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|Political Philosophy for Carole Ward Allen|
Public safety and security is extremely important to me. Under my leadership as Chair of the Police Review Committee -- over the past two years-- we have come a long way.
Our most recent success is the hiring of a new police chief. Other accomplishments include: Creation of a citizens oversight committee and implementation of updated policies and procedures within BARTs Police Department.
Chief Kenton Rainey, has received statewide recognition for starting community-policing programs in Ventura County. Attending over 25 community and town hall meetings, I listened to what you had to say and immediate implementation to your concerns is taking place now. One of the most popular requests was for increased police visibility on the trains and in the parking lots.
As the Chairwoman of the Police Review Committee, I and members of my committee made many recommendations, suggestions and decisions --All for the betterment of BART riders. We all agreed that BART police must be more visible and improve relationships with the community. In that regard, patrol biking resurfaced as a great police practice that would increase police visibility at stations, signal a greater time response and to interact with patrons in the BART system. In addition, a BART police bike patrol provides a greater presence to enhance rider safety and security. It not only enhances the quality of life in terms of police/ community interaction, but also in developing a better ecological system by reducing police patrolling in intrusive vehicles such as SWAT cars.
Small Business and Employment Opportunities
Under my leadership, the BART Board of Directors approved an historic Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Alameda County Building Trades Council and its union affiliates, which provides skilled union jobs for the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project. This agreement requires the selected contractor to provide 25% of the construction jobs to Oakland residents and 50 % of the apprenticeship opportunities to local residents by utilizing community based organizations, such as the Cypress Mandela pre- apprenticeship training program in Oakland, the Richmond Build pre- apprenticeship training in Richmond and the Men of Valor pre-apprenticeship training program in Oakland. These opportunities are not just short-term jobs, but are designed to lead to long- term careers in the construction industry.
Oakland has an unemployment rate of 10.5%, compared the national average of 6.9%. According to our Oakland Trends data, the number of Oakland, California jobs has decreased by 27% since September 2008. During this downturn in the economy, the need for jobs is at an all time high. The Oakland Connector Project will provide between 2,500-5000 direct and indirect jobs.
In this economic depression, and in the previous years on the board, cost-effective fares have always been a major component to better serve our low-income communities. I will continue to fight for fair, affordable and reasonable transit fares.
Protecting the environment is also a critical component to BART's operations. Where feasible, BART is endeavoring to cultivate a more eco-friendly and green environment. That is why I have been a strong advocate for citizens to utilize BART to diminish pollution in our inner cities as well as shop with a recyclable shopping bag. The "Bring Your Own Bag" initiative is essentially an effort to eradicating the excessive and careless use of plastic, and other sorts of shopping bags. BART Board Directors Bob Franklin and other board members including the City of Oakland representatives and myself, have joined together to promote a safer ecological environment by taking BART and a recyclable shopping bag when shopping.
Upon my efforts to making BART more bicycle-friendly, the Lake Merritt BART Station just underwent installation of new electronic lockers for cyclists and wheelchairs and other non-motorized vehicles. The project was funded by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Transportation Fund for Clean Air and Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Safe Routes to Transit.
This station is also currently in the process of having bike lanes constructed and there have been several MTC hearings for community input. BART has joined the City of Oakland as well as the Peralta Community College District to incorporating these bicycle lanes. I am extremely pleased to be a BART Director, PCCD Instructor and a major advocate of this essential project.
In addition to my endeavors to making BART greener, I assisted in the development of the Fruitvale Village and the Fruitvale Bike Station project, which is now up and operating adjacent to Fruitvale BART station. This goal standard TOD project has assisted the Fruitvale District both economically and environmentally. Additionally, it is noteworthy to point out that this station is the second largest in the BART District and the third largest in the nation. Some of the services that are provided include: (1) free secure bicycle storage (2) bicycle inspection services, and (3) full bike repair shop that also provides other services to assist bicyclists.
That being said, I want to continue the fight to making our communities livable and environmentally sustainable as it pertains to access for the disabled, seniors, parents with kids, bicyclists, and those who utilize non-motorized vehicles.
Bicycling and walking is one of the growing efforts that I am a part of to saving our communities. Why? Because pollution reduction and clean air is cultivated from getting people out of their cars and onto other modes of transportation, and as a leader of public transportation this is one of my priorities. Likewise, this is also true of the Oakland Airport Connector project is a cable operated vehicle that reduces pollution. This people mover project is an eco-friendly project that provides jobs to local residents, gets vehicles off the road, and promotes a healthier environment and transportation system to polluted inner city communities.
All of the five BART stations located in District 4 need additional secure bike parking, bike lanes, additional bicycle and wheelchair electronic lockers, increase bicycle storage capacity, additional bike racks, and bicycle-friendly BART stations. As an agency, BART must continue to be energy efficient and stay in compliance with social justice issues.
My passion is to deliver to BART ridership, improve the quality of our public transportation service step-by-step and provide to all of our communities clean, reliable, safe, and customer-friendly transportation system that provides a better quality of life.
Open and Transparent BART Government
I believe openness and transparency are the most significant aspects of good government. I know the importance of listening and learning from the people I serve. Over the past two years, BART has held more town hall and community meetings than ever before + and most of these meetings were held in my district. As the appointed Chair of the BART Policies Review Committee, over 25 meetings were held on police oversight, policies and procedures and internal / external review of the BART Police Department. Open transparency and accountability does not end with public meetings. It is critical that the public is informed of why and how the board makes the decisions that we make.
Most recently, we have held over 17 meetings centered on Title V1 Compliance with additional meetings planned. In District 4, BART has held five meetings with the "Limited English Proficiency community." We listened and now BART must act. I attended all of the five meetings held in District 4 with over 500 people. Most of their concerns were centered on the (1) Need for better signage in multiple languages (2) Better lighting in stations and parking lots and, (3) More police riding BART trains. The next step is to continue this wonderful interaction and dialogue on an ongoing basis.
Transit Oriented Development
I am proud to have worked with the community based Oakland Unity Council in the development of the Fruitvale Transit Village for over11 years. It is considered the national/international archetype for modern transit-oriented development (TOD) projects because this model was the first partnership between a community based organization and public transportation agency. Fruitvale Village is a mixed-use residential, commercial area designed to maximize access to public transportation, and incorporate other features to encourage transit ridership. This project has helped alleviate the shortage of housing in Fruitvale by adding (47, 1 & 2 bedroom) rental lofts and apartments in phase one development and will build more units in phase two. It also has senior housing; senior and child care centers, library, medical center, charter school, office space and commercial retail development adjacent to the Fruitvale BART station. Additional TOD developments (i.e., Oakland Coliseum and Lake Merritt Stations) are planned for District 4. Plans are also in the development stages for West Oakland, and other BART stations throughout the system.
"Together We Can Make BART Better."
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