Well, we are on the cusp of another big decision about the future of our valley and our region. Are we going to commit to the biggest transportation project in our history and vote to approve a one-eighth-cent sales tax to raise billions of dollars in a push for rail transit?

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) has taken a great deal of the weight in this effort on its shoulders. Some controversy has been engendered by the group’s unwillingness to release the results of a favorable poll—privately funded—that SVLG recently shared with a small group of supporters and elected officials. (I was a participant in that meeting.)

What is next? Well, if I was betting, I’d say that the action is going to get a lot more intense. The media and various opponents of the BART plan are lining up to take a few shots and to solicit more information on this most important undertaking. The media are doing their job and will do so earnestly, if perhaps sensationally. The opponents, meanwhile, are going to push hard about the issue of clandestine information, an area in which SVLG seems vulnerable.

I think this is all predictable. The only time I was involved in releasing a poll in the midst of a tough election was in 1988, when the Arena campaign looked doomed. I wanted to make sure that the voters knew that every vote was critical, and that if they were going to vote against the Arena for any reason—anger at the city or irritation with me—they needed to know that their vote might forever dash the hopes of San Jose’s families for an entertainment venue.

That poll helped; it may have been critical. If this current poll is going to be released, I hope that it is going to be for a very good reason.

Also, I think that the efforts to enlist the neighborhoods and business leaders to support the BART measure must be rooted in a promise to “do no harm” during the construction cycle, which, of course, will be horrendous. If they understand this (despite the fact that another’s pain is always easier to take) and consciously mitigate the damage, voters might be reassured that this is not another mindless, faceless, unfeeling effort of Big Government to accomplish its ends—to hell with everyone else.

Time will tell, but I am on the side of those who cast their fate with a better future for our valley, and I think they have the wisdom to make the right decisions.


  1. Tom,

    In its present form, the BART to SJ initiative just makes no sense whatsoever.  Were costs to be properly charged to the beneficiaries, the East Bay ridership and the SV corporations, it would pencil out in my book. 

    I simply can see no reason to add yet another increment to our regressive sales tax for a project that will surely attempt to dip into local taxpayers’ pockets over an over again.

  2. If SVLG promises to “do no harm” then start with a 1/2 cent tax increase, which would guarantee that bus service and other VTA projects will never be compromised.

    1/8 cent by definition means a lot of harm. VTA has admitted that even 1/4 cent isn’t enough. No one at VTA even knows what has to be eliminated to build BART with a 1/8 cent.

    Also, BART by definition is government (VTA) to accomplish its ends—the hell with everyone else.

    Honestly, for 8 years, VTA service suffered because of the BART curse. Unfortunately a lot of “leaders” choose to believe in BART religiously.

  3. BART or no BART?  I say BART!  People need to start thinking in terms of 10-20 years down the road.  Our downtown may never be SF, but it should improve over today (more jobs, residents) and, like much of the valley, will only get denser and more populated.  Besides, how much will 1/8 of a penny really cost the average taxpayer per year?  Can’t be that much.  As Mr. McEnery stated…a better future for our valley.  Yes to BART and Prop. 1 (High Speed Rail bond)!

  4. Tom –

    Whether Carl releases the data to the general public is irrelevant in my view. If you remember, he pulled the same shenanigans in 2006 with his “private” poll that suggested his transportation sales tax proposal (another BART tax) would win. He courted the business community and the SC County Supes with hand-picked data from his poll and convinced them it was a winner.  A few months later, voters turned it down with less than 43% in support. (no votes at 57% were significantly closer to reaching the 2/3rds vote requirement) To me, this suggests one of two things. Either his polls are worthless, or his campaign strategy is.

  5. Tom – even assuming most people voted for Measure A because of BART there were many others (including me) who wanted another project that was promised. This new tax increase is exclusively for operating BART – if it is built. At the risk of supplying ammunition to the “opposition” I hope you will answer a few questions about the SVLG survey. How many people were surveyed? Was there an adequate sample from different parts of the county in numbers equivalent to those in San Jose? Were the people surveyed aware that this new tax was in addition to the tax they are already paying? Thanks.

  6. Tom,

    The idea of the city, vta or bart actually helping mitigate problems and retain small businesses is a real concern.  Unfortunately, I as a small business owner can tell you they will do next to nothing to help….

    Unless, real structure is put in place to help retain small businesses.  How can this be achieved?

    Also, could you imagine the problems the contstruction will cause for the new high rise condo owners?  How will they be impacted and what will the city, vta and bart do for them?

  7. BART proponents like to pretend that the only way to improve transit between the East and South bay areas is to extend BART. This in nonsense, there are plenty of other options, Bay Rail’s Caltrain Metro East would be a good place to start. On the “VTA Watch” blog, an interesting express bus proposal was discussed recently.

    A good place to start would be to double track the tracks used by ACE and Capitol trains and increase the number of trains. The Santa Clara/Great America station is much closer to the jobs than anything on the BART extension.

    VTA could do this now. Already they’ve re-scoped downtown/east valley from Light Rail to Bus rapid transit to save costs and deliver the project sooner. VTA’s already collecting a 1% sales tax. Let’s come up with a cost-effective alternative using the existing money instead of a $6 billion boondoggle.

  8. I came to this blog because I received it in a mailing from one of the anti-BART groups encouraging everyone to blog against Mayor McEnery’s position.  After reading his entry, I am kind of surprised.  It was not really a piece of pro-BART propaganda, but a cautious word on how to proceed.

    All these “transit advocates” that want to kill BART are 100% OK with spending the tax money approved in Measure A into the projects they want. 

    They remind us that Measure A contained other projects besides BART, but ask them how they voted on Measure A & why. 

    They criticize VTA for failing to deliver on Measure A, but I never read a word about repealing the sales tax or putting their ideas (independently) up for ballot tax initiative.

  9. Accountablevta,
    You are confusing building BART with operating BART.  The proposed 1/8 cent sales tax would go towards operations and maintenance, not towards building the line.  If BART isn’t built, the additional tax isn’t collected. 

    Also, VTA service has suffered for a lot of reasons over the last 8 years but I don’t think BART is one of them (management, poor fairbox recovery and declining sales tax receipts are).

  10. The stakes are high…BART isn’t just about transportation, it’s an excuse (good or bad) to build more. (ie retail and high-density housing around the stations, etc).

    I still think that the best plan would be to extend the line to North San Jose.  I assume that this could be done for around half the projected costs.

    Pete Campbell

  11. Sm. Biz Guy – unless the leadership of the BART effort puts in concrete plans -w. financing – to retain the small businesses and protect the neighborhood – in the horrific construction phase, many will not support it: I am one of those. I have been assured that this will happen – Sam Liccardo is on top of this in a big way. As the one who “presided” over the Transit Mall fiasco in the 1980s and saw the pain – I even felt a small part of it –  I will never sit quietly and have this happen again. Protect them or pass on BART. There must be no ACCEPTABLE level of casualties on this one. TMcE

  12. Hugh,

    If they now plan to use BRT (bus rapid transit) from downtown to east san jose; why not continue on to both south san jose and the fremont bart station?

    it would cost less and we would achieve more transit for the 6 billion.  BRT is half the cost per mile as the outdated bart plan.  Also, in emergencies the BRT buses could replaced with alternate buses and routes.  Currently, Bart is totally shut down in emergencies.

    Using the resources for BRT instead would connect our southern part of the county to bart as well; which could increase ridership as well.

    Also, no big dig in downtown would be great for downtown.

  13. Jeffrey (#5),

    Not likely that you’ll ever see Carl in a debate with anyone.  If asked pointed questions about SV ridership, fare box recovery, etc., revealing factual data would kill BART to SJ.  And I think most of us believe that all Carl could do is pontificate about fuzzy, non-specific, feel good non-facts.

  14. Much of the current BART debate focuses on setting public policy based solely on private polls with no specific data. 

    The root of it all is that VTA’s Board of Directors are accountable to no one.  Think about it: when was the last time you voted in an election for a VTA Board seat?  When was the last time you knew of anyone who ran for a seat on the VTA Board? 

    Back in November 1993, voters approved a ballot measure (56%) that combined the county’s traffic authority with the Transit District, run by the Supes at the time:

    The ballot language promised 5 seats on the then-new board (one per Supes district) directly elected by voters.  That idea, however, was killed in Sacramento. 

    Many people I’ve talked to aboard the buses and trains never knew VTA was managed by a Board of Directors they had no say over.  This is something the group I have run has tried to change and educate people about, but with no success.

    Rumor has it that Assemblymember Sally Lieber – who helped get a state audit of VTA that is to be released tomorrow – is considering a bill that restores that 1993 voter-approved promise of having voter-elected officials on the VTA Board.  I strongly advise contacting her office ASAP and demand she make this happen.

    It was T.J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, who once said that people must demand the same high quality management in the public sector as we do in the private sector.  Silence and indifference in having accountable, voter-elected management at VTA helps create every problem about the agency discussed today.

  15. Tom,
    The current BART plan is obsolete and represents a tremendous lost opportunity in valley transit and economic growth. 
    As a four year member of VTA PAC, I can assure you the process to select the current pre- Silicon Valley BART plan was basically rigged. 
    If you want a BART connection, then call for a reopening of the Major Investment Study. 
    An eBART or iBART like CME would be the clear winner of an honest evaluation with no additional tax required.  Let’s do the best, not worst BART connection.

  16. Tom,
      Unless the hard questions we have get answered soon, the voters will not support another tax for BART.
        These are tough times, voters are not going to be in the mood to say yes on any new taxes.
        Maybe it`s time to move on, forget BART, hang it up Tom.Time to go to the showers, the game is over.

  17. Re: Jason, the fact is VTA has not provided any details as to how it can build and operate BART with a 1/8 tax increase. Simply, we all know that 1/8 tax isn’t even enough for the minimum payment to BART.

    Don’t kid yourself that these folks aren’t willing to cut everything else to pay for BART. They will only tell you after the election day if they win.

    It is the same VTA management so committed to BART that ran VTA into the ground. It is the same management that promised everything to everybody back in 2000. It is the same management that put riders’ interest behind all others. Today the same management is endorsing an idea that, according to them, won’t even provide sufficient funding.

    What you’re saying basically suggests that the bad economy is the cause for the fall of Enron.

  18. Didn’t we already aprove a tax increase for Bart like 10 years ago and nothing ever became of it?  How are we suppose to trust that the money will go to BART like they said it would 10 years ago.

  19. ” Sam Liccardo is on top of this in a big way.” – Yea, in support of BART not what is best for small business or neighborhoods but what is best for Carl’s Silicon Valley Leadership Group

    Sam ran with heavily neighborhood support against Manny – status quo pro BART candidate and seems to forgetten after being elected who voted him in – neighborhoods have not forgotten. 

    If he wants to be elected in future he better remember who elects him especially if he runs outside District 3 and stop acting like Carl and SVLG elects him

    Do you trust Carl and VTA? = NO

    Do you trust Sam – I do today but if he supports BART, more wasted / tax giveaway spending and high density projects making San Jose worst, not sure about supporting Sam tomorrow

    Is real question voters have to answer –

    Based on hiding BART facts, high costs and rigging studies and diverting 50% Measure A move to BART at 2 million week –

    I answer – Vote No on 1/8 cent sales tax

  20. Pete on #14,
      The problem is even a short version of BART carries with it the membership or cost of VTA to join BART some $50million per year. In addition VTA will have to participate on additional costs to replace the older BART cars used outside the Santa Clara County area,cars trains used in San Francisco, older trains. VTA will have to pay their pro-rata share as a member of the BART System.
      There is just a lot of unanswered questions that VTA,the board and Carl Gardino can`t answer or, won`t answer. There are too many secrets.
      Carl doesn`t have the stregenth with the voters he used to have. Many of the members (Exec`s) of the SVLG have sent our jobs over seas where there is cheeper labor,India and China.There are a great deal of unemployed engineers here in San Jose.Why should they listen to Carl and his members at SVLG?

  21. Tom is right.

    This board sounds more like San Jose

    A couple of points.  First, those who dis Carl Guardino forget nobody has been a bigger advocate for Silicon Valley transportation and infrastructure—with the possible exception of Jim Beall and Norm Mineta.

    Carl also is leader of a group that has over 250 CEOs—not exactly shrinking violets.  In fact, they include John Chambers, Steve Jobs, Mark Hurd and Jerry Yang among many others. 

    These folks understand the need for transportation and housing is paramount if we are to succeed as a region.  BART is first among equals and everybody should get on board.

    One look no farther than Detroit to see the results of a once legendary economic area that failed to seize the future and squandered their opportunity to maintain their status in the world.

    Is Silicon Valley next?  Are we so myopic, tightfisted, policy challenged that we fail to support the transportation needs our economic leaders say are vital?

    We cannot wait for a new plan, a new train, improved bus service—all of that is just b.s.

    “Bus Rapid Transit”—the oxymoron of all time.  What happens when the daily accident occurs and the Bus connection misses the BART connection?

    People aren’t going to ride the bus, get on BART, then take light rail to work or any combination therein.  The idea of using two forms of transportation is more than most can stand.  Thus the congestion on the freeways.

    BART is the best service we have, it currently exists, we have a plan, our economic leaders know we need it, gas is not going down in the future, transportation is vital to our economic success.

    So everyone should help Carl and the SVLG, instead of this constant whining about how bus service or a new rail system is feasible.

    That’s not to say there are not other ideas to pay for the system.  But let’s all get on board before we miss our opportunity—-again.

  22. Tom, both sides see themselves as “on the side of those who cast their fate with a better future for our valley”.  It’s a bit arrogant to assume anything else. 

    BART is not the only train system in the world, and a sales tax is not the only way to pay for it.  Instead of a sales tax, you could raise more money just by making VTA run as efficiently as SamTrans or MUNI.

  23. Tom,
      Why should the neighborhoods vote for BART? How is BART going to solve our problems in the neighborhoods? Have you driven on our freeways and expressways lately? Have you seen the conjestion on our City Streets as people try to use city surface streets?
      How will BART solve traffic conjestion in the City and County?

  24. #26 Rich Robinson,
        Excuse me but you are just like the rest of the BART supporters, you have a great premise but the way you arrive at your conclusion has many faults.
        BART to San Francisco from the east bay works because San Francisco has jobs, good paying jobs.So does the Bay bridge and the Larkspur Ferry from Marin and the Golden Gate Bridge. They are all very successful modes of transportation San Francisco again because,“San Francisco has jobs, good paying jobs.
        San Jose does not have enough jobs for the people living here now. We only have 70 jobs for every 100 employable people per the City of San Jose reports.These jobs for the most part are not very good paying jobs either.
          If you subtract the construction jobs, those building high density projects in San Jose from the 70 jobs available for every 100 people, then the number shrinks even more. In addition, most of the construction workers working in san Jose commute from the Centeral Valley and when the construction work is finished our numbers will look worse.
          The second highest employeer in San Jose is the medical workers.We have a lot of un employed Engineers here in San Jose, many of which are bitter because their jobs were out sourced by many members of the SVLG.
          There are a number of empty high tech buildings in south Alameda County too, empty buildings like the ones Sun Micro System vacated years ago.North San Jose business parks look like a grave yard of empty tilt up buildings once filled with people working for SVLG member firms in high tec.
        Carl Gardino has done a lot of good things for Santa Clara County that shouldn`t be forgotten and back during the DOT Com boom his endorcements carried a lot of weight because everyone was working in high tec. The BART tax failed in 2006 with Carl`s endorcement because of the lack of jobs. Today things are worse.Carl`s backers are exporting jobs and that doesn`t fit well with residents at all.

  25. Nice post, Rich. Oh, of course you left out the little item that we can’t pay for this, no matter how many more taxes they add.
    Being against BART does not mean being against transit. The BART folks ignore all other options for transit. Does anyone really believe this project can be bought and paid for and still have the dollars to operate it? How many more tax initiatives will be on the ballot to prop-up this expensive alternative? We will never be able to pay for it without more and more taxes. Let’s look at the alternatives to improve our transit woes.

  26. Is Rich Robinson living in another world? As much as he likes to complain about transfers, this is what will be required for someone to get to Google or Yahoo or Microsoft and most of the employers he and Carl and bragging about. Most of these employers are 10 miles or more from the proposed BART line.

    Or is he that delusional to think that Google and Yahoo and Apple are going to move their corporate campus to downtown San Jose?

    The reason that transit advocates oppose BART is because the BART plan is destined for failure. Carl isn’t going to pay for that failure, but regular bus and train riders will. Because of BART, VTA already missed opportunities to improve service and increase riders.

    As many of you may look up to San Francisco for better transit because of BART, San Francisco still has a long way to go with unreliable and slow Muni service. By the way,  no new BART lines are planned in San Francisco. Muni will have to improve its surface transit serving the north side and the west side of the city. The same thing needs to happen in the Valley too, if BART is no longer a distraction and a threat to these improvements.

    Also, the Orange bus rapid transit line in Los Angeles has exceeded ridership projection. Some of you like to complain that people won’t ride the buses, but LA proved you wrong.

  27. I disagree with RR that Carl Guardino knows all when it comes to transportation.

    BART proponents are trying to simplify the discussion down to “BART or nothing.” Any alternative to BART is dismissed out of hand.

    Hon Mark Brodsky in Monte Sereno was on VTA’s PAC and attests to the obvious, that ” the process to select the current pre- Silicon Valley BART plan was basically rigged.”

    The state audit, just out, says that “VTA has not enhanced the operation of its five advisory committees, each of which represents a specific constituency, and has not completely changed the way it engages the advisory committees in the deliberative process. For example, rather than involve the pertinent advisory committees in its efforts to reform the board’s rotation schedule, VTA presented a finished proposal for them to either accept or reject. Thus, even as VTA attempts to reform its governance structure, it continues to follow the same practice the HayGroup report specifically criticized; namely, advisory committees do not have an opportunity to consider policy and plans in the early stages of development so they can provide meaningful input to VTA staff and the board. Consequently, VTA continues to miss opportunities to gather diverse ideas and build regional consensus for its proposals.” I think this is what Mr. Brodsky was alluding to in his post.

    The audit is here:

    Regarding the VTA advisory committees, has VTA taken the proposed tax increase to them? Or is the VTA Board just listening to the Carl Guardino advisory committee?

    RR ignores the fact that VTA is scaling back the other 2000 Measure A projects to pay for BART. Why is it OK do scale back “Downtown-East Valley” but not OK to downscale BART? Why should a voter in North County support BART if Caltrain improvements continue to be postponed?

    2000 Measure A was a countywide program of projects, which is why it passed. Now we’re just talking about one too-expensive and poorly routed BART line. VTA needs to live within its means before asking the voters for additional revenue.

  28. Tom:

    There is plenty of evidence of SVLG dishonestly attempting to frame the debate in the past.  Years ago there was supposed to be a debate at the VTA office.  At the last minute Greg Perry was removed from the debate and replaced with a Sunnyvale City Councilmember when it became apparent that Carl had no business debating someone with superior comand of the facts.  Also Carl sent out letters to VTA board members and local mayors attempting to remove disenting voices from the VTA Board.  These letters became public and were quite embarassing.

    Now they are not releasing polling data…not that I care much but it does feed into the secretive nature of the organization. 

    Rich makes the valid point of supporting SVLG and not missing this opportunity.  I think that if SVLG had an above the board history of disclosure and conduct then perhaps it would be an easier sell.

  29. Someone give Rich Robinson a Pulitzer for that excellent post at 6:16!  Enough of this small town NIMBYism!  That’s not what San Jose and this valley are all about!  Yes to BART and Prop.1/high-speed rail!

  30. Entrusting VTA with the management of anything is total insanity.  Those folks couldn’t find their butts with both hands and a guide.

    The proposed route makes no sense at all.  It goes through the East Side, where most residents couldn’t afford to use it, while avoiding entirely the more job-dense North Valley/Golden Triangle.

  31. @Rich Robinson:
    “People aren’t going to ride the bus, get on BART, then take light rail to work or any combination therein.”

    With the proposed BART alignment, the majority of commuters coming from Alameda County will, in fact, have to “take a bus to BART to light rail.” BART will only serve Downtown San Jose directly. Commuters who work in North First, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and most of the Golden Triangle will have to transfer to light rail at Montague/Capitol.

    Commuters who work in Mountain View will have to transfer to light rail and subsequently take a shuttle bus (no Alameda County commuter who works in Mountain View would do this, especially since the design speed of the light rail alignment through Santa Clara and Sunnyvale is ridiculously slow).

    The truth of the matter is that BART doesn’t have the best alignment when it comes to hitting the major job centers (it swings through the east side of town instead of hitting the golden triangle). It’s ludicrous to soak up so much money out of our pockets and out of the pockets of current transit obligations for a rail alignment that does so little.

    Instead of asking for more money, our community leaders and transit officials need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to better serve commuters under current budget constraints.

    (Hint: we have current commuter rail lines that could benefit from capital investment in (a) more dedicated ROW (b) increased headways during commute hours (c) buying more ROW for alignments that create timed, cross-platform transfers between other regional rail operators.)

  32. Sorry Rich #26 and Tony #27.  You are both terribly mistaken.
    1.  BART is certainly NOT first among equals.  The MIS reviewed 11 plans but not the most useful and cost effective.  The system of weighing alternatives was tremendously skewed to promote the BART subway tunnel plan.  Read your Grand Jury Report.

    2.  A plan like the CME using EMU trains connecting at Fremont could be constructed YEARS faster for BILLIONS less.

    3.  As for NIMBY.  Well you really should venture out of the Valley and see what you are missing by choosing this obsolete BART plan.  New Yorkers take the IRT to the BMT, Parisians, take the RER to the Metro, and those in Hong Kong take modern rail from the airport and transfer to local distribution systems across the city.  All modern transit systems use transfers IF there is lots of service. 
    You are correct that Silicon Valley workers will not transfer from BART to LRT at Great America because that connection adds 20 minutes to the commute.  The CME plan puts the fast rail station into the heart of the work area (Trimble and First) and then onto the Airport and then Downtown.

    4.  BRT is a reliable and cost effective means of interconnection to a functional rail system. They use the highest speed HOV network, there are lots of them, and many alternative routes should any segment be blocked.  That is why both VTA and BART rely on “Bus Bridges” when problems happen

    This is not a NIMBY.  Real leaders in this technology capital will not sit still as an old boy network tries to railroad through a dead-end, obsolete, transit project that makes us a laughing stock of Pacific Rim cities.

    Read the old MIS, the Hay Report and the Grand Jury summary Then demand we reopen the MIS.

  33. Rich writes:

    “One look no farther than Detroit to see the results of a once legendary economic area that failed to seize the future and squandered their opportunity to maintain their status in the world. “

    Nice rhetorical flourish, but I doubt that Detroit would now be a bustling metropolis if only they had invested in a proprietary rail network. 

    The pro BART arguments have a lovely style, but no substance.  There isn’t even a credible plan to pay for it, whether or not this tax passes.

  34. Rich said “These folks [SVLG] understand the need for transportation and housing is paramount if we are to succeed as a region.”
    So CEO’s are interested in making more millions / billions by reducing costs and transferring costs to someone else – taxpayers – not public good or interest.

    “BART is first among equals and everybody should get on board.”

    VTA is last among equals and can’t manage their poorly designed slow system, has low population density compared to BART system, too high costs, bad / rigged financial estimates.

    BART + VTA doesn’t go to where people want to go especially for Silicon Valley workers who often start early and work late when public transit operated infrequently or not at all. 

    “People aren’t going to ride the bus, get on BART, then take light rail to work or any combination therein.  The idea of using two forms of transportation is more than most can stand.”

    Rich you just defined why other than very high costs BART will not be successful – It requires 3 or more transportation changes on very slow public transit to get to the few places VTA goes.

    Rich you lose creditability when you talk about BART / public transit since you don’t know what you are talking about and only give us inaccurate or misleading BART party line.

    Look for a few minutes about who opposes —BART—hundreds of knowledgeable transit advocates and transit professionals have said BART is too expensive and there are low cost alternatives that can improve transit in Santa Clara County

    Who supports BART? Elected officials and lobbyists with no transit knowledge who may be well intended but have been sold on worthwhile transit concept with bad or rigged information for political support for future elections, labor for construction and public jobs, downtown property owners for increase in property values— all have conflict of interest not unbiased public interest groups

  35. #24 (Neighborhood Voter):

    Your rant against Sam Liccardo is way off base.  Liccardo has long supported bringing BART to San Jose.  This fact was in the public domain during his 2006 city council campaign because he was among the spokespersons for Measure A in 2000.  Therefore, this fact should have been known to downtown District 3 voters who elected him.

    I knew it when I endorsed Liccardo and when I voted for him and I’m positive other D3 neighborhood residents who were paying attention did, as well.  So the notion that Liccardo “seems to have forgotten” who elected him is absurd. 

    I happen to support bringing BART here, but I don’t agree with Liccardo on everything.  That doesn’t mean he has betrayed my support. I know from personal observation over the last couple years that Liccardo is an exceptionally bright, honest, and even more exceptionally hard-working public servant who is dedicated to the best interests of his constituents. Even though you evidently disagree with him about BART, you should still consider yourself lucky to have him as your councilperson.

  36. BART= Bureaucrats Avidly Robbing Taxpayers.

    It’s the ultimate Gravy Train for hogs at the public trough.

    The last thing we need around here is to be taxed even more to support another army of inept, lazy government employees.

  37. The hysteria associated with some of these posts is mind boggling.

    1)  We can all agree that BART exists.

    Take a look at the old Dirty Harry movies—especially the San Francisco skyline.  Bart started construction in 1964 and was completed (more or less) in 1972.

    When did SF build its economic base.  The 1970s and 1980s.  The BART infrastructure allowed easy access to the City from every suburban area—except Santa Clara County and Marin.

    Marin has a ferry system and the GG Bridge.  All of which are over-burdened, but I won’t waste time on their current solution—which is a train from Sonoma to the Ferry terminals.

    BART allowed San Francisco to become the center of the Bay Area.  It was the specific reason Santa Clara County rejected BART.

    We didn’t want all of our jobs going to SF.

    Now SF has its own problems, including housing prices, a political quagmire rivaled by no other major metropolitan area and urban service area that is completely built out.

    Still they are thriving.  San Jose is a logical place for Corporate Headquarters and new enterprises.  We have the downtown with opportunity—SF does not.

    Just ask John Sobrato if BART is necessary.  His building stands empty.  Would it be empty if BART unloaded 3 blocks away?

    The simple fact is that while anybody can poke holes in an idea, there is none better than getting BART to San Jose.  That’s why it polls so high among voters, that’s why we did vote ourselves a 1/2 cent sales tax and why people are, understandably, disappointed construction has not started yet.

    The longer we wait, the higher the cost and BART is the best solution.

    One last interesting note:  the bus bridge that takes people from Oakland to SF is only in use when BART is down.

    I ask the Hon. Brodsky: would those folks use that bus bridge everyday—if BART did not exist.

    The answer, without objection, would be overwhelmingly no.

    I rest my case.

  38. #27 Tony B,
      Geze Tony you told uses you were related to Carl Gardino, butts hows dis goin ta help da people in da rest of da city, da neighborhoods.Geze day is important also.Speeks to ya cousin, ask da guy to first solve da other freeway problems first.Tell da guy ta show a little considderations here.
        God blesses ya Tony D.

  39. RR thinks downtown SJ could be just like downtown SF if only we’d build a horribly expensive BART extension there.

    That’s wrong on so many levels, but let’s list just a few:

    1: Even before BART, Downtown SF had many more jobs, shopping and activities than downtown SJ did.

    2. SF and SJ have different geographical characteristics. SF is at the tip of a peninsula, and BART’s main competitor from the East Bay into downtown SF is a highly congested toll bridge.

    3. SF has a highly developed transit system to take people from BART to other destinations in the city not directly served by BART.

    On the other hand:

    1. Downtown SJ is not nearly the regional destination that downtown SF is. Downtown has far fewer jobs, almost no shopping.

    2. The proposed BART extension with its East Side route manages to miss the valley’s real job center, north SJ/Santa Clara/Sunnyvale/Mountain View. Much of this area is already served by the VTA light rail system, but the trains are fairly slow.

    3. I-880 and I-680 have peak-hour traffic congestion but these freeways have been improved. And most of the drivers head west on SR237 to the aforementioned job centers in north SJ/Santa Clara/Sunnyvale/Mountain View that are not on the BART line. For the most part, they are not continuing to downtown SJ.

    4. Assuming downtown SJ becomes more of a regional destination than it is now, people will be coming there from other parts of Santa Clara County and south, Santa Cruz, the peninsula as well as the East Bay. The proposed BART extension really only serves people on the existing BART line to Oakland. It’s not even good for people currently driving 580/680 because you’d have to ride out of your way to Bay Fair and change trains.


    More RR: “That’s why it polls so high among voters, that’s why we did vote ourselves a 1/2 cent sales tax and why people are, understandably, disappointed construction has not started yet.”

    This ignores the fact that the sales tax that passed in 2000 promised a countywide batch of transit goodies in addition to BART. These goodies are now being scaled back to pay for BART. If BART is such a good idea, the 2006 Measure A would have gotten a simple majority of the votes, but it couldn’t even manage that. And if it is currently polling as high as you and Carl claim, why aren’t those poll results shared with the policy makers and the voters?

    And you’re wrong about the transbay buses. In fact, despite BART, the AC Transit transbay bus service, which dates back to the Key System, continues to thrive:
    Rather than neglecting the transbay bus service, AC Transit has gone to comfortable MCI buses now equipped with Wi-Fi.

  40. Rich –

    The hysteria on the support side of the equation is equally mind-boggling.  To suggest that BART is the key reason SF is the “center of the Bay Area” is ridiculous.  I’ll pretend you were kidding and refrain from further debate on that point…

    You suggest that the Sobrato building would not be empty if we had BART.  That too is a pretty wild stretch. The whole “Field of Dreams” concept of “If you build it, he will come.” doesn’t always work in the real world.  SJ, and specifically downtown, have tried to court business to locate downtown for years, and they continue to loose out to Sunnyvale (Yahoo), Mountain View (Google), Santa Clara (Applied Materials), Cupertino (Apple) and Palo Alto (HP) to name just a small few.  Even some of the new start-ups don’t choose San Jose (Facebook’s rapid and exponentially growing headquarters is located in Palo Alto…) None of these locations have BART, but yet they seem to be doing pretty well where they are.  Why is that Rich? 

    As to the specific example of the Sobrato building, he knew there was no BART downtown when he decided to build there, so I find it hard to believe that a smart businessman like John would have used the promise of BART as a leading decider in moving forward with the development.

    You suggested in an earlier post above that Silicon Valley leaders like John Chambers, Steve Jobs, Mark Hurd and Jerry Yang all support Carl’s efforts.  Would you please let me know where any of these multi-national leaders have spoken or written in support of this?  Merely being a member of an organizations representing itself as a “business” association does not make you a BART supporter. (By choosing to be a taxpaying US citizen, are you a supporter of the President?) In fact, if you look at Carl’s board, with the exception of HP, not one of those 4 exceptional minds are even represented, let alone on the board of directors themselves.

    SVLG used to pride itself on being founded by David Packard and was an organization of some of the greatest CEO minds in the Valley. While there are certainly good people on the board with good intentions, it is a shell of its former self. Today’s SVLG is a Carl led, Carl run, and Carl promoting operation. Carl does exactly what he tells his board to tell him to do.  BART is his legacy project, and he has no problem utilizing the business communities and general taxpayer’s resources to get it done, regardless of the cost.

    I voted for BART in 2000, but the reality check has set in and I am tired of buying into these half-baked, grand ideas for the sake of one man’s legacy. I mean really, this sales tax increase proposal doesn’t even cover the full costs to run BART. Do the proponents expect me to believe that their previous fiscal mismanagement should be overlooked and that the money fairy will drop the additional $7 million (approx) per year needed to pay for this? I am not buying the snake oil this time around…

  41. Another excellent post Rich.  Again, think 10-20 years down the road people, not just in the now.  Downtown SJ could in fact become the major employment center of the South Bay; especially with BART and High-speed rail (along with an electrified Caltrain and existing light rail) providing syngergy and critical mass.  Yes to BART, Prop.1/high-speed rail, and the future of our great city!

  42. Personally, I feel both sides of this issue have good points.  However, while it would be nice to have BART, I cannot support it if only Santa Clara County taxpayers are the ones paying for it.

    As a regional resource, everyone should be paying for it.  Make the tax apply to all counties that have BART tracks on their land and I will vote YES.

  43. Rich R. and Tony D.  miss the basic point!

    Today’s BART plan is the worst possible BART connection.

    Yes, Connect the South Bay to BART, but do it smart! Overspending $2 billion for a less than optimal routing is foolish, especially when it robs funds from useful transit support.  And we miss out being a leader in transit technology bringing in more jobs.

    Bad politics and outside influences have pushed through this obsolete and horribly inefficient plan for a subway tunnel under Santa Clara Street.  It ignores the job data and growth projections from the MTC and VTP2030.

    Greater San Jose deserves better.  We have the money to do it better.  We need the Rich R’s and Tony D.‘s to demand that the Major Investment Study be reopened and all plans be evaluated fairly. 

    Let’s kill this new tax and end this march of folly.  Then we can work together on a plan that transit advocates prefer.

    BTW, I use the Hon suffix because it always proceeds my honorable opponent Rod Diridon.  I guess no matter what one does, former mayors are honorable for life.

  44. Hon Mark Brodsky gets to the heart of the problem: BART is the wrong solution to the problem. Cheaper, better routes need to be considered.

    It’s also offensive that after the defeat of the 2006 Measure A, the powers that be didn’t take the hint and re-scope the BART project. Instead, they have basically said “keep voting until you get it ‘right.’”

    How many times do we have to vote on the same bad idea?

  45. Mark,

    Mayor of Monte Sereno?  I didn’t even know they had a Mayor. 

    I thought it was just a fancy neighborhood that wanted to distinguish itself from the riff-raff in Los Gatos.

    In any case, I assume everyone is honorable until proven otherwise.  Though I have to say running against Rod Diridon—who is an acknowledged transportation expert—probably wasn’t the brightest thing you ever did.

    In any case, the BART plan does not ignore the job growth in our area, though it may reorient certain areas where that job growth will occur. 

    And I agree we should bring BART down from the west side of the Bay by eliminating Cal Train and substituting BART.

    But the current plan also has merit and is realistically and politically attainable.  A bird in the hand so to speak.

    All the other proposals will take millions of years, thousands of lives.  We can debate it to death or we can get moving on the project.

    In the final analysis, having BART ring the Bay is not a bad idea.

  46. How about Palo Alto,Mt View and Sunnyvale, why are they opposed to BART? CalTrain is very successful,consider how many riders ride a CalTrain Car vs the numbers that ride a BART car?
        BART is an old system from the early sixty years, it is outdated. BART cars need to be replaced in San Francisco,who`s going to pay for the new BART cars?
        We voted for Measure A in 2000, we voted for a comprehensive transportation system at the time. Meanwhile over half the Measure A funds went into Bart consultants and VTA continues to spend $2 million per week on the consultants, over $100 million per year. Now VTA is broke.Now you want to give BART another 1/8 cent sales tax benefit that will raise another $44 million. The $100 million per year isn`t working,how`s the $44 million going to help.
        The balance of the Measure A funds has been used up by VTA to finance VTA`s day to day operations and their still broke.
        BART is a very expensive project, how will VTA going to stay alive if you add BART daily operating costs,the annual life membership of $50 million membership fee,and support the loss from the fair box recovery.
        San Jose is Broke (we are told every day). We have a large deficit. Where is San Jose going to get the money to finance their portion of BART costs? We can`t even pay for police officers,Fire dept personal,library p[ersonal, our streets are falling apart.
          The Mayor tells us we have to bite the bullet and conserve,cut the budget even more.Where is he going to find the cities portion of BART costs?
          Get real!

  47. Rich –

    I would have loved a better answer to the above posts, but I will settle for one on this…

    Why does Silicon Valley and more importantly, San Jose, the Capitol of Innovation and Technology, have to settle for “not bad.”?  Don’t we deserve better than settling for something that in the end , “is not a bad idea?”

    Please, inteligently explain to me how a 30+ year old BART system is the the best thing that Silicon Valley’s best and brightest can come up with to solve our curent and future transportation needs, and then prove to me how a 1/8th sales tax increase that doesn’t quite cover expenses is somehow the most innovative way to pay for it. Provide me these answers with supporting, reliable data to back up the platitudes and you can have my vote.

    Thank you in advance for what I am sure will be a thoughtful, substantive response.

    Mark G

  48. Rich: “The 1/8th tax will not cover everything, but it helps.”

    We know now that costs will be approximately $50 million per year.  The proponents even admit to that number. So why would we move forward with any plan that doesn’t cover the full, known costs today? you are correct in your assessment that the costs will only rise in the future.  Why set us up for failure (AGAIN) by proposing a revenue stream that doesn’t even meet the current projected needs?

    I have actually worked for and now with governments around the world for almost 15 years. California in particular seems to buy into this notion of praying to the money fairy to make it all work out, which is unfortunately how governments attempt to keep their reckless spending habits alive and perpetually face deep, strucutral budget shortfalls.  I expect this kind of proposal from government. Doesn’t make it right, but I have been around long wenough to know it is what it is What I shouldn’t expect is for a “business” leader to not only go along with it, but actually be the instigator proposing such reckless fiscal policy.

    Rich: “Finally, our employers in this Valley are making the case for BART to San Jose.  I’d listen to them.”

    Who else besides Carl Guardino is asking for this from the “business” community? While you attempted to suggest Jabove that John Chambers, Mark Hurd, Steve Jobs and Jerry Yang were somehow complicit with this plan simply because they are members of Carl’s “business” organization, I am still curious to see where they have come out publicly in support.  Again, with the exception of HP (and not even Mark Hurd), not a one of those companies are represented on Carl’s board of directors, where the decision to go along with whatever Carl wants is made. I may be mistaken, (it does happen occasionally), but I am not aware of any public record indicating that those four leaders are in support of this.  If you know of something somewhere that verifies your claim however, I would be interested in seeing it. 

    Building BART will not keep the tech engine booming in Silicon Valley. Businesses are choosing to leave or downsize in California for other states and other countries because California has time and again demonstrated its hostility for a healthy business climate in the state. Forbes Magazine just yesterday listed California as ranking dead last amongst the 50 states for the cost of doing business and 40th overall amongst the best states to do business.  Do you know what the most interesting part of that article is however? They don’t mention the lack of BART as the reason Silicon Valley and California companies are downsizing and moving out…  Strange isn’t it?

    Other states are not “begging to have our industry” as you put it above. Our industry is choosing to go all on their own, and BART (or lack thereof) has absolutely zero to do with it.

    Thanks for the effort.  Please try again.

    Mark Gregory

  49. Rich Robinson and other BART Advocates-

    You are right. Having BART ring the Bay Area IS a good idea. And it’s the sort of thing that we should expect of our Government.
    Unfortunately though, the liberal Big Government spenders that we have elected have left no money in the till to accomplish this worthwhile goal. That is a shame. Our local elected officials, every single one of them a liberal Democrat, have made decisions about how best to spend our hard-earned tax dollars. They have decided that it’s best spent on things like programs to attract poor illegal immigrants, other programs to support poor illegal immigrants, subsidized housing, facade facelifts for shopping centers, more health and retirement benefits for more public employees, excessive hiring of consultants, legal bickering over concert halls, extra JPs to execute gay weddings, inflatable convention centers, a new, superfluous City Hall, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
    And now, sadly, there’s nothing left to pay for the construction of BART.

    I have often called and written my Councilwoman to express my concern over the budget choices she is a party to. But does she care? Are you kidding? She’s a liberal and she has a “degree” in Social Science.

    I’ve learned that our local gang of Progressive “representatives” are a lot like irresponsible, immature teenage kids. You give them a generous allowance but pretty soon they come to you whining that they spent it all on garbage and now there’s none left for what they REALLY want. Then you have to explain to them that life is full of choices and that people have to decide what it is that’s important to them- that you can’t have it all.

    So grow up, you spoiled whiners.
    Accept the idea that you only get a certain amount of money to spend. You can’t just keep adding on new taxes. You have to be grownups and decide what it is you’re willing to give up. You’ve already given up the things that I consider important. Now it’s your turn.

  50. 52 – You were doing good, but then you derailed into your “liberal” and “progressive” nonsense. Is there nothing that is either good or bad based on its merits and not whether or not it is viewed from the Left or the Right. Your argument went off track at that point.

  51. Please guys, No name calling.  Mayor Tom has created one of the better discussions on BART in a long time. Let’s keep it that way.

    As Greg pointed out “both sides see themselves as “on the side of those who cast their fate with a better future for our valley””.

    Rich R. brings up new questions which others may share and they need honest answers.

    I believe data supports reopening the Major Investment Study to select a BART connection we can afford.  My review of logistics leads me to believe it will provide that connection faster and more efficiently than building an unneeded downtown subway tunnel route.  The net result will be better transit, delivered faster, at less cost, with more job creation and no new taxes.

    Many may not be aware that the term eBART was coined to define the Antioch extension.  It was found to be much less costly to build and run a transfer to modern EMU trains at Pittsburg than to extend non-standard BART.  Service would be the same with no transfer delay.  Not seamless, just better.

    The same could be done for the South Bay with the transfer in Fremont or Warm Springs.  That would facilitate a fast electic rail system that would make us High Speed Rail ready from Gilroy to SF and through Fremont on to Pleasanton.  That is the regional system San Jose needs.

    The benefits are many as it frees up multiple alternative routes to support Silicon Valley job areas.  An open and honest MIS would make that selection. 

    As for the Honest City of Monte Sereno, We are where Steinbeck wrote the Grapes of Wrath, where Ken Keesey recharged his electric cool-aide, and where you better be careful how tall you make your fence.  Monte Sereno…Hey, it’s bigger than Brisbane (CA)

    ps Nice post Mark G and “C” and “Who is John Galt” and why does he parrot KSFO

  52. Rich Robinson wants you to believe that Caltrain does not exist. One thing that’s true is that he lives in his own world. Caltrain weekday ridership broke all records and has now exceeded 40,000 and is approaching 45,000.

    He believes that these 45,000 passengers don’t exist, and that he doesn’t mind tearing up Caltrain and put in an inferior and slower train system called BART. Will BART take people from San Jose to San Francisco in less than an hour? Forget about it.

    We should have a seamless system, but BART is far from it. You can’t get a discounted pass that’s good on both AC Transit and BART to begin with, and that BART has operated for over 35 years in the East Bay. What kind of confidence does that show when all the Google and Yahoos are more than 10 miles from the proposed BART line?

    The other thing that Rich Robinson chooses to forget is downtown Oakland. Downtown Oakland has BART for over 35 years, but is it anywhere close to SF for employment and shopping. In fact, there’s more similarity between SJ and Oakland than between SJ and SF. How can BART be the magic bullet for success if it is more likely that San Jose will become another downtown Oakland rather than San Francisco?

  53. Lost in this San Jose-centric debate is a much larger question: Why should voters in cities other than San Jose, Milpitas and Santa Clara support this sales tax? Those are the only cities that will see BART.

    BART will not serve the majority of cities in Santa Clara County. It will not deliver employees to businesses in Mountain View or Palo Alto nor will it cut traffic congestion on 101 between San Jose and Gilroy. 280 between San Jose and Cupertino will be just as congestions post-BART as it is today.

    Other than some feel good environmental notion about providing public transit for other communities I can’t imagine why a voter in Sunnyvale, Los Gatos or Morgan hill would want to spend a single dime on a massive project that does not provide direct benefit to their community.

    Guardino may have a secret poll showing support for a yet another BART tax, but polls are only as good as their methodology. Since he will not release the poll we have no way of judging it’s validity. It is unreasonable, and probably counter productive, of him to tout it’s results as evidence of support even if it was presented, as Tom says “… a small group of supporters and elected officials.” Obviously Guardino’s plan was to have these people leak word of the poll to the press and public. He has it both ways, a claim that his poll is “secret” yet it’s supposedly positive results are used to influence the electorate.

    Another issue that seems to get lost in the debate is the high cost, and construction disruption, of building BART underground as it comes through San Jose. It would almost certainly be more cost effective to build BART above-ground but I’ve been told by BART advocates that this issue has never been on the table and that there are no cost comparisons of above ground vs below ground. 

    Why not? Is it because San Jose with it’s chronic inferiority complex has such a strong desire to be a “real city” that it must have a subway? How much could be saved by building above ground? How much less construction disruption would above ground construction create? It’s hard to say when BART advocates won’t even consider the possibility!

    I am not necessarily against BART. Regional public transit has many pluses. But this plan, as it is being presented, makes little sense. It will not directly deliver people to the county’s largest centers of jobs, housing or the airport, and there seems to be no willingness to consider alternatives. That’s bad planning and, for me, a likely “no” vote on any BART tax.

  54. Mark G,

    Obviously you’ve never been in government.  It is not about dictartorship—which is an efficient system of government—when I am in charge.

    Would you have us tear up the current BART system and replace it with a new transportation system?  Or would you simply add a new layer of bureaucracy and new system on the public that does not seamlessly connect to the current transportation systems.

    It is nuts that we have 17 transportation agencies in the Bay Area (there may be more).

    The 1/8th tax will not cover everything, but it helps.  Financing of public projects is not a science.  But we can be reasonably certain that the price is not going down the longer we wait.

    We made a mistake in the 1960s by not joining BART.  We can continue to debate and delay moving forward or we can act.

    Why does San Jose need BART?  Because we have no real link to the east bay or SF.  Because 880 is nightmare, 101 is full to capacity and every other roadway 87, 85 and 280 are filled to capacity.

    We are going to have more people.  We need to get cars off the road and provide a public transportation system—that some may not believe to be perfect—but they know it works.

    New techonology has not replaced the NY subway system—because of the cost.  Technologically there will always be new systems that are better than the old—but we have neither the resources, time or public will to change them every 10 years.

    We need to use the system we have—a system that is seamless.

    Finally, our employers in this Valley are making the case for BART to San Jose.  I’d listen to them.  Other states are begging to have our industry and are putting the necessary resources into building infrastructure if it is needed.

    Are we content to believe that Silicon Valley will remain the same economic engine it is today if we do not enhance our infrastructure?

    We are not even the economic engine we were 10 years ago.  Again, we can debate and delay.  We can insist on the best and most modern, we can wait another 30 years or we can act now.

    That’s the choice.

  55. ” Another issue that seems to get lost in the debate is the high cost, and construction disruption, of building BART underground as it comes through San Jose. It would almost certainly be more cost effective to build BART above-ground but I’ve been told by BART advocates that this issue has never been on the table and that there are no cost comparisons of above ground vs below ground.” 

    All you have to do is head north to Millbrae to see unnecessary BART tunnelling. Why did they have to put the entire colma-San Bruno section underground? This just drives up costs. And due to the stupid nature of the
    SFO/Millbrae wye, it’s less convenientd to get from Caltrain to the airport now than it was before BART, when they just had the shuttle van.

  56. I’m not sure why it is that some people proudly proclaim to be “liberals” and then act offended when they are referred to as such.

    I only use the term “liberal” as most words in the English language are used. That is, as a substitute for a long, awkward definition. If I’m describing a play in baseball, I might refer to somebody as “the infielder who is positioned between second base and third base”. Or I might simply call him the “shortstop”. Oooh! I labeled him!Perhaps if, instead of writing “liberal”, I instead wrote ” a person who believes that it is the job of the Government to solve all the world’s problems”. Seems kind of longwinded but if that’s what’s required to keep people from getting their knickers in a twist…

    It is a little bit scary to see just how brainwashed so many of my fellow citizens have become- physically unable to allow their minds to engage in the question, “just what should the roll of Government be?”
    Until the electorate is brave enough to debate this question we will continue to be plagued by the sort of inefficiency and inability to accomplish things that are the defining characteristic of Government today.

  57. @Rich:

    “And I agree we should bring BART down from the west side of the Bay by eliminating Cal Train and substituting BART.”

    I think this is the moment when intelligent people realize that you have absolutely no understanding of the economics or operation of transit (or the politics of transit, for that matter). I don’t think anyone’s thinking about extending BART down the peninsula—SamTrans has already been burned once, and they’re sure as hell not going to be the local partner on a peninsula extension.

    (Also, capital costs would run, what, like $220 million/mile [based on the assumption of continuing at-grade rail with full grade seps]—that would run 33.8 miles * $200 mil = over $6.6 billion.) That’s not including any additional quadriplication capital costs.

    Caltrain is and will remain the mainline Peninsula rail line. With DTX, electrification, increased headways, and additional express service, we’re looking at a real 21st century rail system that will run faster for commuters and reach more destinations on the peninsula and on the westside of the South Bay—for a pretty inexpensive sum of money.

  58. BART supporters talk about bringing BART to downtown San Jose as if downtown SJ were some sort of desirable destination.  There’s not enough job density to make it a viable destination.  There’s also not enough residential density of folks commuting from downtown SJ to jobs in the East Bay or SF to justify it either. The jobs are elsewhere in SJ or its satellite cities. So if it’s seen as some means to get lots of folks off the roads as they commute to their jobs, it is doomed to fail.  $6 BILLION plus $50+ Million per year to operate is a lot of $$ to ferry a few folks.

  59. San Jose will always be the suburban wasteland it started as. San Jose is perfect for families: boring and barren. It’s rare to find people walk. It’s common to only see cars. The buses aren’t even useful. They end early and lack 24hr services in most of the main areas of the county. People in San Jose are against BART because they fear black people coming from Oakland. I would say let this area rot when gas runs out. The bus/light-rail riders will survive and reach the top of the food chain in the next decade. I really do want BART to reach Santa Clara but the cheap asses complaining about taxes will vote it off anyway.

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