Make no mistake: This is the most crucial period in recent memory for BART, given the severe budget uncertainty caused by the steep ridership decline during the COVID-19 pandemic. The future of the agency as we know it might well hang in the balance in the coming years.
Pleasanton voters need to help elect a District 5 board representative focused on prudent fiscal decision-making while also committing to accomplish Tri-Valley priorities. That candidate is newcomer Mike Wallace.
A Castro Valley resident who has worked the past 10 years as a financial analyst for the Zone 7 Water Agency in Livermore and is a former member Alameda County Human Relations Commission, challenger Wallace has the skills to recommit BART to financial sustainability and service reliability. Offering a necessary fresh voice on the nine-member board, we were struck too by Wallace's campaign messaging that aligns with the Tri-Valley's goals for BART -- to demand "a safe, clean and affordable transit experience."
Challenger Steven Dunbar from Livermore has run an invigorating campaign centered on important goals of making BART more open, accessible and sustainable. He also has some relevant experience on the city of Livermore's Community Asset Management Plan Outreach Committee and has been a vocal supporter of Valley Link. But he lacks the background in public agency finances that Wallace possesses and that will be critical for BART in the four-year term ahead.
We acknowledge incumbent Director John McPartland for his three terms of service, but we've been less than impressed by what seems to be a half-hearted campaign rooted in staying the course. BART needs innovative, original thinking to thrive into the future. We also note that he failed to respond to our election coverage and endorsement inquiries, emblematic of our interactions with him in the past and likely indicative of how responsive he is with emails from the public. Most importantly, McPartland failed to deliver a board majority to support full BART to Livermore in 2018 -- the main priority for this portion of his district.
For the future of BART, vote Mike Wallace for Board of Directors District 5.
We are also recommending voters re-elect Director Debora Allen in District 1, which includes the San Ramon Valley. Read that editorial here.
Editor's note: The Pleasanton Weekly editorial board reached its decisions based on email interviews on endorsements, and our review of past reporting and research.