and elected officials called on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency today to initiate a three-year pilot program to give young people ages 5 to 17 free Muni passes. The program would cost an estimated $7 million a year and result in a 4.6 percent increase in Muni ridership.

“We believe that transportation is a human right,” said Alicia Garza of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER).  “What we’re seeing is that over the last few years the cost of (public) transportation has increased, and service and access is decreasing. Over the last two years, there’s been more than a 100 percent increase in the cost for Fast Passes for youth.”

“For families that are struggling to survive in San Francisco,” she continued, “that also means an increase in costs when wages are not increasing, when the number of jobs in San Francisco is not increasing, and when resources for public services, including schools, are not increasing. For families with more than one child this translates into an additional burden that’s being placed on working-class families and working-class communities of color in our city.”

Transit Agency Study Finds Fares Up and Service Down

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 08/24/2011 - 11:28am

The fare for Atlanta’s trains and buses will jump to $2.50 in October, giving the city one of the more expensive transit systems in the country. In Salt Lake City, rides to Temple Square on the popular light-rail system rose a quarter in May to $2.25, and are scheduled to hit $2.50 in two years. Even San Francisco’s iconic cable cars went up a dollar last month, to $6.

The economic downturn is playing havoc with the nation’s public transit systems even as ridership remains near record levels: since 2010, 71 percent of the nation’s large systems have cut service, and half have raised fares, according to a survey released Wednesday by the American Public Transportation Association, a transit advocacy group.

And in many cases, those fare increases and service cuts — made necessary by flat or reduced state and local aid — are being implemented on top of similar moves earlier in the downturn.


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