San Francisco Green Party BART Candidate Questionnaire 2014
1. There are 10 sections to this questionnaire. Each section corresponds with the 10 Key Values of the Green Party.
2. Most sections begin with a written question and ends with several multiple-choice questions.
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: Nick Josefowitz
Phone Number: 415.801.3812
Web site: getsfmoving.com
Campaign Manager: Alyse Opatowski
Major Endorsements: Sierra Club, Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, BART Director Tom Radulovich, Supervisor Eric Mar, former Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment Melanie Nutter
Favorite Incumbent Board Member: Director Tom Radulovich
Least favorite: Republican Director James Fang
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)?
I make political decisions by looking to my progressive values and the
communities that I represent.
+ - ?
[ X ] [ ] [ ] More transit agencies should have elected boards of directors.
[ X ] [ ] [ ] In the absence of elected transit boards, more transit boards should at least be subject to a split appointment process
[ 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
[ 1 ] [ ] [ ] 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
1. I am only accepting contributions from companies that have no
interests before BART.
2) Ecological Wisdom: Please outline your view of the major
environmental and ecological issues facing San Francisco and your
proposed policies to address them.
The ecological and environmental challenges of our time are numerous,
and until we solve them, the future of the planet and our communities
is at risk. Can we build a clean, sustainable economy that operates in
harmony with the planet, rather than one that antagonizes it? Can we
slow down our carbon emissions enough to stop climate change before it
spirals out of control? Can we rebuild our agricultural system in a
way that produces healthy, nutritious sustenance for every human being
on the planet without ravaging our land and our water and the precious
biodiversity we have remaining? How much wilderness will be able to
preserve from the constant specter of encroaching industrial
development? Can we do all of this in a way which promotes
environmental justice, and doesn’t merely shield the few from
environmental harm at the expense of the many? Much, much work remains
on so many fronts to be able to suitably address all of these issues,
but without building thriving dense, diverse, affordable urban
communities, we will hardly be able to address any. Cities help solve
so many of our environmental challenges, first and foremost by making
it possible for millions of people to get around without relying on a
car, and so everything we can do to build better public transit is an
imperative step towards a better environmental and ecological future.
In 2010, in fact, the most recent year for which we have data, 43% of
San Francisco's carbon emissions came from the transportation
sector. Improving transit service is a critical climate issue, as the
only way San Francisco can meet its climate goals is for more San
Franciscans need to be riding transit. As a BART Board member, I would
advocate for running more trains, more often, increasing the service's
reliability and frequency and making it a better option for many Bay
Area residents. I would work to build the affordable, sustainable,
transit-oriented communities around BART stations that we so badly
need (see question 3B). And finally, I would work hard to restore
BART's leadership on clean energy. Formerly, BART's energy mix was
nearly 100% renewable, but under my opponent's leadership, its energy
supply has gotten progressively dirtier and more polluting, and the
agency even helped fund the construction of a fossil fuel plant in the
Central Valley, which it now purchases power from. Recently, BART
announced that the clean proportion of its energy mix had dropped from
67% to 53% in the last year alone. If elected, I would work to make
BART the first zero net energy transit operator in the country,
through a combination of installing distributed solar on its buildings
and maintenance facilities; making the stations significantly more
energy-efficient (unrenovated for 30 years, they have substantial room
for improvement); and installing energy storage capacity.
+ - ?
[ 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 ] [ ] DMU eBART to Antioch
[ ] [ ] [ 1 ] Rail Around the Bay BART extensions to Warm Springs, San Jose, and Santa Clara
1. In the long-run, we need commuter rail connections between our major urban areas. These connections should be made by a combination of BART, Caltrain and light rail networks. Whenever we build extensions, however, we must make sure that the new stations are surrounded by affordable, sustainable and transit-oriented neighborhoods.
3) Social Justice:
A) Did you take a public position on the Oakland Airport Connector?
The Oakland Airport Connector would have been better as a Bus Rapid
Transit (BRT) line. BRT would have been much cheaper for riders; would
have had similar travel times to the current Connector; could have had
stops along its route to serve the East Oakland community that the
current Connector bypasses; would have brought passengers far closer
to the airport terminal; and most of all, would have cost
substantially less to build, freeing up significant and needed funding
for improving existing service elsewhere. The multiple civil rights
(Title VI) violations that the project perpetrated also exposed the
agency's flagrant disregard for transit equity concerns, and if
elected, I would bring a renewed focus on those issues to BART's
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?
Transit-oriented development (TOD) forms the backbone of the vibrant,
affordable, inclusive urban communities that we must build if we hope
to forge a sustainable future, and BART can do far, far more to
promote TOD and help build the affordable housing the Bay Area so
badly needs. In particular, I would focus intensely on using BART's
land to build more affordable housing for the region. BART is the
largest parking lot owner west of the Mississippi River, holding
approximately 200 acres of surface parking lots, or about 46,000
parking spaces. If we built housing up to the density of Pier 70 on
that land, we could build 14,000 new housing units, of which BART
should mandate a significant portion to be affordable.
As a BART Director, among my first priorities would be directing the
agency to develop a comprehensive, system-wide, long-term strategy to
maximize the potential for TOD on and around BART property to
facilitate these goals. And a key part of that strategy will be
working with the cities and counties through which BART passes to do
their part as well to build transit-friendly, walkable and bikeable,
affordable neighborhoods around BART stations. BART cannot solve the
region's housing challenges on its own, but every government agency
should do as much as it can to help alleviate what is one of the most
serious issues facing the Bay Area.
+ - ?
[ X ] [ ] [ ] BART directors should focus on maintaining the existing system as opposed to building extensions to suburbs.
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?
Recently, the BART Board commissioned two comprehensive, outside
audits of BART policing, and both reports were positive steps forward
in their content and in the way they have began to be implemented. The
creation, in the last few years, of the Office of the Independent
Police Auditor and the Citizen Review Board were both positive steps
as well, and represent the model for BART to continue to move forward
with improving the accountability and effectiveness of its police
force: listening closely to the community, and creating strong
feedback mechanisms to facilitate that, on the one hand; and on the
other hand, continuing the model of commissioning external,
independent reports on specific areas of policing policy.
As to whether the BART police force should exist, I do believe that
BART should have its own police force. The alternative of contracting
with local police forces across the four counties and many, many
cities and towns the system covers would be unworkable, both for the
agency and for each community through which BART runs. I certainly
have my concerns about the appropriate deployment of force, including
the use of guns and tasers, by BART police, but in the short term we
need to focus on training BART police officers to use them only when
absolutely needed, and to employ de-escalation strategies which can
stave off the need for force in the first place.
+ - ?
[ 1 ] [ ] [ ] Create of a BART police force citizen oversight committee
[ 1 ] [ ] [ ] Create an office of the Independent Police Auditor for the BART police
1. As discussed above, both a citizen oversight committee and an
independent auditor already exist, and I support them and their work.
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, and appealing?
Currently, there are 27 transit operators in the Bay Area, loosely
joined together. BART must take a more active role, from its unique
position as the sole powerful regional transportation operator, to try
and coordinate these disparate agencies. It should work with local
operators to better coordinate schedules, and perhaps even incorporate
dynamic scheduling so that local buses picking up at a station have
some leeway to be delayed if a BART train is itself delayed. It should
work to ensure that local transit operators and public works
departments are building cycling and pedestrian capacity that will
help riders get to BART on bike or on foot, and that local transit
operators are routing their buses to ensure that those who cannot take
bike or walk can get to and from BART on a local bus. With regards to
Muni specifically, there is a tremendous opportunity to work together
to upgrade the stations that are jointly controlled in tandem with the
Better Market Street Project and other initiatives.
Given that our transportation challenges are regional, we must think
regionally about solutions, while still making sure transit agencies
are responsive to the constituents they serve. To give one example of
how far we have to go, AC Transit, Muni, and BART have not held
regularly scheduled meetings to coordinate service plans since
1987. If elected, I would focus on renewing those sorts of
long-ignored efforts to bring our transit agencies into productive
coordination and collaboration with one another, to ensure that our
disparate transit operators function as a true transit network rather
than as isolated agencies.
+ - ?
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Create one regional, elected transit agency
[ ] [ 1 ] [ ] Create a system whereby a portion of sales and property taxes assessed by transit districts must be spent in those transit districts
1. We should ensure that the taxes levied by transit districts are spent to benefit those who live and work in those districts, but not necessarily by creating formulas by which fixed amounts of money must be spent in the district.
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 I discussed above, BART has an enormous opportunity to build
housing on its properties, which could form the leading edge of a
comprehensive approach to building strong, livable, sustainable,
diverse, affordable neighborhoods around BART stations. As the largest
parking lot owner west of the Mississippi, BART has some 200 acres of
surface parking lots -- about 46,000 parking spaces -- and if we built
housing up to the density of Pier 70 on that land, we could build
14,000 new housing units, of which BART could and should require that
a significant portion is affordable. Building on those steps, BART
should also work with the cities and counties in which its stations
are located to join in and contribute to the effort to build
transit-friendly, active, thriving neighborhoods around BART
stations. All of these measures would help keep residents from being
priced out of the Bay Area and would promote the livable, sustainable
communities we so need.
Another important step BART should be taking to reinvest in our
communities is dramatically renovating, refurbishing, and revitalizing
BART's downtown stations to make them vibrant urban places and
community hubs. It's about time -- there hasn't been a major
investment in BART's San Francisco stations since 1976. With the
right attention, dedication, and imagination -- think totally cleaning
them up, then bringing in vendors, cafes, public art, and more -- we
can remake the stations as places people want to be, rather than
places people want to avoid.
Finally, we should also be expanding opportunities for small, local,
and women- and minority-owned businesses to win BART contracts, making
sure all members of our community are participants in and benefiting
from the economic opportunities which stem from investing in public
+ - ?
[ 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?
The makeup of our elected (and unelected) leadership ought to reflect
the community it serves, and I have worked towards that goal by
supporting women running for all levels of elected office. In San
Francisco, I have supported women running for community college board,
supervisor, and other elected offices, and I will continue to support
strong female candidates for elected and appointed offices across the
city, in pursuit of fully equal representation across all branches of
San Francisco government. At the state level, among other women I've
supported, I was proud to work closely with Suja Lowenthal, a
candidate for state Assembly who would have been the first
Indian-American member of the California state legislature.
BART itself has great room for improvement when it comes to the
proportion of women in its leadership. BART's many Advisory
Committees often have only 1 woman serving on them. For those with
membership information available, none have women making up even at
least a third of the committee, and most have far less. If elected, I
would strive to find strong female candidates to fill open positions
on the Advisory Committees, to ensure fully equal representation.
At the solar power company I founded, in a field that is traditionally
male dominated, I worked hard to recruit women into my company, and
create an environment and a culture where they were mentored and
supported. I am proud that almost 50% of all levels of staff --
including executives and engineers -- were women, and I would work
hard to build on that record in office.
+ - ?
[ 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?
In recent years, BART has had many civil rights challenges. From the
tragic shooting of Oscar Grant, to the civil rights violations
committed during the Oakland Airport Connector project, to recent
reports that BART workers are regularly subjected to racist death
threats and yet management has been slow to investigate, BART has a
long, long way to go towards establishing an institutional culture of
respect for civil rights. If elected, I would bring a renewed focus on
transit equity and other civil rights concerns, and work hard to make
sure those and similar considerations are foremost in the Directors'
minds when making any future decisions for the agency.
+ - ?
[ 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 last BART contract was negotiated?
The BART Directors failed to show the leadership required to forge a
workable solution in enough time to keep the system running last year,
and the difficult decision to strike undertaken by the working men and
women of BART was the result. The work disruptions represented the
culmination of decades of failed labor relations at BART, and I would
work hard to re-establish the baseline level of trust between labor,
management, and the Board of Directors that has been so absent for so
long. That means, first and foremost, overhauling BART's attitude
towards worker safety; developing a new culture at the agency that
respects the concerns of workers, especially regarding safety issues;
and involving workers in developing these new policies. Both parties,
but in particular management, must enter the next set of negotiations
with a shared goal of coming to a compromise that works both for the
working men and women, the riders, and the system as a whole.
[ ] [ ] [ 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 a staunch transit advocate, the Transit First City Charter
provision is of course critically important to me. None of our goals
for sustainability and livability, social justice and equity,
human-scale urban design, or affordability can be realized without
fully embracing the principle of Transit (and walking and cycling)
First. And if we hope to one day attain the dream of a city -- and
Bay Area -- where transit is universal and universally accessible,
BART will have to be the cornerstone of that system.
In order to get there, though, BART will have to run more trains, more
often, which, as it turns out, can be done at a surprisingly low
cost. BART will have to thoroughly renovate and reinvigorate its
downtown stations to make them vibrant urban places and community
hubs, as subway stations are in so many other cities around the
country. BART will have to dramatically improve its coordination and
cooperation with MUNI, so that the two services function as one
transit network. BART will need to install far better bike
infrastructure in and around its stations, including providing more,
and more secure, bike parking, increasing bike share options, and
making sure trains have ample space for cyclists to transport their
bicycle. Lastly, and crucially, BART will need to become more
accessible for all San Franciscans, which means ensuring escalators
and elevators are available and functioning properly at every station
entrance and exit. Every single one of those items would be a core
priority for me if I am elected to the Board.
As a final comment, putting Transit First also means rejecting Measure
L this November -- which is why I support No on L.
+ - ?
[ ] [ ] [ 1 ] 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.
[ ] [ ] [ 2 ] 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 ] [ ] [ ] Bus Rapid Transit on Geary
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Allow residents to park on the sidewalk without getting a ticket, unless their neighbors complain
[ ] [ ] [ X ] I agree with the recommendations in the Peak Oil Task Force Report
[ 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
[ ] [ ] [ ] Support expanding parking meter hours to include later evening hours and weekends
[ ] [ ] [ 3 ] Remove parking spots and car lanes to create dedicated bike and bus lanes or wider sidewalks
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Building BART extensions by borrowing from funds set aside for future seismic upgrades
[ ] [ X ] [ ] Using unexpected financial windfall for a rollback of BART fares
1. MUNI should definitely be funded at greater levels, but it should not be free to the rider.
2. We should work to get to a place, in the future, whether we can implement this type of legislation. San Francisco is not ready for this legislation today.
3. We should be building more dedicated bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, and wider sidewalks, which in some cases will involve removing parking spots and car lanes. But removing parking spaces and car lanes should not be a goal in and of itself.