SF Green Party BART Candidate Questionnaire 2018
Due Date: Friday, Aug 24
1. There are 10 sections to this questionnaire. Each section
corresponds with the 10 Key Values of the Green Party.
2. Each section begins with a written question and ends with several
multiple-choice questions. Please don't skip the written question.
3. The multiple-choice questions are answered by checking the box in the
appropriate column to indicate which is closest to your position: + = Support / Agree / Yes
- = Oppose / Disagree / No
: = Undecided / Don't know / No opinion
4. The world is too complex to always break down neatly into
yes/no/maybe choices, so feel free to clarify any answers to multiple
choice questions with a few words.
Candidate Name: Jonathan Lyens
Phone Number: 415-446-8896
Web site: www.jonathanlyens.com
Name of Campaign Manager: Vanessa Lyens
Major Endorsements: SF Democratic Party
SF Labor Council
ATU Local 1555
Kevin de Leon, immediate past President Pro Tem, California State Senate
Mark Leno, former California State Senator
Tom Ammiano, former Assemblymember D17
Art Agnos, former SF Mayor
Sandra Lee-Fewer, Supervisor D1
Aaron Peskin, Supervisor D3
Norman Yes, Supervisor D7
Rafael Mandelman, Supervisor D7
Eric Mar, former Supervisor D1
David Campos, Chair, SFDCCC
Incumbent Board Member whose votes most reflect your values: Lateefah Simon
Incumbent whose votes least reflect your values: While I don't expect to see eye to eye on every issue with all of my colleagues, I look forward to working with each of them individually, collaboratively and in different ways.
1) Grassroots Democracy: Please describe how you make your political
decisions. What is the main basis for your decision making (e.g.,
consultation with your constituents, political consultants,
colleagues, unions, businesses, donors, or your gut feelings)?
Elected leaders have a responsibility to study every issue and understand the impact of each decision from all sides. Making decisions or taking votes on issues through a single perspective does a disservice to all BART's stakeholders. No single group or faction has a monopoly on what is right for BART. As BART Director I will continuously engage the community and maintain an open door policy on any issue. It is often the people on the ground, those closest to an issue, that have the best perspective. As Director, I will actively seek the counsel of all stakeholders, including labor, community based organizations, political groups and neighborhood leaders, as well as the support of my family and friends. When I joined the Mayor's Budget Office at the beginning of the recession, our city faced historic and repeated budget deficits that needed to be balanced. I advocated for the office to begin community outreach on our mounting fiscal challenges. We began educating the public on the city's budget challenges, sought ideas from our city employees about how the city could save money, and collaborated with our nonprofit service providers on how to work smarter with our scarce financial resources.
+ - ?
[ x ] [ ] [ ] More transit agencies should have elected boards of directors.
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Create a system of public financing for all elected officeholders, including elected transit agency directors
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Create limits on campaign contributions to members of elected transit agency boards
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Regulate contributions to officials who are elected to regional boards
[ ] [ ] [ x ] My campaign accepts corporate contributions
[ ] [ x ] [ ] My campaign accepts contributions from paid lobbyists or related entities having any interest in City and County of San Francisco or beyond
2) Ecological Wisdom: Please outline your view of the major
environmental and ecological issues facing San Francisco and your proposed
policies to address them.
CleanPowerSF is the single most effective way our city leaders can have an impact on our environment. In addition to clean power, I believe that many of the most significant environmental issues impacting the city often manifest themselves as quality of life issues. The city continuously fails to keep our streets clean; polluting our streets, waterways, open spaces, parks and beaches. Additionally, we must continue to strengthen alternatives to single occupancy vehicle usage. Our dependence on cars increases traffic and adds to congestion and air pollution when cars repeatedly circle the block to find parking, or double park and block streets.
BART's energy usage is substantial - the largest power user in Northern California. BART's recent renewable energy power purchase agreements will dramatically increase their clean energy portfolio from 4% to 90% by 2021. However, this increase is not enough - which is signaled by the fact that the clean energy percentage will drop to 75% by 2025 due to increased energy use. These agreements are good first steps and BART needs to continue this effort to reach and maintain a 100% clean energy portfolio. BART can expand solar panel installation at stations, as done in Warm Springs. Further, I would like to explore other avenues for obtaining renewable energy, through purchasing from sources like CleanPowerSF.
+ - ?
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Reducing or eliminating parking minimums in new housing and commercial developments
[ ] [ ] [ x ] Congestion tolls on Doyle Drive
[ ] [ x ] [ ] Livermore BART extension
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Rail Around the Bay BART extensions to Warm Springs, San Jose, and Santa Clara
3) Social Justice:
A) Did you take a public position on the Oakland Airport Connector?
No. At the time I had not yet found my voice as a Bay Area wide advocate.
B) What are your views on Transit-Oriented Development and efforts to
create affordable housing? How do you see peak oil impacting your votes on
the BART Board of Directors?
As a person with a disability, transit oriented development is an exciting concept. The ability to live steps away from a strong and viable public transportation system is the pinnacle of accessibility. Indeed, I still have memories visiting Washington D.C. as a child and seeing housing right on top of Metro stations, many with elevators directly from the building into the station. While BART is far from achieving this, the District has the ability to get there. As the debate around peak oil continues, as Director I recognize that no matter when peak oil is reached, oil is a nonrenewable resource and we must do everything in our power to reduce the use of fossil fuels immediately. Development of housing near BART stops is a significant step in achieving this goal. BART currently owns enough land to potentially develop 20,000 units of housing across the Bay Area. However, we must recognize that this land is a valuable, finite public resource and should be used for the maximum public good. Any housing development must contain substantial levels of affordable housing as a requirement for approval.
+ - ?
[ x ] [ ] [ ] BART directors should focus on maintaining the existing system as opposed to building extensions to suburbs.
[ ] [ x ] [ ] Hiring more fare evasion teams
[ ] [ ] [ x ] Fences around BART property to prevent camping
4) Nonviolence: What are your solutions for improving the accountability of
the BART police force while making the system safer? Do you think the BART
police force should exist? Do you think BART police officers should carry
guns and/or tasers?
Safety is a huge issue for BART that must be addressed. Riders are being murdered on BART platforms and violent crime continues to ride dramatically on BART while falling across the state. The public perception that BART is not a safe transit option is growing, and threatens BART's most fundamental mission. That said, we must ensure that the steps taken to increase safety on BART are not too reactionary and infringe on the civil liberties of all riders. As BART Director I will advocate for increased presence on BART platforms to ensure riders know there is a BART employee to assist in any emergency. This additional presence does not necessarily need to be police officers with guns and tasers. I would advocate for unarmed community service workers in this role. Additionally, we must improve our "station hardening" - bringing elevators inside the fare gates, improving lighting, signage, cameras(not facial recognition) and call boxes for law enforcement to be requested. We must also work to ensure that the BART PD represents the diversity of the communities BART serves. Indeed, I will advocate for increased recruitment from the Bay Area, specifically communities of color and low income.
+ - ?
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Create of a BART police force citizen oversight committee
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Create an office of the Independent Police Auditor for the BART police
[ ] [ x ] [ ] Automated surveillance of BART system to alert police of illegal activities
5) Decentralization: In general, the Green Party supports the principle of
decentralization. What is your proposal for making our Bay Area transit
agencies at once decentralized and at the same time efficient, affordable,
The challenge with the current system of more than 2 dozen transit agencies serving the Bay Area is coordination and communication. In San Francisco, BART shares every single one of its stations with Muni. However, no standing coordinating committee between BART and Muni exists, as the one in existence with BART and AC Transit. Further, many of the more vexing challenges BART currently faces are manifestations of the challenges being faced by the city - open air drug use, homelessness and pan handling. As BART Director I will advocate for the formation of a working group between the city and BART to coordinate solutions between BART and Muni, as well as how the city and BART can work together to address these more challenging issues. Additionally, I will advocate for offering the city's Homeless Outreach Team permanent space from which to operate inside of a BART station.
+ - ?
[ ] [ ] [ x ] Create one regional, elected transit agency
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Create a system whereby a portion of sales and property taxes assessed by transit districts must be spent in those transit districts
6) Community Based Economics: What economic policies, including taxation,
land use from the Planning Department, and investment from the
Redevelopment Agency would you propose that would drive capital into our
communities and keep that capital here for residents?
As a city we must do a better job of ensuring our commercial corridors thrive and expand. I support a progressive tax structure that ensures larger corporations pay their fair share in taxes. Further, I support impact fees on development that truly fund the infrastructure needs based on additional infill. In particular, we must begin reinvesting in our BART system. This will require new and creative strategies. As BART Director I will convene a working group of experts, community organizations and labor leaders to develop realistic revenue options for BART.
+ - ?
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Local hiring requirements should be enforced
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Downtown transit assessment fee
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Citywide transit assessment fee
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Prop 13 limits on tax increases should apply only to residential properties
7) Feminism: Women continue to be underrepresented in government. Why do
you believe this is the case? Is this a bad thing, and if so, what would
you do to remedy this?
I believe strongly that our elected leaders should reflect the diversity of our communities, and I'm proud of the work that I have done to support women running for office and all levels of government, and am honored to have the endorsement of many female elected leaders in this campaign. As President of the FDR Democratic Club of SF, for seniors and people with disabilities, I have supported many female candidates through phone banks, precinct walks and more than 100,000 pieces of direct mail. Our city is stronger when we draw our leadership from our strength of diversity.
+ - ?
[ x ] [ ] [ ] The City should help provide more quality childcare to working parents
8) Respect for Diversity: Do you think the significant money lost in civil
case suits like Oscar Grant's and others jeopardize the relationship
between unions and management to impose/draw up any present/future union-
management agreements or contracts?
It is difficult to discuss the murder of unarmed people of color on BART platforms in terms of money. However, these acts of violence do very often come with significant costs for the District - costs that are completely avoidable. As labor continues to advocate for their members, who all live in the Bay Area and are continually squeezed by the rising cost of living, BART works to balance a series of completing priorities. Avoidable multi-million dollar judgements and settlements drastically restrict labor's ability to be successful at the bargaining table. Management cannot invest in their workers as long as they are paying out millions for these tragically avoidable deaths.
+ - ?
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Non-citizen residents should be able to vote in all local elections
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Full rights for transgender persons
[ ] [ x ] [ ] Boards and commissions now reflect the ethnic diversity of San Francisco
[ ] [ ] [ x ] Boards and commissions now reflect the political diversity of San Francisco
[ x ] [ ] [ ] My campaign reflects the diversity of San Francisco
9) Global and Personal Responsibility: What are your thoughts on how
the 2013 BART contract was negotiated?
BART management has been actively anti-labor for a generation and the 2013 contract negotiations were simply another manifestation of that animus. Management failed to negotiate in good faith with the unions - forcing the subsequent strikes and tragically avoidable deaths. As contract negotiations at BART rapidly approach in 2021, I will work hard to ensure the lessons of 2013 are learned and not repeated. I am proud to be endorsed by all of BART's unions. As BART Director I will work tirelessly to repair the relations between management and labor - building a culture of bilateral trust and communication. I will push management to begin meeting with the unions early and often to ensure plenty of time for all issues to be negotiated before contract expiration. I will ensure that labor has the information they need (such as budget and District costs) to advocate for their members from a level playing field. I will also request regular updates from BART management about the progress of negotiations and I will attend negotiations as an observer if my presence is requested by either side. Lastly, if efforts for successful negotiations are unsuccessful, I will be on the picket line with labor until management chooses to negotiate in good faith.
[ ] [ x ] [ ] BART should hire outside help to negotiate union contracts
10) Sustainability: What does the Transit First City Charter provision mean
to you? How has Transit First fared in recent years, and how would you
enforce that Charter Provision if elected?
As our city and region continue to grow we simply cannot handle each resident owning their own car. However, particularly in many sections of BART District 8, accessing BART is nearly impossible and 100% reliability on Muni is not practical for everyone. We must be aggressive but judicious in our efforts to get people out of their cars by reducing parking allotment, but also making alternative transportation more reliable for everyone. This is an area where our families are particularly hit hard, as they continue to see the cost of car ownership increasing but Muni reliability falling flat.
As a person with a disability I depend on public transportation every day. Our privatization of public bus stops clogs our system, slows travel time and reduces access to Muni; particularly for seniors and people with disabilities. We also need to do more to address growing traffic issues. I fully support strengthening our public transportation options, increasing our network of bike lanes, and expanding car and bike share options.
+ - ?
[ x ] [ ] [ ] MUNI should be funded greater levels and be free to the rider
[ ] [ x ] [ ] Higher residential construction along neighborhood transit corridors, which may include raising height limits by two to three stories.
[ ] [ x ] [ ] State law change that lets bicycles treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs
[ x ] [ ] [ ] I ride MUNI, bicycle and/or walk instead of driving on a regular basis
[ ] [ x ] [ ] Allow residents to park on the sidewalk without getting a ticket, unless their neighbors complain
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Congestion pricing for parking
[ ] [ ] [ x ] Power more City vehicles using corn-based ethanol
[ ] [ ] [ x ] Residents should be allowed to park in the street in front of their own driveway for free
[ ] [ ] [ x ] Support expanding parking meter hours to include later evening hours and weekends
[ x ] [ ] [ ] Remove parking spots and car lanes to create dedicated bike and bus lanes or wider sidewalks
Due Date: Friday, August 24, 11:59 pm.
Please submit by email to email@example.com. For more information, call
Erika McDonald at 415-337-1499. Please return your answers in plain
text (not HTML, PDF, or Word format), so that we can post all
candidates' answers in the same format.
The SF Green Party invites all candidates who return completed
questionnaires on time to speak and answer questions at our candidate
forum and endorsement meeting (tentatively scheduled for Wed, Aug 29
from 6-9 pm). If you need to schedule a particular time slot, or if
you are unable to make the meeting, please be in touch with us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, we'll interview candidates as you arrive.
Our forum and endorsement meeting will take place in the theater
on the 2nd floor of the Redstone Building, located at 2940 16th Street
(between Mission and South Van Ness, 1 block from 16th St BART).
Completed questionnaires will be posted on our website,