Last week, BART released results of its biannual survey that showed satisfaction with the system was at a 20-year low. With crowded cars, shabby and dirty stations, the system is showing its age and the lack of focus from the board and senior management on their customers. BART has taken exceptionally good care of its overpaid employees and forgotten its mission to serve taxpaying commuters.
Secondly, this week a judge ruled that BART had to pay a $1.3 million fine for its failure to follow rules on hazardous materials at its various sites in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties. The suit was brought by the district attorneys’ offices in those counties.
BART, like any other business or government agency, is required to have hazardous material business plans at its facilities. The suit charged that more 30 of BART’s 190 sites in the three counties did not have these plans. The plans are required so firms plan how to respond to emergencies involving hazardous materials.
Directors should be asking pointed questions of senior management about why the agency failed so significantly in an area that could have had major consequences for riders and employees.
Oakland Raider fans got some good news this week when Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson pulled out of the Las Vegas stadium deal. Adelson had committed up to $650 million to develop the $1.9 billion stadium. Goldman Sachs, which also was participating in the financing, now is reportedly reconsidering its role after Adelson pulled out.
Everything creates quite a challenge for Raider owner Mark Davis who has been committed to Las Vegas since the Legislature passed a plan to put $750 million of public money into the deal.
This also creates a bigger window for Ronnie Lott and his group to hammer together a better deal to present to the NFL. Until Adelson pulled out, Las Vegas had built momentum within the league where two-thirds of the owners must approve the relocation. Comments from the commissioner and other NFL executives had been more favorable toward the move. Commissioner Roger Godell has publicly said that the current Oakland proposal by the Lott group is not acceptable.
Now Mayor Libby Schaff and Lott’s team must put together a compelling plan that is achievable. The fan base is here—assuming the team is competitive—but the Raiders must do a better job reaching out into the Bay Area’s wealthy corporate community—much of which is not in the East Bay.
The 49ers move to Santa Clara and its abundant corporate checkbooks coupled with the San Francisco history leaves the Raiders with a limited market unless the ‘Niners continue flounder on the field and in the front office, while the Raiders flourish under Jack Del Rio.
Frankly, I do not think that the Black Hole helps the corporate connections.