Going 100%: Looking back on Year 1 as an elected official

Highlights:

  • 100% attendance rate at BART board meetings
  • Hiring a new general manager (BART)
  • Hiring a new inspector general (BART)
  • Creating BART’s first-ever low-income fare program (SF Examiner)
  • Holding BART accountable to improving weekend service (SF Gate)
  • Successfully defeating an attempt to ban busking and panhandling (SF Examiner, SF Chronicle)
  • Expanding elevator attendants to all four downtown San Francisco stations (KRON4)
  • Preserving bike access on the Fleet of the Future (SF Examiner)
  • Reopening bathrooms at Powell and 19th Street stations (SF Chronicle)
  • Touring two shops (Daly City and Hayward), attending an overnight Transbay Tube drill, shadowing BART PD twice, endless visits to stations and BART HQ for briefings, tours and events
  • Hosting live agenda reviews before every BART board meeting to engage members of the public and demystify what the board does

In progress:

  • Creating BART’s first-ever ambassador program
  • Auditing BART’s “quality of life” citations and contacts (KQED)
  • Installing a new, high-quality accessible fare gate at Richmond Station
  • Reforming parking policies and pricing (SF Chronicle)

It’s been one hell of a year.

Being on a board is a team sport. For all the highlights above that required board approval, it meant that I had at least four other board members alongside me. I am particularly grateful for Bevan Dufty’s dedication as a BART board president, Rebecca Saltzman’s on-point eloquence on policy, and Lateefah Simon’s emotional leadership in always being a voice for the most marginalized.

You don’t always win, but you do set the win conditions. There were so many times I wanted more and didn’t get it, but it means I learned and am ready for the next try. I’m most frustrated with the continued criminalization of poverty and homelessness and the lack of power I have to combat those attempts on all fronts. I need support, and I look forward to building partnerships and power.

I’m not sure what any other year of BART board work looks like so is this a lot? Or not enough? Either way, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished in my first year on the board and my first year of public scrutiny as an elected official.

For me, the work is only beginning with so many things in progress. I am learning daily what it means to be a leader, and I am humbled by the trust that people put in me. Believe me when I say I love San Francisco, I love our public transit, and I believe that we can and will make BART a world-class system.

Lastly, I want to give a thank you to reporters for doggedly covering all things BART. Being a reporter is a thankless and woefully underpaid job, and I have a lot of respect for all the reporters covering transportation across the Bay Area. Even when I don’t agree with the hot takes, I appreciate the coverage.