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By Tim Hunt

The strange ticket price that celebrated a triumph

Uploaded: Feb 17, 2022

I loved to see the seemingly strange ticket price for the celebration of John Madden Monday evening at the Coliseum-- $32.14. My memory went back to the Super Bowl triumph over Minnesota by a 32-14 score.

Former 49er and Cal coach Steve Mariucci spoke at the event, saying that over the 22 years of the bocce tournament that he partnered with Madden on that more than $8 million had gone to charity.

Speaking of charity, Virginia Madden said she’d tucked some money away over the years and was matching gifts to the Madden Foundation up to $1 million. Now, that’s a matching grant.

She also was “on a roll” and proudly proclaimed the Oakland Raiders and said Oakland needs an NFL franchise. As would be expected that received a rousing affirmation from the crowd.

One of the realities that came across, both from my personal experience during Madden’s coaching career in Oakland, and from other comments, is how plugged into the community players were in that decade including their coach. As I’ve mentioned, several lived in Pleasanton in ordinary neighborhoods as opposed to Ruby Hill (which wouldn’t be built for another 15-plus years).

This decade is going to be a tough one for mass transit agencies, particularly here in the Bay Area. BART released its ridership estimates last week that were far below the more than 400,000 daily trips at its height.

Rare among transit systems, BART’s largest share of the former operating budget (65%) came from the fare box. That’s rarely above 20% for most other systems.

And, with the ridership drop and the federal funding that’s propped up the system for the past two years ending, financially BART will be challenged. The projected deficit in 2024 is $48 billion and that could soar to $1.2 billion by fiscal 2032. Planners anticipate ridership of 70% of the pre-pandemic numbers.

So, BART is floating the idea of either a BART-specific tax increase or a regional approach because other agencies will be in similar situations. It’s worth noting that BART already has ½-cent sales tax devoted to its budget as well as a portion of the bridge fares and property tax.

It’s a system that was designed to serve urban centers and how viable downtown offices will be in San Francisco and Oakland in these days of remote work remains an open question. Several tech companies have sharply reduced their office footprints in San Francisco over the last year.

And there’s no putting this genie back in the bottle. It’s here to stay if companies want to retain skilled workers.